โดย รศ.ดร.สมชาย ภคภาสน์วิวัฒน์
สัปดาห์ ที่แล้ว ผู้เขียนมีโอกาสเป็น Keynote speaker ในงานสัมมนาเกี่ยวกับ Sustainable Development และในงานนี้ผู้เขียนได้นำเสนอบทความเกี่ยวกับ The Current Trend Towards the World’s Social and Economic Development บทความต่อไปนี้เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของ Presentation ที่ผู้เขียนได้เสนอในการประชุมดังกล่าว
UN World Commission on Environment and Development Report entitled “Our Common Future” with a Norwegian
Gro Harlem Brundtland As Chairperson defined:-
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
In the past, development and conservation were considered “conflicting ideas”. Conservation was understood to be the protection of resources whereas development was the exploitation of them.
Out of this conflict, the concept of sustainable development emerged as a compromise between these two notions which came to be seen as interdependent. The Bruntland Report focused on redefining the relationship between the environment and development:
“The environment is where we live and development is what we all do in attempting to Improve our lot within that abode. The two are inseparable”
The Bruntland Report noted that it is possible to achieve social equity, economic growth and environmental health at the same time.”
In doing so, it highlighted by the three fundamental components of sustainable development:- the environment, the economy and society , which later became known as “the three pillars of sustainable development” or “the triple bottom line.”
1992 Earth Summit, also known as the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro.From the historic summit came the action plan dubbed Agenda 2.0 which 178 nations pledged their support. That conference also resulted in the “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development” which set down 27 principles that served as a guideline for SD 2.0
SD 2.0 was characterized by collaborative approach between government agencies, NGO and other public and private partnership.
While SD 2.0 was mostly a period in which sustainable development gained traction within institutions, SD 3.0 is when a truly integrative approach, which embraces the interdependence of economic, social and environmental factors, has begun to take root. This integration is taking place through collaborations between public, private and community sectors.
The private sector participation can be traced back to the pledges companies began to make at the start of the new millennium, when world leaders came together at UN Headquarters in N.Y to adopt the UN a Millennium Declaration (Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for the year of 2001 – 2015.
During the Millennium Summit of the UN in 2000, all 189 member states pledged to realize these goals by 2015. Thailand has achieved all the objectives.
The MDGs laid the groundwork for the much more comprehensive “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets.
South Korea adopted the concept of “green growth” in which an economy shifts from typical industrial methods of production toward a more sustainable use of its natural capital. Its National Strategy for Green Growth (2009-2050) aims to promote the eco-friendly new growth engines, enhance people’ s quality of life and contribute to international community efforts to fight climate change.
The private sector has embraced the benefits of integrating sustainability into their business models, budgets, practices and their value chains through the concept of creating shared value (CSV). This approach is based on increased stakeholders recognition and collaboration between producers, suppliers and consumers.
Starbucks Global Responsibility Report Goals and Progress 2004 illustrated its penchant for ethical sourcing. Across all business sectors, accountability is on the increase as firms realize the benefits of promoting sustainable development.
Integrating sustainability directly into their operations through sustainable management is also seen as an opportunity for resource efficiency and cost reduction and creating consumer goodwill. Marketing is certainly a motivator.
Sustainability has been big business:- clean energy projects, eco-cars, greening of government procurement, processes and the building of mass transit lines to reduce CO2 emissions.
Sometimes, the following shorthand is used: SDGs call for socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth.
In the ethical or normative sense, sustainable development calls for a world in which economic progress is widespread, extreme poverty is eliminated, social trust is encouraged through policies that strengthen the community; and the environment is protected from human induced degradation.
To achieve economic, social and environmental objectives of SDGs, a fourth objective must also be realized:- good governance. Among the core functions of government are:-
- the provision of social services such as health care and the education
– the provision of infrastructure
– the protection of individuals from crime and violence
– the promotion of basic science and new technologies
- the implementation of regulations to protect environment.
Thus, the normative side of sustainable development envisions four basic objectives of good society:-
- economic prosperity
- social inclusion and cohesion
- environmental sustainability
- good governance by major social actors including government and business.
We are on the threshold of a new technological revolution, the so-called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which would fundamentally impact upon the way we are, both individually and socially.
While the Third Industrial Revolution was based upon electronics and information technology and automated production, the Fourth will build upon digital revolution and lead into a fusion of technologies blurring the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is evolving, not linear pace characterized by the Third, at an exponential speed. It will disrupt the entire systems of production, management and governance.
The current mobile devices will, in the future, be multiplied by new breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicle, 3 D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, material science, energy storage and quantum computer.
Like the previous revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while helps increase global income levels and improve the quality of life for the world population, would, at the same time, yield greater inequality and disrupt labor markets.
Technological innovation will enhance efficiency and productivity, but, at the same time, cause labor disruption as automation substitutes for labor across the value chain. As a result, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor.
In the future, talent, not the capital, will represent the critical factor of production. Job market will be segregated into “low skill/low pay” and “high skill/high pay” segments, thus raising the social tensions. As a result, inequality will represent the greatest social concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The current trend towards the future will be characterized by increasing demand for high skilled workers at the expense of lower demand for low skilled workers. This helps explain why both the workers and middle classes are disillusioned and fearful of their future. It helps explain why these people have increasingly a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction and unfairness. Zero sum game situation, which offers only limited access to the workers and middle class is a recipe for democratic malaise and dereliction.
The discontent is also fueled by the pervasiveness of digital technologies and the dynamics of information sharing typified by social media. This could create a false sense of expectations as to what constitutes success for an individual or a group, and also offer opportunities for extreme ideas and ideologies to spread.
The government will encounter rising pressure to change their style and substance of governance. Their central role of conducting policy diminishes due to new sources of competition, the redistribution and decentralization of power that new technologies render possible.
The government’s survival will depend on their capability to adapt in line with the changing environment. If they could address the disruptive change, subjecting their structures to the levels of transparency and efficiency, enabling them to maintain the competitive edge, they will survive.
The old paradigm of top-down governance will no longer hold. They have to adopt the so-called “agile” governance. This means the authorities have to continuously adjust to the fast changing environment and resort to reinventing. In so doing, the government will have to work closely with the business sector and civil society.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will also impact the global security with the changing nature of both domestic and international conflicts. As the new technologies which enable autonomous and biological weapons become easier to use, individuals and small groups could join hands along side with the traditional state-actors in causing damage, the scale unimaginable in the past.
The technologies that underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution would certainly impact the business in a considerable scale. New technologies that create new ways of satisfying the existing needs could significantly disrupt existing industries and services. There will also be a major shift on the demand side as there is growing need for transparency and new customer engagement.
In a nutshell, the business will be affected in four ways by the Fourth Industrial Revolution:- customer expectation, product enhancement, collaborative innovations and organization structures.
In the overall picture, the shift from simple digitization of the Third Industrial Revolution would give way to innovation based on combinations of technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As a consequence, businesses have to rethinking the way they do the businesses with a new mode of mindset, process and structures.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change our identity:- our privacy, consumption behavior, ownership, our career and so on. It would lead to both “quantified-self and augmented self”. It could diminish our human character such as compassion and cooperation. It could also affect our heart and soul. Human society could become robotized. What we need is humanize our future of human society.
In so doing, we should develop a comprehensive understanding of how technologies affecting us and reshape our economic, social, cultural and ethical including physical environment. In a nutshell, we should shape the future that works for our society by empowering our individual and social self for the service of mankind.