Publisher's Note

Glancing into the future


As we conclude a decade and anticipate 2020 with much eagerness, we ought to take a longer view of the future beyond 2020, possibly 2030 and beyond. The one key consideration of the future that we must have a tight grip on, is the fourth industrial revolution. So far the pace and magnitude of 4IR has overwhelmed many Nations and as such rendered them recipients, spectators and at most reactive to new developments and innovation. This reactivity blinds us from taking stock of what the future would be like and thus impairs our ability to plan accordingly.

So what does the next decade have in store for us? I guess the following will top the agenda, the innovation and technology under the umbrella of the fourth industrial revolution will thrive and move societies to the next level. The cryptocurrencies will make significant inroads into the financial sector, across borders while altering the traditional ways of transacting. The profound deficit of income in-equality will probably widen, since the means of production and drivers of economic growth favour a few. The environmental degradation and global warming agenda will somehow dominate.

Technology and innovation must be part of the economy’s DNA. The world economic forum warns us, that technology and innovation must be driven by human capital investment, this is to ensure mitigation of adverse impacts of technological advancement. “Increased precariousness of workers, the skills gap, excessive market concentration, corrosive effects on the social fabric, regulatory loopholes, data privacy issues and cyberwarfare are all but a few of the potential negative effects to mitigate,” they note.

It is rumoured that the Libra announced by Facebook will be the new global payment system and currency. It is said that the use of Libra is intended to shake up the world financial system. “Money would move at the speed of a smartphone-swipe, even across borders. Libra would lubricate life in the rich world and revolutionise it in poor countries, where basic financial services are dear and often scarce,” notes one commentator. This industry has already advanced with the likes of tenpay, wechart, paypal and others.

To grasp the task at hand it will be prudent to invoke Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction as the, ”process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. At the end of the day creativity must be encouraged, and the destruction must be managed.

The next decade will never be anything like the current, the pace, magnitude and grandeur of innovation will be alarming!

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