Wow, two brain-tickling hours of input from some brilliant speakers. My colleague Alison Bass will soon fill you in on Paul Saffo’s and Martin Wolf’s talks, but let me just clear up one mistake I made in my last post. Wolf’s talk was not the sanguine-sounding "Why Globalization Can Work," but rather "How Globalization Works," a much more astringent dose of reality! What a difference a few words can make.
With loads of charts and graphs, Wolf talked about the five drivers of globalization, and the five threats to globalization, the latter all coming under the umbrella of "the human capacity to screw up," which in his fine British delivery he called "nigh on infinite."
Saffo talked about the art of forecasting, exhorting listeners to not just absorb passively what professional forecasters put forth, but to start doing their own forecasting. One bit of advice that was funny and true and backed up by historical example: "Most ideas take 20 years to become an overnight success." So, if you want to know what the next big wave might be, look for something that’s been stuggling to gain foothold for a couple of decades.
Stay tuned for more detail from the sessions and wisdom gleaned from hallway conversations. And, stay tuned in the coming weeks as we think we’ll be able to offer podcasts of the talks by Saffo and Wolf.