Capitalism and technology have made the world glocal. It has and is bringing people closer together like no other point in human history. For example, today, because of the online gig economy, a start-up in London can contract affordable skilled services in the Philippines, without which neither would be able to add value to their local communities.
Yet it’s 2020, faced with a COVID pandemic our generation has never seen, and race relations at an all-time low since MLK, facing dire job losses and an unsurmountable national debt that I suspect will have a bigger impact on our domestic and foreign policy objectives since 9-11. But Europe, US and the UK are disunited and in disarray. I am intrigued like many others as to what the future could hold and how to prepare for it.
Here are my two sentence insights on the following areas:
- The UK economy: The performance of the FTSE index will not be reliable indicator of the economy as large companies benefit from a multi-billion-pound bailout under the guise of the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) largely hidden from public view. However, I question whether some of these traditionally investment grade companies will be able to adapt in a post-COVID environment; failing to do so will have a serious impact on our pension and investment holdings.
- President Trump & the US elections: I wonder what would’ve happened if President Trump didn’t forcefully remove peaceful protestors outside the White House to walk to the damaged St. John’s Church back in June 2020 but rather reassured the protestors directly taking the knee in support be it only in principle of the #BLM movement? At the age of 74, President Trump is governing in an era of overwhelming racial divisiveness during a global pandemic, but should he be re-elected, and continue with a modus operandi focused on securitisation and divisiveness I suspect it will have dire consequences for a traditional liberal democracy and its international relations.
- Brexit: It appears Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking his hardball negotiation cues from President Trump’s Art of the Deal which I don’t think can apply between nation states. I suspect his threat to break international law, is merely a crude negotiating tactic and if it did come to fruition it will only empower other emerging powers and undermine our own, which is why I don’t think a trade deal will be agreed in 2020.
- COVID & China: COVID will pass, humanity has overcome far greater threats and China will be under serious scrutiny over the extent they allegedly withheld key information about the virus that has sent the world on an expensive spin. But the next US administration will need to consider carefully as to whether they lead an adversarial approach towards China in an attempt to curtail its growing geopolitical influence which will no doubt have serious repercussions on its own economy thus curtailing its own global influence or to work with China on forming a new G2 platform or dare I say a G3 platform including Russia.
- Israel, Palestine & its neighbours: Two sentences on this? Yeah right.
Technology is breaking down borders which has been fantastic in allowing people the world over to recognise the overwhelming majority of us have similar shared sacred values. Exploiting difference will become much harder to do. But I wonder how inefficient democratic economies will compete with highly efficient undemocratic economies. There is a strong sentiment being made that we need to give up some of our freedoms to compete, but I say, we need more of it.
As humanity enters 2021 we continue to face serious threats including the competition for the earth’s limited resources and I can’t see how we can resolve these matters without an international effort, which will translate into treaties and mutual obligations which may mean our traditional conception of the nation state need also to evolve.
Mohammad Uz-Zaman is a private client trust and estate planning consultant who holds accreditations across regulated financial advice and estate planning. His career included 5 years at a highly respected think-tank. He holds graduate and post-graduate degrees and he is also an associate member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He works closely with financial advisers, general practice solicitors, accountants and investment managers from several major practices.