Dr Dambisa Moyo is a world leading economist and one of the most influential people in the world, as named by Forbes. She analyses macroeconomy and international affairs and proposes economic and social solutions to some of the biggest issues facing our global economy today. In our opinion, that’s just what the world needs.
[INSERT IMAGE OF DR MOYO ON STAGE]
We were lucky enough to welcome her to OYW in The Hague as a returning Counsellor to educate us on why democracy is failing to create economic growth and how to fix it.
In fact, her latest book, Edge of Chaos, is dedicated to identifying the challenges faced by democracy at the hands of the global economy. She acknowledged that the the legitimacy of the liberal democracy model is being challenged by the fact that states which do not operate in a democratic framework are thriving. The USA, the world’s largest democracy has just been downgraded in the Democracy Index to “flawed democracy”. In some of the world’s most powerful democracies, inequalities are reaching never before seen extremes.
[QUOTE IMAGE: I want to remind you that I was born and raised in Zambia and throughout my life growing up in Africa, we were always told that the path to economic success was liberal democracy and free market capitalism.]
So what are the five things you need to know about this reality and how it fits into the global economy? Firstly - it’s not all bad news. Second - these are the key changes in our global infrastructure that are posing the biggest threat to democracy:
1. Technology could create a “jobless underclass”
As much as technology provides massive opportunities for our economies, it also risks robbing millions of workers of their jobs. 800 million people are currently at risk of joblessness because of automation. Already, the ILO estimates that 100m young people are at risk of being jobless.
2. The world has seen massive demographic shifts
Our world is growing, and it’s growing at an alarming rate. Every month, India adds 1 million people to its population. The global population is increasing at a rate equivalent to adding the population of Germany every year. Forecasts expect the global population to continue to grow until 2100, at which point there will be 11 billion people on our planet.
3. We’re seeing unprecedented income inequality
The eight wealthiest people - all of whom are men - have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the world population. Dr Moyo argues we need ways to make the world more equitable and democracy has failed to do this. Redistribution of capital hasn’t worked. The right-wing policy of lowering taxes hasn’t worked. We need new, innovative solutions that do work.
[INSERT QUOTE IMAGE: “Over the past 10 years, I've travelled to over 80 countires developed and developing - democratic and non-democratic. Voter paticipation rates are only 50 percent and from low income households they are down to 30 percent.]
4. Natural resource scarcity is just beginning
Democratic solutions have not been able to halt the slow march of climate change. The US has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Global warming and the knock-on effects of climate change are placing populations in precarity and insecurity - food insecurity, job insecurity, environmental insecurity. How can democracies battle these threats to their citizens?
5. It’s less than positive news for productivity
Our population is increasing, but productivity is decreasing. There are concerns about the “quality” of the workforce, who are not only less productive, but less skilled. A lack of skills, combined with the rise of automation, poses threats to both the the prosperity of individuals and the security of the states that govern them.
[IMAGE DAMBISA / CROWD]
But don’t panic. Dambisa Moyo has been coming up with solutions to solve these challenges faced by democracies. Firstly, extend the terms of political office like they already do in Mexico and Brasil. This will address short-termism and make sure that long-term economic problems are not addressed with fleeting, election-winning slogans.
Second, do like they already do in Singapore and pay Ministers bonuses based on their proven track-record of delivering on long-term economic goals. Go a step further an employ “claw-back” tactics when Ministers fail to meet their goals.
Thank you Dr Moyo!