Despite Covid-19’s recent resurgence in most Australian states and territories, Kalgoorlie – and Western Australia – has once again steered clear of any outbreaks in the lead-up to Diggers and Dealers, allowing the conference to proceed with, like last year, a WA-dominated delegacy.
Speaking at the opening of the conference this morning, Oxford University Professor Ian Goldin championed the need for globalism and digitalisation to be embraced in the face of the global pandemic, along with burgeoning nationalism and protectionism.
Addressing the conference in Kalgoorlie from his home in the UK, Professor Goldin said we were fortunate as a civilisation that the global pandemic occurred during a time that remote connectivity is possible.
“While many predicted that the pandemic would lead to deglobalisation, in fact what we’re seeing in many dimensions is an acceleration of globalisation,” Professor Goldin said.
“The compression of technological, economic and social shifts that would have taken 10-15 years to emerge, and digital connections and meetings, is one important aspect of this.
“Financial flows have accelerated, and they will expand further. I’m sure you will have seen growth in mergers and acquisitions during this time. This is a global phenomenon.”
Professor Goldin, who successfully predicted the likelihood of a global pandemic long before the existence of Covid-19, said now was the time that civilisation needs to embrace globalisation and to understand that we need more of it, rather than less.
“Certainly, more to lift more people around the world out of poverty, more to spread gender equality, to overcome discrimination, to spread human rights and to provide the capital necessary, to ensure that our economies grow and the trade opportunities are available,” he said.
“We need to spread new technologies more rapidly, not the least of those which are necessary to address the challenges of climate change, of pandemics, and of the other great threats we face.”
Professor Goldin said Australia’s commodities including steel, gold, lithium and copper would continue to play vital roles as the world transitions to cleaner technologies.
“Together with opportunities in agriculture, the opportunities for hydrogen development etc are all fantastic. But what needs to be more agile? Things that would have been developed over the next 10-20 years are now going to have to be developed over the coming years,” he said.
“Coming together in Kalgoorlie provides that opportunity to think, to talk, to make the deals and to act.”