The Future of the Global Economy

Towards a Long Boom?

As the 20th century draws to a close, powerful forces of change are converging that could set the stage for a long, sustained economic boom in the next few decades -- the transition to a knowledge-based society with its potentially huge productivity gains; the emergence of more deeply integrated, global markets for goods, services, capital and technology; and a fast-growing environmental awareness that could greatly accelerate the shift to new, less resource-intensive production and consumption patterns. The result could be several decades of above-average economic growth, substantial increases in income and wealth, and significant improvements in well-being across the world.

But what will it take to unleash these dynamic forces? Not only will it call for a range of initiatives to establish the rules and frameworks for guiding the transition to a sustainable global knowledge economy, but above all, it will require exceptional efforts among decision makers in government, business and society at large to encourage continuous innovation, creativity and high levels of investment, and to promote bold new approaches to closer international co-operation and institution building. Inevitably some countries will benefit more than others, but a long boom with all its wealth creating capacity would offer a unique opportunity to reverse the trends of the last decades towards deepening inequality and exclusion.

This book reviews the forces driving economic and social change in today's world. It asesses the likelihood of a long boom materialising in the first decades of the 21st century and explores the strategic policies essential for making it happen.

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