Indeed, the world is changing, challenging our thought processes and perception of our environment and creating paradoxical situations along the way. Economic growth is producing unprecedented wealth, yet the gap between rich and poor widens. Continents that once stood on the sidelines are the new driving forces for development. The internet places knowledge at our fingertips yet is also a breeding ground for risk. Switzerland's competitiveness is admired but also envied, and the country must defend its position and financial institutions.
These paradoxes, like many others, are typical of the direction the world is taking. The luxury industry of course encounters its share. Putting these questions into words is the first step towards answering them.
At the 5th Forum de la Haute Horlogerie, these themes were effectively at the centre of debate. Economists such as Carlos A. Primo Braga, a specialist on Latin America, and emerging-markets expert Charles Robertson, authors including Jacques Attali, a former advisor to President François Mitterrand, politicians such as Pascal Broulis, state councillor for the Canton of Vaud, experts such as Mikko Hypponen, a specialist in cybercriminality, and demographer Sarah Harper, not forgetting Rory Sutherland, a respected analyst of contemporary economic trends and Uli Sigg, a leading collector of Chinese art, proposed some of the keys to understanding this new reality.
Economist, strategist, writer and political adviser, Jacques Attali is considered one of the 100 leading intellectual thinkers of the day. President of PlaNet Finance, an international organisation specialising in microfinance, he also turns his hand to orchestral conducting
Leading architect of the first joint venture between a western company and China in 1979, Uli Sigg trained in law, went on to work as a journalist and was Swiss ambassador to China between 1995 and 1998. Owner of the largest collection of contemporary Chinese art in the world, he has decided that it should now be returned to its home country
The Brazilian economist Carlos A. Primo Braga worked for the World Bank before becoming professor of international political economy at IMD Lausanne. He is also director of the Evian Group, which aims to encourage an open, inclusive, equitable and sustainable market economy within a rules-based multilateral framework.
Emerging markets specialist Charles Robertson is convinced that Africa will be the fastest continent to reach the fourth economic age. Head of the strategic unit of the Renaissance Capital investment fund, Robertson is also co-author of “The Fastest Billion”, a work in which he substantiates his views.
Pascal Broulis has held a seat on the State Council for the canton of Vaud since 2002. A great driving force behind the stabilisation of some of the most solid public finances in Switzerland and the introduction of a policy of economic stimulus, he has significantly contributed to making the Arc Lémanique one of Europe’s most dynamic regions
Sarah Harper is the founder and director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing. Her research looks at trends linked to globalisation and changes in the population, with a particular focus on longevity, the reversal of the age pyramid and demographic growth as political, social and economic factors.
Chief research officer at F-Secure in Finland, Mikko Hypponen is one of the world’s leading cybercrime experts. With his team, he has tracked the origin of some of the most invasive computer viruses and worked on classified operations, including decoding the Stuxnet worm that was intended to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities.
Vice-Chairman of the Ogilvy Group in London, Rory Sutherland is a behavioural economics specialist. Aka the Wiki Man, he is also constantly tuned into a stream of multifarious information, which he uses to inform his maverick insights and activities.