At Davos, Peter Mandelson divided strong opinions when he declared that globalisation had created greater inequality. A recent report by the World Economic Forum also stated that income disparity will become a top risk over the next ten years.
With this in mind, globalisation and inequality have been front of mind.
I attended a breakfast session on Are we ready for Asia?.
The debate focused on how western businesses and governments should tap into what Asia (China, India and other Asian countries) have to offer in terms of growth and the purchasing power of the middle class.
It was also cited that demographic divide provides enough evidence for growth potential for western businesses.
During the conversation, attendees could see that potential but had concerns about regulation in China and India and the challenges of physical infrastructure in some of the Asian countries.
It was agreed to overcome these challenges, business and governments must work in close partnership to fuel growth and demonstrate a long term commitment to these markets.
Those that have done so in the past have seen the benefits.
I also attended a panel on Jobs and the Future of Work, which was led by Thomas Friedman, who wrote The World is Flat.
Friedman pointed out that in the hyper-connected world, the concept of jobs and future of work is getting redefined.
The concept of insourcing or outsourcing simply does not make business sense and at the same time acquires a totally new meaning.
The key for both governments and business is to constantly reskill to increase employability.
This will reduce the divide between what local governments want, which is to give jobs to local citizens, versus global economic expectations, which is to give work to people who can be the most productive and competitive.
To overcome this paradox, local governments and businesses must re-skill their citizens, so that talent is in line with the local economy’s demand.
I strongly believe globalisation is here to stay and is irreversible.
It creates jobs across continents, fuels growth and drives the world to become more efficient.
It is also a fact that globalisation is reaching a new phase of development, where old and new worlds meet.
At the moment, the skills of local citizens don’t necessarily match the markets of their local economy, which is why there is high unemployment, and a growing inequality in wages.
By transforming current business models and realigning and re-skilling talent, economic growth will be achieved and inequality will decline.
BG Srinivas is head of European operations at Infosys and member of the company board