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DR. DAMBISA MOYO - RESOURCES, CHINA, TECHNOLOGY AND JOBS
DR. DAMBISA MOYO INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLE REILLY  

Dr. Dambisa Moyo, the Global Economist and Best-Selling Author, is conquering the world by adding insightful thinking to solve old and insidious problems.  Having completed a PhD in Economics at Oxford University, and a Masters at Harvard, her work has taken her to more than 70 countries over the last decade, during which time she has developed a unique knowledge that allows her to review issues with a rare, in-depth perspective.    


Our interview together is broken into two parts.  This interview focuses on Dr. Moyo’s valuable economic perspective on global resources, China, technology and jobs.  

The second interview will focus on how Dr. Moyo developed such a well-respected, global career. I’ve long admired Dr. Moyo both for her work and her successful rise in global economics.  I’m thrilled to share how she achieved this in the next edition of our interview together.  Follow us here on Twitter to stay tuned for her second interview!

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  Please tell us about the global resource race and the potential consequences.

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  The global resource race is a structural problem of imbalance of supply and demand. On the supply side, potable water, arable land, minerals, and energy are all scarce, finite and depleting. In terms of demand, there is an ever-increasing demand driven by population growth, rising global wealth, and urbanization.

 

Some of the potential consequences include: higher commodity prices, political

instability, and an increasing risk of violent resource-based conflict.

 

As I mentioned in my Cato Institute article in July 2015, there are around 25 conflicts with origins in commodities around the world today and many more likely to occur in next decade.

 

There are also potential consequences stemming from geopolitical shifts: China is a leading country implementing a multilateral strategic approach to securing global resource supplies.

 

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  What is your forecast for China’s longer term economic growth?

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  On balance, my forecast for China’s longer term economic growth remains tilted towards the positive and more constructive.

 

Like many other emerging economies, China’s economic performance has suffered in recent years, falling from double digits to around 7 percent.

 

Although many economic challenges remain in the Chinese economy - such as an ageing population, environmental degradation and what many economists believe is a looming property bubble - the Chinese government has many tools available to stimulate growth.

 

As I mentioned in my interview in the Globe & Mail in August 2015, China still has the ability to cut interest rates, and increase public investment - among many other tools at their disposal.

 

While growth may not be at the previous double-digit records, I believe the practical and non-ideological approach of the Chinese political class to economic growth will help ensure the economy continues to grow at growth rates adequate to continue to reduce poverty and meaningfully improve living standards of the Chinese populous.

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  Democracy spread naturally across Europe as a direct result of the rise of the middle-class. Do you foresee a similar pattern for China, or are there other factors that would redirect that outcome?

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  The evolution of Western liberal democracy has not been without its challenges, but its success thus far cannot be delinked from economic success that has created a substantive middle class.

 

In a 2013 TED talk I made the argument that economic success is a pre-requisite for a successful liberal democracy. In particular, the establishment of a middle class of critical mass to hold its government accountable is a precursor to democracy.

 

In this vein, China’s political structure has de-prioritized democracy, and primarily focused efforts on its now legendary economic success. As China’s middle class emerges over time, there are reasons to be optimistic that democracy will emerge organically.

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  What is the impact to jobs in this technology era? How can it managed more efficiently?

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  The impact of technology on jobs is ambiguous:

 

On the one hand there is a view that technology advances will hurt jobs. Studies, like a recent Oxford Martin School publication, estimate that 47 percent of jobs in the US will be lost to automation in less than 20 years.

 

In essence, those lower on the skills ladder will have more limited job opportunities and be employable at lower pay (as technology reduces the cost of labor) as the technology era continues.

 

On the other hand, technological innovation can also boost employment through the creation of new industries and opportunities. Technology can be an impetus for job creation and economic prosperity for a more skilled and educated population.

 

The crux of managing this transition more efficiently is recognizing the fact that the traditional private sector will become less of an engine of job creation.

 

Addressing this will require combined efforts and active cooperation between governments and the private sector. Moreover as I argue in my article in the Financial Times and Drucker businesses should shift away from a narrow utility function (focused on financial awards) and a myopic focus, and move towards a strategy that incorporates broader societal benefits and focuses on longer-term performance. This will better support job creation in the technology era and will be increasingly crucial to techbased, automated industries where companies will continue to employ fewer people, with potentially a high societal cost.

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  What is your investment strategy in the technology industry?

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  The disruption of technology pervades all aspects of modern living – bio-technology, transportation, retail shopping and money transfer, to name a few. Although many of the investment opportunities that exist remain in the private space, I try to diversify my portfolio thesis by investing across sectors impacted by technology in both public and (wherever possible) private markets.

 

 

 

Gabrielle Reilly:  What do you read or watch to keep up with your industry or the world?

 

Dr. Dambisa Moyo:  I regularly watch CNBC and Bloomberg and read the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and other publications (Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review etc.)

 

I also subscribe to the publications of a number of independent researchers, think tanks and academic institutes, including:

 

o Geonomica [Weekly Newsletter from Matthew Rees]

o Stratfor Global Intelligence

o McKinsey Global Institute

o International Monetary Fund (IMF)

o Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

o World Bank

o Citigroup Research

o Goldman Sachs Macroeconomic Insights

....

So follow us here on Twitter to stay tuned for Dr. Damibsa Moyo's second interview on how she achieved such success!

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