the pro­tec­tion­ist cy­cle must run its course

The Smart Manager - - Cover Story - CHAN­DRU KALRO IS MD OF TTK PRES­TIGE.

There are so many clichés. To name two—his­tory re­peats it­self; it is hu­man to make mis­takes but fools re­peat them. How­ever, man rarely learns from these, and chooses to find out for him­self with­out learn­ing from the past. The very pur­pose of doc­u­mented his­tory is mostly lost on mankind.

why is this hap­pen­ing?

I strongly be­lieve that this will hap­pen ev­ery time, as long as the ba­sic is­sues with hu­man be­ings—ego, greed, com­plexes—re­main.

For decades, we have seen dis­cus­sions on the de­vel­oped world and the Third World. De­vel­oped economies have always wanted to ex­ploit the rest of the world but in the bar­gain, de­vel­oped a strong su­pe­ri­or­ity com­plex. This also meant that they will­ingly shifted a lot of jobs, which they be­lieved was not worth their while, to oth­ers. So­cial se­cu­rity, lower num­ber of work­ing hours, and a gen­er­ally high cost econ­omy meant that man­u­fac­tur­ing shifted out of these mar­kets. While do­ing so, they wanted to keep the high value-adding jobs in tech­nol­ogy to them­selves.

It is not by magic that China be­came the fac­tory to the world. But as the cliché goes, the only con­stant in the world is change. The de­vel­op­ing world, through hard work, has caught up in many ways and has been grow­ing much faster while these de­vel­oped mar­kets, de­spite the steroids of ex­ces­sive liq­uid­ity, have been stag­nant. Now, with geo po­lit­i­cal ten­sions, refugee move­ments, and not enough job op­por­tu­ni­ties, there is a feel­ing that their ex­is­tence is at stake. No one is will­ing to see the fact that they brought it on them­selves.

There­fore, like in the case of many au­thor­i­tar­ian lead­ers like Hitler, racial su­pe­ri­or­ity is start­ing to come back. Ad­vo­cates of glob­al­iza­tion are now turn­ing pro­tec­tion­ist.

time is a one-way wheel

The clock can­not be turned back. The jobs that they cry for do not ex­ist be­cause com­merce has taken over. Profit is an ever­green mo­ti­va­tion. So, these coun­tries will find over time that they do not have the [right kind of] peo­ple to take up high-value jobs; [at the same time], they do not want low-value jobs. The risk, there­fore, is that they will only iso­late them­selves. The rest of the world will soon learn to ad­just but the rules would now change in fa­vor of the hard-work­ing pop­u­la­tion as it should.

there is dis­rup­tion all around

With new tech­nolo­gies, will come so much dis­rup­tion that al­most half the jobs that ex­ist to­day will van­ish. This will only add to the chaos. This will, there­fore, in the short run only add to their feel­ing of be­ing pro­tec­tion­ist.

lessons will not be learnt un­less they ex­pe­ri­ence them

There­fore, the pro­tec­tion­ist cy­cle must run its course. Along with it will come com­mer­cial, po­lit­i­cal, and racial ten­sions. But in here lies the op­por­tu­nity for the hard work­ers who need to keep their ego un­der check and con­tinue to close the gap to tilt the scales in fa­vor of the de­vel­op­ing world. There will be new trade treaties, new par­a­digms on mar­ket devel­op­ment, and new bench­marks to ef­fi­cien­cies.

There is no dearth of fools in the world and the in­tel­li­gentsia will always be a mi­nor­ity with no po­lit­i­cal influence. So, put your seat belts on. The world must go through this cy­cle! ■

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