The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bangladesh (NCCI) organized a workshop with Professor Jørgen Ørstrøm Møller, Author of the book “How Asia Can Shape the World: From the Era of Plenty to the Era of Scarcities”, on June 6 at Damco Bangladesh Office in Dhaka.
The program commenced with a welcome speech by NCCI Secretary General Søren Kannik where he introduced Professor Møller to NCCI members and guests. The theme of the program was based on Professor Møller’s latest book on How Asia can shape the world. The presentation started with a deep analysis of the key facts and figures related with the World Economy. The topic was approached from varied perspectives.
The Asian economy has experienced tremendous growth and is expected to overtake the US & Europe in the next 15-20 years. The world is going through a transition where Asia will play a supreme role in shaping the world economy. Professor Møller analysed the future roles of Asian countries and Western economic policies. His book describes how Asia can shape the world economy. Nevertheless, it doesn’t say How Asia will.
Global superpower is fading away. US economic has failed and it no longer delivers answers or solutions. US will continue to dominate for another 20-30 years. However, it has lost confidence and will not exercise its power. EU economic model is better that US and is restoring confidence by cutting deficits. The problem is the lack of central fiscal mechanism plus lack of single market for financial institutions plus rigidities in mainly South European countries. EU debt/deficit is much better than the U.S., Japan, and Britain. In the next 20 years, the person in command will be NOIC – No One in Charge
The future belongs to Asia as per many people but Asia also has its share of problems and challenges. However, will Asia be the leader – It depends upon the decisions of the Asian policy-makers and the change in Asia’s population. According to Professor Møller, the world is dominated by mass communication rather than mass consumption. The world is moving into an era of scarcities in terms of resources, commodities, energy, which will lead to transform the way production and consumption is being done currently. Ideally, there has to be more output from one unit of input. Asia will be at the forefront of bringing a brand new economic model because this problem will be experienced first and strongest in Asia due to the huge population growth. The Asians will respond to the challenges, and modern model will be built upon traditional Asian methods and philosophies. The world will transit from Industrial age to a new age.
Professor Møller noted that we would move from mass consumption to mass communication, where knowledge is the most important factor. Nations benefiting from knowledge revolution are those who have open accessible information. The available data can be used for economic revolution. Closed societies are unlikely to have any innovation. Knowledge can simply enhance productivity if it is shared. It can only be shared by working in groups and communities with a stronger degree of common and shared values. This will lead to change in geo-political systems. Nations will have to do burden-sharing in the future.
The main threat for Asia will come from inside. The biggest challenge will be to provide social stability, job creation and sustain growth in order to maintain peace and prosperity. The world is not flat rather spiky. All technological innovation takes place in selected cities and regions. McKinsey Global Institute report on “Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities” ranked eight Asian cities in the list of 50 global cities ranked by GDP. In 2025, the list will feature twenty Asian cities.
Professor Møller highlighted that supply chain will transform from vast to compact due to the rising oil prices. Production facilities will be close to the consumers. Sourcing from Asian countries is cheap but when taking transport cost into consideration, sourcing will become expensive. British retailer Marks & Spencer plans to overhaul its supply chain by stopping the purchase of supplies from one hemisphere to another, which may save the company GBP 175 million annually. Bangladesh is sure to benefit from this change since it is strategically located between two rising powerhouses – China and India.
Bangladesh is already established in labour intensive, low cost manufacturing with a good workforce. Despite the positives, there are challenges too. The two key areas of focus are – education & Infrastructure. Bangladesh must focus in boosting its education system and develop the workforce further. People should be turned into assets. Bangladesh needs to make an effort in improving and developing its infrastructures. Good governance and adequate infrastructure will definitely attract investors. Maintaining stability and confidence in the economy and political system is also crucial. Bangladesh can be the driver of Asian integration so that the markets continue to grow. Economic integration leads to multi-laterize relations with other nations. Bangladesh will face a promising future by making efforts in this area.
Following the presentation, Q&A session took place between the speaker and the audience. The program concluded with a vote of thanks from NCCI Secretary General Søren Kannik. The program was attended by Danish Ambassador Svend Olling, NCCI members and representatives of Nordic Embassies in Bangladesh. The program was sponsored by Damco, Arla and H&M.