1. Advancing rural telemedicine: An interview with Sameer Sawakar
The challenges of health care delivery in rural India are several and familiar: poor infrastructure, insufficient supply of skilled doctors, and dispersed poor populations, all of which make affordable care hard to achieve. Sameer Sawarkar, founder and CEO of Neurosynpatic Communications, says technology can bridge this deep divide. In this video interview, he discusses ReMeDi—his low-cost telemedicine solution that aims to connect rural patients to urban doctors via the Internet. McKinsey’s Clay Chandler interviewed Mr. Sawarkar at Neurosynaptic’s Bangalore office in April.
What Matters June 12, 2009
2. Trend to watch: Globalization under fire
Of all the trends we followed before the crisis, globalization seemed the most secure. Today, however, big and important question marks hang over some aspects of global economic integration. The past decade-and-a-half has witnessed a level of global integration unseen since before World War I (and arguably in history). Between the early 1990s and the current downturn, global GDP grew at robust rate--roughly 5% nominal GDP growth per year. Yet, trade flows grew nearly one-and-a-half times faster, while capital flows grew at twice the rate. The advent of viable undersea fiber networks in the late 1990s created the first real-time global data networks ever, unleashing a torrent of global information flows. In the last 2 decades, more than 200 free-trade treaties were signed, tariffs fell to unprecedented lows, and countries like China and India, after years of relative isolationism, engaged much more vigorously in the global economy. In the current downturn, at least certain aspects of globalization have stalled. Trade flows, for example, are expected to fall at roughly four times the rate of global GDP in 2009; tariffs are rising; and immigration restrictions in certain countries are increasing. The crisis, which hit the US hard in the fall and in January, is having significant knock-on effects across the world--particularly in key sectors, such as manufacturing and mining. Yet the data are not uniform. Although growth in the globalization of goods and services may stall for a period because international trade has declined along with demand, it is unlikely to reverse. There is little political appetite for further trade liberalization--for example, by completing the Doha round of negotiations--but a full frontal attack on liberal trade would threaten large numbers of jobs, raise prices for consumers, and endanger prospects for economic recovery. While a populist backlash cannot be ruled out, the more likely outcome is increased protectionism on the margins and recovery of the global trading system as growth returns. As for the globalization of talent, immigration will slow if governments tighten restrictions in response to popular concerns about job losses. Yet aging populations mean that many Western countries will eventually find themselves short of workers, and emerging markets will keep producing a growing share of the world's college graduates. Additionally, the relentless march of information and communications technology will enable the global distribution of knowledge work. Overall, we remain confident that the global market for managerial and technical talent will continue to grow. Perhaps the most important point in all of this: it is in the economic interest of no one to reverse global integration. Protectionist backlash will slow recovery, increase prices, and drive unemployment. Yet, as history has shown, it is not beyond human ingenuity--or political process--to do, with all the best intentions, what is in the economic interest of no one. The verdict: This trend is categorized as decelerating.
Harvard Business Review by Eric Beinhocker and Elizabeth Stephenson July 20, 2009