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The world is in the middle of an information revolution, and it’s a situation, economist Carlota Perez says, we’ve been in before. Capitalism resets every few decades, and follows a familiar pattern: An investment frenzy boosts new technologies that change how people live and interact, but when that craze eventually collapses, it leaves behind social upheaval and resentment.
To stop that cycle, this time, Perez says on the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, we need to deliberately disassemble society’s most harmful systems and ingrained beliefs so that every country and every person is included in the sustainable future of the earth.
“We can shape the Information Revolution into a green golden age,” said Perez. She added that the fashion industry has a huge role to play, saying, “It’s up to you to reinvent what we understand by fashion… and it’s up to you to rethink, reinvent, redesign.”
That reinvention and redesigning means interrogating what wealth, well-being, and pleasure are — and untethering those ideas from physical things. Perez joined Imran Amed last year at VOICES, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers, to discuss what needs to happen to harness the information revolution to become more sustainable and inclusive.
Globalisation is happening, but it needs to be reworked to include all people and nations. Until now, globalisation has seen businesses chasing lower costs, and has been concentrated in Asia. “We need to discover what each area of the world, what each country can do, and re-invent, but with consensus — not just with government deciding but working together with business to re-conceptualise each bit of territory, each city,” says Perez.
Both individual lifestyle changes as well as government action are required to create a greener, more sustainable future — which benefits businesses and the whole of society, not just the one percent. “We need to work together… Every golden age has been a win-win… with the government staging the game,” says Perez.
The fashion industry needs to stop perpetuating a cycle of waste and instead focus on creating high-quality, long-lasting products that can be reused and redesigned. That requires completely rethinking the clothing industry — a daunting but feasible and necessary task. “If you put your brilliant heads to solving this problem and making money along the way, you will succeed,” concludes Perez. “But you’ve got to recognise the obstacles. If you deny it, you’re going to die, and you can’t die — we need you.”
To learn more about BoF VOICES 2021, to be held from Dec 1-3, 2021, please click here.