INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 22



F E AT U R E
// T H E P O S T- PA N D E M I C W O R L D
AT A G L A N C E

As a society, we have
a unique opportunity
to re-evaluate how
we live and work.


There has been a
cultural shift that
brings into focus
new priorities and
emphasises the
need for adaptability.
Futurists believe that
our “next normal” will
prioritise collective
benefit, collaboration
and empathetic
leadership.
FUTURE
FOCUS
WHAT WILL OUR WORLD LOOK LIKE A YEAR FROM NOW? EXPERTS
AND FUTURISTS AGREE THAT WE CAN EXPECT BIG CHANGES, AND
THAT THEY WILL BE FOR THE BETTER.
26 ITB July 2020
01.
STORY SUSAN MULDOWNEY
F
or the past six months, the global
community has been staring down
a health and economic crisis of
unprecedented scale.
During this time, “normal” has taken on
a whole new meaning.
Amid the hardship, glimmers of optimism
have emerged, and the next version of normal
is slowly taking shape.
What will the business world look like a
year from now? We’ve asked experts from
across the globe to share their predictions.
C A P I TA L I S M W I L L C O N T I N U E ,
B U T N O T AS W E K N O W I T
Many basic rules of capitalism were
suspended during the early months
of 2020.
Survival became more important
than budget surpluses, and government
intervention reached a grand scale.
At the start of April, for example,
Singapore had set aside about
12 per cent of its GDP to soften
the economic damage caused by the
pandemic. In Australia, the federal
government’s A$320 billion support
package is equivalent to about
16.4 per cent of GDP.
Futurist Gerd Leonhard, who is based in
Zurich, says the threat of the pandemic has
caused a “global reset” that he predicts will
take two or three years to iron out.
“The rules of capitalism are changing,” he
says. “We cannot strictly apply only financial
benefits to a relationship, and that’s become
clear in the treatment of the virus.”
Leonhard predicts that prioritising
human wellbeing over the prosperity
of individual entities will reshape postCOVID economies.
“Consumers will be closely examining
company behaviour,” he says. “They will
be asking, ‘What did this company do
during the COVID crisis? Did they show
solidarity? Could they be depended on? Did
they bend the rules? Did they do something
extra? Can they be trusted?’
“People are thinking that it’s more
important for us to have a collective
benefit – to have good health care and to be
prepared – than to amass more money in
big industry,” adds Leonhard. “That’s clearly
not an open, Milton Friedman kind of place.
That’s more like a place of social capitalism,
which has been practised in Europe in
various forms.”
Dr Angus Hervey, political economist
and co-founder of Melbourne-based think
tank Future Crunch, says the pandemic will
contribute to a shift in perceptions of value.
“In the wake of this crisis, you probably
want to be the kind of business that’s
creating more value than you capture.”
Hervey says corporate social responsibility
will need to transcend rhetoric in a postpandemic world.
“I think businesses are really going to
be under scrutiny,” he says. “What kind
of product do you make? What are your
business practises? Where are you sourcing
your materials? What’s your plan for end
of life, when those materials get thrown
away? I think social and environmental
responsibility now moves right to the top
of the list, and the reason is because that’s
all we’re talking about right now.”
Leonhard adds that business priorities
will be reshaped as a result of the crisis.
“It will become about people, planet,
purpose, prosperity,” he says. “It’s what
I call the quadruple bottom line.”
intheblack.com July 2020 27

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