We have entered a new world order where the U.S. is no longer the global leader – and that has ramifications for not just economies, geopolitics and security but even the shape of the internet, according to Ian Bremmer, one of the world’s most highly regarded political scientists.
In his keynote presentation to the ANZ Trade & Finance Forum in Singapore, Dr Bremmer said this emerging, more fractured, more volatile world would present opportunities as well as threats but the potential for severe disruption was real even with today’s relatively strong economic conditions.
He said the four factors driving the unwinding geopolitical order were changes in population and demographics; open borders; failed wars; and data and technology – in particular social media.
Disruption – in its broadest sense – was an underlying theme of the conference, whether it was tension between the US under Trump and China under Xi Jinping as explored by Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong or the very nature of reputation and integrity in a digital world as dissected by Socialnomics author Eric Qualman.
As Dr Bremmer told the forum: “People are empowered with their cell phones to bring down governments,” stressing the dangers of cyber-attacks and need for cyber security.
Dr. Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group, is credited with bringing the craft of political risk to financial markets and for establishing political risk as an academic discipline.
“When the next economic recession hits, even if it is comparatively mild … then we’re in for trouble,” he said. “The political implications of the next economic down-cycle will be much greater dislocation than anything we’ve experienced in our recent memories.”