In every single region of the world, economic growth has failed to return to the rate it averaged before the Great Recession. Economists have come up with a variety of theories for why this recovery has been the weakest in postwar history, including high indebtedness, growing income inequality, and excess caution induced by the original debt crisis.
The two economic developments that have garnered the most attention in recent years are the concentration of massive wealth in the richest one percent of the world’s population and the tremendous, growth-driven decline in extreme poverty in the developing world, especially in China. But just as important has been the emergence of large middle classes in developing countries around the planet.
As China asserts itself in its nearby seas and Russia wages war in Syriaand Ukraine, it is easy to assume that Eurasia’s two great land powers are showing signs of newfound strength. But the opposite is true: increasingly, China and Russia flex their muscles not because they are powerful but because they are weak.
From Wall Street to K Street to Main Street, pessimism about the global economy has become commonplace. The world economy may have finally emerged from the financial crisis of 2008, but according to conventional wisdom, it remains fragile and unsteady, just one disruption away from yet another perilous downturn.
Despite China’s recent economic struggles, many economists and analysts argue that the country remains on course to overtake the United States and become the world’s leading economic power someday soon. Indeed, this has become a mainstream view—if not quite a consensus belief—on both sides of the Pacific.
Despite boasting the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often reaches for the gun instead of the purse in its foreign policy. The country has hardly outgrown its need for military force, but over the past several decades, it has increasingly forgotten a tradition that stretches back to the nation’s founding: the use of economic instruments to accomplish geopolitical objectives, a practice we term “geoeconomics.”
According to a new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to GDP by 2025. This seminal report, entitled “The Power of Parity,” is the product of research from ninety-five countries on the relationship between gender parity and economic growth. Kweilin Ellingrud, a lead researcher on the report, and Christopher Ruhm, whose research examines the economic effects of work/family policies, joined the Women and Foreign Policy program for a discussion about the economic imperative of promoting gender equality. This roundtable was generously sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
During the past century, economic inequality in the developed world has traced a massive U-shaped curve—starting high, curving downward, then curving sharply back up again. In 1915, the richest one percent of Americans earned roughly 18 percent of all national income. Their share plummeted in the 1930s and remained below ten percent through the 1970s, but by 2007, it had risen to 24 percent.
Just a few years ago, Latin America was on a roll. Its economies, riding on the back of the Chinese juggernaut, were flourishing. A boom in commodity prices and huge volumes of foreign direct investment in agriculture and natural resources generated a golden decade.
For the first time since the start of Britain’s referendum fight over Europe, the polls predict “Brexit.” The four most recent national surveys put the “Leave” side ahead with margins of between one and 10 percentage points. Most people, including many disaffected Britons who want to shake up the system by backing a Brexit, understand that this would mean a political and economic shock. But they underestimate its severity.
The biggest revelation offered by Ben Bernanke’s memoir of his time as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve is just how much the public, the media, and especially elected officials have misunderstood the real lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent Great Recession—events that defined Bernanke’s tenure, which began in 2006 and ended in 2014.
With another interest rate rise potentially on the horizon, please join Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard for a discussion on the economic outlook of the United States and the monetary policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Speaker: Rana A. Foroohar Speaker: John P. Lipsky Speaker: Joseph E. Stiglitz Presider: Peter R. Fisher
Experts discuss the growth of finance in the U.S. economy since the Great Recession and its impact on business production and income inequality, and whether government regulations introduced after 2008 have proven effective in preventing another recession.
China’s leadership of the Group of Twenty (G20) in 2016 comes at a moment when the role of the G20 itself is being challenged. CFR's Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Asia Global Institute convened a workshop in Hong Kong to assess the agenda facing the G20, why the group had fallen short of expectations in recent years, and whether China’s leadership in 2016 provides an opportunity for renewal.
North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February drew global opposition in the form of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2270 and condemnation by regional leaders. Pyongyang promptly dismissed such calls with a series of short- and mid-range missile launches in March and April.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »