Look around. The world’s tallest building is in Taipei, and will soon be in Dubai. Its largest publicly traded company is in Beijing. Its biggest refinery is being constructed in India. Its largest passenger airplane is built in Europe. The largest investment fund on the planet is in Abu Dhabi; the biggest movie industry is Bollywood, not Hollywood.
- Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World.
Why Tomorrow’s Best Opportunities Won’t Be Located in the West
The world is changing. As today’s developed economies like the United States and Europe cool in growth, new opportunities will be found in places like Brazil, Russia, India, China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
What makes countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China (the so-called BRIC nations) and regions like Southeast Asia and the Middle East exciting are the possibilities for expanding economic opportunities in the near future.
As the rise of the rest gains steam, billions of people will need access to the services, products, businesses, and infrastructure currently enjoyed in the developed world.
This growth is inevitable. Someone has to be there to fill these needs.
Why not you?
The New Nomadism
Cities like Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Mumbai, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Dubai all need world-class workers and entrepreneurs to infuse their growing economies with new ideas.
A growing location independent class from the first world is flocking to these emerging world-class cities. These digital nomads travel partly for opportunities in these untapped economies, and partly to perform geoarbitrage, the strategy of earning income in one currency and spending it in another.
What this all means is that today’s superpowers like the United States will have a harder time holding onto talented people in the near future. Developed countries will have to fight harder to prevent a mass exodus of talent. Such an exodus would decimate the future productivity of these countries.
Inevitably, this megatrend will lead to immigration reform encouraging more immigrants into the United States and Europe (in contrast to the kinds of political conversations happening today).
A Lesson in Megatrend Spotting
What is amazing about this megatrend is not how dramatically it will reshape the world of work in the 21st century. What’s amazing is that it’s already happening.
And you can probably name a friend who has taken a job in an area that was a political hotzone just a decade ago.
Remember that the future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.
As an agile lifestyle designer, you don’t need to imagine far-flung scenarios in order to dip your toes into futurism. To predict the megatrends of tomorrow, you just need to look around you and see what’s already happening.
Image by Stephanie Wilson.