A time of global seismic shifts

2012-02-18 10:37

Much of the media buzz that kick-started 2012 was devoted to the ancient Mayan prediction that the world would end on December 21st this year.

It’s not surprising.Hollywood was quick to capitalise on the concept and already started priming us with the release of “2012 – the movie”, as early as November 2009. Since then, it seems everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.

“How to deal with the end of the world” has been used in advertising promotions, lifestyle columns, and for those who missed their Rapture moment last year, as a second chance to preach the beginning of the end. The pragmatists – and I include myself here – view things somewhat differently. The world is not about to end, but you’d have to have been living under a rock – or Orania – to not feel the seismic shift taking place: in politics, in social dynamics, and of course in business and global economies.

Whether it’s a political movement like the Arab Spring, or a socioeconomic uprising like the Occupy Movement, like it or not, we are witnessing the beginnings of a new world order; imperfect and shaky as it may appear to be. We have proved to ourselves that, as a species, we have the ability to self-destruct, and will do so spectacularly if we do not change the way we do things.

We’ve raped the environment that is meant to sustain us, allowed greed to consume us, lived with leaders who oppress or simply cannot lead, and swapped empathy for inequality. If we are honest with ourselves, it is hard not to acknowledge that the way we have been doing things, has not brought us to a very happy place.

Tried and tested templates of business are either coming to the end of a natural cycle, or are proving glaringly inappropriate for a changing world. We must either push, or be pushed. The problem is that while the old rule book is fast becoming obsolete, the new rule book has not been edited and published, so we are being forced to rewrite the new rules as we stab in the dark for direction.

The Occupy Movement is a perfect example. Most people agree and empathise with the protesters, but bar the shouting, no one quite knows what the solutions can and should be. This impasse, however,
should not be viewed as a negative. Changing a mindset that has taken almost a century to become entrenched is not going to miraculously happen overnight.

As the old saying goes, “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. What may seem an impossible task suddenly becomes do-able, especially when the world is in a state of flux. Just ask the Libyans. But for the cynics out there who think that what we are experiencing now is just a
mere hiccup, let me put it another way.

The graphic shows no less than 20 countries around the world that will be holding either presidential, parliamentary or a combination of both elections this year. That’s not counting other internal elective processes, like the ANC’s watershed moment in Mangaung later this year, or other ongoing political battles, like Scotland’s current campaign to hold a referendum on independence in 2014.

From economic powerhouses like America and China to political hotspots like Egypt and Iran, the changes that will be implemented as a result of these elections are, without a doubt, going to shift global dynamics. The fact that this is all happening in 2012 is possibly a massive coincidence, but you do have to wonder if the Mayans weren’t onto something.»?Chang is the founder of Flux Trends. Visit www.fluxtrends.co.za

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