Skip to main content

Economics (Spotlight Brief 4/21)

The content in this article is an extract of Spotlight Brief 4/21.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work: Implications for Asian Development Cooperation

Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management – Jan 21

The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) continue to alter the Australian economy and workforce, but the change has been relatively gradual because our economic base was already reasonably sophisticated. For some nations within Asia, the 4IR has been especially profound. Although millions of people may have been lifted from poverty, the technology and skills needed to use it have bypassed millions. This report brings together people from across academia, intergovernmental organisations and governments to review and pose solutions to these challenges. This work also touches on complex topics that Australia is wrestling with, such as the future of work, women in STEM, education changes, cultural changes and the role of regional and international cooperation.


‘What is driving adoption and advances for Industrial 4.0 technologies across Asia?’, McKinsey and Company, 04 May 21

‘Vietnam poised for growth as digital tech drives another industrial revolution’, ASEAN Today, 30 Apr 21

‘Japan Takes Leadership Role in Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Summit’, Mirage News, 05 Apr 21

‘Recovery in Emerging Asia will face significant challenges through 2021’, OECD, 04 Feb 21

‘Recognising the potential of Industry 4.0 in Asia Pacific’, Global System for Mobile Communications, Jan 21

Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2020

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – Apr 21

This article summarises global and regional military spending in 2020, finding there has been an increase in real spending and spending compared to gross domestic product from 2019, the latter primarily due to the constriction of economies due to COVID. This marks the highest rate of global military spending since 1988, at least. General trends of interest are:

  • The top 15 nations for spending have generally remained unchanged (with Australia unchanged at 12).
  • Oceania, Asia and North America make up more than two-thirds of the spending increase.
  • Australia makes up 1.4% of worldwide military spending and 37.6% of South-East Asian military spending.
  • Oceania was the third fastest growing region in terms of military spending after North Africa and Central Europe.


‘Targeting Asia-Pacific defense, Australia to spend $580m on military upgrades’, CNN, 28 Apr 21

‘The world spent almost $2 trillion on defense in 2020’, Defense News, 26 Apr 21

‘Asian Military Spending: A Sign of Worsening Security Environment’, The Diplomat, 04 Mar 21

‘Japanese defence spending at the fiscal crossroads’, East Asia Forum, 17 Feb 21

‘Bad Idea: Demanding Allies Spend Two Percent of GDP on Defense’, Defense 360°, 21 Dec 18

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

Using the Contribute page you can either submit an article in response to this or register/login to make comments.