How Learning and technology will impact the future economic rankings of nations.
By Charles McIntyre, IBIS Capital
The future wealth of nations lies in the potential of its citizens. National prosperity is created not inherited. Natural endowments such as great reserves of oil and gas may be helpful but over the long term, the competitive advantages of nations lies with the effectiveness of its people.
Differences in culture, values and economic and social structures all contribute to the growth of a nation. However at the heart of the economic engine lies the knowledge, creativity, inventiveness, productivity and drive of humankind.
There are famous examples such as the rise of Singapore. When Singapore became independent in 1965 it was a small tropical island with few natural resources. At the time there was no compulsory education and only a small number of schools. Today the country has risen from undeveloped economy to a world economic and educational leader. Throughout its accelerated development, the shift to a skills-intensive labour force has been core. But not just skills, also a thirst for creativity and invention.
Today, our investment in knowledge and creativity is more important than at any other time in human history. We stand on the brink of massive change.
We all know that the use of technology and AI will become widespread and in a digital and mobile world, it will reach every corner of the globe and touch every aspect of our lives. Technology itself will become a commodity that will seek to replace the mundane aspects of our working and domestic lives. The differentiating factor that is left, is the human factor and our ability to deploy learning, empathy and creativity; we have to learn to be human again.
Without a long term vision on how to create the right environment for 21st century learning, nations will gradually fade from the international leagues of competitiveness. Natural resources or old world industry and technology will not save them. It is not the instruments of capital that will create wealth for future generations but the inventiveness of its custodians. Without learning we are nothing; learning is our new technology.