The President of the Republic of Slovenia at the 26th Annual Presidents’ Forum of IEDC: “The new global technological revolution can also start in Slovenia”
Bled, 15. 11. 2013 | press release, speech
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, opened the 26th
Annual Presidents’ Forum of IEDC-Bled School of Management, entitled “How Global are We?”. In his opening speech, the President stressed that, despite its small size, Slovenia is a country of great opportunities. Its advantages, such as knowledge, science, and human and natural resources, mean Slovenia can compete with the biggest players in the globalised world. A new technological revolution could also start in Slovenia, highlighted President Pahor. He also pointed out the important question of how Slovenia should adjust to the changes of our time and actively participate in their creation.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
Opening speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the 26th
Annual Presidents’ Forum of IEDC-Bled School of Management, entitled “How Global are We?”
Bled, 15 November 2013
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
globalisation is a reality of the modern world. And it has good and bad sides. The issue is not whether it can be prevented; that is the wrong question. The question is whether it can be regulated to benefit the majority of mankind.
If we cannot answer this question in the first half of this century, globalisation will spiral out of control, holding the fate of the world in its unpredictable hands. However, if we do find appropriate political, economic, social, cultural and humane answers to this question, it is possible that the world, mankind, will be able to shape globalisation, at least to a certain extent.
Over the centuries, the world has become increasingly interconnected and interdependent. And after the Second World War, this process unfolded at a truly impressive pace with the information revolution. The increasingly urgent interconnectedness of the world is only one of the manifestations of the phenomenon commonly known as globalisation. I believe that the most important aspect of globalisation is the fact that it is not value-neutral. When speaking of global dissemination, we are actually speaking about the global dissemination of a development model. Each development model has its own values. The concept underpinning the currently prevailing model that is being globalised is the market economy.
The heart of this type of economy is profit. If countries are socially concerned, this profit is redistributed in such a way as to maintain or enable social equality at a legitimate level with the greater involvement of the state. Today, the global economy is almost five times the size it was half a century ago. If it continues to grow at this rate, it is estimated to be eighty times larger by 2100. One-fifth of the world’s population earns only two per cent, and the wealthiest twenty per cent receive over seventy per cent of the global income. The underlying principle of this type of economy, development model and globalisation is economic growth. Should warnings on the limited possibilities of growth prove correct, it will be necessary to consider the possibility of a global collapse of this development model in the future. Due to its globalisation, the model could actually collapse if the globalisation process is not sufficiently regulated. We all agree that the world’s natural resources are limited. In this sense, theories on limited growth and speculations about the collapse of this development model seem attractive, although, in my opinion, not necessarily correct. I believe that while natural resources enabling our progress may indeed be limited, our intellectual resources are far from limited to the same degree.
Thus, instead of speculating about when global capitalism might collapse, I would rather ask the question of how we can control its development in order to manage its economic assumptions and social consequences. Regarding the country I represent, I ask myself as its president: how can Slovenia adjust to global changes and co-create them? From Slovenia’s standpoint, the fundamental answer to this question lies in the development of human resources, particularly knowledge and science. And since neither of these is value-neutral, attention must be paid to maintaining legitimate social equality, or this system will collapse not because of the limitation of its economic assumptions, but because of its social consequences, which will spiral out of control. I believe that we must make every effort to protect natural resources through the sustainable development model, while continuing to develop the resources of knowledge and science at a much more intensive pace. This is where the true potential of the whole world, including Slovenia, really lies. It is in our knowledge that the greatest potential and the so-called window of opportunity lies. Knowledge is not something only large countries can afford; small countries can afford it too, and perhaps the best idea, which will change the world, will be ‘born’ right here. Why should the next technological revolution not begin in Slovenia? This is possible; if we use our minds, instead of succumbing to the belief that we cannot do it.