If we don't recognize that the unequal distribution of wealth is unsustainable, then, perhaps, says author David Rothkopf, more sinister political tensions and divisions will ensue. He advocates that the planet needs to reflect upon why we have one set of rules for our geographic community, and a different set of rules for institutions, among them the for-profit sector. Only when we hold the powerful players in economics responsible for contributing to the welfare of our community as we would a neighbor, says Rothkopf, will the interests of the globe at large become balanced.
Communities aren't defined the way they used to be. Throughout history, one of the big trends is the redefinition of the size of community. It has been started out. How far could you walk? How far away could you conduct business? It was a walk, and then it was a wagon trip and then it was a horse trip. And each time, the size of the entity got larger and larger. We're now within an arrow in which you can communicate instantly anywhere, anytime. Travel virtually instantly anywhere, anytime. Move anything anywhere, anytime. And that means that the definition of 'community' needs to change, but we haven't changed it. We all have a different set of rules for the communities in which we live compared to the community of the world at large. We have different expectations and we need to change that, and then we need to reflect that somehow institutionally and enterprises that can counter-balance without quashing the things that work in markets that motivate people to succeed. And the reason I'm worried about this particular problem is that if we don't recognize that inequality is unsustainable and we don't move forward in this regard, then other people are going to capitalize on it, the Chavez's, the Ahmadinejads, and the Putins and others. I mean, we had this wacky idea blessed in academia 10 years ago that we had arrived at the end of history, that we had solved all the big problems of the world. Even though the problem that had divided us for 200 years was, how do you get the equitable distribution of wealth in society? And we had thought that we had solved those problems. But, in fact, it's still dogging us. We haven't solved it And this is no reason to believe that we live in the only time in the history of the Earth that there will be one philosophy and another will not emerge as a competing alternative. And if one emerges as a competing alternative and we seem insensitive to these issues, it will gain strength. And if it gains strength and momentum and some people associated with this group, see it as in their interest to align themselves with that, we are going to have tensions and divisions in the world ahead that are unnecessary and unproductive and may, in fact, result in a substantial deviation from what your expectations are as far as your lives and futures and careers going forward.
David Rothkopf from Garten Rothkopf lectures on Entrepreneurship for Stanford University students, April 16, 2008. David Rothkopf is the President and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in emerging market investment and risk management services. A major focus of Garten Rothkopf's work is on new trends in Asia and Latin America, and the growth of alternative energy. In this Stanford lecture, he talks about european advances in green energy, t he 80/20 rule and the powerful alignment of interests.
- Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series
- Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner (ecorner)
Original Course Name: Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series