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Enter The Brave New World

April 1, 2000
Change has always been rampant, but the pace has never been more frantic than now, according to Robert Rosen, Patricia Digh, Marshall Singer, and Carl Phillips, authors of "Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Culture" (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Here are some events that will factor into this new stage of business evolution, as discussed in their book.

Globalizing Growth. The globalization of companies and brands makes it difficult, if not impossible, to determine the "home country" of many corporations.

International Megamergers. Global mergers create giant multinational corporations that are larger, richer and more powerful than many countries.

Regional Economic Power. Strong regional trade associations, such as the European Union, NAFTA, ASEAN, and Mercosur, will enhance geographic economic bases around the world.

Economic Interdependence. Strong global monetary and regulatory agencies will be required to handle severe volatility in the international financial system.

Privatizing Power. The privatization of state-run enterprises and the diminished economic decision-making power of nation-states will continue if there is no major worldwide depression.

Identity Problems. In an increasingly interconnected world, people will be torn between being global cosmopolitans, regional traders, national cheerleaders, ethnic personalities, and local citizens.

American Backlash. Defensiveness against ubiquitous American culture, democracy, military might, and free-market capitalism will counter the continuing strength of the United States as the primary world power.

European Integration. The economic integration of Europe and the euro, with the seemingly inevitable political integration to follow, will further solidify that continent's influence over the world stage.

Asian Rebound. The hardworking nature of Asians and their social and family networks, combined with their commitment to education, form a strong foundation for their economies to rebound -- and sooner rather than later.

China Inc. If China holds together as one nation and if its economic development continues, this will become the largest, most important market in the world.

Haves & Have-Nots. The gap between the haves and have-nots, both within and among countries, will continue to widen unless more developed countries make a stronger commitment to wealth creation and wealth distribution in less developed nations.

Ethnic Conflicts. The number and intensity of ethnnic conflicts will increase worldwide, as well "terrorism" driven by these ethnic and religious differences.

Economic Versus Environmentalism. As economic development expands globally, pollution and global warming will accelerate, creating political and economic conflicts in all countries, with all parties culpable.

Demographic Dilemmas. The swelling population of young people in the developing world -- and the need to create jobs for them -- combined with the growth of the elderly population in the developed world and the need to take care of them -- will create economic and political challenges for all.

SOURCE: "Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Culture" by Robert Rosen, Patricia Digh, Marshall Singer, and Carl Phillips (Simon & Schuster, 2000)

Workforce, April 2000, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 76-78.