crowd city Takahiro Yamamoto/Getty Images

De wereldeconomie in 2067

NEW YORK – De wereld ondergaat een economische crisis in slow-motion – een crisis die, zoals de meeste deskundigen denken, in de nabije toekomst zal blijven voortduren. De wereldeconomie is sinds de economische crisis van 2008 met vallen en opstaan gegroeid – in een van de langste periodes van stagnatie van de moderne tijd. In vrijwel alle midden- en hoge-inkomenslanden zijn de lonen (als percentage van het bbp) bijna veertig jaar lang gestaag gedaald. Maar hoe zit het met de komende vijftig jaar?

Vandaag de dag ziet de situatie er zeker somber uit. Economische stagnatie en toenemende ongelijkheid hebben in de ontwikkelde landen tot een golf van xenofobie en nationalisme geleid, getuige de Britse keuze om de Europese Unie te verlaten en de verkiezing van de Amerikaanse president Donald Trump – en zijn recente besluit om zich terug te trekken uit het Parijse klimaatverdrag. Bovendien zijn veel ontwikkelingslanden – vooral in het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika – in conflicten verwikkeld, waardoor sommige op het punt staan mislukte staten te worden.

Maar hoewel dergelijke onrust in de nabije toekomst waarschijnlijk zal aanhouden, is er weinig consensus over wat er daarna in het verschiet ligt. Eerlijk gezegd is voorspellen op de langere termijn doorgaans dwaasheid. In 1930, in een vergelijkbaar problematische tijd, probeerde niemand minder dan John Maynard Keynes het eens, met zijn beroemd geworden essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” Hij zat er hopeloos naast.

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