The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Michael Beech
Published on

It's true the world faces challenges in maintaining stable and well-functioning social, environmental and economic systems.

news-1074610 1920-909The legacy of the financial crisis is still with us and concerns about climate change and sustainability are widespread.

Europe is grappling with a refugee crisis; China faces a difficult transition from an export and industrial-led economy to one driven by domestic demand; and the US is preoccupied with a sometimes rancorous election campaign.

But it's also easy to overlook significant advances made in raising the living standards of millions, increasing global cooperation on sustainability and efforts to build greater transparency and trust in financial institutions.

Many of the 10 developments cited below don't tend to make the front pages of daily newspapers or the lead items in the TV news, but they're worth keeping in mind on those occasions when you feel overwhelmed by all the grim headlines.

So here's an alternative news bulletin:
  1. Over the last 25 years, two billion people globally have moved out of extreme poverty, according to the latest UN Human Development Report.
  2. Over the same period, mortality rates among children under the age of five have fallen by 53%, from 91 deaths per 1000 to 43 deaths per 1000.
  3. In September 2015, all members of the UN set 17 sustainable development goals for 2030, including targets for eliminating poverty and hunger and lifting standards in health, education, water, energy and infrastructure.
  4. Global trade has expanded as a proportion of GDP from 20% in 1995 to 30% by 2014, signalling greater global integration.
  5. Global bank regulators recently announced that since the financial crisis they have implemented reforms to reduce leverage, address systemic risk and build capital buffers into the banking system.
  6. The world's biggest economy, the US, has been recovering. Unemployment has halved in six years from nearly 10% to just below 5%.
  7. Global oil prices have fallen by more than 70% in two years. While bad news for the oil sector, this also raises real incomes for consumers, increases profits outside energy and decreases costs of production.
  8. While fossil fuels still play a major role in the economy, renewable energy sources—such as solar and wind—accounted for nearly 22% of global electricity generation in 2013 and are seen rising to at least 26% by 2020.
  9. We live in an era of rapid innovation. One report estimates the digital economy now accounts for 22.5% of global economic output, and projects digital technologies could generate $US2 trillion of additional output by 2020.
  10. The growing speed and scale of data is increasing global connectedness and transforming industries as new discoveries are made in such areas as engineering, medicine, food, energy and sustainability.

No doubt many of these advances will lead to new business and investment opportunities.

Of course, not all will succeed. But the important point is that science and innovation are evolving in ways that can help mankind.
The world is far from perfect, it's true. The human race faces major challenges. But just as it is important to be realistic and aware of the things that represent downside risks, we must also recognise the major advances that we are making and the likely gains that will be made as a result (both socially and commercially).

When managing your investments it’s important to consider the downside (diversification is essential), but it’s also important to remember that to participate in the upside you actually need to be invested.

Just as there is reason for caution, there is always room for hope. And keeping those good things in mind can help when you feel overwhelmed by all the bad news.
Michael Beech CFA is an experienced investment specialist and is responsible for providing investment advice as well as managing the investment portfolios for many of Alliott NZ's clients. Click here to read more or call Alliotts in Auckland today on 09 520 9200.

Topics: economy employment GDP Innovation Investment sustainability