The last 10 years after the global financial crisis have been a new era where voices in favour of protecting local industry from non-local companies have grown louder. We see increase in demand to stop migrants from working in the local ecosystem in spite of their competence. We notice spirited arguments against finances from international markets flowing freely into the economy. Sociopolitical factors of our times are pushing the leaders to exhibit protectionism.
4.0 is a game of “And”
While the voice favouring protectionism is growing louder, the voice favouring liberalism is no less. We have strong demands for free inflow of ideas, access to technology developed elsewhere and freedom to export goods and services in a seamless manner across national borders. Rapid changes in technology are taking place as the R&D teams in companies are able to tap into the best talent across countries. Collaboration among universities and similar institutions across countries are helping in this development further. There is a steady rise of global companies – Google, Facebook, Amazon, GE, IBM, Dell, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Sony, Nokia, Toyota, Samsung, Uber, Ola, Infosys, millions more! We want more and more of them.
We do not want millions of people involved in traditional jobs in agriculture, manufacturing to lose their sources of livelihood to cheaper economies. This is important because they have no other skill which can help them earn their livelihood. And at the same time, we need younger people fulfil their aspirations in the new forces in an economy – automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning. We have to let them use all technology tools available globally and leverage them. We need a fine balance between protectionism and liberalism.
Most of us take a stance that is convenient for us. So, based on our current reality, many of us choose a position that is either extreme right thinking or extreme left thinking. However, in the era of globalisation 4.0, we have to take a centrist position that recognises a new reality that promotes simultaneity of protectionism and liberalism.
Openness to change and flexibility to adapt
Irrespective of what industry sector we work in and what level we are at, we cannot resist changes. In the nineties, banks in India started using computers. We overcame resistance from users, fought cynics who predicted failure of the system and proved to ourselves that change is inevitable.
We could be farmer, craftsman, lawyer, teacher, painter, musician or homemaker, we have to be open to changing the way we lead our life. As more and more technology tools are being available for our day to day usage, it is bound to impact our lives. For example, unless a farmer learns using technology to improve his inputs for farming, revamp the process of farming and leverage all possible methods to access the most potential markets, he will be unable to offer his produce at competitive pricing and might lose his job to someone else who is able to offer better value to the market.
We must be learning proactively and exploring new vistas of doing the same job in an improved way. If we fail to discover ways, we must move on to greener pastures to explore new possibilities. One has to be open to move to new locations, learn new skills from time to time and be ready to reboot one’s career more than once in the lifetime. We do not want to suffer from boiling frog syndrome.
Traditionally, the stream of science and technology was considered as the upper class in academics. Bright students pursued subjects in that stream, while those who scored lesser marks in the examinations had to settle down for other subjects such as humanities, commerce and all other fields of work. However, globalisation 4.0 is changing this age-old norm.
As our way of life is changing substantially and slated to change more in the days ahead, we will see demand for a range of skills, right from humanities, sports, music, commerce to science and technology. Irrespective of what subjects we study and degrees we hold, we need to show the spirit of enquiry, live the passion for excellence and stay relevant.
Interesting and challenging times ahead, traversed fearlessly in pursuit of excellence is going to see us win championships in life!