“Now is the best time in history to be alive,” begins Oxford Martin School’s Commission Report, Now for the Long Term. It’s a wonderful statement, flattering and hopeful for all of us living in this moment in time. But is this era truly the apex of human success and productivity?
In her public lecture at CIGI, Natalie Day, head of policy at the Oxford Martin School, unpacked the research and recommendations of Now for the Long Term. Undertaken by a prestigious commission chaired by former Director-General of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy, the report calls for a reformation of strategic thought. It urges decision makers to “overcome their pressing daily preoccupations to tackle problems that will determine the lives of today’s and tomorrow’s generations.”
As Day outlined in her address, the commission’s report breaks down its analysis into three sections. The first, titled “Possible Futures,” identifies the megatrends likely to influence the next century. The second section, “Responsible Futures,” investigates the factors that drive and suppress meaningful change. The final section of the report, “Practical Futures,” offers 15 practical and theoretical recommendations to “promote resilience, inclusiveness and sustainability.” During her lecture, Day highlighted a few of these recommendations, including:
- Developing a shared early warning platform for cybersecurity (CyberEx)
- Establishing a specialist agency (Worldstat) to undertake quality control of international statistics
- Building sunset clauses into all publicly-funded international institutions
In sum, Now for the Long Term provides global leaders and policymakers with the research and analysis to recalibrate their thinking. It calls them to suppress their "short-termism" in order to plan for the challenges and opportunities that will come years beyond their time in office. However, are our global leaders willing to value a long-term sustainable future, over short term affluence, influence, and personal careers?
The commission certainly believes its report can and will influence leaders to think more strategically. Day assured her audience at CIGI that the commissioners are determined to give their report legs and protect it from collecting dust on shelves.
What do you think? Will this report provide the impetus for long term change or are we comfortable with allowing the present to be the best time in history?
Read the full Commission Report Now for the Long Term and add your comments below.