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the fact that i can fly from washington to here in a few hours, and as soon as i land, suddenly i have complete access to, on this little device [mobile phone], everyone and everything around the world. it is this extraordinary opportunity, but it’s also creating new challenges. and i think that probably right now, the thing that we’re seeing most is the degree to which the disruptions that are occurring from technology, from globalisation, from this constant stream of information is that it makes people feel insecure. it makes them feel uncertain about the world around them.
some of it is very concrete: the changes that have taken place economically mean that, particularly in advanced economies, but even in middle-income countries, people who felt fairly comfortable and had a job that they would always be in and they had a pension, they had benefits, suddenly they’re finding that they had to run very fast just to stay afloat. and they’re worried about their children’s future.
some of it has to do with identity and culture. so, whether it’s brexit in the uk or the political upheavals that have happened in the united states, or some resurge in populism in continental europe, all of those are not just reactions to economic changes, but also a reaction to people feeling as if their status is being eroded, or their sense of what their country is is being undermined. and they want to either put up either genuine laws or metaphorical laws to preserve what they think they had.
travel also reminds us of what we share and what we have become – the ability for us to recognise ourselves in each other
nationalism, nativism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant [sentiment] – those are dangerous traits. and i recognise i have some bias because, by virtue of my birth and my upbringing, i’m somebody who believes in bringing people together rather than separating them out into ‘us’ and ‘them’. but i think, objectively, what i can also say is given the nature of information, travel, technology, global supply chains, if we try to reassert these very hard-fixed borders at a time when technology and information are borderless, not only will we fail, but i think that we’re going to see greater and greater conflict and greater and greater clashes between peoples. so, that’s the largest trend that i’m seeing that i’m concerned about, because it’s not isolated to one particular country – it’s a global phenomenon.

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