CFR Launches RealEcon Initiative to Reimagine American Economic Leadership

CFR Launches RealEcon Initiative to Reimagine American Economic Leadership

April 2, 2024 9:15 am (EST)

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The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) announces the launch of RealEcon: Reimagining American Economic Leadership, an initiative to assess the role of the United States in the international economy, analyze what is at stake for the American people in whether and how the United States exercises leadership, and identify the trade-offs among different approaches to international economic engagement. 

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Through this multiyear, multifaceted initiative, CFR will contribute to a greater understanding of and a more durable consensus around the goals and tools of American economic leadership.

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The launch of RealEcon comes at a critical juncture, as the U.S. role in the world economy is being debated and its leadership questioned. Over the past few decades, significant challenges to the U.S.-led order have emerged, and the consensus for U.S. economic leadership, both at home and abroad, has eroded. Yet, the United States still has an important stake in an international economy that delivers strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth. 

“What is needed now is a serious dialogue about the right role for the United States in the international economy and the appropriate  policy approaches that can win the support of both Americans and U.S. allies and partners around the world,” said CFR President Michael Froman. “The Council can make an important contribution by taking a comprehensive look at what’s at stake in the United States playing a leadership role in the global economy and the trade-offs inherent in alternative approaches.”  

“This cross-cutting initiative will draw on the expertise of fellows from CFR’s Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the David Rockefeller Studies Program more widely. We plan to convene CFR fellows, members, outside experts, and other stakeholders, as well as elevate a wide range of voices from across the United States and around the globe,” said Matthew P. Goodman, director of the Greenberg Center and director of the RealEcon initiative. 

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RealEcon will initially explore U.S. leadership in three areas of international economic policy: trade and investment, development, and economic security. Topics for consideration will include:

  • how to harness the benefits of the global trading system and ensure that those benefits are broadly and fairly shared;
  • how to most effectively address the continuing challenges of poverty alleviation, climate change, and other transnational challenges, such as pandemics;
  • and how to ensure that the United States maintains the most innovative and competitive economy while protecting core national security interests.  

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International Economics

The initiative also debuts a new publication series called Trade-offs that examines the trade-offs that exist in all economic policy choices. In the first installment, Goodman explains the rationale for the series and sets out the major questions the initiative will address.

For more information, please watch a video of President Froman describing the initiative.

A launch event will be held TODAY, April 2, at 9:30 a.m. (EDT). Please visit cfr.org to view a livestream. 

Visit RealEcon’s website at cfr.org/realecon.

For more information, please contact CFR’s Global Communications and Media Relations team at 212.434.9888 or [email protected]

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