Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch says the ongoing metamorphosis of China and India from historic backwaters into economic powers will help reshape the world in the next few decades.
The News Corp. chief gave an upbeat assessment of the future and made a vigorous case for free markets despite troubled economic times and what he called “naked, heartless aggression” in the world.
In the first of a series of speeches in his birth country of Australia, Murdoch spoke Sunday of “the great transformation we’ve seen in the past few decades, the unleashing of human talent and ability across our world, and the golden age for humankind that I see just around the corner.”
He said China and India are great countries whose people are only recently emerging from long histories of being “incarcerated by communism or caste.” The rise of their economies is creating a new middle class that would be three billion strong within 30 years and that is setting a new benchmark for global competitiveness.
News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch gestures as he delivers the 2008 Boyer Lecture series ‘A Golden Age of Freedom’ in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Media tycoon Murdoch says the ongoing metamorphosis of China and India from historic backwaters into economic powers will help reshape the world in the next few decades. The Boyer Lectures is a series of talks by prominent Australians chosen by the ABC Board to present ideas on major social, scientific or cultural issues. The lectures have been broadcast on ABC Radio for more than 40 years and have stimulated thought, discussion and debate in Australia on an astonishing range of subjects.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
“The world has never seen this kind of advance before,” Murdoch said. “These are people who have known deprivation. These are people who are intent on developing their skills, improving their lives and showing the world what they can do.”
Murdoch, whose New York-based conglomerate includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News Channel, Dow Jones & Co. as well as newspaper stables in Australia and Britain and the online networking site MySpace, described the global financial crisis as one of many challenges facing Australia.
He urged Australia to embrace internationalism and touched on a range of global issues, from international security to the commercial opportunities offered by the world’s need for cleaner energy.
Murdoch said that in another speech he would give his opinions on the future of newspapers, which are suffering a severe downturn, especially in the United States, as advertising revenue is lost to the Internet.
Murdoch made a strong pitch for freer trade between countries, taking agriculture as an example and saying that reducing artificial barriers is a moral and strategic issue.
“So we must continue to leverage our connections and continue to push when others have left the conference table,” he said. “The global trade dialogue should echo with Australian accents.”
Touching on security, he chided Europe for appearing to have “lost the will to confront aggression” and said NATO should be reformed into a group based on common values, not geography, and include countries like Australia as members.
“In this promising new century, we are still seeing naked, heartless aggression — whether it comes from a terrorist bombing in Islamabad or a Russian invasion of Georgia,” Murdoch said.
“We can lament these developments, but we cannot hide from them,” he said, noting Australia’s contribution of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.
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