A shared future in Globalisation 4.0

BEIJING (Xinhua) – Economic globalisation, coevolving with technological innovation over centuries, has always been an irreversible process.

Such an understanding of this incessant process has been widely echoed in the Swiss ski resort of Davos as world business and political elites concluded their brainstorming recently on the future vista of a new wave of globalisation.

Globalisation 4.0 is the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF). It tries to portray a new stage of globalisation that powers forward with the explosion of information technology and the rapidly expanding application of artificial intelligence.

These edge-cutting new technologies shrink distances, open up borders and minds, and bring people all across the globe closer together.

However, this new age of globalisation will also trigger fresh competition worldwide. Under such circumstances, nations should guard against technological hegemony, just as Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan warned in his speech at the WEF annual meeting last Wednesday.

Few would argue that competition can force technological advancement. It is even truer that cooperation plays a more important role for mankind to pool their wisdom together for grander human progress in an ever globalised world.

Seeking technological hegemony or playing bullying tactics under the pretext of national security threat out of thin air is poisonous. By attempting to impose its own technological standards of a few wealthy Western countries on the whole world, this dangerous dominance betrays the rules of free competition, hinders normal technological cooperation and exchange, and will ultimately curb hi-tech innovations.

Another major issue the world nations should not fail to address is to promote inclusiveness as the new stage of globalisation sets in.

Some Western politicians claim that the economic emergence of the developing countries has been the result of abusing the global trade playbook and taking advantage of globalisation at the expense of the West.

The fact is that Western multinational corporations and financial institutions are the main drivers of economic globalisation. Facing relatively weak local competition, these commercial conglomerates can more enjoy low production costs and much higher revenues.

In this process, the emerging economies have achieved their economic development by adapting to the global trade rules written by the West, opening up their markets and integrating themselves into the global economy.

The growing crisis of confidence in globalisation is not a result of the process itself. Rather, it is these Western countries’ failure to take care of those who have been left behind as technologies tear down barriers.

In the new phase of globalisation, therefore, it is imperative to adjust existing rules to better serve a rapidly changing world situation for inclusiveness and mutual benefit. Measures should be taken to fend off the impact on some regions caused by new technologies and market competition to ensure that everyone can benefit from the new round of dividends of economic development.

To accelerate technological as well as economic progress, the world needs a new framework for global cooperation. Just as Wang said, countries need to shape the global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution “with the vision to create a better future for all mankind.”

“What we need to do is to make the pie bigger while looking for ways to share it in a more equitable way. The last thing we should do is to stop making the pie and just engage in a futile debate on how to divide it,” Wang said.

In addition, the interests of the emerging markets as well as the developing world need to be accommodated. And the whole global market should not comply only with the standards of the developed countries. It should be a fair competition.

Globalisation 4.0 is tugging at the very fabric of human society, completely changing the way in which individuals relate to one another and to the world at large.

Some say the world is flat, while others call it a global village. No matter what the depiction is, it means that people from different groups are brought together as a close-knit community. And for this community, a shared future is the only viable option.