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Ten questions for governments

Are we really focusing on the big issues for the next decade?

We know about climate change and the energy crisis, but are health, food and water as high as they should be on our agenda? Are we making assumptions about citizens’ willingness to share data?

Do we share the big challenges we all face with the right people and organisations?

How many of us are being straight with the public on the likely impact of a 4°C rise in temperature, the increasing cost of healthcare for the ageing and those with chronic disease, and how to pay for it all?

To what extent can we really use taxation and policy to change behaviour?

Can we nudge people to adapt to a new world, eat less meat and use less energy or will we have to ban certain products and, if that doesn’t work, how effective will the tax lever be?

Which new areas of the economy should we be investing in for the future?

Will our current local strengths be long-term global successes? Should we stop supporting legacy industry and shift to a new world and, if so, where can we have the greatest effect?

What new skills will we need to have access to in order to support higher growth?

Does our population have the capabilities best suited to the challenges ahead? How quickly can we re-equip our workforces with the right skills? Should we start attracting the best migrants ahead of others?

Which regions of the world will we need to cooperate more effectively with?

Will our current trading partners be the best ones in 2020? As the centre of power shifts to Asia, should we forge new bilateral agreements or can we all act together as a coherent bloc?

Which currency should we be saving and trading in?

Do we have the right balance of foreign reserves? Are we too dependent on the US dollar or the euro? How prepared are we to trade in alternative currencies and change our reserve mix?

What is the balance between providing education and providing pensions?

Should we invest more in the next generation than we did the last? Can we rely on their income tax to pay for the rising cost of the elderly or should we put money aside to get us through?

How well are we prepared to deal with inevitable surprises?

Do we have the right bio-surveillance in place to protect our nation’s health? Are we over-dependent on the wrong sorts of food? How good is our data security and can we be self-sufficient in energy by 2020?

Will we tackle the big challenges in isolation or will we collaborate?

How well aligned are we with other countries on the pivotal issues? Will we all agree on the right path and work in unison or are there areas where we will go our own way and, if so, where?

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