APEC 2011 CEO Summit: Future Flash

Chandran Nair was invited to speak to international business leaders and politicians at APEC’s 2011 CEO Summit in Honolulu this November.He was invited as one of four global thought leaders to provide Future Flash interventions in the midst of the Summit’s political and business speeches, and panel discussions. His comments proved to be a marked departure from the business as usual narrative that dominated the Summit.

In brief, Chandran made the following key points:

1. Constraints and limits. The seventh billion human was born in October 2011 and yet at a global summit such as APEC there was no mention of constraints or limits. Instead the mantra was of continuing with unrestrained growth. This was intermingled with repeated use of throwaway words, such as 'innovation', 'green economy' and 'social networks'.

2. Interconnected in denial. Whilst there was a great deal of reference to global interdependence and interconnectedness (financial and communication) it appeared as if there was instead a growing interconnectedness in the collective denial of the challenges of our times.

3. 'Nobody’s and Everybody's Century'. Various political leaders referred to the 21st Century being the Asia-Pacific Century. He pointed out that an Asian Century, based on promoting exceptionalism through economic power, would be enough to create bad outcomes for the world. One that then apes the American consumption model is therefore a very bad idea. He suggested that the 21st Century should instead be viewed geo-politically as Nobody’s Century, or rather as Everybody’s Century, given resource constraints.

4. Rejecting consumption-led growth. He urged Asian political leaders to reject the Western consumption-led economic model given that it relies on promoting relentless consumption through the under-pricing of resources, which in turn is achieved by vested interests undermining governments and fighting regulations. Five billion Asians in 2050 cannot and should not aspire to consume like the West.

The summit was held on November 11 and 12 in Holonunu, Hawaii.

Find out more about the APEC CEO Summit 2011, visit apec2011ceosummit.com