In many respects, the
21st Century has – so far – been a time of unprecedented prosperity
Yet, strange to say,
it is also a time of great fear. We are told that we are must be afraid of
global warming, of terrorism, of recession, and of every other story that
happens to be on the television news.
However, the list of
global threats that might have a real impact on most businesses is not the same
as the one about which politicians and the media would have us panic.
For example, few
businesses are likely to suffer any substantial loss due to terrorism, most
have time to plan for any climate change that might be on the cards, and even
the very real danger of worldwide recession offers opportunities as well as
threats to those businesses which are prepared for it.
Against that, there
are other global trends or possibilities which could well have a negative
impact on private business over the next few years, but which are getting
relatively little attention.
Here is what we should
be worrying about:
1 Possible Trade Wars – a typical panic
reaction to the threat of recession by economically illiterate populist
2 Overpopulation – the really inconvenient
truth is that the number of human beings, not our carbon consumption, is the
real threat to the environment
3 Centralised Government – the dangerous
combination of high technology and encroachment on civil liberties that
threatens the economic freedoms essential to business, and, incidentally, to
everyone else as well
4 China – all depends on politburo members,
about whom we know next to nothing, continuing to open up markets while still
maintaining political stability, a very difficult balancing act
5 Energy – oil prices and the recent Russian
threats to gas supplies to Europe should remind us how reliant we are on
relatively cheap power, and how quickly it may disappear
6 Cyber Attack – any threat to the internet is
a now a threat to the commercial infrastructure of the whole world.