Flipping the Script

Contributed by: Show Editorial Team

El-Erian says a change in thinking can help us adapt to a topsy-turvy world 

Mohamed El-Erian, Senior Advisor at Gramercy Funds Management on Capital Markets, Alternative and Impact investing with Matt Bird at Greenwich Economic Forum (Greenwich, CT)

Economic scholar Mohamed El-Erian says we are living amid “radical uncertainty.” As he put it, “It’s not just uncertain, it’s uncertain squared.

“So how do you deal with that, and how do you avoid paralysis, and how do you embrace this more uncertain world and try to navigate it well?” 

These were the questions El-Erian, now President of Cambridge University’s Queens’ College, discussed with Matt Bird, host of the Traders Network Show, at the 2019 Greenwich Economic Forum.

El-Erian said the world feels upside down because the rules seem to be changing. 

“In our daily lives, we follow certain rules because 99% of the time we know what the outcome is going to be. You cross at a green light, you know what the outcome is going to be,” El-Erian said. “The world we are going towards [has] no rules governing green lights and red lights. It’s a world of questionable globalization, for example. Political extremes, for example, are gaining much more traction.” 

In order to manage a world governed by different realities, we have to think differently, El-Erian advised. Public-private partnerships are an essential part of this mindset shift. 

“You cannot solve most of the problems facing the world without public-private partnerships. You just have to have smart public-private partnerships,” he said. 

He explained that awareness of this has caused companies to accept new roles.  

“There has been a complete change in how corporations think,” he said. In the old days, companies could view themselves as operating independent of their surroundings, he continued. “Now people realize you cannot be a good house in a bad neighborhood. You have to have some stake in the neighborhood, you have to take some responsibility for the neighborhood, and you have to work with others to make sure that neighborhood improves. And I think that understanding that you cannot be a good house in an uncertain neighborhood is what’s driving people toward greater attention to public-private partnerships and toward greater social responsibility.”

(Written by Andrew Waite; Editing and revisions by Nicole Liddy)

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