International relations expert and Time magazine Editor-at-Large Fareed Zakaria says the world economy is looking “pretty gloomy,” but he sees reasons for optimism in his global travels.
“What I want to talk about is the world we’re living in today,” Zakaria said in Chicago on Sunday. “Everywhere there is this feeling that something isn’t right,” but signs of strength are emerging in untraditional spaces.
Zakaria gave the opening address at the Society for Human Resources Management 2013 conference, and the 15,000 people attending heard from him that, though the market recovery has been slow and painful, world markets will rise together. In a speech that ran from stagflation of the late 1970s to Ross Perot’s presidential candidacy, Zakaria described the all the major U.S. slowdowns of the last 40 years. This too, he says, shall pass.
“In India, they have a joke,” Zakaria said. “ ‘The government sleeps at night and that’s when the economy grows’ … But governments aren’t all forces for ill.” The new waves of “political stability, economic convergence and the continuing technological revolution” could be a high tide that raises all ships.
“The 21st century is going to be the century of human capital,” Zakaria said. “That’s going to be the difference between the great companies and the lesser ones. … You can get cheap capital over here and labor over here…” but tapping into your worker’s, your company’s, your nation’s full potential is key.
“So much of what you’re going to achieve will be in unlocking human capital,” Zakaria said.
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