The world’s engines of progress are stuttering – but the world is still a much better place than in earlier times in history
That is the view of Dr Richard Straub, president of the Peter Drucker Society Europe, of which Dialogue is media partner.
Straub used his opening address at the 8th Global Peter Drucker Forum, taking place this week in Vienna, to fire a warning to leaders and managers that growing inequalities, debt crises, climate change, aging populations and global conflicts are checking the incredible progress of humankind.
“The engines of progress are stuttering,” Straub said at the Forum, themed this year The Entrepreneurial Society. “We cannot rest on our laurels. We are increasingly fearful about technology: that it will destroy the fabric of society, making humans redundant and making machines take over.”
But in his opening letter to the Forum, Straub reminded delegates that in fact the history of technological innovation showed that it had been a key catalyst for improving the human condition. “The positive change we have experienced in just the past 250 years is astounding,” he wrote. “This unprecedented surge in income and improvement in living conditions for the masses… for sure comes down to human ingenuity, dramatically unleashed in key areas by technological breakthroughs and advances in governance.”
In a call to arms, Straub said in his address: “We have in our hands creative potential that is totally unprecedented in history. The challenge as managers is how can we manage this huge potential? I believe we have not even scratched the surface.”