Experiential / Reality-based Learning / February 11, 2021

The Global Shakeout: Five Global Trends that will Impact Global Business

The Center for Global Business (CGB) hosted its annual conversation with Eric Peterson, partner and managing director, Global Business Policy Council, Kearney, on Monday, February 8, as part of the Distinguished Speakers in International Business Series (DSS). Kislaya Prasad, academic director at the center, moderated the conversation that focused on five key global trends detailed in the latest Kearney report and how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a global shakeout in all sectors.

The first trend Peterson presented from the Kearney report was embattled governments, in which governments around the world are struggling to overcome the urgent effects of the global pandemic and are under a lot of pressure to successfully bring their country out of this crisis. He mentioned that, based on the Edelman Trust Barometer, public confidence in governments in over 28 different countries has collapsed over the past year. As a result, the public is looking now more than ever to private sector companies to play a larger role in building the future.

The second trend Peterson discussed was a push to national self-sufficiency, in which countries concerned about the reliability of imports and exports are looking to depend primarily on goods and services within their own borders. While he does not believe this makes sense from an economic standpoint long term, several countries are developing new industries and businesses to ensure self-sufficiency in important sectors. From a business standpoint, he explained that companies are worried about “how they are going to fare post-COVID in a world in which they are seeing some changes in supply chains, in trading patterns, and regulatory relationships.”

The other trends that Peterson mentioned included the increase in stranded segments of society, a rise in food insecurity, and industry consolidation. All three trends stem from the post-COVID economy that will likely see different population groups being segmented out due to economic impacts from the global pandemic, countries’ food supplies struggling to meet their demand, consolidation from companies that thrived during the pandemic, and a rise in international acquisitions.

Peterson also encouraged students to think about what their future might look like based on the global pandemic’s effects on the economy and how science and technology are being used to support this global crisis. As he explained, we are living through a “real-life laboratory.”

Watch the recording of the event to learn more about the discussion. This DSS is part of our #KeepGlobalSmith campaign, which calls attention to our commitment to bringing the world to Smith during the pandemic. Save the date for CGB’s Annual Forum on April 13 with Mauro Guillén, author of 2030: How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything.

This event was supported in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

By Jordan Heitzner, graduate assistant, Center for Global Business

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