Chandran Nair addresses the future of Asia at G50

The Changing Faces of Global Power - G50 in Singapore in 2010


In Singapore the G50 hosted The Changing Faces of Global Power: Does the world’s future belong to Asia and what will this mean for Latin America? 

Sharing the platform with Chandran was a host of distinguished speakers. They included Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singaporean Minister for Finance; Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of LKY School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore; Nathalie Cely, Ecuadorean Minister of Production, Competitiveness and Commercialization; David Adelman, U.S. Ambassador in Singapore; Dmitri Trenin, Director at Carnegie Moscow Center, Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia; Deb Henretta, P&G Group President for Asia; Leo Yip, Chairman of Singapore Economic Development Board; and Lim Hng Kiang, Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry.

The following piece is a snapshot of comments made by Chandran at a session from the G50 event and covers; the global economy, global power, strategies for emerging markets, acquiring and retaining global talent and Asia beyond the headlines. 

Prospects for the Global Economy: Where is it? Where is it going?

  • The danger of too many Asian opinion shapers believing that Asia will rise and the West will decline
  • Asia’s rise is still very uneven and a high price is being paid in terms of environmental, social and cultural issues
  • Asia needs to help create a new form of economic growth which does not hinge on consumption and underpricing the true costs of externalities.

Changing Faces of Global Power

  • Far too simplistic to suggest that Asia continues to need the U.S. as a regional policeman and especially to counter China
  • There is an argument that this is not in the interest of the region and plays to an old world view
  • The role of the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan is likely to fall. Asia remembers the horrors of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos.

Winning Strategies for Emerging Markets

  • Opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid to serve the majority
  • Meeting basic needs and creating value through social markets
  • Appreciating the social and cultural content of doing business in Asia
  • Opportunities to engaging in social investing – a new asset class
  • Moving beyond the old language of financial, free markets and capitalism and begin to take account of a new reality.

Global Talent: How to Get it? How to Keep it?

  • Far too much focus on meeting the needs of MNCs
  • Best and brightest from Asia go to the West to learn about management theories to maximise economic returns and not managing within constraints facing the region
  • Best from the region are solving the problem of rich, not working to meet the needs of society
  • Learning and development needed to cultivate soft skills and addressing real problems of the region.

Asia Beyond the Headlines

  • More people have mobile phones than toilets or access to safe water
  • Asian cities are most polluted – needs more cars like a person needs a hole in his head
  • Social values are dramatically being eroded – consequences for how dense populations live
  • Catastrophic failure in terms of environmental and resume management
  • Despite huge strides in economic terms, millions are more marginalized than ever.