Human capital to act as key driver of development in new era, experts say
Neither military nor soft power, not even the economy and power of money will be able to drive the development of humanity in the 21st century, but the human being, people's knowledge and ideas, was the unanimous conclusion of the partakers in Thursday's meeting entitled Faces of Power in the 21st Century: Russia's Prospects in the Current Power Palette, organized by the Club of Global Political Economics at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE).
"The golden billion has hit the ceiling of welfare and has no idea what to do next. There are increasingly less drivers for development. The moral vacuum in the world is being filled with consumerism and devourment of information," said the head of HSE Faculty for World Economy and International Affairs, Sergey Karaganov.
The expert believes modern politicians tackle the incoming information challenges instead of working on concepts of future development that is they live in a kind of virtual world instead of resolving real problems.
"The world is on the threshold of a new technological pattern that will see a strong economic breakthrough. Countries' ability to develop technologies and boost power in this field is equal to head hunting, search for professionals who can be a source of new knowledge."
"In 15-20 years microchips and robots will push millions of people out of the labor market; 5-7% of the world population will produce the entire world GDP. Even if the unemployed are able to be maintained, the question will be what path of development is ahead for them," the expert said.
"The modern system ruled by those who control financial flows does not need whole strata of the population. Control over money flows gives the Western world the power to impose its political will on weaker countries. Money is the real factor of strength," believes the chairman of the supervising council at Vneshtorgbank Sergey Dubinin.
"Money is an instrument of power and influence but it does not decide everything. Go and ask Mikhail Khodorkovsky about it, he had enough time to think about it," said Karaganov speaking of the 10-year imprisonment of that once richest man in Russia.
"Those who produce new ideas and new products are the new elite," said the expert. Suffice it to mention Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.
Doctor of Economics Karaganov noted the fact that pre-school learning in some U.S. nurseries cost as much as education at Harvard University - about $1.5 million. "This is how the world's ruling class is growing up," he said.
"Oversupply of a product in the market invariably leads to a price slump. Meanwhile, the human mind is the only thing that not only does not decline but increases in price," said the chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy Fyodor Lukyanov.
"All modern countries compete for efficient people. The value of fundamental knowledge and, accordingly, of those who have them, is rising," said Vice-President of the League of Assistance for Russian Defense Enterprises Vladimir Rubanov.
The experts agreed human capital is the most wanted product nowadays. Society needs to re-evaluate priorities in favor of larger investments in education and culture as in the new world competitiveness in this rivalry for educated and highly skilled people becomes a guarantee of a country's stability.