Geopo­lit­i­cal com­plex­ity and risk

Finweek English Edition - - IN BRIEF -

As pol­i­tics and eco­nomics are in­ter­twined, given the un­pre­dictable state of economies, Sil­ver­stein ad­vises busi­nesses to do ex­ten­sive sce­nario plan­ning. They should con­sider a “port­fo­lio of pos­si­ble fu­tures” to pre­pare for dif­fer­ent and mul­ti­ple pos­si­ble out­comes.

2Eco­nomic sur­prises are small events or “black swans” that up­set the ap­ple cart, ex­plains Sil­ver­stein. Our abil­ity to make pre­dic­tions of the fu­ture based on ob­ser­va­tions of the past has been di­min­ished given the ab­nor­mal op­er­a­tion of fi­nan­cial sys­tems since the 2008 cri­sis. “The eco­nomic sys­tem of the world is out of con­trol, and out of con­trol means that we can’t look to the past to give us in­sight about the fu­ture.”

3Eco­nomic sur­prises and sta­bil­ity

Cy­ber­se­cu­rity spot­light

in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty. The world has a young pop­u­la­tion that “grew up on the in­ter­net”, so the skill level of peo­ple en­gag­ing in cy­ber­crime has in­creased.

“Fif­teen years ago, we had a small sub­set of a pop­u­la­tion that had this e x per t i s e, now we have a whole gen­er­a­tion,” says Sil­ver­stein.

Tough eco­nomic times have driven more peo­ple to crime, says Sil­ver­stein. Busi­nesses will take steps to pro­tect them­selves and cy­ber­se­cu­rity com­pa­nies are likely to spring up. There are also new kinds of pro­tec­tion tech­nolo­gies like dou­ble au­then­ti­ca­tion pro­cesses and one-time-use pass­words.

4New di­men­sions of digi­ti­sa­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity

The “i nter net of t hings” or t he phe­nom­e­non of hav­ing com­put­ing dev i ces em­bed­ded with i nter net in­fra­struc­ture will trans­form the way in which busi­ness is con­ducted. Sil­ver­stein ar­gues that in South Africa, chal­lenges are dif­fer­ent.

6Gen­er­a­tional chang­ing of the guard Wit h more of t he b a b y boomer gen­er­a­tion reach­ing re­tire­ment age, a higher ex­ec­u­tive turnover and the adop­tion of a growth mind­set in busi­ness, a younger gen­er­a­tion of CEOs are tak­ing the stage. The ef­fect of chang­ing tech­nol­ogy and chang­ing con­sumer cul­ture means that a more youth­ful per­spec­tive is re­quired to man­age busi­nesses.

7Chal­lenges to demo­cratic sys­tems

The “as­sault” on demo­cratic pr i nci­ples comes f r om di f f er­ent di­rec­tions, says Sil­ver­stein. Coun­tries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are just some ex­am­ples of failed states that had democ­racy forced on them. “Maybe not all so­ci­eties are ready for democ­racy. I be­lieve it’s right for all so­ci­eties, but not all are ready for it.”

In SA, he says that the smooth tran­si­tion of power af­ter each demo­cratic elec­tion shows that democ­racy has been a suc­cess. How­ever, whether SA’s democ­racy will still be con­sid­ered a suc­cess in 100 years de­pends on whether the econ­omy will be health­ier.

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