[Viewpoint]In the future, creativity is the keyThomas L. Friedman, the author of “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century,” wrote that “While the dynamic force in Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing, and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 ― the thing that gives it its unique character ― is individuals and small groups globalizing.”
In 1937, 70 years ago, Joseph Stalin forced Koreans then living in Russia’s Maritime Province in the Far East to be evacuated to the vast wilderness of Central Asia by train, unloading them in scattered places here and there.
Because the country, the dynamic force of Globalization 1.0, was so small and weak it finally collapsed. The individuals who belonged to the country had no other choice but to be swept into the turbulence of history and victimized without reason. The Koreans who were evacuated to Central Asia at that time survived the historical turmoil. Some of them even managed to move, like the seeds of dandelions blown into air, to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are situated at the far western corner of the Eurasian continent.
Today, 70 years since the Koreans in Central Asia were forced to lead the painful lives of homeless people, the positions of the persecutor and the persecuted have been completely reversed, at least from the perspectives of companies, the dynamic force of Globalization 2.0.
Colorful advertisements of Samsung and LG digital televisions are predominantly displayed in Sheremetyevo airport, the gateway to Moscow, the former capital of the Soviet Union, which persecuted the Koreans, loading them on trains as if they were pieces of luggage.
A red Rio, a compact car manufactured by the Hyundai Kia Motor Group, is now displayed prominently in the center of the airport.
Indeed, an astounding change has taken place.
Now, the question is what role individuals in Globalization 3.0 will play.
In an effort to find an answer to the question, I decided to travel to the Far West from the Far East, bearing in mind the bitter historical experience that Koreans had to endure during the past 70 years, the era of Globalization 1.0.
While paying attention to the status of Korean companies, which grew with remarkable speed and power during Globalization 2.0, I traveled around the Baltic countries at the western end of the Eurasian continent, where some Koreans had somehow managed to arrive from Central Asia 70 years ago. All the while, I agonized over the role of individuals in this changing world in Globalization 3.0.
For 10 days, I traveled around Riga, the capital of Latvia; Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania; and Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. On the last leg of my journey, I arrived at Parnu, located along the seaside in the southwest part of Tallinn. It is called the summer capital of Estonia. That’s where I started to write this column, summarizing my short but meaningful visit to the Baltic countries. It was only 3 a.m., but it was already daybreak. And the delicate color of the sky and the water went well, and contrasted well, with each other at times. Another day, or rather the future, was about to unfold before us.
We are already in the future, the era of Globalization 3.0. This is an era in which the imagination and creativity of individuals are more valuable than the organizational power of the country or companies. If we want to play the leading role in this era, we must clear the conception of the Globalization 1.0 era from our minds. Indeed, the world is wide and there are a lot of things to do.
The atlas in Globalization 3.0 does not show national boundaries, but is a distributional map of creative power. As Friedman mentioned in his book, a large portion of jobs being done in the United States will be done in India, so it is no longer important where people live. There is no boundary even between the Far East and the Far West. I started to write this column in Estonia and then forwarded it to an airport in Russia. Now, I read it in Seoul.
In Globalization 2.0, Korean companies should not be content with their present market share or market dominance. If they settle for their present status in the market, there is no future for them. They should always make new challenges and take continuous chances. Most of all, individuals should renew their determination to be the warriors of the Globalization 3.0 era by awakening to the potential greatness in themselves.
Instead of following what others do, we should be the genuine protagonists of the Globalization 3.0 era by using our unique creativity as our weapons. The Globalization 3.0 era is tempting you and me to make a venture.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong