Looking ahead to Globalization 4.0 – surviving and thriving in the next era of change
Published on 02.05.2019
Globalization 4.0 in context. How did we get here?
Modern globalization (1.0) began in the 19th century in tandem with the Industrial Revolution. Transoceanic steamships, the Panama and Suez canals, undersea telegraph cables, and railroads tied the world together and launched an explosive wave of trade in raw and manufactured goods. Globalization 1.0 ended with World War I.
Globalization 2.0 began following World War II. It was characterized by the regulation of global relations (the UN, IMF and World Bank) and trade (GATT), expanding infrastructure (e.g. the US interstate highway system), mass deployment of new technologies (e.g. airplanes), and standardization (such as shipping containers).
This period also focused on ameliorating many of the downsides and excesses of the first phase of globalization (through progressive taxation, public investment, decolonization, development assistance and postwar reconstruction) to provide better social stabilizers and support.
The end of the present: Globalization 3.0
Globalization 3.0 – also called the era of hyper-globalization – began in the early 1990s. It resembled the 1.0 phase in that revolutions in technology (the personal computer, the Internet, digital devices) led to completely new types and levels of commerce.
Globalization 3.0 was defined by the opening up of trade barriers and greater access to services through the internet at the local, national, and international level. This did, however, lead to some political and social tensions and perhaps even the crisis of 2007-2008. But now, as we approach the end to that era, unprecedented and universal data connectivity and the potential of Big Data could be ushering in a promising new era that parallels the shift from the 3rd to the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The beginning of the future: Globalization 4.0
Globalization 4.0 is the name for what’s coming next. Many people haven’t heard the term before, but it reflects the impact of the technological megatrend of the 4th Industrial Revolution – 4IR or Industry 4.0.
This next wave of technology is driving a quantum leap in our abilities to organize human life, including business and commerce. Such developments such as high-speed broadband networks (especially 5G), the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced robotics have already established a beachhead on our future shores.
That’s right. Globalization 4.0 is coming, whether we like it or not. In fact, it’s already here. The only question is whether we are going to actively try to use it, or lose this opportunity for planetary betterment – and face the consequences.
The impact of Globalization 4.0
It isn’t surprising to learn that Globalization 4.0 is many things to many people. The hope is that Globalization 3.0 can seamlessly and peacefully link to 4.0 by learning from the past, reforming it as much as 2.0 reformed 1.0, and avoiding the interruptions that happened between 1914 and 1945.
The fear is 4.0 will simply be a continuation of 3.0 at its worst, with massive jobs losses within the ranks of white-collar workers due to automated AI “globotics” and a race to the bottom in wages.
In any event, the good news is that Globalization 4.0 can help to further knit together the world and its people. But it poses a very real challenge that will require a lot of action and effort – from governments, companies, and individuals. We can’t simply watch and wait – we need to act. How?
Navigating better – with a roadmap
The solution is to use a simple Globalization 4.0 roadmap showing how we should be actively influencing and managing this change. This way forward should incorporate the reforming ideas of Globalization 2.0, augmented by the social, cultural, and psychological lessons we’ve learned since the 1950s.
That means that we need to create a new global architecture of institutions, laws, and norms that affect trade, development, employment, and human rights. The goal should be to widen the meaning of “profit” to include a greater emphasis on fairness, inclusiveness, equitable distribution of benefits, and sustainability.
The bottom line is that we are at a crossroads where we can only face global challenges by working together. That way, we can reduce the fear and harvest the hope.
Parag Khanna, Global Strategist
Globalization 4.0 & the world of work
Whatever we do though, the future for unskilled jobs is dim. But Globalization 4.0 is also going to reshape the world of many white-collar and service-industry jobs, in much the same way that factory jobs were previously affected. That is, offshoring and automation are coming to everything from bartending and building to legal services and architecture.
At the same time, businesses are paradoxically sounding the alarm that they can’t find enough skilled employees for current jobs. And they are even more worried about finding workers for the many skilled jobs that haven’t yet appeared.
That puts immense responsibility on governments. For example, state-sponsored employment-income “flexicurity” guarantees will need to be expanded to maintain social stability and encourage technological acceptance. And governments and companies will need to work more closely in the area of retraining and reskilling older workers.
Get ready to learn
In fact, training for the shape-shifting job markets will be key. URBAN HUB has previously covered many of the ways in which companies, governments, associations, and individuals can prepare for the future of work.
Several things stand out:
- Embrace the idea of lifelong learning
- Learn new digital skills
- Cultivate creative, flexible and critical thinking
- Nourish human soft skills, like empathy, sensitivity, collaboration, and passion, not least by encouraging people to volunteer their time to worthy causes.
In all of this, schools and corporate training programs are important. So too is ensuring that young people can easily make the transition from school to work. Youth unemployment is a global scandal, forcing millions of young people to enter a prolonged waiting room when their energy and creativity are at their highest – increasing the probability that they will remain outside.
Let’s get busy!
Managing Globalization 4.0 is going to be a challenge but the better we manage the change, the greater the benefits will be. Training for our future is a vital way in which companies can provide both thought leadership and decisive action, and through which individual people can prepare and take part.
thyssenkrupp Elevator is training for the future
Like most successful companies, thyssenkrupp Elevator offers employees a wide range of training opportunities. Many of these are administered through its global network of “SEED campuses,” and help ensure that employees stay up to date on new digital technologies, products, and safety as well as enabling them to practice soft skills, such as teamwork and service.
Using new technologies in training helps. thyssenkrupp Elevator has been quick to adapt digital innovations to its corporate training. For instance, SEED campuses offer virtual-reality-based training that allows technicians to practice new skills without any physical risks. VR and AR are also used by the company in training for lean manufacturing and production as well as in “training” stairlift and home elevator customers to plan and visualize how those products would fit into their homes.
Combining learning with teaching
thyssenkrupp Elevator also offers employees a unique opportunity to combine learning and teaching. Project SEED currently allows employees to use their work time to practice their skills as trainers in five countries: Colombia, Brazil, India, Uruguay, and Thailand.
Something for everyone
The primary aim of the project is to help unemployed young people make a successful transition into employed adulthood. Project SEED offers these young people access to skills and mentors to help them bridge that gap. The training includes many of the skills that will be needed for successful adaptation to Globalization 4.0 including teamwork, collaboration, and creative thinking.
MacIntosh Plus, photo by Rama, taken from commons.wikimedia.org, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France
1st Revolution, photo by Mellahn, taken from commons.wikimedia.org, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany