By building on the explosive growth of clean energy in recent years, and triumphs of multilateralism led by the Paris Agreement, a renaissance of civilisation can realistically be envisioned in the decades ahead. So I have argued in my writing since 2013. But how quickly our world can shift on its axis. While my analysis remains feasible, a potential disruptor of it is on the rise in society. A new class of aspiring despot is seizing political ground of America and Europe. This is happening just as it becomes clear that misuse of fast-emerging new technology, notably artificial intelligence and robotics, holds the potential to create the perfect infrastructure for police states. To ensure such an authoritarian assault does not does not sweep away liberal democracies, it will be essential for the business world to engage in resistance more than it has been so far. More business leaders must come to the view that fighting for a civilization appropriate for doing good business in is now a matter of responsibility to shareholders, never mind citizens. For their part, shareholders and citizens must pressure companies more, via their investment and purchasing power, to confront the new despotism and otherwise act in favour of appropriate civilization. Increasingly the business case is clear. Ratings agency Fitch has argued that the Trump presidency poses a threat to the global economy, for example.
Jeremy Leggett 10th March 2017 read more »