Lo­gis­tics-cen­tred econ­omy, Ja­maica’s re­sponse to the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ainsley Brown is the reg­u­la­tory, trade, and mon­i­tor­ing di­rec­tor at Ja­maica’s Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone Au­thor­ity and an ad­junct lec­turer at the Caribbean Mar­itime In­sti­tute and Ex­cel­sior Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

I FIRMLY be­lieve that lo­gis­tics mat­ter. I would go one step fur­ther and say that I be­lieve that Ja­maica’s move to trans­form its econ­omy into a lo­gis­tics-cen­tred one is a clear re­sponse to the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

Why do I think so?

Pro­fes­sor Klaus Sch­wab, founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, ex­plains the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion in this way:

The First In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion used wa­ter and steam power to mech­a­nise pro­duc­tion. The Sec­ond used elec­tric power to cre­ate mass pro­duc­tion. The Third used elec­tron­ics and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to au­to­mate pro­duc­tion. Now a Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion is build­ing on the third, the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion that has been oc­cur­ring since the mid­dle of the last cen­tury. It is char­ac­terised by a fu­sion of tech­nolo­gies that is blur­ring the lines be­tween the phys­i­cal, dig­i­tal, and bi­o­log­i­cal spheres.

If I had to boil the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion down to its ba­sics, I would say it con­sists of three things:

1. Con­nec­tiv­ity: Con­nec­tiv­ity in the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion is about re­la­tion­ships. That is to say, the re­la­tion­ships “be­tween peo­ple-peo­ple, peo­ple-things, and thingsthings.” (Forbes)

2. Flows: Flows are move­ment of goods, ser­vices, peo­ple, data, and money that char­ac­terise global com­merce. “This isn’t com­pli­cated,” as Tom Fried­man, who wrote in his book, Thank You for Be­ing Late: An Op­ti­mist’s Guide to Thriv­ing in the Age of Ac­cel­er­a­tions, puts it: “The most ed­u­cated peo­ple who plug into the most flows and en­joy the best gov­er­nance and in­fra­struc­ture win.”

3. Man­age­ment of con­nec­tiv­ity and flows: The man­age­ment of con­nec­tiv­ity and flows is where I get the most ex­i­cited as this is where the glue of global trade – lo­gis­tics – plays its part in the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

Com­pet­i­tive­ness in our glob­alised world is in­creas­ingly based on one’s abil­ity to un­der­stand, con­nect, and ma­noeu­vre within and among the var­i­ous net­works that make the world work. The Lo­gis­tics Per­for­mance In­dex 2014 put it suc­cinctly: “Im­prov­ing lo­gis­tics per­for­mance is at the core of the eco­nomic growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness agenda.”

There­fore, Ja­maica’s Global Lo­gis­tics Hub Ini­tia­tive is Ja­maica’s re­sponse for build­ing a com­pet­i­tive, re­silient, and sus­tain­able na­tion in the era of the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

In Part Two, we ex­plore one skill that is as an­cient as hu­man­ity that is un­ex­pect­edly pre­par­ing stu­dents for the 21st cen­tury and the fu­ture of work in the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

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