for the special edition 2021
Visionary Personalities for a better 21st century
by Ingrid Vaileanu
Interview Francophone : You have just published a new book « Covid: le début de la Peur. La fin d’une Démocratie » about the failure of Europe and France and the risk for the democracy. What is your opinion about the Covid crisis and its consequences for our societies ?
Denis Jacquet : This crisis reveals how much politicians have lost it. They ruined our societies when they blinndly slashed health budgets in most European countries, instead of investing wisely and make our public health services more efficient. This accumulation of bad decisions just took the heaviest toll on European economies. Confronted with a not so deadly virus (respectively less than 10 and 200 deaths in Taiwan and Hong Kong), we realized that we did not have the resources and equipment to accommodate and cure contaminated people. Otherwise, most of them would have been saved. The only countries with a high death rate are either countries where health systems have been ruined (Europe) or where they were bad in the first place (US, Latin America). European countries have been outpaced by the pandemic and politicians had to do something to cover up their deeds. At a time where defiance toward politicians is at its heigth, they decided to show they were in charge, that they were the good and ultimate samaritans able to save our lives, to protect us. At all costs. Once a European country would take a restrictive measure, its neighbour would immediately do the same or worse. A domino policy! That's how we decided to "kill" our economies, to ruin the world, to save a few hundred thousands people. It sounds blunt and cold, but it's not. Most of them, over 84, with comorbidity in most cases, were, unfortunately, "programmed" to die anyway. It should have been a solid argument to focus more on the remaining 8 billion human beings, but Europe did a different choice. "Less death" became more important than "more life".
The other issue is how much our western/developed societies can't accept being human anymore. Death is not an option. We should live whatever the cost. We can't stand and accept to be mortal any more. We think that we deserve to live longer even if it's in poor condition. That's the reality. We are living longer but in a bad shape. But we don't care. Medical performance is a privilege we don't want to give up, even when this performance hits hard on the rest of the population. It is now the "Ryan soldier strategy" that takes the lead over our western world. We can kill an army to save one soldier. This disastrous strategy explains why with our heavy and inefficient European technocracy based on the precaution principle, is the reason why you find 10 European countries among the worst death rates in the world and why many consulting firms around the world rank Europe and Latin America as the worst countries in the world not only for their death toll but for also on the economic consequences for the next 5 coming years. This crisis also is revealing how much China is now taking the lead while this marks the beginning or acceleration of Europe inoxerable decline.
Interview Francophone : What is your vision about the opportunities of desirable transitions and necessary changes ?
Denis Jacquet : It's now more than ever a good time to attract new talents to replace or supplement the current politicians. They can't be the solution. They are the problem. We need to build a vision able to provide hope for a better future. We need to invest in a future where technologies are leveraged to impact positively our societies. Use them to heal the world. This is the only way to regain the trust that has been lost along the way. Populist movements, many of them dangerous and frightening (white supremacists, neo-nazis parties..) are regaining traction everywhere. People want someone to blame for their misfortune. They don't see "difference" as a strength but as a danger. We are entering an "against world". "For" or "together" are not buzz words anymore. If Europe is not able to regain its rank among to the ivy league of technological players it will be enslaved to the winners. They will dictate our usages, experiences, our daily lives, through their app and services. They will be the only ones to shape the world. We will have to follow. How can you expect to build faith when you're regarded as a loser? Change the institutions, renew the politician teams, build a vision. That is our most urgent need.
Interview Francophone : What is your best experience in contact with cultures and changing societies ?
Denis Jacquet : I have a daily good experience with emerging economies. Most of them are thriving through investments waves, innovation, through the will of a new generation to change the course of things. They believe they have something to win when western countries, mainly Europe, has only so much to lose. They want to open the doors when we prefer to close them and protect ourselves. Brazil despite so many challenges has more unicorns than France. Countries where young people are the largest part of the population (Latin America, Africa, India) despite the challenges, are leapfrogging toward the future more rapidly with a will to impact positively the world. It's impressive. China and the US are their references in terms of success but they want to do it their way, a way that is more inclusive. With a deeper human focus. The future belongs to people who believe in their future, not to people with regrets. That is shaping the world. I love as much working and living in the US as much as going in Africa or Latin America. They move forward. It's exciting to find places with people driven by faith.
Interview Francophone : What are your future projects to support the desirable transformations ?
Denis Jacquet : I founded Day One Movement to make a contribution to the world. We gather the largest companies in the world to make decisions and show how we can use technologies to build a better world. A world where technology is not an end but a mean. A world where, we, people, companies, artists, are driving the change to breed a new generation of politicians who will then be in a position to join the movement and play their part. Inside this movement composed of events, clubs, workgroups, we have a Foundation that I consider as my most important endeavour. We are designing the most efficient, the largest, the most needed "job mutation barometer" in the world. How do you want to build trust and mobilize if people think that they don't belong to the future? We want to anticipate the impact of technologies, the impact of new business models to make sure that companies, governments take urgent actions to upskill, reskill, train, people to make sure they will keep their job. We know how essential it is to keep believing in the future to preserve the fabric of our societies. Day One Movement foundation has a very ambitious program for the next 5 years and I hope we will contribute to changing the life of 1 billion people in 10 years.
Interview Francophone : What advice could you give to the generations of the 21st century ?
Denis Jacquet : They have to realize that we have to design a future with our past as a base, based on the best things we have done before. Building a future doesn't mean to turn your back on the past but to take the best of it and improve everything going forward. Take the best, heal the rest. They have to take risks because their higher risk is to learn. As said by Nelson Mandela, either you win or you learn. When you're young with a life expectancy that strides toward 100, what mean 1 or 2 years of your life? Nothing but an experience that will help you for the rest of your life. There is a huge lane to build between China and the US, for a limited time. They have to take this opportunity.