Similar to a chain effect, the continuous impact of technological disruption on the global trade system has had a relentless impact on the world’s future. Depending on one’s perspective, the fourth industrial revolution is making the future either more inclusive and efficient or an evolved era for “survival for the fittest” where it only benefits a small percentage of the world’s population.
According to a report published by Mckinsey & Company, a decade after the global financial crisis in 2008, the world economy portrayed to be on an unstoppable trend of ever-deepening globalization. The report cites the progressive international trade policies and technological shifts as primary trends that are contributing to the world’s uncertain economic future. It acknowledges that innovative technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in addition to QR codes that trace container shipments and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) have improved the reliability and efficiencies of international trade.
An article by the SDG tracking website, ‘Our World in Data’ and research by Global Economic Dynamics (GED), conclude that though Comparative Advantage as per economic literature is not the sole force driving incentives to future global specialization and trade, it is relevant. The theory suggests that all nations can benefit from trade if each specializes in the production of what they are relatively best at producing. This has and will enable the availability of cheap labour, the transferability of technology, and capital in developing countries. This positively likens the world to a global village as a share of industrial production was prior and will in future be shifted from the developed world.
On the other end of the spectrum, opinions suggest that the fast incorporation of technology will rid people of employment and only benefit those who caught up to trend. Blockchain, artificial intelligence and Machine learning, e-commerce platforms, and 3D printing offer an unfair competition climate to small scale businesses. Big corporations are now employing their advantage to the disposition to vast capital to invest in technological automation. This has, in turn, reduced employment opportunities in the production sector.
All a matter of perspective, technology, data, and global trade has and will have an uncertain impact on the world’s future. This will, however, remain unknown unless explored. Change is inevitable, and as per research, the future seems promising.
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