The World in 2030: A Flattened Economic Landscape

The world in 2030 will be a startlingly different place, with a "flattening" of the economic landscape and a more genuinely global market place, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, in collaboration with the strategic research and consulting group Lighthouse Global.


The report, "Where Next for the Global Economy? A View of the World in 2030," collates predictions from 15 global experts in business, economics, and accountancy. Covering areas such as the future global power, the future of the earth's resources, and the future of the corporate eco-system, the paper sees the world turned completely on its head in 2030.


ACCA says that in 2030, the world could be facing intense pressure on resources, a big shift in global power, and a completely different way of doing global business.


"As a wide-ranging collection of insights, covering a wide array of scenarios and possibilities, the report is designed to encourage people to think about how their actions today will affect the world tomorrow. We're sharing our panel's ideas and perspectives to provide accountants and business with new thinking to help them make decisions based on the insights of those at the forefront of debate," says Helen Brand, ACCA's chief executive.


The report looks at the future of: the distribution of global power, the earth's resources, financial markets, the corporate world, and the future of government. Among the predictions made by ACCA's panel are the following:


1. Some of today's biggest companies are likely to de-conglomerate by 2030, outsourcing almost all central functions to achieve efficiency. "Federations of businesses" will be the corporations of tomorrow. Strong virtual ties will connect increasingly specialist and remote businesses, located in increasingly specialised regions and cities. Small businesses will act like shoals of fish, becoming a strong global force in the global environment.


2. With the world's population growing and with resources heading in the opposite direction, there could be severe pressure on access to oil, gas, or water. Food will be limited too, leading to increasing elements of nationalism in discussions about resources.


3. The world will be made "flatter" as a result of globalisation. This could lead to a shift in global influence to the East. The East won't be the next big thing; it will be the big thing.


The predictions made in the report come from experts including: the economist Andrew Dilnot, former director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, now principal of St Hugh's College Oxford; Chin Kwai Fatt, the managing director of PwC Malaysia; Loughlin Hickey, KPMG's global head of tax; Tony Hegarty, chief financial management officer at the World Bank; and Professor Saul Estrin from the London School of Economics.


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