“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...” This is how Charles Dickens begins his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.
Vision and Strategies Change
This is an apt description of this age. We are at a maddening speed in technologies. Industry 4.0 has entered. Artificial intelligence, block chain technologies, man machine learning, robotics are the decisive forces of change in most organisations. Digital applications are replacing the traditional gurus (teachers). Tick boxes define the success of persons, whether in schools or office selections. People would like to travel, if possible, at the speed of light. Several corporates are rewriting their vision and strategy documents.
If those characteristics define the age of wisdom, street fights, large family divorces, abandoned children in larger numbers than before, failures in inter-country relationships redefining trade rules, ignoring climate warnings, several persons yearning to cross the boundaries aiming high only to know that ‘distant hills look green’, reflect the age of foolishness.
Mobocracy Vs Democracy
With Joe Biden taking over the reins of the largest democracy, democracy would appear to be on the path of restoration. But, on the other hand, in India, with the unrelenting farmers’ agitation, mobocracy seem to be asserting itself, mainly because of the failure in following the Constitutional process for a well-thought-out reform in the sector. With 123 amendments, Indian Constitution seems to be under attack off and on and begs for a comprehensive overhaul, so as to keep the Fundamental Rights enshrined there intact.
In the financial sector, Covid-19 shook the world while in India, the scenario is much worse as frauds and cybercrimes are surging, threatening financial stability. Reforms in this sector should move strategies ahead of structures. Two World Bank economists in a recent blog commenting on asset purchases in emerging markets and developing economies, say that unconventional policies and unconventional times had set in. “History is a reminder to central bank’s credibility if asset purchase programs are used for prolonged monetary financing of fiscal deficits.”
Investments in water, environment, natural resources, education, health and hygiene, and emerging technologies would be the defining features of sustainability.
Ethics in Governance and Yoga
Ethics in governance and transformation processes seem to be of criticality. Albert Einstein had said, “We should be men of values rather than men of success, ” Winston Churchill had said “We should extend values beyond our homes.” The corporate executives are selling their professional skills and not their conscience. It is the attitude to life and the value system one has to cherish and live with. Values are not like a sensex graph varying every day or with every person. Values are universal in character. It is the application of values that has been undergoing a change. Clean minds are as important as clean physics and dharmic yoga makes more sense than mere physical yoga embraced by people in different parts of the world, with PM Modi’s clarion call to the nation since 2014.
Post Covid, the stars surface
During this third millennium, with sputnik science reaching for livable space even on Jupiter and the moon, India would be moving ahead of other nations and prove its leadership in space technologies. She has already proved herself as a leader in pharmaceuticals and software and would move its best foot forward in the transformational world. No wonder McKinsey in its most recent article has put Asia as the leader of the future and generations will define the future in terms of pre-Covid and post Covid.
The year 2021 and beyond will see the world transiting to a different horizon. The wisdom of the aged will fall behind the expectations of youth and it is this youth that are going to redefine the age ahead. I am not a soothsayer but the writings on the wall are clear.
(The writer, an economist and risk management specialist, is author of “Roots to Fruits – The Journey of A Development Banker.” The views are personal.)