NEWPORT BEACH – The sense of uncertainty prevailing in the West is palpable, and rightly so. People are worried about their futures, with a record number now fearing that their children may end up worse off than them. Unfortunately, things will become even more unsettling in the months ahead.
The United States is having difficulties returning its economy to the path of high growth and vigorous job creation. Thousands of people have taken to the streets of US cities, and thousands of others in Europe, to demand a fairer system. In the eurozone, financial crises have forced out two governments, replacing elected representative with appointed technocrats charged with restoring order. Concern about the institutional integrity of the eurozone – key to the architecture of modern Europe – continues to mount.
This uncertainty extends beyond countries and regions. Those looking around the next corner also worry about the stability of an international economic order in which the difficulties faced by the system’s Western core are gradually eroding global public goods.
It is no coincidence that all of this is happening simultaneously. Each development, and certainly their occurrence in tandem, points to the historic paradigm changes shaping today’s global economy – and to the anxiety that comes with the loss of once-dependable anchors, be they economic and financial or social and political.