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Dinner on Globalization
Executive dinner on globalization
27 April 2005 – New York

Frank-Jürgen Richter , President of Horasis and Mark Minevich , Chairman of the Technology Leadership Council hosted a CEO-networking dinner on globalization in New York City. Guests-of-honour included Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Undersecretary-General, Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor at Columbia University, Sundeep Waslekar , President of the Strategic Foresight Group, and Michael Nobel, President of the Nobel Family Foundation.

Globalization has become an economic reality associated with a growing divide between the poor and the rich. The goal of the event was to reason about the of nature of globalization and to come up with solutions on how to mitigate the risks of globalization. Shashi Tharoor started the discussion by raising the question how much of the fear of globalization is really a fear of Americanization and the changes brought about by the spread of American culture to indigenous cultures worldwide. Mark Minevich added that the outsourcing of services and manufacturing has also led to job losses in the US and other parts of the developed world - there is no such thing as an eternal guarantee for jobs within a given national or regional context. Jagdish Bhagwati put into context the fact that the number of actual jobs that are being created in China and India are but a fraction of the population of those countries. And, therefore, the fear about the rise of China and India is out of proportion to the reality.

Globalization is irreversible, Michael Nobel declared. Nobel reckoned that it is time to stop discussing whether globalization can be reversed and instead focus on dealing with key issues such as jobs, poverty and the environment. During the discussion, Jagdish Bhagwati echoed Nobel's point, stressing that, while not perfect, globalization has been an extremely successful system for the world economy. It has created millions of jobs, raised millions out of poverty and improved the quality of life.

Sundeep Waslekar pointed out of that we are spending too much time worrying about globalization and the outsourcing of jobs and not enough time worrying about the globalization of threat. Terrorist groups like Hamas in Gaza, Hizbollah in Lebanon, and Lashker-e-Taiba in Pakistan effectively run global mass factories of terror that can mobilize the masses – groups that are more menacing than secret and small organizations like al-Qaeda. Shashi Tharoor reminded participants that terrorists are attacking the globalization of the human imagination … a globalization from which they feel excluded. He stressed the globalization cannot just be a subject for economists and businessmen rather than a matter of people.

Frank-Jürgen Richter concluded by asking for appropriate solutions to mitigate the risk of globalization within the industrial world, especially with regards to the outsourcing of jobs can be thought of. Participants agreed that simple measures are not available, other than the need to improve the education system in the U.S. and turn out students who are prepared to deal in a global world. Globalization is here to stay, that was clear from the discussion, now the question remains: How do all countries prepare for the changes that are coming? Participants suggested that we need a new round of serious dialogue encompassing the United Nations, governments from both the developed and developing world, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. New rules are needed to rein in the unrestrained use of economic force. These rules must be written by civil society at large – and not just by traditional holders of power.

Horasis is a global visions community committed to enact visions for a sustainable future. (http://www.horasis.org)

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