In an April, 2015 Report, McKinsey & Co highlights the following fundamental disruptive global forces that are changing the world "ten times faster, at 300 times the scale, and 3,000 times the impact", compared with the Industrial Revolution.
The following are abbreviated excerpts -
(a) The first trend is the shifting of the locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China and to cities within those markets. Nearly half of global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 will come from 440 cities in emerging markets—95 percent of them small- and medium-size cities. By 2025, nearly half of the world’s large companies—defined as those with revenue of $1 billion or more—will be headquartered in emerging markets. China will be home to more large companies than either the United States or Europe. For example, the GDP of Tianjin, a dynamic Chinese city, will be around $625 billion—approximately equal to Sweden.
(b) The second disruptive force is the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of (mobile) technology.China’s mobile text- and voice-messaging service WeChat has 300 million users, more than the entire adult population of the United States. By 2014, mobile applications had hit 1.2 million. Users had downloaded more than 75 billion total apps, more than ten for every person on the planet. Technology allows businesses such as WhatsApp to start and gain scale with stunning speed while using little capital. Entrepreneurs and start-ups now frequently enjoy advantages over large, established businesses. The furious pace of technological adoption and innovation is shortening the life cycle of companies and forcing executives to make decisions and commit resources much more quickly.
(c) The human population is getting older. Fertility is falling, and the world’s population is graying dramatically. While aging has been evident in developed economies for some time, the demographic deficit is now spreading to China and soon will reach Latin America. A smaller workforce will place a greater onus on productivity for driving growth and may cause us to rethink the economy’s potential. Caring for large numbers of elderly people will put severe pressure on government finances.
(d) The final disruptive force is the degree to which the world is much more connected through trade and through movements in capital, people, and information. Instead of a series of lines connecting major trading hubs in Europe and North America, the global trading system has expanded into a complex, intricate, sprawling web. Asia is becoming the world’s largest trading region. “South–south” flows between emerging markets have doubled their share of global trade over the past decade. The volume of trade between China and Africa rose from $9 billion in 2000 to $211 billion in 2012.
In light of these dramatic shifts, what worked in the past is unlikely to work in the future. Traditional mindsets and intuition will have to be re-educated and re-calibrated if the risks and opportunities of the 21st century are to be fully addressed.
Perhaps China is the only country trying to capture most of these fundamental shifts through enhanced connectivity on a global scale. I am referring to China's latest grand strategy of "One Belt, One Road", recreating a 21st Century Silk Road linking the Middle Kingdom even more closely with the four Continents. That was the subject of my PowerPoint presentation on 28 April at the 2015 Forum Istanbul. Click here