Davos 2017: Periods of Transition

Sri Rajan, a partner with Bain's Private Equity practice and chairman of Bain's India offices, shares his key takeaways from the 2017 World Economic Forum, which include China's focus on global trade and globalization, and the implications of the fourth industrial revolution.

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Read the transcript below.

SRI RAJAN: There are three key takeaways for me from the last few days. The first one is this sense of palpable anxiety and uncertainty, especially in the geopolitical space. With the incoming administration, people are waiting to see what the policies are going to be, especially in the areas of trade. I think everyone is pretty clear that they don't want a trade war to break out, and they believe it will be the wrong thing for the entire world.

The second takeaway is really around, I would say, the speech that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping made a couple of days ago. He made a very strong case for both global trade and for globalization. And it was interesting to hear the head of the largest communist party in the world make such a strong case for that.

The third is around the implications of the fourth industrial revolution. It's not clear yet as to how we are going to solve the issue of the implications on jobs of the impact of automation, the Internet of Things and so on. People are still working through it. People understand that you're going to have new skills that are going to be required in the future. But at the same time, people are not entirely sure what's going to happen with a lot of people who might get left behind.

The transition from one period to the next is going to be both uncertain and potentially very rocky.