Global Order

Over the last 18 months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the problems that the United States and world face in the 21st century.
Economies are changing, technological progress is exploding, politics are polarizing, labor forces are shifting, immigration is increasing, inequality is worsening and international cooperation is lessening.   And these are a just a few of the major issues that are transforming societies, for better or worse (mostly for the worse)
With the input of friends, colleagues and experts in both international and domestic politics and economics, I’ve begun mapping out what the world may look like over a 20-50 year time horizon.
One could refer to it as “Society’s Strategic Plan”.  This plan is similar to the strategic plan that company’s build when setting the course for the future.   However, this strategic plan has a more ominous ending.   If current trends continue, the result could be disastrous for middle and working classes across the world.
I have also begun to sketch out what the world can look like if we  steer the boat in a better direction.  This new world order would most notably account for the technological shifts that will dramatically impact economies and labor markets over the next 5-20 years.  Importantly, it also maintains the broad-based architecture of the Post WWII Liberal Order that spawned the emergence of democracies, global alliances and competitive capital markets around the world.
Below you’ll find the initial sketch of the global transformation that I believe must take place in order for the world to remain stable and prosperous.
A few key features of the global order and America’s path forward are as follows:
  • Maintain the Liberal Architecture – human rights, freedom of speech, open markets, transfusion of ideas and people across borders, and an interconnected alliance of democracies
  • Global Cooperation – As famed author Yuval Noah Harari has pointed out time and again, the existential issues of technological disruption, climate change, and nuclear war can only be solved when nations work together; they cannot be solved by any one country.
  • Transitioning to an Automated, Technology Dependent Economy – Ensuring that all citizens can participate and prosper in an a technology dependent economy; current trends portend increased capital concentration in a technology and finance elite operating within a shrinking number of “rent-seeking” firms.
  • Focus on Comparative Economic Advantage – Take advantage of America’s strengths in middle to upper tier services and entrepreneurial innovation; reduce American footprint in manufacturing and low value services that can be automated
  • Disrupting and Improving Education – Conceive of new ways to educate children and teenagers to prepare them for a technology dependent economy; create opportunities for adults to shift from professions that can be automated to those which require human intelligence.
  • Rebuilding Trust in Institutions – We must have a set of government and international institutions that people trust and can count on to serve their interests; militaries, international bodies, NGOs and the media play a vital role in ensuring the safety and freedom of people around the world.

Our current political dialogue is not addressing these long-term, existential issues.  Indeed, America’s 2-4 year political cycles are ill-equipped to deal with issues that are profoundly consequential and don’t merely require a short-term, band-aid fix.

Over the next few months, I will be working with individuals in the Baltimore community, academia and business to explore these issues and bring ideas, solutions and civic energy to the public sphere.  I hope you’ll join me in the conversation.

To close, I’ll  share a quote that Brookings Institute Scholar, Robert Kagan mentioned when describing how world events slowly and then rapidly spin out of control.  He notes a famous line in a Hemingway novel that asks a man how he went bankrupt and the man responds by saying “Two ways – gradually then suddenly”.

Let us resolve to address these issues before they gradually and then suddenly become insurmountable.

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