3 Guiding Principles for the New Decade

January 6, 2020, 11:21 AM UTC

Good morning.

Six days in, the new decade has already pilloried prognosticators. Few put war with Iran high on their lists. So I hesitate to follow the forecasters’ path.

But a few things can be said about the next decade. There is a crisis of confidence in the Western world, with the most fundamental tenets of democracy and capitalism being called into question. At the same time, there is swelling confidence in China, where some of the most cherished beliefs of the West have never taken hold. And there is an economic reality underlying it all, neatly captured by the folks at Axios, here. The last decade was unfathomably good for the very rich, but also saw an unprecedented alleviation of poverty among the world’s most poor. Inequality within nations grew, but inequality across nations declined. The result is a complex stew of internal and external challenges that will grow over the new decade.

Fueling it all is a technology revolution that will not just change how things are done, but how decisions are made. That is its promise and its peril. More than previous technology waves, this one has the potential to upend almost every aspect of business…and of life. (Concerns about cyber security—heightened by events of the last few days—will put speed bumps in the way, but won’t stop the tsunami.)

The private sector will play a central role—if not the central role—in shaping this new world. At Fortune, our mission is to help inform and guide that effort. We aim to make business better, by spotlighting corporate success, uncovering corporate failure, and providing opportunities to share best practices.

As guiding principles, there are three ideas that have withstood the test of time, and no doubt will continue to do so in the 2020s:

  • Capitalism is the best system known for organizing an economy. It should be improved, not replaced.
  • Globalization is both an inevitable and a desirable result of economic and technological progress. We should shape it, not fight it.
  • Leadership matters. The decade ahead will put leaders to the test. They will need wisdom and courage, and must build a reservoir of moral authority to guide us through.

CEO Daily hopes to be your guide to these developments in the years ahead. Stay with us.

By the way, Fortune editors collected predictions from some of the most thoughtful people we know on the coming decade, worth reading here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Iran Pulls Back From Nuclear Accord

Amid escalating tensions over the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Iran said that it would not fulfill any of its commitments under the 2015 Nuclear Accord—an agreement European countries had been desperately trying to keep alive. That means Iran will no longer limit the number of centrifuges used for uranium enrichment, increasing the possibility that the country will develop a nuclear weapon. Bloomberg 

Oil Spikes to $70 

Markets were making big moves on Monday morning, with oil soaring to $70 on worries an escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran could disrupt supply. The Iran tension follows events last week that also pushed up the price of oil: attacks on Saudi assets and stand-offs in the Strait of Hormuz, the tiny sea strait that forms a crucial link to the export markets of the Gulf, and which is bordered by Iran. Broader markets fell in the Middle East on Sunday. Bloomberg 

And the Winner...Isn't Netflix

Last night's Golden Globes pitted Hollywood's legacy studios against their biggest streaming rival, with the studios coming out on top. Netflix went into the awards ceremony with an impressive 34 nominations, but walked away with just two for Laura Dern in Marriage Story and Olivia Colman in The Crown. Hollywood Reporter

Nancy Pelosi Moves In 

Pelosi said late Sunday that the U.S. House of Representatives would hold a vote this week to cease hostilities with Iran "within 30 days" unless authorized by lawmakers. Pelosi has called the attacks on Soleimani "provocative and disproportionate" and Democratic lawmakers have also protested after President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had no legal duty to inform other lawmakers of upcoming military operations. FT


Weinstein Goes On Trial

Monday will mark the start of the trial of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein in Manhattan. Since the Weinstein story officially kicked off the #MeToo movement more than two years ago, his case has been seen as a verdict not just on his individual crimes but on the scale of social change that it unleashed. New York Times  

Ghosn Puts Pressure on Japanese Justice

After Carlos Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon, which does not have an extradition deal with the country, Japanese prosecutors were arguing that he should not have been allowed bail ahead of trial. While Japan's justice system has been criticized for being too harsh, with an unusually high conviction rate, some in the country are now arguing the system is not strict enough. Meanwhile, insiders say Ghosn escaped by hiding in an audio gear box. Guardian / WSJ

Australia Prepares for More Devastation 

Relief from hot weather on Monday in Australia was giving authorities a chance to evacuate civilians who have been trapped by fires and prepare for a return to fighting the devastating bushfires later this week when temperatures are expected to rise again. The death toll from the blazes stand at 25, while an area nearly as large as Austria has already been destroyed. Reuters 

What Happens in Vegas... 

...no longer stays there, says the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International in this op-ed for Fortune. The city's companies are now stepping up to embrace social and environmental sustainability goals, despite its traditional reputation for frivolity and excess, he argues. Fortune 

A note from CEO Daily: The future of Fortune is coming. This month, we will be launching (deep breath) a new site and app, a new video hub, a new magazine, plus a subscription package that offers the best of business, all in one place: strategic insights, deep-dive stories, and exclusive access to what the C-suite is thinking. We'll keep you updated on the launch, and you can also tell your friends to keep tabs on developments by leaving their email addresses here.

But that's not all! Fortune is also getting ready to launch a raft of new newsletters, two of which you can sign up for in advance. Fans of the Sino Saturday edition of CEO Daily will be excited to learn that Clay Chandler and the Hong Kong team are preparing a daily newsletter on business in China, called Eastworld. And our Rome-based ace, Bernhard Warner, will write a daily newsletter on finance news, awesomely named Bull Sheet.

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn. 

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