The opaque global economy

“The good that globalization has done is hard to dispute,” says Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post, but it has a dangerous Achilles’ heel: a “disorderly global economy” could undo most of that good. Financial crises, “interruptions of crucial supplies (oil, obviously),” brutal trade wars, and violent business cycles show how complex our interconnected global economy can be. And CEOs and economists are as baffled by it as you are. What seems clear is that after years as “the world’s economic locomotive,” the U.S., and the dollar, are losing influence. That could be very good . . . or not. We can’t undo globalization, but hopefully we’ll start to understand it better.

The globalization of the middle class

With all the “widespread gloom and doom in the West,” says Jim O’Neill in the Financial Times, it’s easy to lose sight of a “startlingly positive" phenomenon in the global economy—“We are in the middle of an explosion of the world’s middle class.” According to a Goldman Sachs study, 70 million people a year are entering that wealth group, defined as earning $6,000 to $30,000 a year. Brazil, Russia, India, and China are leading this charge, but it’s broader than that. And yes, it will change the balance of economic power. But “it is important for everyone in the so-called developed world to be constantly aware that these powerful shifts in global wealth are good not only for the developing world, but for them too.”