Shows, Shifts and Shocks: What to Expect in 2014

Daniel Franklin, editor of The Economist


"Sporting shows, political shocks and economic shifts" will define the year ahead, according to Daniel Franklin, editor of The Economist. On Jan. 9, Franklin was the invited guest on IESE’s Madrid campus to present "The World in 2014," which he predicts will arouse both anxiety and excitement. He made his comments in a special session moderated by Prof. Juan José Toribio as part of the Alumni Association’s Continuous Education program.

Although several notable landmarks will dot the global landscape in 2014 – demographic change in Asia, a potential slowdown in the rate of technological advancement and the possibly first timid steps toward commercial space travel – the year will largely be shaped by global sporting events, political upheavals and economic shifts.

All attention will be on global sports events such as the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the World Cup in Brazil, which will undoubtedly be the most significant in terms of audience in 2014. Beyond the sports world, these events may have broad political implications in the host countries. Franklin observed that the January release of political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky might indicate that Russian president Vladimir Putin has become more finely attuned to world opinion.

Meanwhile, the World Cup in Brazil may also be "tinged with politics," as the country deals with ongoing social protests and prepares for the upcoming general elections in October. "What happens in the fields and stadiums, and how smoothly the event works, could have an influence on Brazilian politics," said Franklin.

In terms of other "political shocks," 2014 will be an extraordinary year for elections, as more than 40 percent of the world population resides in countries that will hold a general poll in 2014, including India, the United States, Indonesia and member states of the European Union. Although voter turnout may be low, particularly in Europe, Franklin believes that a significant fragmentation away from mainstream parties in favor of fringe groups could send political shockwaves through the system. Franklin added the Scottish referendum as another significant political event in 2014, since the outcome could reverberate far beyond Great Britain.

Franklin also foresees significant shifts in the global economy, with a decline in growth in emerging markets, including China and BRIC, and a resurgence in developed markets such as the United States, Europe and Japan. These economic shifts will likely resonate for global executives. "There is a greater sense of opportunity emerging from the rich world and a greater awareness of troubles in the emerging world," Franklin said.