During the end of year season, it is common to reflect on what has passed and what will come. One of the works that deeply affected me was the book by Jonas and Jonathan Salk, The New Reality 1), a father and son who rewrote a masterpiece in 30 years. The interesting thing about this work is the presentation of a vision that starts 6000 years B.C. and goes up to 6000 A.C. The demonstration is of a demographic growth, which for thousands of years remains below 1 billion people, and grows exponentially until our current decades and will stabilize at a new level of 10 to 12 billion, maintaining itself for thousands of years in the new figure.
This exponential growth in the S curve (Sigma Curve) has its turning point exactly in our time. The inflection means that the acceleration changes course towards negative acceleration, and that is where things happen. Jonathan Salk shows that there are two drivers in these trends, yesterdays and tomorrows, and that they are nothing more than a scale of antagonistic values and that they are in confrontation. Before, there was a certain balance, and after the inflection there will be greater harmony. It means that “older” societies are in an imbalance of very strong views and opt for increasingly conservative decisions, as in the case of BREXIT, and other “younger” ones that want changes in politics and society, as in the case of Chile, Brazil, Hong Kong, and opt for the new.
The concept of New Reality is that this shock of visions and values will tend to increase and not decrease, using the instruments of social communication that are more strongly linked to younger than older generations. The traditional media has a great difficulty to keep up with these developments, losing space and influence. Influencers, on the other hand, have an impact on current circumstances and do not deepen due to structural consequences. The break in scale of established policies, uses and customs is becoming more and more frequent. Symptomatic is that some of the films listed at the Oscars this year, starting from a disruptive basis such as the “Joker”. We try to explain and give more space to what causes chaos than the one who fights it (in the case of Batman) in order. The effects on environmental movements in Europe show where this influence tends to go. Conservatism is on the move and that includes a tendency towards nationalism, and fundamentalists are going in the opposite direction of global trends. The consequences are not yet predictable, but can lead to unilateralism and reduced cooperation. Meanwhile, modern corporate governance preaches that inclusion is better than exclusion, equality is better than antagonism, it is weakening. We note, with concern, that icons of well-known brands are suddenly under attack for image and reputation, and in a matter of days and weeks their market value plummets.
What would a New Latin American Reality look like?
We still have a demographic bonus and, therefore, for a few decades we will be deciding more innovatively than conservatively. Nevertheless, our main export and investor markets do not think so. We therefore have an internal opportunity to increase cooperative forms before they are withdrawn to the more isolated conservatism. The political base’s chance is in recognizing that cooperating will be better than withdrawing. The integration potential of the Americas can be even better if we know how to integrate common goals. However, the major aspect of this turn will be if the policies of States and companies understand that our populations want a significant improvement in life, with the reduction of misery and poverty and will not peacefully accept an increasing concentration of income. A New Reality is already with us and we will have it for many decades, the chance to enjoy the wave is to surf it with very positive results, however if we continue to deny it and seek nationalism and non-cooperative conservatism, the solutions will be mediocre.
Courage to start this decade that promises a lot, for those who recognize the changes in real time!
Ingo Plöger is a Brazilian entrepreneur and President of CEAL – Brazilian Chapter
1) A New Reality: Human Evolution for a Sustainable Future by Jonas Salk and Jonathan Salk, City Point Press, 2018