Based On: Discussion Paper On The Cusp Of A New Era?1.According To McKinsey, What Would Be Distinguishing Characteristics Of The Postwar

Based on: Discussion paper On the cusp of a new era?

1.According to McKinsey, what would be distinguishing characteristics of the Postwar Boom, the era of Contention, and the era of Markets, respectively?

2.Please discuss possible directions of changes that the ‘New Era’ will take in the five domains. Identify challenges and opportunities that business enterprises may face in the New Era.

Expert Answer

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On the cusp of a new era?

Throughout history, societies have witnessed the evolution of distinct economic, political, and social periods. McKinsey, a renowned global management consulting firm, delineated these periods into the Postwar Boom, the Era of Contention, and the Era of Markets. Each period has its own distinguishing characteristics, which have shaped the world in numerous ways.

1. Characteristics of Historical Eras as Defined by McKinsey:

Postwar Boom (circa 1945 – mid-1970s):

This era saw a wave of economic growth, especially in Western countries. It was marked by:

Strong government intervention in the economy.

The rise of labor unions and the welfare state.

Relative geopolitical stability under the bipolar Cold War dynamic.

Technological advances, particularly in manufacturing and infrastructure.

The flourishing of global trade with multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank being established.

Era of Contention (mid-1970s – late 1980s):

This period was one of turbulence:

Economic crises, including the 1970s oil shocks and stagflation.

Political upheavals and the rise of new social movements, like environmentalism and feminism.

A challenge to the established world order with the end of the Cold War.

Economic restructuring, with many countries transitioning to service-based economies.

Era of Markets (late 1980s – early 2000s):

This was a transformative period, characterized by:

The dominance of neoliberal economic policies, emphasizing free markets and deregulation.

The rise of globalization, with trade barriers falling and capital flows increasing.

Advancements in technology, especially the spread of the internet and information technology.

A shift in power from public entities to private corporations.

2. Possible Directions of the ‘New Era’ in Five Domains:

Economic Domain:

The New Era may witness the integration of digital currencies into mainstream economics, with an increased emphasis on sustainable and green economics. There could be a potential rebalancing of global supply chains, prioritizing resilience over efficiency.

Challenges: Adapting to digital disruptions, navigating protectionist policies, and the threat of economic inequalities.

Opportunities: Tapping into new markets, leveraging technology for business operations, and pioneering in green business models.

Political Domain:

Geopolitical shifts with the re-emergence of multipolar world dynamics may dominate. We could see a stronger focus on regional alliances and increased global cooperation on issues like climate change and pandemics.

Challenges: Navigating complex geopolitical landscapes and handling nationalistic sentiments.

Opportunities: Engaging in diplomacy-based trade and capitalizing on regional alliances.

Social Domain:

Society may lean more towards inclusivity, with a greater emphasis on mental health, equality, and social justice. The rise of the digital citizen could change the way people participate in civic processes.

Challenges: Addressing societal divides and managing the repercussions of rapid urbanization.

Opportunities: Fostering corporate social responsibility and building brands with purpose.

Technological Domain:

AI, quantum computing, and biotechnologies could revolutionize industries. The emphasis might shift towards ethical tech and data privacy.


Challenges: Keeping up with rapid tech advancements and managing cybersecurity threats.


The New Era, as speculated, will be multifaceted, presenting both challenges and opportunities for business enterprises. Success in this period will be defined not just by economic prosperity but by the ability to navigate complex geopolitical landscapes, adopt sustainable practices, and cater to an evolving social contract. Businesses that can adapt, evolve, and place themselves at the forefront of these shifts are poised to thrive, while those that remain stagnant may find themselves left behind. It is a call to action for enterprises to be proactive, visionary, and responsible. The New Era demands not

just business acumen but also a conscience.

Opportunities: Pioneering in new tech sectors and leveraging data for personalized consumer experiences.

Environmental Domain:

A surge in green initiatives and policies could be observed, with a push towards a circular economy and renewable energy sources.

Challenges: Adapting to stricter environmental regulations and coping with the adverse effects of climate change.

Opportunities: Innovating in green technologies and tapping into sustainable markets.