After a year of upheaval on the streets and uncertainty in the markets, it takes a brave person to predict what comes next.
Oxford Analytica CEO, Nader Mousavizadeh, says he expects nothing less than fundamental change on multiple fronts:
“2012 is really a year of a global reset. We’re going to see a number of elections and changes of leadership. We’re going to see the eurozone find its moment of truth. Either it does find a way to fund itself, or it doesn’t, and it breaks up into two or three parts. We’re going to see the Arab world and the Arab awakening settle, either in a new equilibrium – hopefully more responsive, more democratic, more legitimate equilibrium. But all of this I think is part of a broader trend, which 2012 will help identify – countries and states are increasingly going to define their interests on their own, separate from old alliances, old unions and we’re going to see therefore more messy, more complex global architecture with the key risks being protectionism, more populism and nationalism and potentially more conflict.”
Mousavizadeh, who’s also a columnist for Reuters, shared his views at a special event staged by Monocle magazine to discuss its predictions for the year ahead.
Editor in Chief, Tyler Brûlé, says there’s one word sure to see its stock rise in 2012:
“Yes, the word of 2012 is charm and I think most businesses need to go on a charm offensive.”
Brûlé says a fixation with cost-cutting has caused many businesses to forget the personal touch. He says the recent debate over the fate of British high streets highlights both the problem, and a potential opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs:
“Because there’s a rethink going on. There’s a rethink because we’ve seen the erosion of communities. That erosion is not just in Newcastle, but it’s in cities on the U.S. West Coast, so it’s happening in Canada and Australia, it’s happening in Germany and pretty much in most developed economies we’ve seen the arrival of the big boxy-shaped out-of-town store and how that has challenged the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.”
But when it comes to the wider eurozone crisis, Mousavizadeh says looking back to past precedents will not serve as a guide for what will happen next:
“From a management perspective, you don’t have the United States as you did in ’98, ’99 in a position to lead and corral the global community around a response. Second of all, we’re coming to an end of a 20-year period of leverage. And the unwinding of that is coming at a time when there’s less ability to globally coordinate that. And this is going to be a long deleveraging process. So that’s why this financial crisis is as serious as it is, and why getting solutions executed is as hard as it is.”
So sizeable challenges, along with some charming opportunities, means that 2012 begins with a real sense of momentous events ahead.