Explore the Corset Laces

We have identified five key corset laces that together are causing the inevitable squeeze of the global economy. Each are complex problems in their own right, but as they interconnect they create grand systemic problems for the future as played out in our corset futures.

Monopolies and Network Effects

Monopolies and network effects are not new concepts, but traditionally they have been sufficiently rare and obvious to be curtailed by regulation. No longer. The nature of the digital economy has produced extreme network effects resulting in extreme monopolies. These are winner-takes-all network effects that ‘lock in’ consumers and other businesses, effectively blocking competition. The technological giants, or groups of giants, that wield this monopolistic power have such unprecedented scale and reach that they are now too big to fail and almost impossible to regulate. Learn more

Debt and the Social Contract

The world is awash with debt. Levels of private and public debt have soared since the global financial crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified this. Consumer debt is the lifeblood of the economy, enabling consumers to take the waiting out of wanting. This growing indebtedness has kept the wheels of the global economy turning. Unfortunately, at some point debts will have to be repaid and the longer this reckoning is deferred, the greater the likelihood of extreme crisis. If and when debts start to be repaid, this will divert money from production or consumption of goods and services and result in economic contraction. Learn more

One Planet Earth

There is only one Planet Earth and its resources are finite. Industrialisation has been extremely successful at improving the quality of life for many people, but it has been at the expense of our planet’s health. This goes beyond climate change to issues around agriculture and soil health, availability of water and ecological diversity. Climate shocks such as droughts, floods and fires are becoming more commonplace creating greater uncertainty for both business and personal infrastructure. The growing global population aspires to the consumer-based lifestyle of industrial economies, creating the risk of a perfect storm by 2030, when increasing demand for critical resources – water, food and energy – are unlikely to be met. Learn more

World of Work

The world of work is now in flux. Industrialisation created stable, full-time jobs with regular incomes paid by a single employer. Today’s jobs are increasingly part-time, on-call or ‘non-standard work’, with uncertain work and fluctuating income. The skills required for the workplace are also becoming obsolete, with estimates that many tasks will be undertaken by the non-human workforce. These changes to the world of work are likely to make income increasingly insecure, affecting economic growth and the State tax coffers, but also, on a psychological level, the self-esteem of individuals. Learn more

Misrules of the Game

Regulations create the rules of the game by which the economy operates. When they work well, they support a level playing field. When there is no ‘fair play’, or equal opportunity to succeed, regulations risk becoming misrules that can be gamed. Many regulations have been designed for a national physical economy, which makes them inadequate and inappropriate for the realities of the 21st century globalised digital economy. This perceived unfairness undermines trust in the system. Learn more