Tackling development challenges such as climate change and ageing demographics requires an understanding of the many different factors contributing to the problem. Global solutions are not always the answer – local approaches combined with systems thinking can prove more effective, writes veteran management consultant Arun Maira, Chairman of HelpAge International, a global NGO aimed at helping the elderly lead dignified lives.
The complex nature of global supply chains means that using exploitative labor at any stage, even indirectly, may harm a company's brand and risk legal liability. Consumers do not want to be associated with trafficked workers and will shun goods produced with slave labor. Nations are passing laws to address this problem. Mandatory reporting of anti-slavery actions may provide some protection for both businesses and workers.
Why are mobile phones and bottles of Coca-Cola available in even the most remote parts of Asia, but reliable essential services, such as drinking water, electricity, and clean cooking fuels, are not? More inclusive and effective basic service delivery models are needed to benefit the poor, and the social enterprise sector may hold the key.
As China embraces the digital economy, subcontracting—the practice of using intermediaries to contract workers, whether through agencies or other multilayered contracting—is raising new challenges over legal protections and corporate responsibility, as well as labor unrest.
The Asia-Pacific population has been undergoing dramatic aging, which is transforming the region’s demographic landscape beyond recognition. The region is currently ill-equipped to meet this critical challenge, particularly due to a lack of sound and efficient pension systems.
Two questions that have occupied the human mind since the beginning of civilization are “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Today, with just a swab of saliva, millions of people worldwide have been able to take a peek into their genetic past, thanks to DNA testing. In most cases, such testing reveals a complex global and regional circulation of bloodlines.
The internet has taken much of the human interaction out of international trade. But many commercial buyers continue to emphasize face-to-face communication with sellers.
Growing media and societal attention on environmental issues has prompted researchers to examine factors that contribute to making companies greener. New research has found that corporations with more women in their leadership teams are less likely to be accused of breaching environmental law.
The free flow of labor across national borders has been one of the defining facets of globalization. In recent years, concerns over the effects of increased migration on domestic workforces have led political leaders to consider tightening borders, dramatically altering patterns of human movement. In Asia, this could reverse the brain drain.
Multinational private contractors are taking the place of governmental agencies in assuming guardianship roles over asylum seekers in several countries. This development, amounting to the privatization of border controls, has disturbing consequences.
Japan has traditionally imposed one of the most stringent immigration policies among developed nations. But with aging demographics, its increasingly critical labor shortage is prompting more radical approaches, including relaxing a virtual ban on unskilled workers.
Following World War II, the global economy moved rapidly toward further integration. Now, this process has stopped, and is in fact reversing itself. With countries increasingly engaging in economic nationalism, massive changes are coming, for economies big and small.
Many of the earliest of the great civilizations on Earth were centered on life-giving rivers, such as the Yangtze and the Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus. Rivers remain crucial to modern societies, but pollution is choking the life out of them. For humanity’s sake, governments must act to counter this. The good news is that they already have the tools.
Having pursued growth at all costs for decades, the world now faces widespread environmental degradation. In Japan, this is compounded by a demographic crisis driven by a shrinking population. Contrary to conventional understanding, this may actually present an opportunity for the country to work toward a more sustainable future.
The fashion industry's supply chain no longer meets the expectations of society and business stakeholders. More digitalization promises to bring more efficiency and transparency. But fashion factories must also foster an open culture that encourages learning and that engages workers in the process.
Mired in demographic crises, East Asia is looking to new reproductive technologies as a solution. But its restrictive, reluctant embrace of these technologies runs counter to evolving social attitudes.
As demand for documented migrant labor has risen across Asia, smugglers have been replaced with migration brokers, who utilize and manage webs of relationships to send workers abroad. With knowledge of both the intricacies of bureaucracy and the informal world of local communities, they are an essential part of the international migration infrastructure.
The age of AI and automation is upon us. This may be music to the ears of technologists, businesses, and investors, but Asia’s factory workers will be severely affected when computers and robots take over labor-intensive jobs. To help workers navigate the new economy, governments and businesses should invest in social safety net programs and education.