Mauro Guillén’s world is about to change

In a new book, the Wharton professor—and ‘globalization guy’—breaks down the key factors that will combine to radically transform the world over the next decade.

According to Mauro Guillén, “the world as we know it is about to change, and it won’t be returning anytime soon, if ever.”

He’s not talking about the novel coronavirus.

Illustration of a future world cartoon.
Image: Roman Klonek/The Pennsylvania Gazette

Those words come near the end of a new book that Guillén—an expert on emerging markets who serves as the Zandman Professor of International Management at the Wharton School—finished writing back in November. Published last month, “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything(St. Martin’s Press) highlights how a confluence of demographic, economic, and technological developments are creating “a bewildering new reality driven by a new set of rules,” Guillén writes in the introduction. “Before we know it there will be more grandparents than grandchildren in most countries; collectively, middle-class markets in Asia will be larger than those in the United States and Europe combined; women will own more wealth than men; and we will find ourselves in the midst of more industrial robots than manufacturing workers, more computers than human brains, more sensors than human eyes, and more currencies than countries.”

Trained as a sociologist, Guillén jokes that “I am known in my little field of research as ‘Mr. Globalization Guy’—I’m the guy who studies globalization of business, big trends in the world, all of that.” He’s been writing and teaching about these issues for decades, but this outing is different, he says, pitched more toward a general audience seeking to understand the coming reality and gain insight into how to operate successfully within it. The book draws on sources ranging from academic journals to UN, WHO, and corporate reports to tech and business magazines, and features plenty of vivid examples along with the data.

“The book was motivated by something I had been experiencing when I was making presentations about this topic, which is that people are increasingly feeling uneasy about what the world is going to look like five, 10 years down the road—because everybody realizes that things are changing very, very fast,” Guillén says.

This story is by John Prendergast. Read more at The Pennsylvania Gazette.