Not only do we need to individually achieve these objectives; we need to partner together. We’ve seen that in the US, where businesses have partnered with local governments and universities to build innovation hubs that create jobs, train workers and drive growth. We’ve seen it in Germany, where business and government work together to ensure apprenticeships offer a path to prosperity.
That’s why I personally — along with many of my CEO colleagues — serve on boards and government advisory committees around the world, working to offer counsel to governments as they work to attract investment and propel economic growth. I’ve learned that to do any of that work, you need a baseline of trust. Without it, success is nearly impossible.
Once the broader population sees and believes our joint commitment to achieve inclusive growth, trust will be restored.
Address the hard truths of disruption and job displacement
However, before we can regain the public’s trust, we also have to be honest about some hard truths of globalization and disruption.
The fact is, we’re not going back to the middle of the 20th century. The global economy is changing fast, and today’s businesses — large and small — rely on global supply chains and global markets. If business turns away from the global community, we’ll just get less efficiency and economic growth and an increased risk to global security. Instead, we need to find a way to keep trading and growing together.
At the same time, we should support those who are being left behind and that means acknowledging that some parts of our economy are never going to be the same. For example, the vast majority of lost manufacturing jobs will never return. More than 85% of recent job losses in America were not caused by outsourcing or trade, they were the result of technological innovations that made the manufacturing process more efficient. In fact, compared with three decades ago, today American manufacturers produce twice as much with only a third of the workforce.
This is why the movement toward inclusive growth is so important: in the past decade, the top 1% of earners have seen a disproportionate amount of wealth accumulation. That’s not sustainable. Since economic growth is largely driven by consumption, if we expanded income and opportunities to the broader population, we’d see far more robust global economic growth. It’s imperative that business and government work together to speed up the rate of inclusive growth and improve economic security for a broader population, even as the global economy continues to change.