When people keep themselves apart in mutual disdain.

A truth is hidden from the heart.

Their goals are much the same.

[Johann W. von Goethe, West-Eastern Diwan]

It is clear that this planet is caught in a trap.

The problem is that we cannot walk out.

Because we all love this planet too much.

But there is also no alternative.

We are all in this together (click here).

Nothing new so far.

The diwan, or collection of lyrical poems, mentioned at the top of this piece, was written by the German poet, von Goethe, back in the early 1800s.

Its inspiration was the 14th century Persian poet, Hafez.

The interesting part is that the words ‘west-eastern’ refer not only to an exchange between Germany and the Middle-East, but also between Latin and Persian cultures, as well as the Christian and Muslim cultures (source: Wikipedia).

This work by von Goethe still resonates as it becomes now increasingly clear to us all that our issues, opportunities and goals are very much the same.

Yet, to a different degree.

The great thing about a global approach is that it actually enables hyper- localisation by solving local problems, issues or opportunities at scale.

The World Economic Forum based in Geneva, Switzerland set up a Strategic Intelligence hub to provide insight into what is being worked on across the globe (click here).

It serves as a case in point to show what can be done both locally as well as globally provided people work together.

Operating on a larger, multi-lateral or global scale allows each person, region or country to let their traditions, cultures and belief systems flourish.

But without the same old day-to-day issues due to a robust focus on shared Norms, Diversity and Inclusivity (click here).

Without claiming to be an expert, there are generally 5 policy solutions to get this world out of this (liquidity) trap:

  • Interest Rates to encourage investment, saving & lending
  • Price Fall to risk shopping now rather than later
  • Fiscal Policy to underwrite job creation efforts
  • Financial Innovation to create new markets
  • Global Re-balancing to open up trade

It is up to government leaders and central banks to appropriately focus on these 5 policies and, more importantly, articulate a coherent, clear and effective strategy to accelerate us all out of this predicament (click here).

We cannot be held captive in this transit, forever.

Universal solutions are required that cater for choice.

Before commenting further on some of these 5 policies, it is imperative for Smart (City) Infrastructure to be put in place immediately to create, more broadly, a platform for success.

Smart Infrastructure, or ‘Below Building’, can be defined as, the basic system, framework or network that undergird the operations of a city, region or country to make development possible.

This allows next generation solutions such as 6G, Wi-Fi 6 or Wireless Mesh Networks to prosper.

Wireless charging of batteries using Wi-Fi, Now-Casting and Spatial Computing are just a handful of ideas that could materialise faster this way.

These technological tool sets enable us to better communicate with others so people can ‘see’ what we mean to build up mutual understanding.

As part of this infrastructure revival effort, governments must support Open Radio Access Networks (Ran) policy to open up mobile internet networks to multiple vendors by encouraging hardware to be de-coupled from software components.

People, regions or countries must be able to switch providers at a click of a button in case of persistent breakdowns, malintent or cybersecurity concerns.

The X-road is a different kind of smart solution (click here) to streamline data exchanges between organisations, within countries and across national boundaries too.

Better security is needed to protect an increasingly mobile world.

This X-road system has already been implemented in Finland, Kyrgyzstan, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Japan and other places.

A Global Data Protection Regulation is a must here, preferably certifiable by an independent external party (click here).

An Ask-Before-You-Take type policy.

Safeguarded by privacy layers to protect individual freedoms.

With Smart Infrastructure in place, governing bodies can generate real time insights to predict, manage and react to events as they happen on an unimaginable scale.

Better functioning states.

An increased policy focus on technological advances such as Smart Infrastructure initiatives also means that the 15-minute city, village or community becomes embedded into our daily lives.

New ways of shopping, working and living demand a Hub & Spoke model to be used for collaborative work spaces (or offices) to efficiently solve the distributed worker ‘problem’ leveraging the already existing formula for the travelling salesperson problem.

Activity Based Working (ABW) enabled by Spatial Computing, Design and Mindset.

Quality time in office, not quantity (click here).

Regenerative transport, (commercial) property and other policies make this vision a reality.

Having sketched the general idea here, it is time to comment on the last 3 of the bullets points mentioned earlier.

To start with the last bullet point, governments must Open Up trade supported by Digital Trade Agreements to align sustainable policy with (new) economies in real time.

This approach allows governments to be ‘Trade Ready’ to avoid new sectors such as e-commerce being neglected for decades.

To share a practical example of how old and new economies can work in tandem, one global postal network to deliver packages, mail or other precious goods such as handwritten letters, irrespective of the conditions, is essential to the smooth operation of e-commerce.

Digital Trade Agreements supported by technologies such as Blockchain means that trade records are immutable, secure and confidential to enable Smart Contract settlement leveraging Digital Currencies.  

With the help of Artificial Intelligence, cross-border checks & controls are easier to complete by cross-referencing transparent electronic records versus the goods, products or other things transported.

Based on Digital Identification, tax authorities can now pro-actively produce an electronic invoice, subject to verification, to outline what is owed based on facilities used, income produced or profits generated to make sure tax becomes less taxing.

And regulatory bodies are better equipped with analytical tools, data and information for scenario modelling purposes to anticipate change in policies, procedures or protocols (click here).

As a result of Digital Trade Agreements, the transparency of supply chain networks improves so that those with the appropriate access are able to see, track and trace the respective goods or services (eg medicine) right from the start, beginning with the suppliers, through to the manufacturing process itself, via the logistics of warehousing and distribution, until they reach us, the end consumer.

Using unique electronic identifiers.

The key to make this all Future Proof is for governments to develop policies to ensure new solutions are backwardly compatible to encourage interoperability i.e modular thinking.

Now let’s comment on the last two points that touch on Fiscal Policy (point 3) and Financial Innovation (point 4).

In terms of Fiscal Policy, the target must be to converge towards ‘Tax Neutrality’ leveraging a Tax Efficiency Index to stop tax from being a major factor in commercial decision-making.

Economic merit must be the principle driver.

One of the other benefits of Digital Trade Agreements is that they facilitate Source Based Taxation.

Source Based Taxation gives the country that provides the opportunity to generate income or profits the right to tax it.

Technology knows no boundaries, global governance must keep pace.

Governments must be legally obliged to disclose ‘Return on Taxation’ figures to provide the public with insight into the efficiency of central allocation of funds.

This to increase confidence.

In terms of policy point 4, Financial Innovation, there are many exciting new developments in relation to the Green, Blue and Space economies.

These economies must get supported, properly.

One of the recent highlights here is that a large number of banks have signed up to the Responsible Banking Principles.

These principles align with the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at large.

The entire financial sector and others must be encouraged to sign up to similar principles.

There are also ideas around Virtual Carbon Credits to offset premium prices associated with sustainable solutions.

This concept is much like the ‘bonus reward’ programmes already used within retail shops (B2C) to encourage us to try new things based on our preferences but then applied to Business to Business (B2B) to incentivise ‘zero emissions’.

Unlike bonus points, the ‘credits’ within B2B are used instead to stimulate heavy industries such as aviation, transport or shipping to finance green energy.

And there is an opportunity for governments to step in to create public-private partnerships to support this global race to ‘zero emissions’.

Similar to healthy content signalling to favour choice, there are also thoughts around product packaging to comprise eco-friendly labels including, for example, an emission index to clearly display the environmental cost of production.

Industry adherence to global Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) standards benefits us all.

These type of models promote self-governance within an industry but also reduce pressure on country specific policies.

Why keep fighting the environment if we can work with it.

Despite these novel ideas, there are still valid concerns around the potential for ‘Green, Blue or Social Washing’ practices.

The Credit Derivatives’ market, probably the most streamlined end-to-end process for Over-The-Counter financial products, represents an ideal market for organisations to insure themselves against these fraudulent activities.

If the debt instrument does not adhere to Green, Blue or Social credentials, the bond holders get whatever is owed returned to them to compensate for any fall in prices.

All steps to further promote Ethical Finance on a global scale (click here).

Weather derivatives are already used by organisations to mitigate the risks associated with adverse or unexpected weather conditions.

Of which the likelihood is set to increase.

A Green Economy leverages the environment but it must also (financially) hedge itself through diversified usage of natural, sustainable and renewable energy sources.

To share a couple of wins, the latest G20 agreement on guiding principles for Artificial Intelligence is an excellent example of governments working in partnership to make things happen.

In addition, the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) is due to shift to a new benchmark rate.

There are likely more instances where protocols to set industry benchmark rates need to be under deeper scrutiny.

A different idea for Financial Innovation centres around the fact that ‘Frontier Status’ means that Belt & Road countries cannot use the existing MSCI Emerging Market index to fund their (Smart) infrastructure projects.

Introducing a ‘Frontier Status’ means that countries can replace their financial debt risk with equity investments to help meet the ESG standards mentioned earlier.

This sounds like a sensible approach.

And financial stocks to invest in Space, or other Frontier economies such as Smart Infrastructure, can then be re-packaged into Exchange Traded Funds for investors to gain exposure to, support or potentially profit from inspiring new developments.

To extend on the theme of Financial Innovation, there are also many impressive developments happening in the Decentralised Finance (DeFi) space to help remove barriers to Financial Inclusion.

DeFi uses Smart Contracts that run on Blockchain Technology to not only realise automated decision-making but also to demonstrate to the mainstream financial industry what is generally feasible in this area.

De-Fi and mainstream finance ought to combine forces to produce complementary business models to holistically address the problem of financial inclusion using commercially viable frameworks.

Strategic partnerships in action with a wider (social) impact.

These kind of solutions make finance more accessible to everyone whilst creating a bridge between Crypto (eg Bitcoin) and regular Fiat currencies too (eg USD, EUR).

A general note of caution is that Ethical Frameworks around autonomous decision making, including Artificial Intelligence, may not be enough.

Transparent reporting is required too.

In light of these digital developments, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) must be on the near term horizon with a World Wide Currency a realistic possibility.

A different form of finance called Blended Finance exists to plug mobile internet Connectivity, Coverage and Usage gaps in each country to fully support Electronic Payment flows.

Policies on Biometrics, Cybersecurity and Anti-Money Laundering must get reviewed to protect (Digital) Identities too.

(Digital) misinformation is the new weapon of mass destruction.

On this slightly separate policy point, it is of paramount importance that Information Infrastructures are transformed end-to-end to better structure, streamline & scale the availability, accessibility & completeness of information (click here).

The Internet of Everything must be for Everyone.

For this reason, the internet must implement a Dewey Decimal System to better Arrange, Catalogue and Index the internet.

A Digital Environment that is welcome to all age groups.

The diagram above from 2018 shows that Information Technology (IT) as a commodity was perhaps valued differently to Finance despite the fact that technology has an equally, if not bigger, more varied and at times pervasive impact on our lives.

There must be opportunities to converge policies globally across industries to enhance consistency, transparency and efficiency.

To briefly expand on the topic of the value of information, technology firms must update their Search Engine logic to become Smart Intelligence Collectors to ensure the Novelty Factor drives search results rather than anything else.

Real news must be the norm supported by a Wikipedia type community to secure quality control checks.

Technology must remain synonymous with progress.

On a related note, the education sector among other sectors such as healthcare has much to gain from technology’s power to boost accessibility.

One example is Online Learning Platforms with fully integrated Digital Lesson Plans for different generations to keep pace with the Future World of Work.

The Internet, as an online library source, shifts the onus from knowledge retention to Search, Discover and Apply methodologies that are more instant, practical and relevant.

Yes, a Digital World does require regular upskilling.

Keep in mind that work has always been a life long apprenticeship model fusing real jobs with reinforcement learning practices.

So acquiring fresh, different or additional skills is nothing new per se.

This new Digital World may, nonetheless, sound a bit scary for some of us which makes it doubly important for governments to Think, Act and Operate in unison.

Each organisation, region or country must focus on policies to bridge the Digital Divide by upgrading our (digital) skill levels in a more structured fashion.

A Digital Quotient to keep track of this represents the answer.

This quotient is easily re-adjusted, using different headings, for organisations to size & seize the opportunity with respect to Smart Infrastructure and other roll outs too.

The Digital Economy provides companies, governments and other institutions with an excellent opportunity to clean things up in a consistent, transparent and scalable manner.

It is important to remember that new technologies have mostly amplified already existing issues i.e made them more visible.

An increased focus on the information sector may also lead to a new measure of progress to better capture the benefits created by the Digital Economy (eg GDP-B).

To summarise, every 50 years or so, business seems to enter a new era and this article highlights at best a fraction of possible ideas to kick start this new period.

Governments have a large to do list in front of them, not least to turn themselves into digital governments.

The results from 2019 depicted below were summarised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as ‘promising yet modest progress’.

Likewise, businesses have a lot of (digital) transformation work to do, and one of the main priorities must be to implement a Talent Pool & Optimal Reward Structure to accurately recognise, reward and celebrate people achievements (click here).

Remember a large to do list is a good thing given the focus must be on job creation to get the (global) economies going again.

The ideas shared are all very practical to comfortably create in excess of 1 billion jobs globally.

It is the following 5 policies that can get us out of this (liquidity) trap with a number of examples provided in this article to support the points made.

  • Interest Rates to encourage investment, saving & lending
  • Price Fall to risk shopping now rather than later
  • Fiscal Policy to underwrite job creation efforts
  • Financial Innovation to create new markets
  • Global Re-balancing to open up trade

We must put more trust in each other to work together on this, with a suitable amount of vigilance, because public dreams cannot be build on suspicious minds.

This new direction of travel is absolutely vital, supported by timely, relevant and perfect information as much as possible to develop mutual trust.

The purpose of this global now cast is to rally support for government leaders to meet this pivotal moment.

And focus on the points outlined in this message.

Here is to luck that the right people receive this cast.

Humanity deserves a global response (click here).

A global now has arrived for us all to move on in the same direction.

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