Insights at UBC Sauder

What’s in store for businesses in 2018? UBC Sauder professors share their predictions

Posted 2017-12-18

As 2017 comes to a close, it leaves behind a number of surprising events and developments from the business world. While some incidents have already been long forgotten, others – especially those of national and global significance – will continue to shape business, politics and society in 2018 and beyond.

In the first of this two-part series, we explore how Blockchain technology, a surge in Vancouver’s condo prices and the Paradise Papers revelations led UBC Sauder professors to think about the long-term implications.

The Bitcoin effect: Technology will challenge centralized institutions

The fluctuating price of Bitcoin and its unpredictable nature marked the weeks leading up to 2018. But according to Associate Professor Marc-David Seidel, the technology that underpins currencies like Bitcoin will have a larger structural impact on the economy.

“We will continue to see large centralized institutions being challenged by the technological shifts that decentralized trust technologies, such as Blockchain, are bringing. These institutions will try to resist this ‘inevitable transition’ and will attempt to maintain their power using all their capabilities and connections, including lobbying, regulation, and creating fear and uncertainty about the new technologies.”

Watch out for those new condos

When 2017 kicked off, Assistant Professor Thomas Davidoff expected it to be a fairly calm year for condo prices in Vancouver. But just two months into the year, condo prices in Greater Vancouver soared by an average 13.7 per cent compared to 2016.

Going into 2018, Davidoff suggests buyers keep an eye out for newly-built and under-construction condos to measure if fresh supply will cool down prices. He also suggests ascertaining buyer profiles. “Are they flippers?” he asks, referring to buyers who purchase property only for it to appreciate in time and then be sold at a profit. “The answer will affect the prices.”

Paradise Papers: No more luxuries of Eden for our one per cent?

A confidential database revealed dubious offshore investments owned by more than 3,000 high net worth Canadians and companies, in an effort to evade taxes. Assistant Professor Vanessa Strike says this remarkable exposé and its reverberations will be felt both in the short- and long-term.

“For the elite one percent of Canadians — many of those being family firms — we may see further scrutiny of their financial records in the immediate aftermath of the Paradise Paper leaks. But it doesn’t stop there - in the long run, we could see the quest for further transparency, sharing of information, possible public policy review and changes in tax legislation, and more due diligence regarding global reporting standards.”