Hamish McRae

One of Europe's foremost speakers on global future trends in economics, business and society.

Associate Editor of The Independent Newspaper in London.

Hamish McRae speaker, keynote, conferences

Hamish McRae is one of Europe’s leading futurists on global business, economics and society. A London based economic journalist, Hamish McRae is the author of the acclaimed work on the future The World in 2020: Power, Culture and Prosperity first published in 1994 and translated into more than a dozen languages, including Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Since the publication of The World in 2020, Hamish McRae has been in demand world-wide as a speaker on the future. He is also the principal economic commentator and associate editor of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, as well as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

Hamish McRae’s other books include What WorksCapital City – London as a Financial Centre, co-authored with Frances Cairncross, and Wake-up Japan, co-authored with Tadashi Nakamae. Hamish McRae‘s Awards include Financial Journalist of the Year” in 1979, 1996 Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publisher’s Awards and in 2005, the David Watt Prize for outstanding political journalism. Hamish McRae was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year 2006 at the British Press Awards. Hamish McRae is also a visiting professor at the School of Management at Lancaster University and a council member of the Royal Economic Society.

Hamish McRae’s current areas of work include the shift of power to the economies of Asia and the impact of the new technologies on the world economy.

He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh and has an MA in Economics and Political Science from Trinity College, Dublin. He was deputy editor of The Banker and editor of Euromoney before becoming financial editor of The Guardian in 1975. In 1989 Hamish McRae moved to The Independent where he is now associate editor.

Hamish McRae shows audiences not only where we will be in the next twenty-five years, but how we will get there. McRae offers a bold vision of a world in which the best predictor of economic success will not be based upon technological prowess but rather a nation’s creativity and social responsibility. The emergence of culture and values as a source of competitive edge for industrialized nations signals a profound shift in world order. Hamish McRae demonstrates how changes in demography, the environment, government, technology and natural resources, will contribute to this new competitive landscape.

The World in 2020 – Power, Culture, and Prosperity

Can we talk sensibly about the future when so many predictions have proved wildly inaccurate? Yes, we can because it is possible to identify forces that will change the world over the next generation. Hamish McRae shows audiences what the world will look like in 2020 and shares what the implications will be for the business world.

What’s Happening in the World Economy?

Hamish McRae offers audiences insights on the current economic environment and the two big issues that will shape the global economic future –the global recession and the structural shift in power away from the old world to the new (emerging marketing like China and India). He outlines how these issues affect each other (the downturn speeds the shift in power) and our status in our recovery (we are still in the early stages of recovery but the factors that contributed to the fall are being corrected). McRae also looks specifically at China and India, discussing how improving their economies is good for business across the globe and how people in different countries can thrive by focusing on what they’re good at, be it innovation (like in the U.S.), manufacturing, financial services, or the like. He also looks at other economic issues like trade and intellectual property rights. One of the UK’s most-respected economic and financial journalists, McRae leaves audiences with a clear understanding of the issues that will affect the global economy in the years to come.

What Works

In a talk based on his book What Works: Success in Stressful Times, Hamish McRae share stories and case studies about the several common ingredients shared by successful organizations in all sectors the world over. Drawing life lessons from great ideas found on every continent—from America to Europe, from Africa to Asia and Australasia, he explores questions like, Why do some initiatives take off while others flounder? How have some communities managed to achieve so much while others struggle? What distinguishes the good companies from the bad? While there is no surefire recipe for success, McRae proves that there is a lot to learn from the world’s high performers, and he leaves audiences with practical insights they can apply to their own organizations.

The Rise of the Asian Economies


Energy Markets and Resources


The World in 2020: Power, Culture and Prosperity

In The World in 2020, acclaimed commentator and best-selling author Hamish McRae paints a vivid competitive landscape in which culture and values will be the new sources of advantage for the industrialized nations. In the year 2020, all having embraced market capitalism, the North American, European and East Asian countries will be engaged in fierce economic competition. With each nation increasingly able to imitate the others, innovations will cross borders within more days and weeks, removing technological prowess as a source of sustained advantage. McRae sees the "old motors for growth"—land, capital and natural resources—being replaced by more qualitative assets—quality, organization, motivation and self-discipline of the people. Everywhere, governments will take a less active role in the social and economic life of the nation. In such a world, the best predictor of success will be how a nation strikes a proper balance between creativity and intellect on the one hand, and social responsibility on the other. Thus the leading world economic powers of the next generation are just as likely to include China and Australia as the United States and Japan.

The World in 2020: Power, Culture and Prosperity

What Works

A lively, engaging and counterintuitive exploration of success stories from across the globe, and what Michelle Obama referred to as ‘the flimsy difference between success and failure’.

In this lively and counterintuitive exploration of success stories from across the globe, award-winning journalist Hamish McRae takes the reader on a fascinating journey in pursuit of the flimsy difference between triumph and failure. Why do some initiatives take off while others flounder? How have some communities managed to achieve so much while others struggle? What distinguishes the good companies from the bad?

This thoughtful, engaging look at some of the world’s greatest success stories provides an optimistic and eminently practical guide to what works and why. What lessons can we learn from the surprisingly well-ordered Mumbai community made famous by ‘Slumdog Millionaire’? Why have Canadian manners helped Whistler become the most popular ski resort in North America? How has Zurich developed the world’s most admired anti-drug policies? And how has Hong Kong used gambling profits to help its residents enjoy the greatest level of economic freedom on the planet?

Drawing life lessons from the great ideas put to work on every continent – from America to Europe, from Africa to Asia and Australasia – McRae’s stories are as surprising as they are inspiring. We are better placed now than we have ever been to make good choices about the future of our species and our planet. But if we are to face the many challenges ahead, we have to try to learn from each other. ‘What Works’ will leave you entertained, informed and, ultimately, enlightened as to what each of us can do to make successes of our businesses, our communities and our lives.

What Works