Attention of people from all over the world is drawn today to the coronavirus epidemic. The problems manifested against its background have gone far beyond the limits of the healthcare sector: states and international relations, small and large businesses, and the very way of life of a modern person have undergone an unprecedented test of strength.
What lies ahead? The answer to this question requires determining the prerequisites of the current situation rooted in history. By exposing long-standing problems, the pandemic made it possible to better see their common causes and thus set a frame of reference and a reference point for the future world.
At Electric Brand Consultants and Présium, we are consult on strategic communications and must therefore understand the critical changes that affect our clients' operations. The overwhelming impact of the pandemic required us to develop a comprehensive vision of the situation and its consequences, allowing us to develop new solutions for various industries and regions. That is why we embarked on a study to assess the trends, probabilities and expectations in reference to the current situation.
An integral part of the study was a survey of our target audience – entrepreneurs and specialists employed in industries that are key for the modern economy – as well as a number interviews with thinkers and experts from different fields, whose opinion we listen to. With all these people, we were able to check our observations and come to a more comprehensive conclusion. To let you make your own judgement we included selected quotes about the present and the future, about politics and society, about the economy in general and individual markets.
We singled out two groups of trends that shaped up the world before the coronavirus outbreak. Each of these has already had a strong impact on the social, political, and economic agenda; and their combination gave rise to an unprecedented situation of the global imbalance.
A little more than twenty years ago, people around the world were looking forward to the new Millennium with excitement and hope. Optimism and anticipation of freedom that was about to set in on the planet. The Shakespeare in Love triumphantly won an Oscar and beat box office records while Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca became an ear catcher. In the American movie Armageddon, Lev Andropov helps Harry Stamper prevent an asteroid’s fatal encounter with the Earth.
And now we are in the beginning of the third decade of the new Millenium. We witnessed the 9/11, the advent of Facebook and iPhone, China’s rise, 2008 financial crisis, 2012 doomsday, and the US elections in 2016 (another doomsday according to many). Korean movie Parasites became a blockbuster in 2019.
Over the first two decades of the 21st century we were amazed by the advance of technologies, socio-economic shifts, business tycoons and small knots of politicians revamping lives of entire continents and our own. Suddenly in the twenty first year of the century – like an end of semester test – the world faced an unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic; everyone without any exception has to look for answers to this test now.
Today, each of us wonders what comes next and what one should do now. How to get prepared for the future? Amid the global coronavirus infodemic, these burning issues seem unsolvable. Many of the sectors that just yesterday seemed somewhat solid and stable (such as energy market and tourism sector that used to post record gains year after year), today care only of the ways and means to stay afloat. How can anyone be sure of anything now?
Yet, the race is got by running. For many years, we were conducting studies for companies in various sectors, observing trends that impacted them, comparing and making conclusions. Although the current situation is unstable, it has given us clues to the questions that have been accumulating for a long time, and we would like to share them with you.
Retrospectively, we singled out two megatrends that shaped up the world before the coronavirus outbreak, gave rise to the phenomena occurring today, and would determine the range of possible consequences. Each of these has already had a strong impact on the social, political, and economic agenda; and their combination gave rise to an unprecedented situation of the global imbalance between regions, countries, and people that puts humankind’s development in the turbulent 21st century in jeopardy.
Inequality is a key challenge of the XXI century standing before every person, before countries and brands. It is common to reduce it to economic indicators, but we show that it has deeper roots in our society and it affects not only the poor but the rich people and countries as well.
Over the past 30 years, human’s life on Earth has improved significantly. We live longer, we use new technologies that make our work and life easier, there is much more information, and access to it has become possible from almost anywhere in the world. Several generations of people never witnessed global wars, and humanity issues make front pages of the media.
But is everything so rosy in reality?
Being inside the filter bubble created for each of us by digital media platforms, we lost sight of how global trends affect life both in distant parts of Earth and near us. While we were pre-occupied by another movie where the Earth is invaded by the aliens, the real threat was growing ripe everywhere around as where people were losing hope for the better future of their children.
The Second Chapter of our study is devoted to the imbalances caused by the megatrends described earlier. We will show how deeply they are rooted on every level – global, crossborder and in every specific country and neighbourhood where residents can belong to different worlds.
Inequality is a key concept of the 21st century and a key challenge facing the world today, every individual, states and brands. For a long time, inequality has been reduced to economic indicators, showing it as a temporary phenomenon that will disappear with the accumulation of capital. At the same time, it manifests itself even deeper, in areas where the gap is much more difficult to bridge, such as access to knowledge and the right to a clean environment.
Such inequality ceases to be a problem of the "poor", as evidenced by the "crisis of happiness" in developed countries, which for a long time existed at the expense of the less well-off.
Having surveyed a few hundred professionals and entrepreneurs and talked to a number of leading thinkers and experts, we have highlighted some of the most important ideas that will chart the future of the world.
The first documented case of COVID took place in December 2019, in Wuhan, China. In March 2020, the epidemics from China was declared a global pandemic. By the end of the month the amount of cases officially neared 1 million. Seven months later this number surpassed 40 million in 189 countries.
Changes that the pandemic brought into the lives of people throughout the world in a matter of weeks triggered transformation on many levels – of a given person, a business, a state and in international relations. Aside from countless human losses it brought about unprecedented economic consequences. The quarantine measures taken to slower the spread of the virus led to the closing of hundreds of thousands businesses across the world, and many of them – for good.
What effect will all this have on the economy, politics, and each of us? What difficulties will we face, where to expect them? What major changes should be expected in the near future? And what should each of us do now to mitigate the risks?
Everyone is concerned about these issues, and we decided to carry out our own study in order to get a better picture of the crisis impact on the future world. We conducted a survey among 550 entrepreneurs and professionals and gave them 10 questions about their idea of the future and their expectations. This has become an important part of a bigger work you can find in the report available for download here.