Reboot the world: not someone else's responsibility

Luglio 10, 2020

Editoriale di Corrado Passera

CEO illimity

An extract from Corrado Passera speech at Campus Party Global Main Stage, the Geek Summit that's been streaming in more than 30 countries around the world.

Each of us has the power to make a contribution to reboot and reboost the world in the right direction.

We must reboost the world because sustained and sustainable growth is the only way to keep what people worked so hard to achieve - wellbeing, health, education, welfare - and also to extend these aspects to all parts of the world. The risks are great if we don't achieve this in the near future. Last century’s history is evidence of what I’m talking about.

The world is struggling with a terrible healthcare and economic crisis. Many families and businesses are struggling.

We live in times of great change. And we need new ways of thinking to be ready for what lies ahead.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe to foster growth and to reduce inequalities, but for sure we need to invest in physical and digital infrastructures. In research and technology. In education. In healthcare and welfare. And we need to move much faster toward green power.

Is it enough to simply get back to where we were before the crisis? Is it enough to achieve sustained growth or do we really need to leverage this crisis to get on a new path? The answer is we must reboot the world in a more sustainable way.

In recent decades, we have seen growing malaise. But we have also seen a reduction in poverty and disease in many parts of the world. Life expectancies have increased. Women and minorities are progressively gaining more rights. And more children have access to education.

Globally, these indicators have never looked better. But they are also no excuse for turning a blind eye to the inequality that still plagues the world. Or for doing nothing about the other enormous problems in the world.

Uncertainty creates instability and reasons for uncertainties are plentiful. Rising political tensions threaten peace. Escalating trade wars threaten economic growth. New technologies threaten jobs. Ageing populations threaten welfare systems. And global warming is out of control, threatening the entire planet. COVID-19 added to the list.

The only viable path for our economy is what I like to call responsible capitalism, which means an economy that can turn its enormous power into positive energy. Such capitalism is not solely about shareholder returns. It looks at the overall impact of business on communities and the environment. It is a socially responsible form of capitalism that helps close the inequality gap. It is an environmentally responsible capitalism that doesn't unnecessarily use resources, endangering the planet's survival. It is a financially responsible capitalism that doesn't promote growth through exponential debt.

The level of responsibility of our economic system depends on the daily choices made by each of us: when we purchase something, when we post a like, when we cast our vote, each of us moves the world a little bit in one direction.

The main responsibility to reboot the world clearly lies with governments and companies. But it would be a dreadful mistake to think we should simply wait for the new normal and then adapt to it. The new normal will be a constantly changing and interconnected world - and this will mean growing complexity. People who are not equipped will be brushed aside. People who ride the wave of change, will do really well.

You will often hear it is best to wait, to see what happens. But the new normal will be what we make it. And how this happens depends on us, on how we behave today.

We don't know what the future will be like. We only know it will be different to today and constantly changing. The combination of technology and globalisation will accelerate everything beyond all expectations.

There has never been a time with more opportunities than the next few years will hold. For those who have the courage to move forward, without fear.

The future that awaits us also depends on each of us. Always remember in life that each and every one of us is not only responsible for ourselves, for our families and for the company we will work for or create. We are also responsible for the community we are part of. Our behaviour on a daily basis can make a difference to ensure these communities move in the right direction.

More than 2500 years ago a Greek philosofer, Periandro, said it with a sentence I always keep in my mind: Meleta to pan: Be interested in everything, feel responsible for everything.

Watch the full speech: