Danger! Opportunity! In this snack from the business-class galley, three McKinsey Global Institute researchers serve up a view of a future that “presents difficult, often existential challenges to leaders of companies, organizations, cities, and countries.”
Creative destruction is one thing. Plain old destruction is quite another, and in the modern marketplace, it’s not always easy to tell the two apart. “Ours is a world of near-constant discontinuity,” write Dobbs, Manyika, and Woetzel, which will come as little comfort to those seeking peace and quiet. It’s a world of interrupted development, disequilibrium, and a thorough overhaul of whatever once passed for normal. The United States is now exporting oil, India is emerging as a leader in space exploration, and China is developing a large consumer class with new holidays such as Singles Day, a kind of antidote to Valentine’s Day. Trend watchers who read the Financial Times and the Economist will know all this, but readers who don’t bother to look far beyond our shores may be a little disquieted to learn that part of the disruption is a remaking of the world’s emerging markets, especially in unexpected places and to unexpected ends. “Seven emerging markets,” write the authors, “will be fueling almost half of all global GDP growth over the coming decade,” the news there being that Indonesia and Turkey now figure on the list. Other pieces of the authors’ puzzle should surprise no one: the world, for instance, is getting grayer, they observe. Some of the authors’ closing recommendations are standard business dictums: get more agile, get smarter. But some go deeper, such as the idea that government regulation, so often the bugaboo of the financier class, can actually be put to advantage to “set standards and define the rules of conduct and markets.”
Libertarians may squall, but investors just beginning to look at emerging market trends may find value in this book.