Topic: China rising in global business, politics, and foreign policy
How has a historic pandemic and a period of geopolitical shake-ups affected China’s position in global business, politics, and foreign policy? A cross-sectoral panel of experts will discuss how current events are shaping China’s trajectory and its relationship with the rest of the world.
- Co-Moderator - Sanjeev Khagram Ph.D. - Director General and Dean at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
- Anne-Marie Slaughter Ph.D. - Distinguished Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
- Doug Guthrie Ph.D. - Professor of Global Leadership and Director of China Initiatives at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
- Landry Signe Ph.D. - Professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
- Rebeca Hwang - Professor of Practice at Thunderbird and the Faculty Director for Thunderbird's new Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
When: August 27, 2020. 3PM-4PM EDT
Where: Newswise Live Zoom Room
Registration for media, as well as colleagues from participating Newswise member institutions
This live event will also be recorded and transcribed for use by media and communicators after it is concluded.
Thom: Welcome to today's Newswise live expert panel. How has a global pandemic and a period of geopolitical shakeups affected China's position among global businesses, politics and foreign policy? That's the topic for today's panel. We have a panel of experts from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University who are going to discuss these topics and how current events are shaping the trajectory of China and their relationship to the rest of the world. For media, please feel free to submit your questions throughout today's panel. We want to make sure that our panel is talking about things that are going to matter to you so that you can use them in your stories. You can chat those questions to us, and we will invite you if you'd like to go ahead and ask them live on the Zoom program or if not, we'll go ahead and just read the question for you. And you're welcome to use any portion of today's panel in anything that you're writing. We're also going to provide a recording and a video recording and a transcript of today's panel. So, if you registered for today's event, you're already on the list to get those materials once they're available. If you didn't register and you're just joining from clicking a link from an invite or something and you want to get that information, send us an email to [email protected] and we will make sure to get you all those materials once they're available. I want to introduce the panel and our moderator and then turn things over to Dean Khagram so he can start asking the questions. So, I'm going to start with Dean Khagram, and I'll spotlight his video. Sanjeev Khagram is the Director General and Dean at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and he'll be moderating today's panel. We also have Doug Guthrie, Professor of Global Leadership at the Thunderbird School of Global Management where he's also director of the China initiatives, and the Executive Director of Thunderbird Global. We also have Landry Signe, Professor and Senior Director at Thunderbird School of Global management and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. We have also Rebeca Hwang. She's Professor of Practice at Thunderbird and she's the Faculty Director for Thunderbird’s new center for family business and entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management. And last but not least, we have Anne-Marie Slaughter. She's distinguished Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and CEO at New America. Thank you all very much panelists for joining us. And with that, I will go ahead and turn it over to Dr. Khagram for questions. Go ahead, Dr. Khagram.
Sanjeev Khagram: Thank you so much, Thom. And thank you so much to Newswise, to you and to Jonathan for organizing this to our journalists that have joined in. First of all, we hope that everyone is healthy and safe in this complex pandemic that we are all living in. On behalf of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the number one ranked school for global leadership management business in the world and Arizona State University, the number one ranked University for innovation, we're delighted and honored to be part of this discussion. The focus certainly is about China and its emergence and rise and even continued acceleration as a global power, and perhaps the preeminent global power as a result, precipitated by the pandemic. But I want to frame it for our journalists to say that we want to take it a little bit broader than that. And really what we see this as is the contradictions of a world in which after three or five decades of globalism and globalization, the world has retreated to a series of nationalisms all over the world, and borders and boundaries have sort of re-ascended on the geopolitical and economic landscape; that the rise of China, the role of China in the world, China and the United States is a part of this broader dynamic and in particular, complementary to that is the rise of what we call the fourth industrial revolution. The rise of new technologies AI, the Internet of Things, distributed ledger and so forth, that are fundamentally transforming everything we do – who we are as human beings, the business world, geopolitics and the rest. So, with that, I'm going to go first to Professor Guthrie and we'll start with China in particular. What's your view, Professor Guthrie on the role of ascendancy of China for a globalization 4.0, and particularly given what's happened with the recent pandemic or the current pandemic, and their ambitions with the Belt and Road initiative?
Doug Guthrie: Yeah, so Dean Khagram, it's a great question. And let me just divide it up into three parts. The first is, you know, everybody knows very well the story of China's ascendancy through the 1980s and 1990s – export led economy and investment led growth attracting foreign capital. That story is well known. The part that's really interesting to the story about the fourth industrial revolution has to do with the rise of Chinese high-tech companies in the 2000s, and the ways in which these high-tech companies have become very intricately tied to the government. So, when we talk about the Alibaba and Tencent of the world, and people of course know those stories of what's happening with TikTok. These are not just stories that are about some high-tech companies that have grown big and been powerful. These are high tech companies that have really helped the Chinese government with the fourth industrial revolution around things like AI and high-tech development and ultimately, the sort of dividing of the world, which I'm going to talk about in one second. The second thing that's really important here is just thinking through how China's ascendancy has both been helpful to but also a threat to the world. And so, it's been this really interesting tension to watch. I've been in my career one of the biggest advocates of what China's economic reforms were doing in the 90s and 2000s. But things have, of course, gotten more tense. And we need to really think carefully about that. And so that brings me to the third question that you raised, which is the Belt and Road initiative. BRI is, I like to refer to it as China's Marshall Plan. So, this goes back to a playbook that the United States developed in post-World War Two era, like how do you actually build business in order to build connections and break down borders? And this is, of course, as you know, Dean Khagram, this is one of the things that Thunderbird is really built on, is this very notion and idea. And so, it's very interesting in my mind to watch China and what it's doing with the Belt and Road initiative. A lot of people I think who observed BRI think it's just, you know, China aggressively kind of building in places like Southeast Asia and Africa. But what China is actually doing is building allies and markets. And they're doing it aggressively and companies like Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba, all of those companies that you would think of as being part of the fourth industrial revolution, 5G, Alipay, games – like all of these things are very, very closely tied to what China's plans are in terms of building up the world and what in China, they call south-south relations. So today, China is really seeing it not as much of a leader of the developed world, but as a leader of the global south. And so, I just think it's a really interesting moment because you see this really aggressive movement on AI and high tech and everything that's going on, but you also see the dividing of the world into and that concerns me a little bit. And so, I think these are good topics to talk about. Thank you.
Sanjeev Khagram: Thank you, Professor Guthrie. Now, Thunderbird was founded almost 25 years ago on the heels of World War Two by Thunderbird Air Force pilots, and many of the leaders and managers of the Marshall Plan that you spoke of came from Thunderbird. It was the rise of the United States. Professor Slaughter – to really, as it’s ascendancy as a global leader, today many people think of the pandemic as the World War Two of the 21st century. Bill Gates said that in terms of its impact, and that now, in fact, it may be the pivotal moment for China's rise to leadership fully in terms of not only the global economy, but international institutions. What can the United States do in this world that it's struggling it to be totally frank in terms of ensuring its leadership? Professor Slaughter? Are you muted?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Yes, as I said, the OECD word of this year will definitely be “you're on mute”. So, I want to start just by agreeing with Doug about the ability of China to be on the key dividing line between east and west and north and south. That's really important because China has the ability to say, “I'm about to be the biggest economy in the world, I've got to be at every table, right. I want a G2.” And it's also got the ability which it pulls out whenever anybody asks it for money to say, “Nope, we're a developing country. Let's look at our per capita GDP that puts them still in a middle-income country, but just.” So that's a really unusual ability to play – the United States could never say we are of the developing world, as well as of the developed world, and again, that means they bestride the east west divide and the north south divide. What can the United States do? Well, a lot because as I'll say in a minute, things are not all rosy for China, but the United States has to want to be a global leader? And that is not what the current administration wants in the sense of reaching out to other countries, building alliances, building relationships. If Belt and Road is China's Marshall Plan, United States is rejecting the whole idea of a Marshall Plan. The United States is America first, which often means America alone, and it definitely means bare knuckles, zero-sum politics with other great powers. What we should be doing is marshaling – no pun intended – but marshalling the resources and the allies of not only other countries around the world, but of our own corporations which are not married to the state in the same way, of our civic groups, of our universities, of all the wealth of open society to focus on global problems. So here we are in this pandemic. The United States should be out there working with other governments, working with the international organizations, working with its allies, but also, of course, scientists and CEOs and philanthropists like Bill Gates and many others, and civic groups to say, “this is something that imperils all of us”. The United States doesn't see the world in terms of zero-sum politics, where it's us versus China or us versus Russia. The United States sees the world in terms of the well-being of all human beings. And of course, governments are critically important, but governments exist to help their citizens flourish. That is our vision of what government does. And so, we are going to be at the center of global coalitions to work on the pandemic, climate change and of course with climate change comes food insecurity and water insecurity and energy issues and extreme weather. So, increased disasters as we are looking at right now. It would be a very different vision if the United States could say, Hey, we have an open society and we are tapping the resources of open societies all over the world to focus on global problems. That would put China suddenly in a highly transactional – we're making deals with lots of countries around the world but we're asking for, you know, those countries are going to pay a price for a lot of what they're asking for.
Sanjeev Khagram: Can I just follow up with one thing, Professor Slaughter, that is, our great mentor and friend, Joe Nye, you know, did the great book and version of soft power. And then it was really America’s soft power that made it different from previous sort of global leaders. Have we lost that soft power in the world today?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Yes. I mean, to the extent, the soft power is the power of attraction rather than the power of coercion. And as Joe Nye wrote it, he said, “Look, our soft power comes from people who emulate Hollywood, people who love American music, people who love the vision of life in America, the American dream, people who want to come to America or be like America. And there are still plenty of people who would come to this country if they could, and there are still plenty of people who would like to emulate Netflix or Apple or the many cultural assets we have.” But I have to say that I think, in the first place, the rest of the world is looking at spectacular dysfunction, right. They may see Trump but they also just see COVID out of control, particularly in comparison to our peer countries. They also see Black, you know, they see Racism, they see incredible division, they see leading Americans calling each other the worst kinds of names on our platforms. So, I think even though we still have much to admire, we are not putting our best face forward to the world. Quite the contrary, we're putting a face forward that I never imagined in my lifetime. And that absolutely means we have far less power of attraction.
Sanjeev Khagram: Can I go over to Professor Signe? Nowhere perhaps is this, perhaps a competition if not conflict, for ascendancy greater happening between China and the United States than in Africa? Over the last 2030 years it has in fact, even though most US citizens and perhaps ordinary citizens around the world haven't seen it, certainly Africans have been very much in this game in some sense between the United States and China. What's happening in Africa, that's exciting. There are many exciting things happening. And how is Africa dealing with this new reality of China and the United States in this world of the fourth industrial revolution and a pandemic, on top of that.
Landry Signe: Fabulous. Thank you, Dean Khagram. So perhaps, let me – first, I'll discuss the points related to soft power. If I look at it from an African perspective, the perception of China, according to afro barometer, so which is the citizens perception in Africa, of the -so the position of China is the second after the United States. When a question is asked to African, which continent do you believe has the right development model? We first have the United States, and then we have China. So, this is something that we overlook. So, despite the fact that the United States is losing ground, the United States remain an important and key player. Now turning to the question related to the improvement in Africa and the relation between Africa and the rest of the world, competition between China, the United States, European countries, I want to highlight in my book that I released in April this year 2020, unlocking Africa business potential. I clearly identify many of the key trends for which – that competition is relevant. First, we have the combined consumer and business spending in Africa by 2030, will be about 6.7 trillion US dollar. You can clearly see that Africa was initially perceived as a hopeless continent, but it's now considered as the rising one with many of the biggest opportunities and offering also one of the highest returns on investment. Many of the world's fastest growing economies are located in Africa. And as a new recession, Chinese export to Africa went from almost nothing in three decades ago to over 10 billion dollars. China is heavily present on the continent one. It’s the first partner of most African countries. We have a forum on China Africa co-operation, we've got investment commitment or a broader financial package commitment inclusive of investment of over $60 billion. We have the growth of export and import. China is, for example, the first export partner of countries such as South Sudan, such as Angola, amount orders, strong trade partner lending standards and important lend or especially when we speak about transport, power, mining, infrastructure. And it's the largest source of bilateral loans, accounting for about 14% of stock of trade of total debt. So those are critical elements which are sometimes overlooked. And if we add also to these the fact that in – we have the centers with that soft power, many Africans learning the language, and they are also ascending their student who will start to learn in China. This has definitively contributed to make China an important partner. I was engaging with a few African presidents, and many of them say, as long as they're providing resources, it is fine for us whether it's the United States or China, and the ability to disburse for China is encourage ably fast compared to what the US corporation can definitively do. Of course, we also have some challenges related to quality, related to the ability to really partner locally among others, but definitely many Africans consider China as a strong partner despite the challenges we have seen during COVID-19. How on one hand, the Chinese have supported African donating kits for tests among other mask, but on the other hand, African based in China have had the perception that they were not necessarily well treated and official communication were provided by the African Union and many African leaders to ask for a better treatment for the African citizen. And I'll be happy to extend on the fourth industrial revolution but probably later.
Sanjeev Khagram: Okay, wonderful. I'm going to go over to Professor Hwang. Entrepreneurship and innovation has been one of the United States greatest assets and strengths. Silicon Valley is one of those not only soft powers but hard powers that has made the United States great. Has the rise of China and its entrepreneurial ecosystem, TikTok and all the rest, now supplanted or will it supplant Silicon Valley in the United States? What's happening in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation in the world today in particularly with respect to the United States and China?
Rebeca Hwang: Yes, thank you. Hi, everyone. Overall, entrepreneurship is still flourishing in the midst of the pandemic and the crisis. And as you said, Silicon Valley has been the Mecca for many years. All roads go to Rome and all roads in entrepreneurship go to Silicon Valley, and the reason is that we still have a very important presence when it comes to who are the agents, who are the gatekeepers for providing the capital for many of the startups – a steal out of the hundred $30 billion that are deployed in the VC space in the US. Silicon Valley, together with the lay, basically took up half of that money. So, we have a strong level of activity. But I have to say that in the last half a decade, there has been an increasing level of exodus of the most talented people out of Silicon Valley. First LA, Colorado, Texas, Austin, but then increasingly so outside of the US, going to Latin America, there are really strong centers just in Mexico, we want to hire Mexico, a lot of engineers moving to Santiago, when outsiders in Europe, you have places like Copenhagen that gave birth to unity, which is IPOing this very week and a country with 5 million people with multiple cases of unicorns. And then in Asia we have, for example, South Korea is absolutely in a moment of growth when it comes to technology and startups. We have 10 unicorns there that came out in the last few weeks, but also, they have been exporting beyond technology - culture. And that's something that's really interesting to observe the culture that our generation Z is consuming all over the world, does not come from California anymore. You have K-pop stars that are more famous around the world than some of the most well-known celebrities in California. And that tells you something that a relatively small country like Korea with 50 million people is exporting Baby Shark but also has one of the biggest names in entertainment and also the gaming industry, is showing a shift in power and influence in these markets by other players and other countries. Specifically, right now, there is the huge problem of talent that we have in the US. Some of it is amplified by the fact that getting into the country right now is very difficult. Even if you have the proper visas now, a lot of international talent is no longer able to come to work from the US, even with the right paperwork. So, they're starting their hubs in their home countries, on hometowns. And that has a couple of effects. One, now people realize you don't have to be in Silicon Valley to work and create great technology. So, there's a shift in thinking that you could be working out of Africa or Southeast Asia and still create really great quality work. The second thing that's happening is the transfer of know-how. Traditionally when you had this – excuse me – offices that were satellites, they're doing maybe low-tech work, quality control and assurance, customer service. Now it's development work at the very senior level. And those people are hiring locals and those locals are learning that tree. And they are starting their own companies, which now means that there will be a lot more deal flow coming out of places outside of the US, and especially in Asia, where places like China already have had their very strong share of talent and unicorns in the past. So, you know, if I had to predict the future, I think the future is going to look a lot more global when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Sanjeev Khagram: Could I ask you a specific question, Professor Hwang that has to do with something that's very much on the current day events? TikTok, Walmart joining Microsoft's bid for TikTok, you know, what does that signify or what does it suggest about what's happening very much along the lines of saying what's happening with tech and retail when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation globally?
Rebeca Hwang: Yes. That's a very interesting question because you think of Walmart as a brick and mortar store, but you would be surprised to hear that they have actually been investing a lot in corporate venture over the last few years. They have a very strong team that has recruited from Silicon Valley engineers to create accelerators and incubation of new startups within the Walmart’s corporate venture department. But also think about what has been emphasized with a pandemic, you know, those who had really strong digital presence, those who had e-commerce on the right, those who could reach consumers without physical stores are doing really well. For example, Amazon – those who couldn't figure it out, not so well and we have had a lot of closures of really large organizations as well. So overall, every company is realizing that without technology and innovation, they are unable to be resilient and face all the changes that right now we are forced to deal with in an accelerated fashion. On the other hand, TikTok represents the new generation of consumers. This is the Holy Grail for every technology company to have the attention of 15-16-17-20-year old’s. And if you get that, you have virality. So, for stores and retail, and even for more established technology companies like Microsoft, they have to be with brand that's recognized by Generation Z. And there's no better way than going where they hang out and TikTok happens to be very popular among that age demographic. So, it doesn't surprise me that they're uniting forces, the other player there Oracle, another very established technology company.
Sanjeev Khagram: Yeah. Let me come back to you, Professor Signe. And just to follow up on one specific piece of what's happening in Africa, which is the new African Free Trade Agreement and a brand-new institution. You know, as the world seems to be retreating here in the United States, but also elsewhere from free trade, Africa is actually advancing. Now we have the pandemic, which makes it more difficult to really advance the overall agreement. But nonetheless, there is this remarkable free trade agreement where people would have said, “No way, it would never happen in Africa.” Now Africa is the leader. What's happening that's driving this move forward in terms of free trade in Africa? You're muted as Professor Slaughter’s. There you are.
Landry Signe: Absolutely. Thank you. Africa is booking the isolationist trend with the African continental free trade area signed in 2018, ratified by a sufficient number of countries in 2019, and will be launched in 2021. So, for an agreement aiming at facilitating entropic on-trade and inclusive of when all the country will have completed out of 55 countries, this is an incredible speed of negotiation, of collaboration, and it is the largest free trade area since the creation of the world trade organization- so the largest new free trade area. So, it's extremely important for an African to realize that this collaboration mercantilism, our assets are not threatened. We can see that the US-China trade war, we have Brexit, among other factors - but I want to highlight that without collaboration, without merchant literalism, the continent would have been in an extremely bad shape with COVID-19. It’s through collaboration that they were able to say Q-testing kit to coordinate the action at the continental level to reduce the cost of transaction. And similarly, in terms of trade, the progress made, they have continued to have as exchange of essential products and services. So those are elements that I think is an area where Africa is teaching the rest of the world about the critical importance of trading with one and other versus of having a hostile reaction. So that is one point. And perhaps this will allow me, Dean Khagram, I also want to point out that when we look at the effect of the pandemic, we should not overlook the big picture. So, for example, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has published recently a book The Greater Set where we have a set number of elements, which really have redefined how the post COVID era will be which are inclusive of a battered economy with a declining wage. But we also have the inequality and a weakening social contract. So how will we see the democracies handling it compared to the other countries or emerging partners such as China, Russia, among others. We also have big but inefficient governments. So, now governments are investing drastically in the economy but it doesn't necessarily have the ability to handle and manage complexity, and address many of the elements related to agile governance to adopt those technologies and ensure that they will be serving the greater goal. We also have the bigger tech industries. Everyone was against, most people were against having giant tech industries, but now we have a convergence to the argument that they have played an important role in fighting against COVID-19. But on the other hand, we also have some implications on relation between the United States and the rest of the world. China, US, Russia, among others we have detected the coupling among other factors and the two last factors like those geo portico tensions, which are reinforcing what we like to call in globalization 4.0 the relatively analytical structure of global politics and the rise of stakeholder capitalism, where non-cooperation cannot be any more serving the shareholder. They have to be more inclusive of broader – considering others perspective in their decision-making process but also redistribution of profit. And for this agile governance is critical and managing complexity is critical. And I'm sure Anne-Marie will also speak extensively about those questions.
Sanjeev Khagram: Great. Thank you so much, Professor Signe. In fact, I'm going to come to Professor Slaughter in a second but I'm going to go back to Professor Guthrie for one question. Professor Guthrie, certainly here in the United States, ordinary citizens but all around the world, are sort of a little bit uncertain, unclear about how China was able to as being Pope, the birth of the pandemic and the virus, to be able to be basically going back to work and back to business that will most likely or potentially be likely the first country to have a vaccine that will potentially be, you know, made ubiquitous across China and, therefore, even more back to work. So, walk us through these very immediate dynamics in China that have a bigger impact on China and the United States, and China and the world.
Doug Guthrie: So, thank you, Dean Khagram. I'll just talk about two levels of this. One that is a little bit tied to politics and Professor Slaughter can chime in and talk about soft power or whatever; then the others talk about the fourth industrial revolution AI. So, you know, it's very clear in my view of just watching the United States but also deeply studying China and writing about the COVID-19 crisis as is played out in China that authoritarian governments have an advantage here – like you can shut cities down, like you can just decide. People aren't going anywhere; people are not leaving their houses and they are just staying where they are. And China may have been slow on the uptake of reporting what was going on and they may have had a lot of decentralized governments including officials in hand, who just didn't actually let people know what was happening but once they realized what was happening, they would quit. And I have a team in China that talks to me about this – every day we were on the phone, and they all live in Shanghai and they talk a lot about the fact that, “Yeah, we don't love the authoritarian nature of the government, but we love that it saved our lives. Like it's, it's okay.” So, there's an interesting thing. Now there is an interesting sort of link to the fourth industrial revolution issues here. So, we talked about it very briefly, and this is maybe going to link to what Professor Hwang talked about but also what Professor Signe had talked about in terms of mobile payments. So, here's my favorite statistic in China right now, is that in 2019, the United States had about $49 billion of mobile payments. Okay, so $49 billion transacted over phones. In China in the same year, the number was $13 trillion. Now that just seems startling because that seems impossible because that's the size of the Chinese economy, that's the point. There is no, you know, this is how things are transacting. And the reason this is related to your question, Dean Khagram, is because this gives companies like Alibaba and Tencent a tremendous amount of data. So, one of the reasons they were so effective in handling COVID-19 was because they had all the data. I have friends who would call me and say, “I just got somebody and these are Americans”, and some of my Chinese friends – they would say, “I just had somebody come to my door and they wanted to see my phone because 15 days ago, I was apparently on a subway car with somebody who has COVID-19 and they need to track everybody.” Now, that sounds very Orwellian and scary, but in a way that's how they've done it. So, I just think it's a really interesting moment where we confront these questions of the fourth industrial revolution and just how powerful these technologies are. In the US, we do have commitments to controlling privacy and that's great. We all live by those. But in China, they've been very aggressive. And it looks to us, in our analysis, like 80% of the manufacturing supply chain is up and running. So, it's an interesting time.
Sanjeev Khagram: I wanted to come over to Professor Slaughter that it seems like what we have here is a race to the vaccine between China on the one hand and the United States, to a certain extent Europe on the other hand. You know, post the financial or financial crisis, economic crisis 2008-2010, we had the rise of brand-new global institution G 20 – global cooperation. It was that that took us out and led to a 10-year bull market, right, where the world really grew. It seems the inverse here – we have a global pandemic and we have not a move towards global cooperation, for example, on a vaccine that would benefit the entire world and get it back to work. Why is that? How can we get beyond that? Because it seems to an ordinary citizen anywhere in the world, that the world's governments and corporations should be working collaboratively to get this vaccine therapies and so forth, to get us all back to normal, the new normal, whatever that might be.
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Well, I think and again the question is who is we or who is they? Because we look at the government, the United States government, it's got – the White House has a zero-sum view of the world. If somebody wins, somebody loses. Cooperation, collaboration is at best temporary to help you defeat some enemy. So, they're just completely uninterested. I mean imagine pulling out of the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic, not just pulling out of a world health organization that is part of an entire multilateral system that you have been the founder of with victors of World War Two. I mean that is a statement that says, “The 21st century is going to be like the 19th century”, right. All of the institutions built in mid-20th century were a big mistake. We are going back to great power competition where four or five powers matter in the world and you can have alliances of convenience, but cooperation is not on the board. That said, if you look at scientists around the United States, if you look at pharmaceutical companies, there's a huge amount of collaboration. I am quite certain that there are many scientists at ASU who are in touch with their folks. And indeed, Doug just said he's got a team in China. Science is still global, and the desire of scientists, of doctors, of corporations to actually see how they can end this – it’s what I call the chessboard and the web. And this is the web, and there's a very strong web engaging in trying to fix this. So, it isn't as simple, you know, the United States is the government, but the United States is many other things. That said, if China does get the vaccine first and then through the Marshall Plan, exactly through the Belt and Road, hands it out, while the United States can't even control our own pandemic, that we are rising to 200,000 deaths, 300,000 serial closing, which will be just absolutely disastrous – why? Because we cannot get the capacity at the federal level to invoke the defense production act and create all the tests we need and develop some version of that technology that Doug was just talking about, which Europeans have, Taiwan has, right. Taiwan has been every bit as effective as China. It's a democracy, China is not. So, it's easier with autocracy but it's better when you actually have those protections. But if that happens and if China really does get a vaccine, yeah, the United States is going to take a huge hit. But I will just say one thing and I'd be fascinated to hear other's views – the one thing we haven't said is China is, its first six months as best we can tell, it is grown 1.8% as opposed to this time last year, the first six months of 2019. And even if it really goes back, this is the first year that I can remember that China did not have 6% growth. And China depends on that to deliver the lifestyle it needs. I'd love to hear other people talking about that impact because I don't think Xi Jinping is quite the invulnerable, perilous, safe ruler that we often take him to be.
Sanjeev Khagram: So, Professor, I have one more question for you, then I'm going to go to the others – building on the question you just asked. And that is, you know, I had this dinner, socially distance, with some of our students last night, and most of them from around the world, but some American students, US students, and they said, “I'm struggling because on the one hand, if I vote for President Trump, I feel like we're headed to a cold war with China. And that's not what I want. But if I vote for Vice President Biden, then we're going to succumb to China, and we're going to be very weak in the world.” And they see this very stark distinction between strength but leading to conflict and perhaps another cold war and on the other hand a willingness to cooperate, but then to be in some sense not strong in our relationship with China. How do you answer a young person who's trying to think about that conundrum?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: I'm fascinated to hear that. I'm frightened frankly to hear that. But I'm fascinated. So, to me, it requires a real mindset shift. We've been talking about global cooperation, the way we would have talked about it in the 20th century. I think you really do need a much bigger change, and it goes back so you move away from zero-sum politics, but you also move away simply from state-based politics. And you imagine that the United States is the country that reflects and connects the world. We make it much easier for people to come in. I mean, as Rebeca was saying, we are cutting off both feet, both legs. We are a magnet for talent. But imagine if you think – we're the country where Chinese students can come and study, where African students can come and study. When they go back to their countries, those are links to our universities, those are links to our business and we are about to become a plurality country. So, 49% or so will be white and everybody else will be from all over the world; and White just means from Europe. So, you'll have European Americans and all these others, and maybe none of us will have hyphens. And there's a vision of what politics are in this century that says, “We're the ones who are most connected to everybody else. And we are the ones that, for business reasons, for cultural reasons, political reasons can Marshal again the capacity to save the planet, to make us all richer, to make us better bended to be able to unlock human talent and innovation.” That's a vision that China cannot possibly match because China will never have immigration like that. Chinese are all interested, you know, they are interested in much more in preserving the Han Chinese. So, I just think it requires a much bigger paradigm shift – the kind of innovation that ALC or it’s exactly downfall.
Sanjeev Khagram: Wonderful. Let me come to you, Professor Hwang and come back to this notion of the startup ecosystems, entrepreneurship and innovation. A lot of people see actually now and the opportunity where China can really corner the world as Professor Guthrie's written about him and talks a lot about the supply chain of the world where the United States whereas the engine of sort of high tech innovation, that now this is being decentralized as you start to talk about it – that there is all new, you know, and there's a new geography of entrepreneurship and innovation. In this where do you see – you started to talk about it – but where do you see that sort of hotbeds of new places where really exciting things are happening, where the enabling environment is really there for new entrepreneurs, new innovations, new technology to really come to the market?
Rebeca Hwang: Yes, thank you. And before I answer that question, if you will let me, I would like to make a comment on the privacy issue that was mentioned before. We seem to have these mental models, that is either freedom or privacy. And it's not quite the case, because we have technology. And there are ways in which you can ensure some level of privacy and protection while also keeping safety and freedom. And I was actually quite shocked to summarize, I taught a class in front of 80 students and I asked them because we're talking about the issue of ethics, privacy and how much data Facebook and other private companies have. So, you know, maybe in China, the government and Alibaba in the US, it's not like somebody is not owning our data. They do. But maybe the government doesn't have as much power on accessing that, as it happens in China. Now the students said that if they had to weigh-in personal privacy of digital data versus public health, 80% said that invasion of privacy was worthwhile if that was for the protection of public health. That's what the young people think today. And I think it's important to take into account that, you know, shock to the system like the pandemic is also shifting cultural values to maybe being more willing to give up so-called right. I say so-called because, as I said I think there is a way to create privacy and data protection while also doing effective tracing. And we have seen this, for example, in South Korea as an example of that, in a very democratic country. Now hotbeds – I think all the exciting markets are actually, when you don't connect to Silicon Valley anymore, Silicon Valley is becoming the place that people are leaving. Now it has to do with costs, it has to do with culture, where gentrification has made it less interesting to live here. But also, because the talent goes where there is creativity, there is freedom, there is diversity. And many centers around the world like Berlin or Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Santiago, South Korea in Seoul; Seoul has a really vibrant community of startups right now. Southeast Asia is booming as well. And so, there are so many options right now where you can go and build your businesses. There are a lot of facilities at the regulation level, policymaking level that are making it very easy for people to be mobile and also to create companies without barriers. But where I think is the real opportunities in connecting those what I call underdog markets, that they're underestimated right now but they're really really powerful and they're growing extremely fast. Instead of thinking of them as “Okay, you go and start a company in Buenos Aires and you graduate in Silicon Valley”, it may no longer be the case. It may be the case that you start something in South Korea and you graduate in Buenos Aires. And the reason is that the markets are extremely complimentary. You look at Korea and you look at, for example, Latin America. Korea has 5G. Latin America, the fastest growing mobile penetration and the longest that people are spending on social media right now of any region in the world. So, you put the puzzle together and that becomes really exciting more than Latin America looking for technologists coming from the US, for example. And so, those who are smart in terms of international collaboration, they will start making this out south to south linkages and connections that were mentioned before.
Sanjeev Khagram: So, speaking of south to south linkages and particularly entrepreneurship and innovation, where across Africa, Professor Signe, do you see the hotbeds of innovation where perhaps the next many unicorns might happen, but also more generally small and medium sized enterprises that will lead to a true flourishing of the continent?
Landry Signe: Some countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, AG Morocco and Mauritius are already leading the way with the fourth industrial revolution whether we speak also about innovation, for example, some of the most competitive country on the continent. So those are the countries where we can definitively see the rise of some of the largest cooperation. So, and already learn the fourth industrial revolution also to point out that we offer mainly an expert when we'll be using interchangeably digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution. They are not the same, they are different because when we speak about digitalization, when we speak about the core characteristic of the previous revolution, the third one where the fourth revolution revered on digitalization but includes the fusion of the digital, biological and physical world with characteristics which are important such as the velocity, the system impact and the scope. So, the countries that I mentioned are already playing an important role whether we speak about AI for detection, learning and innovation to address COVID-19 but also we know one die about the drones and zip line in South Africa which has a high concentration of the most innovative corporations on the continent in amount of orders.
Sanjeev Khagram: Great. So, I'm going to go to Professor Guthrie, but you're going to have to answer this one quick. Then we have one last question that I want to ask the whole panel. Okay. So, this one is really around India. You and I were on a wonderful globe and are with our Thunderbird alums from across the subcontinent, particularly India. And they were focusing on “Look, China is now being ostracized because of its role in obviously launching this pandemic.” This is an opportunity now for India, for example, like other places, other areas like countries in Africa and Latin America to take the global supply chain and be successful. And then we see not only conflicts between the United States and China, but China and India, for a long border dispute that's happened many times. But again, what's happening in terms of China-India relationships and what is the possibilities of a sort of moving away of the global supply chain away from China?
Doug Guthrie: Yeah, so Dean Khagram, it's a great question. And as you know, I've said this multiple times in your presence – I'm not an India expert, but I know a lot about China. And so, the fact that China is going back to a border dispute that goes back to 1962 is just crazy to me. Like it just seems strange, and it leads to the question, why is this happening now especially that it will happen within a month of the Hong Kong Security Act? And my guess is that one of the things that is going on, is China is thinking a lot about Belt and Road and they're thinking a lot about sort of flexing their muscles in the region. And they're thinking a lot about old wounds, you know, 1997 was the Hong Kong changeover but it was set to expire 50 years later. And then there was the issue with India in 1962, and my guess is that China and President Xi are starting to think like, “Okay, so we're not dealing in a collaborative relationship unlike.” So, I'll be very quick on this point but I want to come back to Professor Slaughter’s point like, it's not just an issue of soft power but it is an issue of collaboration. Like I really, really believe, like if I was at your dinner, Dean Khagram and students were asking, what should we be doing? You know, I can't tell people who to vote for, but I would tell them like collaboration and engagement is better than isolation and coercion. It's just, it's better. And like trade is better than conflict. And so, I'm just a big believer in that idea. And I think my view is that China feels pretty isolated right now. And I think they're just sort of like, “Alright, you guys just want to be like against us. We're going to do our own thing. And we're going to build this Belt and Road initiative which is about south-south relations. And if India doesn't want to be on board with us, then we'll fight with them too.” And I don't, I don't hope that for them like I really think they need India and they need. I just believe it. Like I just believe like they'd be much more efficient if they did that.
Sanjeev Khagram: Doesn’t need uprising getting the south-south approach that you were talking about?
Doug Guthrie: Well, unfortunately Xi Jinping lost my cell phone number and he just doesn't call.
Sanjeev Khagram: So, we have a great question, which I'll take from Tyler, SATA maker from Business Insider and to the panel. I'm going to go to you, Doug, and then I'm going to ask Professor Slaughter, but then we're going to end with one really big question. So, between the simultaneous rise of stakeholder capitalism and nationalism, as well as ongoing human rights abuses in both China and US, how do you see Chinese and American companies navigating some of these moral issues? Doug, if you could take the China side and if I can bring Professor Slaughter in on the US side. How are they going to navigate stakeholder capitalism that Professor Signe brought up and nationalism?
Doug Guthrie: So, it's a wonderful question, Tyler. And I'll just say very quickly. You know, I'm a big believer in stakeholder capitalism over shareholder capitalism. I really believe that corporations are given a tremendous amount of power in our societies and they need to respect that and they need to take care of people. Now, the one thing that's interesting about China that's a little different than the United States is that, you know, Professor Hwang mentions Silicon Valley and venture capital. The two largest venture capital companies in all of Asia right now are Alibaba and Tencent. And they're investing a tremendous amount and building entrepreneurial businesses just to help people grow. Now, of course, they have private interest for that because they want people on their platform. So, it's not all roses, but there is something about building up a small-scale community and I just believe that as Thunderbird we need to be teaching stakeholder capitalism. That's just, I just think it's a better model than shareholder capitalism.
Sanjeev Khagram: That's what we're doing – going back to our original borders frequented by trade seldom beat soldiers to this world, and reinventing institutions including the corporation. Professor Slaughter, in the United States, how do companies manage this tension between nationalism and stakeholder capitalism?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: I'll be quick because I'm afraid I've got to jump off very, very quickly. I think it's a very good question. It's not just stakeholder capitalism. It is the social justice movement, the racial equity movement. The things that corporations are going to have to do to respond to the moment that we are in for their millennials, their Gen-Z, a generation that is going to demand inclusion and the equity, and that will not stop internally in the corporation. And you're seeing it in the tech companies themselves – tremendous opposition to working for the US government much more than working for the Pentagon. So, they're really going to be caught because this new generation is going to apply a filter to what those corporations do and which governments they work with and how they interact. That is going to be very much at variance with the demands of global competition. Long-term – it's in all of our interest; short term, it's going to mean a cut in profits.
Sanjeev Khagram: And before you go, I know you have to rush. This is the big last question. I'm a big fan of Game of Thrones. And a beautiful line in Game of Thrones is “We're fighting amongst ourselves and winter is coming”. The analogy of course is climate change. China and the United States are fighting with each other, everyone's fighting, but the real threat is the planetary threat. How do we get the world to focus on that because none of us survive if we don't fix it?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: You coming back to me?
Sanjeev Khagram: Yes, just sort of because I know you have to go.
Anne-Marie Slaughter: I completely agree with you. I use this analogy all the time. I really do. I think, you know, those of us who watch Game of Thrones, it is exactly what's happening. We're focused on great power competition and many of the governments around the world are embracing it because it's a world they know, that they know how to fight Russia or Iran or China or whoever. While meantime, we have genuinely planetary existential threats. This is the first time in human history that we have the power to actually destroy habitability for humans on the planet – the planet will continue. So again, I would just end for a plea for really seeing global politics. Yes, those squares of countries that interact with each other on maps, but actually we're talking about 9 billion people who are in danger of being wiped out by climate change and disease as closely related to climate change, and all the cascading disasters that fall.
Sanjeev Khagram: Thank you so much. I know you have to go. I'm just going to go around for final comments from the rest of our panelists. It could be about this last thing about climate change and the planet or anything else. Professor Hwang?
Rebeca Hwang: Yes, I would bet my money in the US because it's hard to change the paradigms and the culture and the mindsets of people who are so focused on fighting with each other that they can’t see the winter. But the good news is that if you look at 20-year old’s, teenagers, young people that already got it, they see the winter and they want to do something about it. They're more collaborative. They just need more influence, more platforms, more visibility. And that's why within the center for a family business or entrepreneurship at Thunderbird, we focus a lot on providing the training, access to networks as well as more influence for those generations from inside the organizations, and families start creating change in the value systems that govern their families, their communities in their countries. So, let's just bet more resources into young people who already are at work. Do you get it?
Sanjeev Khagram: Professor Signe?
Landry Signe: Yes.
Sanjeev Khagram: Final thoughts.
Landry Signe: Absolutely. So, I think that in terms of climate challenges, I want to highlight the critical importance of the climate security development Nexus for emerging economies and the developing world. So, this is a critical aspect to take into consideration and I also want to just point out very quickly that in our executive master of global efforts and management in Washington DC – so our students are working on a couple of projects. One is on how to use, read a fourth industrial revolution in the context of globalization 4.0 to address urgent issues that the world is facing including climate change, and how to use technology to contribute to carbon remove, among others? So, definitely I think the intersection between technology, agile governance and stakeholder capitalism, we're contributing to really solve that critical issue.
Sanjeev Khagram: And then back to you, Professor Guthrie. Will China play a leadership role in saving the planet when it comes to climate change?
Doug Guthrie: So, it is a question and I hope both China and the United States play leadership role. China already is. And again, this is where I think, you know, Professor Signe and I, like we come together on this idea – states and markets. Like you can't have markets drive these things. You have to have governments that actually think about where to invest and how. China has driven itself to be one of the leaders in renewable energy over the last 25 years. The framing of the United States is that China has stolen a lot of our jobs in this area. My view is that actually China has invested a lot. And what I would love to see is both countries investing a lot. I just think like we need everybody with resources to be building new industries around these kinds of issues and questions, and we need entrepreneurialism, but also big business and we need subsidies from the States. And I think that China is doing well in this area; I want the US to do well in this area too.
Sanjeev Khagram: Thom, before I pass it over to you and let our media friends go, let me just say last three things. We, at Thunderbird and ASU are advancing a major initiative on global carbon removal. The worlds at 420 parts per million. We flourished as humanity when we were between 250 and 300 parts per million. The exciting thing is that there is 3 to $5 trillion in market opportunities for businesses, for the private sector, for SMEs if we get our policies and incentives right. And that leads to growth and jobs, as well as saving the planet. Number two is that we believe that the place we are in human history does require a new generation of global leaders and managers that will transform not only what we're doing now in terms of US-China relations, but as Professor Slaughter was saying, an entirely new paradigm. And that paradigm is very much what has been shared that the youth Gen-Z's in particular are demanding, all of us in senior leadership positions. And then finally, just to say thank you to you and all of our media, we're always here to help and be engaged to provide what we believe to be as reasoned thinking and analysis in a world which has become so polarized that all you get is extremes in terms of whether it's US-China relations, or any other issue on the planet. So, thank you so much, Thom. And thank you, colleagues.
Thom: Thank you to Dr. Khagram, Dr. Hwang, Dr. Signe, Dr. Guthrie and Dr. Slaughter who had to leave early for another call. Thank you all very much. Have a great rest of your day and we'll follow up with the recording and transcript as soon as possible.
Sanjeev Khagram: Thank you so much.