Making Sense of Global Disorder
The non-inclusive growth patterns and the absence of effective counter measures led to a partial rejection of the system... What does that mean? It means rejection of established parties, elites in business, finance, in my field- in economics and academia. Why? Because we didn't see the crisis coming. Because we oversold globalization. We didn't discuss the difficult transitions that economies go through structurally and in terms of jobs with anywhere near enough clarity to help guide policy and so on. And in the course of this- and I think this may be the most important thing I say - we lost something that is intangible and important, and that is what the Europeans call political and social cohesion. That cohesion in my view, is based on the primacy of the cohesion of public interest. And I think we've lost trust in the institutions, in the governing elites and so on.
Rejection, which is what we are seeing now with growing vigor, doesn't that what replaces is it better. There is a real risk, I think, that we'll be in a real period of political paralysis, policy inconsistency, maybe some very poor choices with respect to how to proceed... In a deeper level, there are inherent tensions in the concept of globalization and the way that our societies are evolving. People have needs and desires and fears with respect to a wide range of things. They care about growth and productivity and incomes to be sure, but they care about equity and fairness, inclusiveness, opportunity, sustainability, stability, culture, identity, sovereignty, security, governance, self- determination. And all of those things have surfaced in the discussions that we hear about, so this isn't just an economic phenomenon.
I think the simple truth is globalization in its simple and somewhat naive form, which worked for a while, has lost its capacity to meet (a) broad set of needs of people. And we have before us an exercise in creativity rebuilding governance structures, rules and procedures, and so on, in such a way that it does a better job to meet those needs.
What Price, Populism?
Globalization: Dream or Delusion
Keynote Address: Old Ideas in a New World: Demystifying AI
Session 1a: Mapping the Future of Artificial Intelligence
Director, Advisory Services Ernst & Young Advisory Services Limited
Director, Advisory Services
Ernst & Young Advisory Services Limited
Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science Ashkelon Academic College, Israel
Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science
Ashkelon Academic College, Israel
Session 2b: Navigating a Course for Finance
Session 2a: The Case for Sustainable, Inclusive Growth
Victor and William Fung Director Harvard University Asia Centre
Victor and William Fung Director
Harvard University Asia Centre
Session 1b: Rewriting the Playbook for Global Trade
Director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity
University of Central Florida
Keynote Address: Asia: The Centre of Global Trade and Growth
On Rising Protectionism
... despite all the benefits free trade and connected development can bring, we do see recently some worrying signs of rising protectionism. Why would this happen? One reason could be that the gains brought by economic globalisation have not been enjoyed by all, giving rise to social discontent, income disparity and a growing sense of disconnect, especially between the government and the people, and particularly young people. It is tempting to blame free trade for such social problems, and protectionism may easily gain popularity, but the fundamental solution lies in making economic development more inclusive and delivering benefits to our people.
Inclusive growth is highly relevant in the age of globalisation. APEC leaders have therefore agreed to redouble the efforts to advance economic, financial and social inclusion, with a vision to build an inclusive, accessible, sustainable, healthy and resilient APEC community. An Action Agenda has been endorsed to, among others, advance progress towards achieving full, productive and quality employment, and progressively achieve and sustain income growth for all members of society, especially women, and youth, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, and enable them to seize global opportunities.
On Hong Kong's role in the global economy
Hong Kong is able to benefit from connected, inclusive and sustainable growth in the past 20 years under "one country, two systems". We enjoy unique advantages under "one country, two systems". We are an international financial centre and are universally acknowledged as among the best cities in the world for doing business. We have world-class logistics and communications infrastructure and a highly regarded services sector. And it's all underpinned by the rule of law and an independent judiciary.
It means that Hong Kong is the best platform for governments and companies along the Belt and Road, and their infrastructure projects, to seek capital. Our bankers, lawyers, arbitrators, accountants, architects, engineers, planners, project managers, insurers and marketing and communications experts are also capable of providing all the services these companies need in their projects.
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Populism and the India Experience
(Indian) Prime Minister Modi's policies are populist only in the conventional sense that they work to address the concerns of the common people. In fact, Modi's populism is about changing the habits and mindset of the masses. His populism is about making people not just citizens, but stakeholders in India's growth story. Modi defied conventional political populism by way of reduction of subsidies and introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer policies. For the first time in India, a scheme by name "˜Give It Up' was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum asking well-off people to give up their gas subsidies. Over 20 million people have responded to the call thus allowing the gas connections to be provided to same number of rural poor families. This kind of populism has helped in improving the health and hygiene of the rural folk besides helping address carbon emission issues in a big way. Similarly, Modi's Ujala scheme has led to distribution of over 230 million low-energy consuming LED bulbs across the country. This populism has not only helped in reducing energy consumption but has also reduced the electricity bills by 12 billion rupees.
Modi's populism can be seen in his endeavour to build about 50 million toilets in the country's rural belt. They have helped in improving hygiene at one level, while at another level they were helpful in addressing the health, security and educational concerns of rural women. Through seemingly populist schemes like Mudra, Start Up & Stand Up India, Modi government has been able to encourage rural youths from becoming mere job seekers to job creators. In the last three years, millions of jobs have been created especially in rural and informal sector through these lendings.
If there is any one scheme that clearly portrays political populism, it is the demonetization program. It was directed against the corrupt elites who loot the country and hide it as black money. Through demonetization, the government has been able to break the backbone of the parallel economic establishment in the country. Today, our economy is clean and transparent. The government has done away with hundreds of obsolete laws paving the way for ease of doing business.
Modi's popularity soars today... Here is a leader who has defied the conventional political wisdom of incumbency and improved on his approval ratings after three and half years purely based on his performance. Country's ease of business ratings, investor confidence indicators and overall approval ratings of the government remain undisputedly high.
It is this popularity that the neo-elites want to destroy by pejoratively calling it populism. Their frustration lies in the fact that many an institution that they had captured earlier is slipping out of their hands. The masses are awakened today. Social media has transformed the way society thinks. The mainstream media, sections of which have been the bastions of the liberal elites, have been tamed to a large extend by the explosion of the social media. Social media is the most democratic media. Today we find many of the elites complaining about it calling it populist tool because it can no longer be "˜guided' or "˜controlled'. Populism narrative is the proverbial last straw to hold on for these elites.