5 surprising things the OECD thinks about Belgium

Yesterday, 15th of October, Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary-general of the OECD, was in Brussels to speak about Belgium and more specifically the view of the OECD on our country…some strengths and some flaws. Belgium's Budget Minister Yves Leterme presents the results of the Belgian public finances But these 5 aspects were big surprises for us too – see our comments… Here are the 5 things to remember:

1. The belgian unemployment rate increased during the crisis but less than in other OECD countries. Belgium resisted in this deep recession (btw, they think Europe is out of the recession…) -> Wouldn’t this be a liability ? Another form of ego and complacency avoiding us to sit down and look for REAL solutions ?

2. The “Global Value Chain” is the new thing in globalization. In order to stay competitive and create value, belgian companies must be more present at the front and at the back end of the chain. At the front with creativity and innovation (R&D, IT, product development) and at the back end with the sales and commercialisation of products/services. The flaw is that the belgian market is quite small and therefore there are few major headquarters located in Belgium. -> “…must be…” ? Who says ? What will truly motivate people, entrepreneurs and companies to do so ? The key is in the answer to that question. What we objectively see that the young high potential leave the country…

3. In order to keep our place in the world economy, we must innovate: increase the creation of intangibles (patents, processes, methods, …). The leaders and politics have a major role to play in this domain by creating a legal framework that facilititates it. -> Absolutely – but leaders have no clue in intangibles, their ROI, their mapping, their detection, their creation process, and especially the way to transform knowlege and intangibles into business. A basic form of education should be carried by the private sector. Lets forget about the public sector for a year or so…

4. We have a good social system. We excel at the redistribution of wealth with an average of 38% that is redistributed. Belgium is also known for having very good cash-benefits. -> Yes, but for how long. The objective curves and figures give goosebumps. We’ll need another annual additional 47 billion by 2030 to finance this nice system… who will pay ?

5. A worry: based on recent studies’ results it seems that there is a lack of skills in “reasoning in high technological environment” for adults. Improvements are needed in order to keep pace with the evolution of the economy and reduce potential inequalities. More info on the study: http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/…/33693997.pdf -> Not a surprise… we were overwelmed by new tech over the 20 last years. But worse, there is absolutely NO ability in systemic thinking, which is the key to sustainable business and societal solutions. Yes, adult will have to accept to learn and educate themselves… but will they be humble enough to do so ? Will they take the time and money to do so ? In time ? Intangibles exist at multiple levels. We have developped a framework for the recognition and activation of these values! See our method for more info.

6. As a bonus: at the start of each presentation given by an OECD staff member, they have to present the OECD-organisation…quite amusing when the institution is around for 50+ years! Do you know what they are about ?

Paul Mauhin, systemic economist
Michel de Kemmeter, founder of Wise Holding