“Imagine there's no countries - it isn't hard to do.”
Hats off to the Poles for holding the ring in key international negotiations, but where one has succeeded (Michal Kurtyka: Climate Change), the other has failed as yet (Donald Tusk: Brexit).
As we approach Christmas, many will be looking forward to a week or two’s relaxation and the opportunity to leave the world’s woes behind: particularly, no doubt, Theresa May, after these battering few weeks.
Christmas broadcasting on Share Radio is designed to foster an atmosphere of goodwill and relaxation and, if you want to switch away from the spoken word, try Share Music with its flow of Christmas carols and instrumental folk. Also we’re delighted to introduce a new feature this week: access to our new Videocast library, prepared by Asset TV for your enjoyment.
Meanwhile our commentary this week takes a world perspective, looking at how not just climate change but also business and technology have transcended borders. And we’re taking a special look at the huge advances made over the past few years by India in this respect.
John Lennon and Lawrence of Arabia may seem odd bedfellows, but they shared a radical vision of a world without national borders which seem to give us so much trouble today, particularly within Europe. You may say ‘that’s what the European Union is all about: removing borders’: but, as we are finding out with Brexit, these principles end firmly at the EU’s interface with the rest of the world.
All over the world politicians seek to demarcate their jurisdiction, but business and technology are like the wind, like climate change: they know no borders and will find solutions to circumnavigate obstacles erected by politicians. Their’s is not an argument for uniformity but for international relations based on an understanding of the limitations of the nation state, or of blocs of nations such as the European Union.
A strong example of a country taking advantage of the new internationalism of business and technology is India, as I discovered last week at a Venture Capital seminar.
Benefiting from a stable government over the last few years, India has now achieved GDP growth of 7½%, with both inflation and interest rates well under control. But it is its approach to technology, together with well-balanced demographics, which is really changing the country.
The key elements which have made this possible are widespread access for their population using an advanced identification system based on biometrics, which has enabled both the expansion of digital services and payment systems in order to support the spread of economic activity and wealth. These are accompanied by forward-looking government initiatives such as a unified ‘Goods and Services Tax’, and the elimination of swathes of paper-based checking and bureaucracy.
India will be a force to be reckoned with in the business world of tomorrow and, with its infrastructure based on respect for law and democracy inherited from the United Kingdom, it has a great future to look forward to.
The explosive growth of technology across the world is something we’ve commented much on over the past year, and we’ve looked forward to the time when customers can participate in that growth by acquiring shares in these businesses.
So that’s why we’re delighted to read, over the past few days, of the intended flotation of Uber and AirBNB. These could herald a new flow of tech giants to the public market via IPOs, and it is particularly encouraging to hear of their intentions to ensure that drivers and hosts (respectively) can take part in these flotations. Let’s look forward to more details in the New Year.
So look beyond the travails of late 2018 and approach 2019 with optimism. Next week our commentary will be brief, and then we will return in the New Year with a real resolve to change things for the better.
Meanwhile - have a very happy Christmas, and thanks for joining us at Share Radio during 2018.