Before the financial crisis many politicians, economists and others believed that there will be a long-term growth period because the global economy had lots of growth potential. Developing countries were benefiting globalisation as a whole by introducing new markets and opportunities, and developed countries gained new markets. However, a severe crisis in the US sub-prime mortgage market in 2007 destroyed these optimistic views.

Many countries have recovered from those market shocks but there are still some countries which have severe challenges but domestic deadlocks and bad policies are mainly to blame.

Cross-talk between established political forces allow populist forces to increase their support, or in some cases, democratic forces might gain unexpected popularity against authoritarian forces, like during the Arab Spring and now in Venezuela. Domestic deadlocks over economical issues are severe because it also means that security and defence issues will be affected as well. It is naive to believe that global shocks will disappear. Therefore, countries require flexibility in the same way like businesses. However, societies can not be managed like businesses because of social aspects. Politics also requires long-term plans and sustainable development.

Still, politics and public sectors must adapt the best pieces from business life in order to gain flexibility, and quickly adapt to changes and shocks. In order to gain flexibility, decision making processes should be faster in order thrive in the global economy. As a result, a country can become a fast nation, which can gain global competitiveness at times of turmoil.

There are four parts that can make a fast nation:

  • Conservative in their security and defence issues by protecting a country from external and internal threats.
  • Liberal in their economical issues by creating a competitive environment for creatives, innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and businesses to introduce innovative services and products to the free market. But also in values by creating a pluralistic society for different values to thrive, and let people shine. 
  • Socialistic in their welfare, education and social issues by creating a safety net for its citizens and an environment, which encourages to practice lifetime learning.
  • Green in their protection of nature by enhancing sustainable development but at the same time promoting new green technologies.

Fast nation policies can be described as extreme centre policies, which embraces change and keeps societies dynamic. One of the key challenges is to keep a sustainable balance between these four elements. Sometimes a society can become too socialist, which means that the public sector grows too large and the green sector might become too restricting for people and businesses, this can stagnate the whole economy, like Venezuela. Liberal values can sometimes go too for by neglecting social policies with the expense of economic issues, like China.

This sort of society does not take advantage of its true potential. Too strict conservative values in security might see invisible threats, when there are none, and it can hurt a pluralistic society, like Russia. However, a great environment is not enough. People should be inspired to act and thrive in the society. There are countries, which have world class environments but some of their people have lost hope. Therefore, human values such as compassion, solidarity and community spirit are as important as well. 

The United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Dubai and Singapore are perfect examples from a superpower to micro states, which have been able to pursue fast nation policies in the post-financial crisis world. Hence, every nation has the possibility to succeed if they understand what policies are hindering their societies, and how to unleash creative and entrepreneurial powers in their societies or gain economic growth by introducing social policies, which can lift people up.

Fast nation formula is not a simple one, and it can also gain resistance from political groups, which are reluctant to change. These political groups practice policies from a very narrow minded perspective because they just want to keep their stakeholder groups satisfied. 

New technologies are vital to pursue fast nation policies. Head of states, governments, members of parliament, government officials and others can easily communicate their policies by using digital channels. They can also follow up discussions by collecting big data, and generate required strategies and tactics to move ahead. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been masters by analysing landscapes of their nations. Both politicians are very popular.

Now people are expecting the same from France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron who is also an extreme centre politician. It has been demonstrated that extreme centre policies has been the only credible force to move nations forward and counterforce fighting against populist forces, which want to move their countries backwards. During the 1990’s President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair practiced third way policies.

It can be asked is extreme centre actually third way 2.0?