The Great Inflection” by leading British economist Graeme Leach says this is a wrong moment in economic history to look at the future through the “rearview mirror”

ABU DHABI, April 15 – This is precisely the wrong moment in economic history to look at the future through the “rearview mirror” of secular stagnation, and Covid-19, a research paper published by TRENDS Research & Advisory, has claimed, exploring how technology can be the last great hope for surviving the far-reaching fallout of the pandemic.

The paper, by a leading British economist Graeme Leach, says the deep and pervasive malaise about the economic outlook has intensified in the wake of the current health crisis. However, the research argues that this is not the right time to look pessimistic.

The author believes that the world stands at the cusp of a profound economic change, as a result of a technology-led surge in productivity growth. This, Leach writes, might be called “The Great Inflection” of the 2020s and beyond.

“Covid-19 puts history on a fast track. The rapid adoption of new digital models of working, retailing, and learning could well accelerate the adoption of new digital business models and hasten an acceleration in productivity growth,” Leach writes in his paper.

But what lies behind this potential acceleration? A considerable part of the answer is 5G combined with AI, IoT, and Edge computing, the author, emphatically says.

“In contrast to Solow Redux’s arguments, this paper’s contrary view is that we should not have expected an upturn in productivity growth before now, but should from now on, in the mid-2020s onwards. The maturation, scale, and convergence of technologies such as AI, 5G, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, and 3D additive manufacturing throughout the 2020s are likely to be transformative for vast swathes of the world economy,” Leach explains.

The author’s contention is that advances in AI and 5G will begin to reverse cyber-slacking and attention deficit as they make us more personally and professionally efficient through our phones. “Technology will start to transform time use for individuals through personal digital assistants and organizations through the Internet of Things, e.g., predictive maintenance. Therefore, we can see that there are persuasive explanations as to why we shouldn’t have expected an upward inflection in productivity growth before now.”

But what about, from now on, beyond issues of lags, generational change, and attention deficits? This is the question the paper tries to answer in some detail. The author cites the Spanish Flu of 1918-19 which was followed by the ‘Roaring Twenties’ in the US, as impacts of electricity and the automobile transformed society.

That is great hope now, and one that is more likely to be realized as Generations X and Y move towards the C-suite, the author concludes, before warning that “we risk missing the Great Inflection if we persist in looking at the road ahead through the rearview mirror.”

Highlights for Social Media

  • The world stands at the cusp of a profound economic change due to a technology-led surge in productivity growth, @TrendsRA paper claims.
  • Technology can be the last great hope for surviving the fallout of Covid-19, a paper by @GraemeLeachEcon for @TrendsRA says.
  • AI & 5G will begin to reverse cyber-slacking, and attention deficit as they make us more personally and professionally efficient, writes @GraemeLeachEcon.
  • The rapid adoption of new digital models of working, retailing, and learning could accelerate the adoption of new digital business models and hasten an acceleration in productivity growth, claims @TrendsRA research paper.

About the Author

Graeme Leach is one of Britain’s leading economists and CEO and Chief Economist of Macronomics. Macronomics is a geopolitical and future megatrends research consultancy formed in 2016. Over the past decade, Graeme has delivered numerous speeches on the future economic outlook and economic policy in the UK and more than 25 countries worldwide.

About Us

 TRENDS Research & Advisory strives to present an insightful and informed view of global issues and challenges from a strategic perspective. Established in 2014 as an independent research center, TRENDS conducts specialized studies in international relations and political, economic, and social sciences. It undertakes rigorous analyses of current issues and global and regional developments, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Center analyses opportunities and challenges at various levels of the geopolitical spectrum. It evaluates scenarios and prospects to find scientific and objective answers and seeks to influence the decision-making process. TRENDS Research & Advisory aims to champion national and regional causes and build a strong network with research centers, organizations, and institutions worldwide. It also seeks to benefit from the expertise of international research and academic institutions.

20 April 2021