[Prepared for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment]
A. The big picture
1. The geo-economic and geopolitical balance is changing rapidly. This is well known and has been rapidly and deeply altering the location of production and work. But it is changing the world in more than trade and economics.
China, India and other “emerging-economy” nations are demanding a bigger role in the rules, conduct and leading positions of international forums and organisations; the rules may change in ways that are suboptimal for New Zealand.
Associated with that, those countries will assert different forms of government and political organisation as the match for, or an improvement on, liberal democracy – China is demonstrating that in its resistance to real elections in Hong Kong;
Likewise they will assert different forms of economic organisation as the match for, or an improvement on, liberal-market-capitalism.
More new science and other innovation (one example: surgical and other healthcare procedures) will come from researchers in China, India and elsewhere.
That is, after half a millennium in which the “west” (western Europe and north America) has dominated the generation of ideas through new science and on how best to organise society, politics and the economy, that dominance is being, and will continue to be, challenged, modified and perhaps overturned.
The risk to New Zealand, which, being very small, needs a rules-based international order, is of an inappropriate or hostile set of rules or no agreed rules at all. It is not clear there an opportunity.