Great challenges of the future

We live in a changing world that presents us with new challenges every day. Climate change, sustainability, volatility in the markets… these are some of the issues that most concern society now. At the IE Alumni Forum different experts debated about the great global challenges we face and how we can address them.

The future of the economy, which is totally unpredictable, was one of the subjects examined. In this respect, Gaylle Allard, professor of Economic Environment at IE Business School, maintains that there will no longer be boom times in which the markets grow on their own and exponentially: “I think the economy will permanently grow at a slower pace. We define and relate growth with success. But in this new world the big challenge will be to find different metrics to measure this indicator.” The markets change, and people’s minds must do the same thing.

In this same line, Spencer Abbot, a graduate of the 2006 Executive MBA program who now works for the US Department of State, stressed the need to promote relations with the Asian countries, especially China and Japan. “They can’t grow in isolation,” he explains, and adds that commercial relations with these countries will benefit the economy. With an aim to strengthening this relationship, Barack Obama recently became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb fell in 1945.

The subject of corruption was also on the table. It is a “cancer” according to Sean McManus, co-founder of M+D and former Director of Programmes at The Economist, that is expanding in many countries. He says this problem is encouraged in large by the new technologies that, while they may generate transparency, facilitate corruption because they allow people to get rich quick. Even so, “there is more and more knowledge about the problem” and China has announced that, as host of the G20 this year, this will be one of the main subjects of the gathering.

Finally, Martin Thomsen, Country Manager of the energy company BP in Turkey and an alumnus of the 2000 Executive MBA, mentioned one of the biggest challenges facing humanity: climate change and energy resources. He said that during the next 20 years the demand for energy will increase by 35%. “The challenge is not to know if we will have sufficient supplies, but if they are sustainable.” This depends on three factors: access to energy sources in any part of the world; their accessibility for families, companies and governments; and, finally, their environmental sustainability.

Analyzed from different perspectives, these are some of the challenges now facing society. It’s not easy to find an answer to all of them, but history and context allow us to envision just what we are facing.

We encourage you to give your opinion about these subjects to our LinkedIn group, “IE Alumni – Official group”.

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