One single day of meditation in any deep jungle teaches us two things; firstly, how everything is so interdependent and secondly, survival of the fittest so meticulously measured by designated performance. There, everything streamlined like a symphony in action, because butterflies are not chasing hawks or rabbits attacking tigers. Jungles have balance, saving energy, resources and constant recycling for sustainability. Over there, every creature is a unique specimen with a designated superior performance, delivered in grace and absolute consistency. On the other hand, over here, humankind performance ended up with far more complicated expectancies. Today, measured in economic terms our performances have landed us in a jungle of our own reckoning. Here, our imbalanced survival of the fittest now demonstrated, as if, anacondas trying to swallow elephants or skunks pretending to be peacocks.
Future of pandemic recovery depends on finding our measurable performances at each step of the way, every layer and at every hierarchy of the organization; nation-by-nation, from headquarters of national leaderships, all the way down at every large and small economic development activity and even at heart of every single public and private sector enterprise. Why not, when technologies allow such measurement and pandemic times demand such excellence. During recent decades, humankind chase went disharmonious, productivity, performance and profitability overshadowed by illusions. Natural instinct went astray. Jungle economics sprawled. Resets, realignments and re-thinking are the limited mandatory options.
Why are the old business models crumbling?
Absence of Organizational Hierarchies; the organizational structures designed to tame Mammoth Corporation as a living organism. This invisible hierarchy of control and command existed as an extremely powerful and institutionalized body but now chipping away, often the soul of the corporation missing, power and control now distributed via technology to granular levels, where intermingled cross-messaging with odd meanings destroys communication. Single command when down streamed arrives as shattered mix-media babble adding only confusion. When command and control are broken, socio-political interference constantly shifts goals and targets, management shifts to schemes. Majority of the workforce of major corporations in almost any country cannot define their own corporate objectives, purpose and goals. This has now affected the soul of the enterprise; every enterprise must declare grassroots prosperity and sustainability as its prime mission over just money making schemes or primarily serving shareholders equities at any cost to the common goods.
Absence of Image Hierarchies; the sophisticated image positioning for the mind of global populace, the name identity in addition to logo branding creating layers of direct and indirect visible and invisible messaging to form a impenetrate able pyramid of image power, now mostly fragmented and lost in social media. Large and super-large corporate agendas are lost is disconnect corporate communications and crushed in rapid fire across shifting sands and lack of image hierarchy strips advancements. This has now affected balance sheets as brand value of the enterprises dropped and customer acquisition costs skyrocketed.
Absence of Concrete Hierarchies: like highly expensive real estate towering structure and fancy institutionalized decorum to create image supremacy as impressive fortresses to demonstrate power and glory of the mother ship enterprise. The entire layouts synchronized and branded across nations or the world to present a unified message, lost in remote-working culture and during pandemic recovery now lessons on the new force of ultimate transition. Pandemic has now forced cemented structures competing with cyber-presence at much faster speed, creating fluidity of operations to control the dual models. This has now affected the business workings and forced enterprises to rethink the entire model to survive.
Key Adjustments: ‘Remote working culture’ will eliminate the centrality of office towers and downtown status. Decentralization and ‘remote management’ will survive with only very ‘different’ skills, dramatically different from “dress-up for decorum”, “demonstrate power and glory with mounted frames” all transformed to supreme execution and mental capacity to demonstrate entrepreneurialism, with tolerance, diversity and global-age thinking. More than 50% of the work force may never return to work and remain remote, creating downtown bust and crashing down super expensive high office towers to almost cheap or free spaces.
Key Solutions: Asia alone is adding some 500 million new entrepreneurs. What does this mean? No other experiment of human endeavor was as successful as America, where some 100,000 entrepreneurs carved out the entrepreneurial supremacy of the United States spanning over a century. What new option does this bring to the USA? Today, expertise on national mobilization of entrepreneurialism teaches new thinking of setting up “micro-manufacturing” for “micro-exports” as an economic revolution of its own kind. Despite some 500 million SME in the world, a billion new big and small, young and old entrepreneurs on the march, economic leaderships are missing some great opportunities to table tactical combative blueprints to advance the challenges of local grassroots prosperity. Big business in any nation is big, but small business in any nation is many times bigger. If leaderships of the already mandated agencies, like the associations, chambers and export-promotion agencies of the country are in some harmony to face the truth and deal with the realities of tomorrow, major shifts on the horizon.
New laws of the Jungle;
Allow SME the first $5-10 million revenue in exports, tax-free to create jobs and bring foreign exchange. Allow SME free access to all dormant Intellectual Property, Patents, and Academic Experts on voucher programs. Allow SME free full time MBA as 6-12 months interns so MBA graduates can acquire some entrepreneurialism. Allow Million qualified entrepreneurs to park within a nation for 5-10 years under a special tax-free visa. Allow national mobilization of entrepreneurialism protocols mandated to engage trade and exports bodies. Allow national scoring of entrepreneurialism to measure, differentiate talents, and separate pretenders. (Expothon is tabling bold agenda on such topics and starting high level series of global virtual events starting in early 2021)
Why is leadership so fearful of bold open debates? There is a visible lack of special entrepreneurial mobilizations and execution skills, over dependence on bureaucratic lip-singing mantras blaming others only adding confusion. There is critical lack of content and advanced level expertise on high-class global virtual events and the right message to bring all parties on the same page. There is a serious lack of realization that such drastic thinking and deployments are often not new funding dependent rather execution hungry and mobilization starved.
Although this is not an easy task; smart nations are awakening to such bold notions and entrepreneurial driven agencies mandated to foster local economies are using virtual events to rise up with global rhythm and rich contents. For fears of avoiding dramatic changes, bureaucracies of most nations will try to bandage the old broken systems.
Bold and fearless leadership will embrace the new thinking and prove survival of the fittest. The rest is easy.
How Bangladesh became Standout Star in South Asia Amidst Covid-19
Bangladesh, the shining model of development in South Asia, becomes everyone’s economic darling amidst Covid-19. The per capita income of Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2020-21 is higher than that of many neighbouring countries including India and Pakistan. Recently, Bangladesh has agreed to lend $200 million to debt-ridden Sri Lanka to bail out through currency swap. Bangladesh, once one of the most vulnerable economies, has now substantiated itself as the most successful economy of South Asia. How Bangladesh successfully managed Covid-19 and became top performing economy of South Asia?
In March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born through war and famine. Shortly after the independence of Bangladesh, Henry Kissinger, then the U.S. national security advisor, derisively referred to the country as a “Basket Case of Misery.” But after fifty years, recently, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary reported that per capita income has risen to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan. Pakistani economist Abid Hasan, former World Bank Adviser, stated that “If Pakistan continues its dismal performance, it is in the realm of possibility that we could be seeking aid from Bangladesh in 2030,”. On the other hand, India, the economic superpower of South Asia, is also lagging behind Bangladesh in terms of per capita income worth of $1,947. This also elucidates that the economic decisions of Bangladesh are better than that of any other South Asian countries.
Bangladesh’s economic growth leans-on three pillars: exports competitiveness, social progress and fiscal prudence. Between 2011 and 2019, Bangladesh’s exports grew at 8.6% every year, compared to the world average of 0.4%. This godsend is substantially due to the country’s hard-hearted focus on products, such as apparel, in which it possesses a comparative advantage.
The variegated investment plans pursued by the Bangladesh government contributes to the escalation of the country’s per capita income. The government has attracted investments in education, health, connectivity and infrastructure both from home and abroad. As a long-term implication, investing in these sectors helped Bangladesh to facilitate space for businesses and created skilled manpower to run them swiftly. Meanwhile, the share of Bangladeshi women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan, where it has decreased. And Bangladesh has maintained a public debt-to-GDP ratio between 30% and 40%. India and Pakistan will both emerge from the pandemic with public debt close to 90% of GDP.
Bangladesh’s economy and industry management strategy during Covid-19 is also worth mentioning here since the country till now has successfully protected its economy from impact of pandemic. At the outset of pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions hampered the country’s overall productivity for a while. To tackle the pandemic effect, Bangladesh introduced improvised monetary policy and fiscal stimuli to bring them under the safety net which lifted the situation from worsening. Government introduced stimulus package which is equivalent to 4.3 percent of total GDP and covers all necessary sectors such as industry, SMEs and agriculture. These packages are not only a one-time deal, new packages are also being announced in course of time. For instance, in January 2021, government announced two new packages for small and medium entrepreneurs and grass roots populations. Apart from economic interventions, the government also chose the path of targeted interventions. The government, after first wave, abandoned widespread lockdown and adopted the policy of targeted intervention which is found to be effective as it allows socio-economic activities to carry on under certain protocols and helps the industries to fight back against the pandemic effect.
Another pivotal key to success was the management of migrant labor force and keeping the domestic production active amidst the pandemic. According to KNOMAD report, amidst the Covid-19, Bangladesh’s remittance grew by 18.4 percent crossing 21 billion per annum inflow where many remittance dependent countries experienced negative growth rate. Because of the massive inflow of remittance, the Forex reserve of Bangladesh reached at 45.1 billion US dollar.
Bangladesh’s success in managing COVID19 and its economy has been reflected in a recent report “Bangladesh Development Update- Moving Forward: Connectivity and Logistics to strengthen Competitiveness,” published by World Bank. Bangladesh’s economy is showing nascent signs of recovery backed by a rebound in exports, strong remittance inflows, and the ongoing vaccination program. Through financial assistance to Sri Lanka and Covid relief aid to India, Bangladesh is showcasing its rise as an emerging superpower in South Asia. That is why Mihir Sharma, Director of Centre for Economy and Growth Programme at the Observer Research Foundation, wrote in an article at Bloomberg that, “Today, the country’s 160 million-plus people, packed into a fertile delta that’s more densely populated than the Vatican City, seem destined to be South Asia’s standout success”. Back in 2017, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) report also predicted the same that Bangladesh will become the largest economy by 2030 and an economic powerhouse in South Asia. And this is how Bangladesh, a development paragon, offers lessons for the other struggling countries of world after 50 years of its independence.
Build Back Better World: An Alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative?
The G7 Summit is all the hype on the global diplomatic canvas. While the Biden-Putin talk is another awaited juncture of the Summit, the announcement of an initiative has wowed just as many whilst irked a few. The Group of Seven (G7) partners: the US, France, the UK, Canada, Italy, Japan, and Germany, launched a global infrastructure initiative to meet the colossal infrastructural needs of the low and middle-income countries. The Project – Build Back Better World (B3W) – is aimed to be a partnership between the most developed economies, namely the G7 members, to help narrow the estimated $40 trillion worth of infrastructure needed in the developing world. However, the project seems to be directed as a rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Amidst sharp criticism posed against the People’s Republic during the Summit, the B3W initiative appears to be an alternative multi-lateral funding program to the BRI. Yet, the developing world is the least of the concerns for the optimistic model challenging the Asian giant.
While the B3W claims to be a highly cohesive initiative, the BRI has expanded beyond comprehension and would be extremely difficult to dethrone, even when some of the most lucrative economies of the world are joining heads to compete over the largely untapped potential of the region. Now let’s be fair and contest that neither the G7 nor China intends the welfare of the region over profiteering. However, China enjoys a headstart. The BRI was unveiled back in 2013 by president Xi Jinping. The initiative was projected as a transcontinental long-term policy and investment program aimed to consolidate infrastructural development and gear economic integration of the developing countries falling along the route of the historic Silk Road.
The highly sophisticated project is a long-envisioned dream of China’s Communist Party; operating on the premise of dominating the networks between the continents to establish unarguable sovereignty over the regional economic and policy decision-making. Referring to the official outline of the BRI issued by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the BRI drives to: “Promote the connectivity of Asian, European, and African continents and their adjacent seas, establish and strengthen partnerships among the countries along the Belt and Road [Silk Road], set up all-dimensional, multi-tiered and composite connectivity networks and realize diversified, independent, balanced, and sustainable development in these countries”. The excerpt clearly amplifies the thought process and the main agenda of the BRI. On the other hand, the B3W simply stands as a superfluous rival to an already outgrowing program.
Initially known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), the BRI has since expanded in the infrastructural niche of the region, primarily including emerging markets like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The standout feature of the BRI has been the mutually inclusive nature of the projects, that is, the BRI has been commandeering projects in many of the rival countries in the region yet the initiative manages to keep the projects running in parallel without any interference or impediment. With a loose hold on the governance whilst giving a free hand to the political and social realities of each specific country, the BRI program presents a perfect opportunity to jump the bandwagon and obtain funding for development projects without undergoing scrutiny and complications. With such attractive nature of the BRI, the program has significantly grown over the past decade, now hosting 71 countries as partners in the initiative. The BRI currently represents a third of the world’s GDP and approximately two-thirds of the world’s entire population.
Similar to BRI, the B3W aims to congregate cross-national and regional cooperation between the countries involved whilst facilitating the implementation of large-scale projects in the developing world. However, unlike China, the G7 has an array of problems that seem to override the overly optimistic assumption of B3W being the alternate stream to the BRI.
One major contention in the B3W model is the facile assumption that all 7 democracies have an identical policy with respect to China and would therefore react similarly to China’s policies and actions. While the perspective matches the objective of BRI to promote intergovernmental cooperation, the G7 economies are much more polar than the democracies partnered with China. It is rather simplistic to assume that the US and Japan would have a similar stance towards China’s policies, especially when the US has been in a tense trade war with China recently while Japan enjoyed a healthy economic relation with Xi’s regime. It would be a bold statement to conclude that the US and the UK would be more cohesively adjoined towards the B3W relative to the China-Pakistan cooperation towards the BRI. Even when we disregard the years-long partnership between the Asian duo, the newfound initiative would demand more out of the US than the rest of the countries since each country is aware of the tense relations and the underlying desperation that resulted in the B3W program to shape its way in the Summit.
Moreover, the B3W is timed in an era when Europe has seen its history being botched over the past year. Post-Brexit, Europe is exactly the polar opposite of the unified policy-making glorified in the B3W initiate. The European Union (EU), despite US reservations, recently signed an investment deal with China. A symbolic gesture against the role played by former US President Donald J. Trump to bolster the UK’s exit from the Union. As London tumbles into peril, it would rather join hands with China as opposed to the democrat-regime of the US to prevent isolation in the region. Despite US opposition, Germany – Europe’s largest economy – continues to place China as a key market for its Automobile industry. Such a divided partnership holds no threat to the BRI, especially when the partners are highly dependent on China’s market and couldn’t afford an affront to China’s long envisaged initiative.
Even if we assume a unified plan of action shared between the G7 countries, the B3W would fall short in attracting the key developing countries of the region. The main targets of the initiative would naturally be the most promising economies of Asia, namely India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh. However, the BRI has already encapsulated these countries: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIMEC) being two of the core 6 developmental corridors of BRI.
While both the participatory as well as the targeted democracies would be highly cautious in supporting the B3W over BRI, the newfound initiate lacks the basic tenets of a lasting project let alone standing rival to the likes of BRI. The B3W is aimed to be domestically funded through USAID, EXIM, and other similar programs. However, a project of such complex nature involves investments from diverse funding channels. The BRI, for example, tallies a total volume of roughly USD 4 to 8 trillion. However, the BRI is state-funded and therefore enjoys a variety of funding routes including BRI bond flotation. The B3W, however, simply falls short as up until recently, the large domestic firms and banks in the US have been pushed against by the Biden regime. An accurate example is the recent adjustment of the global corporate tax rate to a minimum of 15% to undercut the power of giants like Google and Amazon. Such strategies would make it impossible for the United States and its G7 counterparts to gain multiple channels of funding compared to the highly leveraged state-backed companies in China.
Furthermore, the B3W’s competitiveness dampens when conditionalities are brought into the picture. On paper, the B3W presents humane conditions including Human Rights preservation, Climate Change, Rule of Law, and Corruption prevention. In reality, however, the targeted countries are riddled with problems in all 4 categories. A straightforward question would be that why would the developing countries, already hard-pressed on funds, invest to improve on the 4 conditions posed by the B3W when they could easily continue to seek benefits from a no-strings-attached funding through BRI?
The B3W, despite being a highly lucrative and prosperous model, is idealistic if presented as a competition to the BRI. Simply because the G7, majorly the United States, elides the ground realities and averts its gaze from the labyrinth of complex relations shared with China. The only good that could be achieved is if the B3W manages to find its own unique identity in the region, separate from BRI in nature and not rivaling the scale of operation. While Biden has remained vocal to assuage the concerns regarding the B3W’s aim to target the trajectory of the BRI, the leaders have remained silent over the detailed operations of the model in the near future. For now, the B3W would await bipartisan approval in the United States as the remaining partners would develop their plan of action. Safe to say, for now, that the B3W won’t hold a candle to the BRI in the long-run but could create problems for the G7 members if it manages to irk China in the Short-run.
COVID-19: New Dynamics to the World’s Politico-Economic Structure
How ironic it is that a virus invisible from a naked human eye can manage to topple down the world and its dynamics. Breaking out of CoronaVirus, its spread across the globe and the diversity of consequences faced by the individual states all make it evident how the dynamics of the world could be reversed in months. Starting from the blame games regarding coronavirus to its geostrategic implications and the entire enigma between COVID-19 and politics, COVID-19 and economies have shaken the world. Whether it is the acclaimed super power, struggling powers or third world states or even individuals, the pandemic has unveiled the capability and credibility of all, especially in political and economic domains. Wearing masks in public, avoiding hand shake and maintaining distance from one another have emerged as ‘new normal’ in the social world of interaction.
Since the pandemic has locked its eyes upon the globe, world politics has taken an unfortunate drift. From the opportunities for leaders to abuse power during state of emergency (which is imposed in different states to limit the spread of novel Coronavirus) to the likelihood of rise of far-right nationalists to the emergence of ‘travel bubbles’ between states (such as New Zealand and Australia) and the increased chances of regionalism in post-pandemic world to the new terrorist strategies to gain support and many others, all are result of the pandemic’s impact on the political world, one way or the other. Since the end of WWII, the United States has taken the role of global leadership and after the Cold War, it became more prominent as it was the sole superpower of the world. Talking ideally, pandemics are perceived to bring up global cooperation but in the COVID-19 scenario it has started a whole new set of debates, sparkled nativism versus globalization and the sharp divide in global politics has drifted the focus from overcoming the global pandemic through global response to inward looking policies of leaders.
Covid-19 has impacted every sphere of life, be it social, political, health or economic. The pandemic itself being the result of a globalized world has affected globalization badly. It is the best illustration of the interrelation of politics and economics and how the steps in one sector impact the other in this interdependent, globalized world. Political actions such as restricting travel had drastic economic impacts especially to the countries whose economy is largely dependent on tourism, foreign investment etc. Similarly, economic actions such as limiting foreign products’ access had political implications in the form of sudden unemployment and downturn in living standards of people.
For the first time in history, oil prices became negative when its demand suddenly dropped when industries were shut down almost everywhere. Russia and Saudi Arabia’s oil clash which led to increased oil production by Saudi Arabia further complicated the situation. This unprecedented drop in oil demand and consequently its price would only help in the economic recovery of countries. Covid-19 has impacted three sectors badly. First of all, it affected production as global manufacturing has declined due to decrease in demand. Secondly, it has created supply chain and market disruption. Finally, lockdowns affected local businesses everywhere. Bad impact aside, pandemic has led to the change in demand of products. Instead of investment and foreign trade, states having strong medical and textiles industries have got the opportunity of increasing exports. This is because there are requirements of face masks everywhere to avoid contagion. Need for medical instruments have also increased such as ventilators in developing countries specially.
The only positive impact of Coronavirus is that it fostered environmental cleanliness. It is said that it can avert a climate emergency but the fact is that, as soon as the lockdown will be eased and businesses will begin returning into functioning, economic growth and prosperity will be prioritized over sustainability and we might even witness, more than ever, carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Novel coronavirus has brought new dynamics to the world’s politico-economic structure. While the world has the opportunity to come close for cooperation and consensus to fight it, we might witness increased regionalism in the post-pandemic world as a cautious measure and alternative where crisis management would be more cooperative and quick. There is a likelihood of the emergence of an international treaty or regime to ban bio-weapons. While the prevalence of political optimism is not assured in the post-pandemic world, we are likely to see the interdependent economic world, as before, to overcome the economic slump and revive the global economy.
“African Lion 2021”: More than military Show between the US and Morocco
On June 7th, 2021, Morocco, the US, and NATO began joint African Lion maritime drills in the Atlantic Ocean south...
American diplomacy’s comeback and Bulgaria’s institutional trench war
Even though many mainstream media outlets have not noticed it, US diplomacy has staged a gran comeback in the Balkans....
How Bangladesh became Standout Star in South Asia Amidst Covid-19
Bangladesh, the shining model of development in South Asia, becomes everyone’s economic darling amidst Covid-19. The per capita income of...
Elections in Syria: Forgetting Old Resentments?
In the presidential elections on May 26, Bashar al-Assad won more than 95% of the votes. According to the current...
Biden: No More “Favourite Dictators”
Former US President Donald Trump shared a strong personal rapport with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed...
World Bank Supports Recovery and Resilience of Rwanda’s COVID-19-Affected Businesses
The World Bank Group today approved $150 million from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help the Government of Rwanda...
How to Make Your Hospitality Business More Sustainable
Climate change and its impact on the world has been a major news story for decades, but it’s only in...
Middle East2 days ago
The syndrome of neglect: After years of hyperactivity, Erdogan is completely isolated
East Asia3 days ago
Xinjiang? A Minority Haven Or Hell
Americas3 days ago
The liberal international order has not crumbled yet
Middle East2 days ago
Iranian Election Portends Increased Human Rights Abuses, Demands Western Response
Tech News3 days ago
100 Start-ups Join WEF’s Technology Pioneers Community in 2021 Cohort
Middle East2 days ago
Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Way Forward
Europe3 days ago
Indo-European rapprochement and the competing geopolitics of infrastructure
New Social Compact2 days ago
Natural Indications and solutions of weakened immunity within rampancy of Covid