Gavin Hewitt on Trump, Technology and Global Trade


February, 2018

The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt gave a rousing speech to a crowded room of delegates at Warwick Congress on Saturday morning, discussing the influence of innovation on global trade and politics.

“Not everything that Donald Trump says or does is bad. He’s tapped into something real. There is a divide in American society”.

Mr Hewitt highlighted that globalisation and the technological revolution were contributing factors in creating the unstable politics within the United States, as those who believe themselves to have been left behind by the benefits of globalisation were typically those who voted for Donald Trump within the 2016 Presidential Election: “Not everything that Donald Trump says or does is bad. He’s tapped into something real. There is a divide in American society”. However, Mr Hewitt emphasised that the benefits of globalisation far outweigh the costs, highlighting that globalisation along with global trade and investment has lifted hundred of millions of people out of poverty. Even traditionally protectionist states such as China continue to favour globalisation, with Mr Hewitt drawing attention to the words of President Xi: “Globalisation is the big ocean you cannot get out of, and China has learnt how to swim”.

Mr Hewitt contended that in actuality the greater disruption to jobs is not being caused by globalisation but by innovation, with it being estimated that almost 800,000 jobs could be lost to automation by 2030. However, Mr Hewitt remained optimistic about such changes, stating that: “Technology brings with it new businesses requiring new skills. Not all technology is negative”. As a result, Mr Hewitt insisted that states will have to invest in providing greater training and educational infrastructure for the new jobs that are being created, particularly training in computer coding.

Mr Hewitt’s inspiring speech on the innovative new world we find ourselves in is summarised by his ending thought: “The pace of change has never been so fast but it will never be this slow again”.


Written by Natasha Rega-Jones.


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