In his TED talk, Joseph Nye argues that the “tectonic plates” of power in the world are shifting. In particular, the speaker singles out two overarching trends that define global politics today. Firstly, it is a power shift from West to East, and secondly, it is the diffusion of power between states so that not a single state reigns supreme in the political arena. The rise of Asia should better be framed as a return of Asia. Nye explains that back Asian countries started losing leverage in the early 1900s because they could not keep up with the Industrial Revolution in the West. Today, Asia houses half of the world’s population and generates almost half of the world’s products. At the same time, it would be wrong to say that China or India will now rule the world. Non-governmental actors are coming to prominence, and they are not necessarily affiliated with a single state.
These shifts mean the emergence of new power tools: now war, violence, and coercion are substituted with the so-called “soft power.” The concept of soft power challenges the previously existing idea that a country’s power is defined by its military potential. Today, what matters more is a state’s ability to influence others without payment or coercion. The described political shifts keep having an impact on many aspects of life and business, including global marketing. Marketing is largely shaped by global integration which is explained by three factors. Firstly, computing and communication are easier and cheaper than ever. Secondly, power is no longer a zero-sum game, meaning that companies do not compete for a limited number of consumers: they discover new segments. Lastly, soft power is transitioning into smart power: potentially, for global marketing, it will mean collaborating with contenders, not fighting them.