In the “Government in an Integrated World” session from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft, discusses how he thinks governance will have to change to accommodate rapid technological and social change. The world is now so interdependent, he says, that a ‘sick’ country is felt by the rest of the world. Also appearing in this video: David Kirkpatrick, CEO and Founder of Techonomy.
Mundie: As is true in business, not all companies are created equal, due to their leadership, and not all governments are created equal. You know, I just came last night from the APEC meeting, where I chaired the business meeting, alongside the leaders meeting, and there were a few things that I think stuck out in that conference that kind of relate to your question. One was the general agreement that most of the growth in the next decade will happen in the Asia-Pacific region, as opposed the the rest of the world. Second thing is there’s agreement that the world is completely interdependent now. So there is no significant region of the world that can get sick and not affect the rest of the world. So, for example, everybody, you know, it was the APEC meeting, and in the first discusses, a lot of people just kept coming back to the European situation, saying, you know, with Europe being the largest export market for China, if Europe goes in the tank, China can’t maintain its growth rate at the necessary level, no matter how good it is in the rest of the region. And I think, relative to the comments this morning, this interdependency is something that’s a principle factor you have to consider now and wasn’t a principle factor decades before. And I think that’s something you have to think about.
The governments, I think of necessity, should more or less be retrospective in the way they think about regulation and legislation, but they have to be more prospective in policy issues. And one of the—on the last thought, PWC did a survey that they published at the APEC meeting, and they looked at where all the CEOs around the world were planning to make their biggest investments in the next five to 10 years, and of course, the US gets a lot because it’s a big market, China gets a lot because it’s high growth, and the next biggest country in three out of the five sectors that they looked at in investment was Singapore, which is about the smallest country.
Kirkpatrick: Boy, we’ve heard a lot about Singapore here.
Mundie: Well the reason is Singapore I think is a place, as Scott mentioned this morning, where they have focused from the beginning on great governance. And you start to see the accumulative effects of their focus on governance and how it has outdistanced, you know, what’s happening in sort of the—quote—“the great democracies,” where—
Kirkpatrick: I mean governance as practiced by them is not what we kind of think of.  It’s sort of autocracy, right, I mean—
Mundie: No—
Kirkpatrick: The government of Singapore is really not that democratic, right?
Mundie: I think one of the things you have to start thinking about is—
Kirkpatrick:  Or, were you referring to a different kind of—
Mundie: —democracy is how you put the people in the seats, you know, versus other ways of putting people in the seats. Each country gets to pick how it wants to do that, and many people have sort of equated, particularly in the United States, democracy as we’ve known it with efficacy. And I think the thing that’s now becoming clear is that you can put the people in the seats any way you want, but now it becomes a question of efficacy. And I think what you see is in Europe and the US now, the efficacy of our government, you know, is not competitive any longer.
Kirkpatrick: Right.
Mundie: And that’s now having an effect on that other components of the society.
Kirkpatrick: We don’t have a five-year plan, right.