future of the global economy?
September 17, 2005 11:50 AM   Subscribe

future of the global economy?

where can i find some good resources that might give me an idea of what the global economy is going to look like in the decades to come? also what causes economic collapse and what kind of preventative measures seek to prevent that from happening? there seems to be a lot of propaganda about... if theres any kind of no-nonsense guide to the global economy, thats what im looking for.
posted by GleepGlop to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At the root of your question seems to be the question, "what makes the global economy tick?" Because once you know that, you'll know what causes economic collapse and you'll know how to predict (in general terms, obviously) some possible outcomes going forward.

And to answer that root question, you need The Mystery of Capital, by Hernando de Soto.

If you just want a basic economic primer, one of the very best is available online, for free: Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt.
posted by gd779 at 12:10 PM on September 17, 2005

Commanding Heights, from PBS.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:54 PM on September 17, 2005

You can't do much better than the work of Robert Brenner, who teaches at UCLA. His 2003 essay from the London Review Towards the Precipice offers some great insight. Although much of his focus here is on the US economy, the article is extremely relevant b/c of the central role the US plays in the global economy. Also, directly pertinent to your question, he just released a book last month (which I ordered 3 weeks ago, but have not yet received!) called The Economics of Global Turbulance. I would also recommend highly recommend the work of Saskia Sassen and especially her book The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Her study in chapter 5 of the "producer services" is essential to understanding global finance and its evolving employment trends. As far as PBS' "Commanding Heights" series, my opinion is that it is also heavily slanted towards a neo-liberal world view, but provides a good basic intro. Also, Joseph Stiglitz' Globalization and It's Discontents, seems to be pretty standard reading these days.
posted by slow, man at 1:42 PM on September 17, 2005

these all look great, except that maybe i mislead... really i would be better off with a condensed article. i thought i read somewhere that there were a lot of factors in place to cause a global economic collapse and that really experts dont really know how economies work and they could concievably collapse anyway... and i remember reading that china is going to overtake the US in x number of years. except that i dont remember where i read these things and i dont remember what factors were involved.
posted by GleepGlop at 2:36 PM on September 17, 2005

I would second Globalization and Its Discontents, though I wouldn't put the apostrophe in Its and nor would Stiglitz. BTW, if you are searching for the other book, you would want to search for The Economics of Global Turbulence.
posted by TheRaven at 3:45 PM on September 17, 2005

really i would be better off with a condensed article.

This is not something which you can understand after reading a condensed article. Economics, like every academic discipline that isn't math, is susceptible to hidden philosophical presuppositions and political bias. So do you want your economics Marxist or capitalist? Keynesian or or Austrian or neoclassical? Republican or Democrat?

Anyone writing a condensed article on this subject is probably selling a political position, not economics. If you want to understand what's going on, and be able to sort the politics from the facts, you need to... well, understand what's going on. And that takes time.

It reminds me of an item from an old McSweeney's joke list, Things My Boss Said to Me Without Elaborating:

“Quick. Tell me everything of consequence that has happened.”
posted by gd779 at 5:41 PM on September 17, 2005

The Economist is releasing its survey of the world economy on September 24th. Economist surveys are usually four or five well-written, full-length articles. It should be a good place to start.
posted by diftb at 8:34 PM on September 17, 2005

Economic collapse, eh?

On economics questions, I usually refer to Paul Krugman. Here's a good article by Krugman, The Return of Demand-Side Economics. It's from 1998.

As little as two years ago I, like most of my colleagues, was quite confident that while the world would doubtless continue to suffer from many economic difficulties, those difficulties would not bear much resemblance to those of the 1930s - because economists and policymakers had learned the lessons of that decade, and would never again perversely tighten monetary and fiscal policy in the face of recession. True, Mexico had suffered a severe slump in 1995, and Japan’s economy had stagnated since 1991, but these appeared to be special cases - and were easily rationalized as the result of exceptionally misguided policy.

Perhaps we should have known better - we should have realized, for example, that the dilemma Austria faced in 1931 could just as easily arise in the modern world, and that now as then there are no good answers. But in any case there is no mistaking the lesson of the terrifying economic and financial events of the last two years - the economic crisis in Asia and its spread to Latin America, the deepening slump in Japan, and the brief but ominous panic that swept world bond markets this past fall. The truth is that the world economy is a much more dangerous place than we had imagined, one in which problems we thought we knew how to cure have again become intractable, like temporarily suppressed bacteria that eventually evolve a resistance to the standard antibiotics. More specifically: the problem of aggregate demand - of getting people to spend enough to employ the economy’s productive capacity - is not, as we might have thought, always a problem with an easy solution. While it may often be possible for countries - especially large, politically stable, relatively self-sufficient economies like the United States - to deal with recessions simply by printing more money, we are finding an increasing number of cases in which countries find either that they cannot apply that medicine or that the medicine is ineffectual. There is, in short, a definite whiff of the 1930s in the air.

posted by russilwvong at 5:48 PM on September 19, 2005

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