China trumps Trump, Russia looms large

Brexit looks benign in the face of new shocks

Disruption and turbulence are the new normal, as Black and ‘Grey’ Swans hatch repeatedly.

When the British voted to leave the EU, it was a great shock to the global system, and markets reacted in both predictable, and unpredictable ways. While everyone was ‘waiting and seeing’ which way the wind would blow, Donald Trump became POTUS, sending another shockwave through the world.

Within a year, France and Germany saw populism and reactionary forces replace their governing parties, and the EU is looking increasingly fragile. Gone are the days of a stable Europe led by Merkel, Hollande and May. The Germans want to eject Greece and Hungary, while there are rumblings about a Frexit over nuclear power.

It’s a Perfect Storm of tsunamis of change, says futurist Neil Jacobsohn. “We shouldn’t be surprised by current events, but rather improve our agility. We’re living in the Exponential Age – the only certainty is uncertainty!”

Technology is playing its part too. Beyond universal connectivity and instant communications, machine learning and robotics are destroying traditional jobs, while creating new roles that we can’t anticipate; and for which we can’t educate and train. New energy is deflating the coal and oil industries.

Russia in particular is feeling the collapse of the oil price, and gas with it. ‘Russiatoric’ – their own special brand of propaganda on RT news – defends their increasing incursions in Ukraine and neighbouring states as ‘helpful’, but they are only helping themselves, chipping away at Europe’s autonomy.

But perhaps the ‘Great Fall’ of China is the Black Swan that is keeping most executives up at night. Global growth relies on a successful China, and the continued decline of the Chinese economy is sending shivers of fear through world leaders, bankers, and economists alike.

It’s likely that at Davos next year, Brexit won’t even be on the agenda. The world has bigger problems to deal with than British pride.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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