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The Age of Adaptation

GENEVA – The world needs to stop looking backward. Since the 2008 financial crisis, we have wasted far too much energy trying to return to the days of rapid economic expansion. The flawed assumption that the post-crisis world's challenges were only temporary has underpinned policies that have yielded only lackluster recoveries, while failing to address key problems like high unemployment and rising inequality.

The post-crisis era is over, and the “post-post-crisis world" is upon us. It is time to adopt a new framework of realistic solutions that promote shared prosperity within the global economy of today and tomorrow.

In this new era, economic growth will occur more slowly – but potentially more sustainably – than it did before the crisis. And technological change will be its driving force. Indeed, just as the Industrial Revolution transformed the productive potential of societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a new wave of technological breakthroughs is reshaping economic and even social dynamics today. The difference is that this revolution's impact will be even greater.

One outstanding feature of this revolution is the scope and scale of its disruptiveness. The Industrial Revolution occurred relatively slowly, like long waves in the ocean; though it began in the 1780s, its impact was not really felt until the 1830s and 1840s. The current technological revolution, by contrast, hits economies like a tsunami, with little warning and inexorable force.