Vikram Mansharamani will meet with attendees of Northstar's SMU International
-- taking place Feb. 27-29, 2020, in New York City -- to discuss global trends and navigating the future. Buyers, learn more and register for this premier, fully hosted event here
The past year was an eventful one with respect to global development. America's economic expansion became the country's longest, social unrest and protests spread globally and the U.S.-China trade war generated massive boardroom uncertainty, though investors dismissed concerns and drove many markets to all-time highs. Canada, Thailand, Spain, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Australia (among others) held elections. And the annual Harvard-Yale game was delayed by more than 45 minutes as student activists took to the field to protest investment in fossil fuels. The list goes on.
And while this seemed at first like an unusual year, I'm reminded that the world has always been dynamic. Uncertainty and change, it seems, are unavoidable realities of life. Yet all of us are asked to make decisions in the face of these ever-shifting relationships. So, how do we do so? I believe long-term trends that drive global development offer a compass to guide us through the numerous crosscurrents that plague our lives.
We need to look beyond today's headlines and think about how the world might unfold. Following, I offer my personal global predictions, based on a five-year timeline.
1. I predict... The current debate on a corporation's purpose will move beyond the false trade-off between shareholders and stakeholders. Corporate leaders and policymakers alike will then call for an explicit link between quarterly reporting and long-term strategy.
2. I predict... India, once thought to be a beneficiary of the trade war, will struggle to generate a middle class as its large population proves to be more of a liability in the era of automated manufacturing. Policymakers and academics might concede that industrialization-focused development strategies are no longer effective for large population countries.
3. I predict... Capitalist economies will increasingly adopt inequality stabilizers such as tax rates for the wealthy linked to employment conditions and multiyear wage gains received by lower and middle classes. A universal basic training allowance might emerge as an effective means for helping workers remain (or become) skilled for available jobs.
4. I predict... The passive investing bubble will burst, causing the cycle of flows-driving-prices-driving-flows to turn vicious. Regulators might, in turn, demand that passive investment products disclose the elevated risks that accompany market capitalization-weighted indices.
5. I predict... The electric vehicle boom will accelerate as the entire global fleet of automobiles begins to be replaced. Autonomous driving functionality will improve, though driverless vehicles will remain few and far between.
6. I predict... The emergence of hypersonic weapons will prove to be as destabilizing as nuclear weapons, contributing to a surge in global defense spending.
7. I predict... Global supply chains might shift dramatically as "just-in-time, lowest-cost" logic gives way to "just-in-case, security-of-supply" objectives. As the strategic value of labor drops due to increasing use of artificial intelligence, the physical distance between producers and consumers will shrink.
8. I predict... A slowdown in American consumer spending and corporate investing will lead the global economy into a recession. High debt levels might limit the magnitude of fiscal stimulus governments are able to deploy, and gold will hit an all-time inflation-adjusted high.
9. I predict... China will conclude the time has come to reintegrate Taiwan and might threaten to do so militarily, if necessary. Beijing will throw its weight behind Taiwan's pro-China parties and succeed in spurring a diplomatic process around reintegration.
10. I predict... The United States will elect its first female President.
11. I predict... Recognizing that talent development is an investment that bears fruit over years, the Financial Accounting Standards Board might allow leadership development and management training expenses to be capitalized.
12. I predict... Nanotechnology advancements will continue to accelerate.
13. I predict... The world will begin to accept that the United States-China rivalry is far more than a mere trade war, acknowledging it is a currency war, space race, economic war, technology war and arms race.
14. I predict... The rapid rise of surveillance capitalism will lead to massive backlash against big tech. Global outrage over hidden corporate use of personal data might generate popular support for regulations enforcing personal privacy protection.
15. I predict... Radioactive cooling will become cost-effective as a means to harness the cold of outer space to ease the intensive energy demands of air conditioning.
16. I predict... Driven by the combination of more people on the planet and shifting diets, the global demand for animal protein will continue to grow. Acknowledging the inescapable need for grains to feed both people and livestock, I foresee many nations building strategic fertilizer reserves. Despite the promise of "clean meat," I worry the future of food gets increasingly fishy and buggy.
17. I predict... Medical insurance companies and educators might begin to jointly lobby against teenage use of social media as its links with mental illnesses become more obvious. In a quest to avoid more drastic restrictions, companies might self-regulate by removing share and like metrics from their systems.
18. I predict... As its domestic economy slows, the Chinese Communist Party faces an existential threat from rising social unrest among disgruntled workers. To divert attention from domestic matters, leaders might provoke a nationalist spirit by claiming Western influences are the cause of hardships.
19. I predict... Although promising in concept, asteroid mining will likely remain impractical and fail to generate momentum.
20. I predict... The International Maritime Organization 2020 will be successfully implemented as global shipping companies convert to using low sulfur fuel or install scrubbers.
To learn more about my predictions and musings, and to debate their likelihood and potential impact, attend my keynote presentation at SMU International.
Vikram Mansharamani, author, advisor, and founder and president of Kelan Advisors, LLC, is a global trend-watcher who shows people how to anticipate the future, manage risk and spot opportunities. He first gained widespread attention with the release of his first book, Boombustology, which provided a framework for spotting bubbles before they burst. He is a frequent commentator, writer and adviser on issues driving disruption in the global business environment.
Mansharamani will join Northstar Meetings Group as a keynote speaker at SMU International -- the premier event for international planners taking place Feb. 27-29 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Attendees of Northstar's hosted-buyer event will join together for Mansharamani's presentation on navigating uncertainty, which will shed light on the drivers of populism and rising protectionism, and what these forces portend for the future. For more information or to register to attend, visit the NMG Events Page.
The above article first appeared on LinkedIn.