Engulfed in the digital age and almost abducted by the technological maelstrom, we should stop to reflect on what issues related to the economy and business may remain more or less unchanged in the long term (40 or 50 years), no matter how much the markets evolve, how much robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence instill themselves in our lives, or how much geopolitics and globalization or “deglobalization,” affect and disrupt foreign trade.
Below you’ll find five proposals or opinions. They are being posted so that everyone feels free to refute or qualify them.
- The United States will continue to lead and dominate the international economy. Its companies will continue to be the firms of reference, despite the threatening strength of the Chinese economy. It’s in their DNA: the winner gene, the success gene, as occurs for example in the world of sports with famous athletes and clubs. Zeal for constant competition and innovation are key. With few exceptions, Chinese firms and firms in other parts of the world generally suffer from a lack of this spirit, and the American style that allows them to always position their brands at the top of the world’s rankings as the most valuable and with the highest market capitalization.
- Traditional brands will remain at the pinnacle of success. Firms of reference in industries such as technology, auto, fashion, commercial distribution, and even banking. It will be more and more difficult for global brands to disappear, because those in existence today, many of which have been around for over 100 years, have shown the ability to adapt and survive in the face of crisis and their own strategic missteps, and they have been touched by the magic wand of reputation, notoriety, and emotional connection to their customers. They will maintain their position of dominance, which is in many cases monopolistic, even if they need to reinvent themselves several times and resort to mergers and acquisitions to do it. Who will be behind the ownership of these brands is another story.
- Luxury brands and premium products will continue to surge, no matter how much social parameters change. These assets and services linked to high purchasing power are invulnerable to any crisis and changes in customs and trends. They are not just consumed for the distinction they offer; they entail a vital experience linked to the personality of each customer in search of self-identification and realization. The luxury business will remain triumphant throughout this century.
- The tourism, leisure, and entertainment industries will continue to be a significant source of business. With the current model, tourism will continue to be key in the future, with decisive contributions to the wealth of many countries. In the face of technification, there will be an increase in the appreciation for authentic and traditional experiences. Contact with nature and cultural heritage are aspects inherent to the human condition. Live shows (concerts, sports, theater, etc.), with their inimitable components of excitement and improvisation, will never be able to be replaced by virtual simulations. Restaurants and bars will continue to be places where people meet up and have fun and their concepts will not change much regardless of how many years go by.
- Investment funds will continue to have major influence, as in the past. Their strategies will condition financial transactions, monetary systems, and market prices. They will be the main owners of the most relevant companies, which will give them the power and ability to thrive in the political realm.
To conclude, a quote from Lee Iacocca, the famous magnate and former CEO of Chrysler: “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits.” This also will remain unchanged in the future.