PS21 Event Writeup: ‘Making Globalization Work’

By Siena Parrish

Photo Credit: Ross Bradford

The event on the 13th of November – Making Globalization Work, took place at Juju’s Bar and Stage. It was organised by Ross Bradford and moderated by Samuel Genge, Chief of Staff at PS21.

   Thomas Sampson, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics, spoke about how the rise of globalization post Second World War, has resulted in a major backlash in the 21st century. This is because countries that trade more tend to win more – a problem when addressing the inherent tension present in countries who want to be global and yet preserve a strong sense of patriotism and or independence. In every major industrial change, there are those who gain market influence and those who lose it, creating both international and internal economic imbalance. For countries like the United States, this means that smart industries, such as software, are booming, while more traditional industries like steel, are stagnating and losing previously secure economic positions. While globalization has increased trade, the economic discontent caused by backsliding industries is the resulting main concern of policy makers. According to Sampson, the best policy responses involve the redistribution of resources, an understanding of the limits that a global society must have, and the spread of information to those who may not have easy access.  

Angela Chatzidimitriou, who works at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, spoke about blockchain in the wider economy. She defined blockchain as a distributed ledger that provides a way for information to be recorded and shared by a community. In this community, each member maintains his or her own copy of the information and all members must validate any updates collectively. The information could represent transactions, contracts, assets, identities, or practically anything else that can be described in digital form. Entries are permanent, transparent, and searchable, which makes it possible for community members to view transaction histories in their entirety. Each update is a new “block” added to the end of the “chain” and a protocol manages how new edits or entries are initiated, validated, recorded, and distributed. Most notably, Angela stressed that with blockchain, cryptology replaces third-party intermediaries as the keeper of trust. Why is that important? According to Angela, because trust is foundational to business; yet maintaining trust—particularly throughout a global economy—is expensive, time-consuming, and, in many cases, inefficient. However, blockchain is a system that helps create a trust economy – practically helps all actors involved in a transaction trust each other by default. And at the same time it can democratize the way business is done because of its transparency. Like the Internet reinvented communication, Angela supported that blockchain can similarly disrupt transactions, contracts, and trust—all of which are the underpinnings of business, government, and society.

  Ifeloluvwa Oguntokum, Journalist,  spoke about his Telegraph article on cashless societies. Oguntokum said that because online transactions are become more frequent worldwide, the need for paper money has been reduced, naturally moving societies towards cashless forms of financial transactions. One benefit is that it may lead to a reduction in crime, as it removes the anonymity that is provided through physical transactions, rendering illegal financial exchanges technically problematic. According to Oguntokum, the implementation would be slow and gradual, allowing for people to adapt to cashless methods. Oguntokum, predicts that the UK will be a cashless society by 2050.

 Carrie Osman, the CEO and founder of the tech company, CRUXY Co. spoke on what capitalism means in contemporary society and how she, as an entrepreneur, walks the line between businesswomen and business competitor. She explained that businesses can share information while concurrently maintaining a competitive edge. Learning how to navigate the line between sharing and competing, has allowed her company to both access the expertise of industry professionals, while also maintaining the company’s distinct identity. To finish the discussion, Osman and the panelists ended the night on a note of strong but cautious, hope.


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