Road to 2030: What the next cycle looks like.

A crisis of global integration

We are arguably living through a fourth systemic crisis. The end result will be a vastly different economy. Understanding the investment implications is what this iteration of our Road to 2030 research is about.

Nov 27, 2023

11 minutes

Four systemic crises of the 20th and 21st centuries

Adapted from Charles Maier

Historian Charles Maier pointed out that the 1970s represented one of three systemic crises of the 20th century. It was a "crisis", as distinct from isolated economic or political turmoil, because in a crisis "all institutions seem to disappoint at the same time--there is a sense of profound interconnection." "Societies and regimes appear caught in vicious circles: policy responses produce only more disorder, less justice, and more stagnation." Plus ça change.

1 Bloomberg, March 2023.

2 Ben Bernanke’s history of monetary policy

3 September 2023. One hundred inflation shocks. Seven stylised facts. IMF, WP 23 1903.

4 Timothy Garton Ash from his book The Magic Lantern: Europe in the Twentieth Century published in 1998.

5 Lyons itemises those problems: “deindustrialization, rural decay, over-financialization, out of control asset prices, and the emergence of a self-perpetuating rentier elite; powerful tech monopolies able to crush any upstart competitors operating effectively beyond the scope of government; immense economic inequality, chronic unemployment, addiction, homelessness, and crime; cultural chaos, historical nihilism, family breakdown, and plunging fertility rates; societal despair, spiritual malaise, social isolation, and skyrocketing rates of mental health issues; a loss of national unity and purpose in the face of decadence and barely concealed self-loathing; vast internal divisions, racial tensions, riots, political violence, and a country that increasingly seems close to coming apart.”

6 He pointed to three specific failures: the Soviet Union had failed to institute a functioning price system while simultaneously protecting party control. It could not satisfy consumer demands while simultaneously maintaining heavy defense budgets. It could no longer maintain a closed system but had to rely on imports from the nonsocialist world furnished on credit.

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