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Top Three Concerns for 2012

January 11, 2012

The New Year is a traditional time for looking forward.  I am part of the Economist Intelligence Unit Opinion Leaders Panel, and we have been comparing notes on the top 3 concerns for 2012 as seen by members.

As might be expected many issues were raised, with many people focusing on the eurozone debt and its consequences for firms, governments and individuals, and the inability of governments globally to tackle long term factors.

Others highlighted protectionism in the developed countries and low growth in some small countries, and the conflict they saw between economic models and creating sustainable enterprises; or focused on China, speculating on a break up along cultural or ethnic lines.

But most of the comments related to three bundles of concerns, which we also used as the basis of the report for Long Finance, “In Safe Hands? The future of financial services”.  These are all long term trends that are having an effect now.

  1.  The global population will grow to more than 9 billion and get older.  Most of the additional people will be in Africa and Asia. This will cause major shifts of economic power, causing turbulence as shifts follow.  The current strains in the eurozone are an indicator of this.  The new centres of power may not share the Washington consensus, leading to clashes of ideologies supported by nuclear capability.  The world will diverge into haves and have not’s.
  2. Technology developments – info, cogno, bio, nano – will accelerate and introduce changes in personal capacity and lifestyles which governments are ill-equipped to handle.  Cyber security is one aspect of this, increased lifespans is another.  The global reach of information has a power not yet realised.
  3. Ecological, energy and environmental limits will be tested or breached as the population increases, the percentage of people living in cities approaches 70%, and the new middle class eats meat, uses cars, refrigerators and electronic goods, and travels for pleasure.  Limited global resources are leading to food price increases: reckless use is leading to pollution.

If you would like an invitation to the launch of “In Safe Hands” to be held at Barnards Inn, Holborn, London on 25th January from 9:30 to 12:00, please email us at

Written by Gill Ringland, Chief Executive and Director at SAMI Consulting

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