Economists have endless debates about whether culture or institutions lie at the root of economic performance. But there is every reason to be concerned that the recent wave of populism is a threat to both.
Left unchecked, rapidly rising obesity rates could slow or even reverse the dramatic gains in health and life expectancy that much of the world has enjoyed over the past few decades. And by forcing its food culture on countries like Mexico and Canada, the US is making the problem worse.
Jerome Powell, US President Donald Trump's pick to succeed Janet Yellen as Fed Chair, will face some extraordinary challenges at the outset of his five-year term. But the greatest challenge of all will be to stay out of Trump's shadow and uphold the Fed's independence.
The price of Bitcoin is up 600% over the past 12 months, and 1,600% in the past 24 months. But the long history of currency tells us that what the private sector innovates, the state eventually regulates and appropriates – and there is no reason to expect virtual currency to avoid a similar fate.
Even if US President Donald Trump hits his growth targets in 2018 and 2019 – and he just might – only the stock market may be cheering. Policies that produced more broadly shared and environmentally sustainable growth would be far better than policies that perpetuate current distributional trends and exacerbate many Americans’ woes.
Financial advisors are facing a myriad of challenges from robo-advisors to the DOL changes, to providing viable income solutions for their clients while being appropriately compensated.
As US and European political leaders fret about the future of quality jobs, they would do well to look at the far bigger problems faced by developing Asia. There, the same angst that Americans and Europeans have about the future of employment is an order of magnitude higher.
Despite the steep drop in oil prices that began in 2014, Russia has managed to escape a deep financial crisis. But while the economy is enjoying a modest rebound after two years of deep recession, the future no longer seems as promising as its leadership thought just five years ago.
With the election of a reform-minded centrist president in France and the re-election of German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeming ever more likely, is there hope for the stalled single-currency project in Europe? Perhaps, but another decade of slow growth, punctuated by periodic debt-related convulsions, still looks more likely.
After nine dreary years of downgrading their GDP forecasts, macroeconomic policymakers around the world are shaking their heads in disbelief. Despite a populist-propelled wave of political tumult, global growth is actually set to outperform expectations in 2017.