Just over 12 years ago, I sat on the sofa outside my office in Infosys, and explained to Tom Friedman about how the playing field was getting levelled through technology. This inspired him to write ‘The World is Flat,’ an international bestseller that sold millions of copies and captured the zeitgeist of the era.
It was an era where technology and political change brought everyone closer. The Dissolution of the Soviet Union in Dec, 1995 was presaged by the fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of Nov, 1989. And, the Berlin Wall incident was set in motion by the invasion of the communist Grenada in Oct, 1983. Grenada’s regime change marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. The design of the containerized ‘box’ laid the foundation for global trade in goods and the massive investment in telecommunication capacity and undersea cables as part of the ’dotcom’ boom and bust, laid the foundation for global trade in services.
In this context, last Friday’s Brexit is a momentous development. It marks the turning point in the Wests’ 35 years of globalization. It is truly a ‘Grenada’ moment, but in the opposite direction.
Over the next few years, the West will slowly turn back on immigration, outsourcing and economic integration. This will have major consequences for everybody in the world. India will have to focus on its own domestic market and not on exports. Automation and Chinese overcapacity will hit manufacturing, and growth will come in services. Employment and entrepreneurship will happen through platforms that aggregate – farmers, retailers, truckers and vendors. This will result in the formalization of the economy in a big way, as finally the benefit of being in the system thanks to affordable and reliable credit will be higher than staying out. India has the potential of many years of high growth as millions of Indians join the organized society. India Stack will be a key enabler for this to happen!
We have been thinking a lot about this scenario at iSPIRT. This presentation (pasted below) captures our view of such a future. Hope you enjoy it!
You can also catch my talk on the future of India in the age of technological disruption at Think Next 2016 in Bangalore (video pasted below the presentation here).