Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Disruptions in Asia and the world

Below are some slides given by Suraj Moraje, Managing Partner of McKinsey and Co. Manila, "No Ordinary Disruption", during the BWorld ASEAN Regional Forum last November 24, 2016 at Conrad Hotel, http://bweconomicforum.com/index.php/morning-session/. The commentaries are mine, not Suraj's.

My first and last visit to Shenzhen, China was in 1998. There were many tall buildings already, roads are wide, but not as many as shown in the photo below.

Good comparison by Suraj here. ASEAN economies are modernizing and urbanizing fast while keeping their average population young. Modern technology will quicken the pace of productivity improvement of these young ASEAN people. It is really global enterprise competition and their endless innovation that modernize things faster, that results in mass production of many things, not so much due to government programs.

Big, young population. Many countries and blocs of countries like the EU salivate at this big advantage of the ASEAN. Big but ageing population means two requirements -- more migrant workers (from Asia), and/or more robots. But robots cannot change adult or baby diapers with warmth and smiles. This is also one reason why I never supported the PH state-sponsored population control aka RH law. Using taxpayers money and government agencies to "suggest" to people that big population is wrong.

On the technology aspect, I find these slides by Suraj very enlightening. But despite the "labor displacing" image of modern technology (self-driving cars, trucks, mechanized construction, etc.), I believe otherwise. I think that more modern technology will mean more jobs -- people who will manufacture, assemble, repair, upgrade those machines, engines and robots. All machines and bots will get "sick" and they will require people to fix them, upgrade or dispose and replace them.

One slide and arguments presented by Suraj that I don't agree with, the latter slide. Inequality is not a problem, poverty is. More inequality due to endless innovation and competition actually pulls up hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Poor people who used to ride cows, carabaos and bicycles to work now ride motorcycles, e-bikes, 2nd-hand cars, or air-con vans and buses. They move faster, do multi-tasking and accomplish more things, so their income and network increases.

Thanks for those wonderful insights and information, Suraj. One more reason why BWorld fora are indeed very enlightening and highly educational.

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