If you know me well enough, you may know about my passion of history. I am an adept of the adage "you need to know well your past in order to understand your future". Actually, I am currently writing a book which is mixing my interest in history and my professional skills and knowledge, but so far, can't talk much about the topic, as it is relatively new (I wrote about 50 pages so far...).
Among other topics, I love history of business. I read this very interesting article about the Economist, which put into prospective all the changes that happened the past two decades about the way we conduct business as westerners. Indeed, we, Westerners, meaning mostly Europeans & Norther Americans, share a strong culture:
- We share the same Christian background
- Core values where democracy is a key part
- A common history, based on the colonies, but also the second world war and the cold war, that strengthen our relationship
- Businesses that work about the same.
But that world, which has been thriving, experiencing one of the most tremendous growth ever the past few decades, is right now at a crucial stage. Our culture tended to assimilate other cultures, by bringing a "superior" culture to the new countries where we were going to. Now this concept is not so easy. We are in the globalization age, and global companies need to adapt at least as much as the local businesses need to.
Here are two of the main factors detailed in the article.
- The emerging market growth: It is shaking up our world, as it is now leading some industries, innovating faster than us.
- The growth of new technologies in the share of the global economy: This new competition is based on new business models, that are hurting traditional businesses, as we can see with Uber, Alibaba, Facebook or Netflix
It is actually when the Roman Empire was enable to assimilate any longer its barbarian people that it started to fall down. Because barbarian took benefit of the Roman weaknesses to take over the different provinces.
Is it the end of the golden age of Western corporation as the article explains? Probably. Probably something brand new is showing off. With a new way to conduct business. What could be interesting is to see how our "paradigms", our 4 Ps, our IPOs, our mission statements, our mass media campaigns adapt to the new landscape.
The crisis we are experiencing right now, may actually be a stage toward a new world, that could be ten times better than ours.