The World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year was abuzz with talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The idea is that computer automation and robots will take jobs, fundamentally changing the structure of the global economy.
Some countries will win, and others will lose out as the world changes, and it’s not clear yet who is best placed to cash in.
But analysts at UBS, led by Paul Donovan, put together a ranking of which countries are most likely to do well in the next 20 years based on a combined metric of the flexibility of their labour markets, how skilled their workers are, and how prepared the education system is for change.
UBS also looked at how well the countries’ legal systems protected private property rights and whether their physical infrastructure can cope with the change. The lower the total score, the better placed the country is to take advantage of the coming industrial revolution.
I Word Understanding
Fundamentally – essentially
Labour – hard work
Industrial Revolution – as the changes in manufacturing and transportation that began with fewer things being made by hand but instead made using machines in larger-scale factories.
II Have your say
1. What are the advantages of Industrial Revolution?
Here are the 10 countries set to benefit the most from the next industrial revolution
• Switzerland – overall competitiveness score: 3.4: Switzerland gets top marks for its flexible labour market and education system. The country’s legal protections are only bested by Finland and New Zealand.
• Singapore – overall competitiveness score: 4.9: Singapore ranks top in the world for the skill level of its workers and its infrastructure. It just misses out on the top spot with a ranking of ninth for education.
• Netherlands – overall competitiveness score: 9.4: The Netherlands ranks highly all round, coming third for skill level and infrastructure, although it comes in at 17th for flexible labour structures.
• Finland – overall competitiveness score: 10.1. Finland has the best legal system in the world for the coming 20 years, according to the report, but is lacking in infrastructure and flexible labour markets.
• United States – overall competitiveness score: 10.2. The US has the fourth most flexible labour market and ranks highly for skills and education, but is let down by a legal system that only beats Taiwan in this list.