Monday, May 8, 2017

Low growth for a hundred tears

Sharma, a top investment strategist at Morgan Stanley writes:

"The causes of the current slowdown can be summed up as the Three Ds: depopulation, deleveraging and deglobalization. Between the end of World War II and the financial crisis of 2008, the global economy was supercharged by explosive population growth, a debt boom that fueled investment and boosted productivity, and an astonishing increase in cross-border flows of goods, money and people. Today, all three trends have begun to sharply decelerate: families are having fewer children ..., banks are not expanding their lending [as before] ..., and countries are engaging in less cross-border trade."

Sharma calls this the "low-growth trap," which is now inherited by President Donald Trump. Sharma worries about its political consequences as much as its economic effects. Already, it seems a breeding ground for nationalist and populist surges in many countries. (Read: Trump, Brexit, Vladimir Putin and Marine Le Pen.) He expects more tension and discontent:
"Many governments are still trying to push their economies to reach unrealistic growth targets. Their desperation is understandable, for few voters have accepted the new [economic] reality either. ... This growing disconnect between the political mood and the economic reality could prove dangerous. ... Some leaders [are] scapegoating foreigners or launching military adventures [to] divert the public's attention from the economy."
The Magic Walrus laid a trap and we fell in. 

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