Things Fall Apart!

Marianne Levinsen, M.Sc. Political Science, futurist / 21. dec 2017

“Things Fall Apart” is the title of a novel by the African author Chinua Achebe and is about what it’s like, as a person, to be in the transition from one type of society, the traditional one with rituals, religions and known rules to a new type of society with rules and laws that white missionaries suddenly import into the tradition rich village.

It leaves a sense that everything is falling apart and that nothing is as it was before and that you can’t trust anything or anyone anymore. That feeling and uncertainty is recognizable to a lot of Danes today and it’s something we need to get used to in the future.

The new world order up to 2030

Denmark, as a part of the West, is in a period where we’re realizing that the new multifaceted world with many interests, conflicts and uncertainty is a part of everyday life, both for businesses and people in general. Professor Ole Wæver described this more than 15 years ago.

After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and up until the financial crisis, many were of the opinion that we, in the Western world, were on top and better than the others because we had the best political systems and the best kind of regulated capitalism.

But our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq didn’t exactly mean democracy and peace for the populations in those countries. On the contrary, the Iraqi population has been the one with the highest amount of casualties due to terror in the past 10 years. The West’s lack of success and the nasty consequences, such as mutilated and dead soldiers, has been one of the reasons why both the USA and the rest of the West have been hesitant on several occasions in relation to the war in Syria, which has now lasted since 2011 with several hundred thousand dead and maimed.

The financial crisis and the accompanying meltdowns in the financial infrastructures of many countries also left a lot to reflect on whether the responsibility for society’s growth and investments really outweighed the massive greed that employees and shareholders etc in the sector showed.

A consequence of the uncertain world order is also that the USA in later years has worked intensely at making themselves independent of fossil fuels to avoid future dependence on fossil fuels from the powder keg Middle East. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made it clear for the countries bordering ‘the bear’ Putin, that it could prove important to defend themselves against attacks from the east.

The latest issue is the current process and uncertainty in Europe about the English Brexit and the American president Donald Trump’s numerous decrees and sanctions.

The New Normal

Today and in the future we need to navigate a new complex and unpredictable world with many different interests and conflicts. They can be based on history, culture, religion or economy. Not only in the individual countries, but also within a country we’ll see many different groupings and ethnic groups demanding rights and respect.

As a small and open economy that survives on trade, it’s time to stop fearing the future and be busy defining how Danish we are. Instead we should realize that we need to try harder and engage more in many different people, nationalities and culture and their choices and wishes for products, services and not least understanding and involvement.

Looking forward, it’s an inevitable constant that new conflicts and challenges will happen, that hit us and our businesses and we just have to hope that our resourceful speediness and resolve will benefit us.

This article was published in JP Aarhus in ‘ordet er frit’ on March 1st 2017.

Published here 2017.

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