The charter of enterprises to grow hasn’t changed, but the difficulty of this endeavor is surely increasing in 2017. In spite of the increased connectedness in advanced economies, the world also might just be getting smaller. History suggests that periods of deglobalization like the one we’re now in can have effects that last for decades—including isolationism in rich countries. Risk and opportunity are embedded in data, in digital communication, in the dizzying pace of innovation.
We know that technology is connecting us more than ever. We know that our capacity to communicate with each other is at an all-time high, and at breakneck speed. And, we also know that digital and data flows may replace, or at least supplement, the concept of globalization, contributing at least 10% to world GDP and adding $7.8 trillion in 2014 alone. Yet, although these patterns are emerging, the risks of disconnection are also very real.