Boom, Gloom and the New Normal published today
on May 23, 2011

New Normal logo.pngToday, the blog is proud to publish the first Chapter of its new eBook:
‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: how Western BabyBoomers are changing global chemical demand patterns, again’
It is co-authored with ICIS’ John Richardson of Asian Chemical Connections.
A new chapter will be published each month. Please click here for Chapter 1. We hope this will help to build discussion about its key messages.
These are as follows:
• It is most unlikely that we will quickly return to the Golden Age of chemical consumption between 1990-2008
• This was driven by the enormous purchasing power of the Western BabyBoomers (those born between 1946-70)
• They were the richest, and largest generation that the world has ever seen. But they are now moving into the 55+ age group, when people typically save more and spend less
• This is already impacting key sources of chemical demand, including housing and autos. These will not recover to previous peaks
• Equally, the age of outsourcing production to the emerging economies is also coming to an end
• Western demand is reducing, not growing, so there are no longer any capacity constraints to be overcome
• Instead, Western and emerging economies need to adapt to the New Normal, and its very different demand patterns
The eBook argues that the next wave of global growth will not be a simple replica of the past 25 years. Instead, it will require major innovation in business models and technology.
The industry will need to develop a sustained focus on key megatrends such as increasing food supplies, water availability and life expectancy, whilst reducing carbon footprint.
These represent major challenges. But the industry faced similar challenges in the 1970’s, and overcame them to launch the Golden Age.
We hope the new eBook will prove valuable for everyone currently working in the global chemical industry. Please click here to download a free copy of Chapter 1. John and I look forward to your comments.

Share This Post
  • Bart Moodie
    May 24, 2011

    Paul and John
    I greatly enjoyed reading your first installment of your book. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. Unfortunately, those in power in our country do not understand what you are telling us. They want us to believe that the government is the key to unlocking future prosperity and wealth. You seem to be pointing to a future where firms must be altruistic in some manner as they help look out for our common good. They will do this because in the long run it will be good for them. How confident are you about this model (if I understand it correctly?)

  • Paul Hodges
    May 24, 2011

    Many thanks for your kind words. We’ve put a lot of research into the eBook, and its good that you have found it helpful.
    I am confident, in that I think business can only succeed over the longer-term if it genuinely provides value for its customers. Governments do have a role to play, but their current fixation with stimulus programmes only piles up more and more debt, which isn’t helpful.
    However, I share your unease about the immediate prospects for enlightened policies within companies. The Shared Value concept put forward by Michael Porter (which I featured in the blog in January) has got some very powerful examples.
    But I couldn’t help noticing that it was mainly rubbished by the financial press, who maintained that shareholder value could somehow be created in a vacuum, with no care for other stakeholders.

Leave A Reply