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The Global Economy Ten Years After

In the decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the global financial crisis, the world economy has registered stronger growth than many realize, owing in large part to China. But in the years ahead, global economic imbalances and troubling trends in the business world will continue to pose economic as well as political risks.

LONDON – Much will be said about the tenth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis, so I will focus on the global economy, which has not been nearly as weak as many seem to think.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the rate of real (inflation-adjusted) world GDP growth averaged 3.7% in 2000-2010, and would have been close to 4% if not for the so-called Great Recession. By comparison, the average annual growth rate so far this decade has been 3.5%, which is slightly lower than the average rate in the 2000s, but above the 3.3% rate in the 1980s and 1990s.

By my reckoning, China has contributed an even larger share of global growth in this decade than it did in the last, with its GDP having almost tripled from $4.6 trillion at the end of 2008 to around $13 trillion today. That additional $8 trillion accounts for more than half of the increase in global GDP over the past decade.

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