TranscriptQuestion: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the way the world is headed?
Azim Premji: I’m a supreme optimist. My big concern is that this period of reset of the world, too much protectionism is building up among the developed world. Now, that protectionism is very dangerous, and that protectionism is also building among services, which is the next emerging flow of trade because 60% of the world is services, 40% of the world is products and agriculture, or industry and agriculture. If the developed world starts putting restrictions on flow of services, the developing world which has power of economics and power of consumption will put restrictions on flow of products. And that’s very simple to me. All you have to do is raise import tariffs, which have fallen on a systematic basis over the past 10-15 years. So you’ll trigger a wall of less trade. I think that will be the most regressive thing that the developed world could be doing.
Interviewed by Victoria Brown