• Balasubramanyam Pattath

Looking Ahead: How the world economy will perform in 2018

According to The Economist, the world economy ‘will feel almost healthy’ in 2018. However, as is the case with business cycles, the decade long aftermath of the Great Recession, still felt in parts, has brought with it not just concrete signs of recovery, but ominous fears of the next recession. Perhaps the same prudence that invokes this fear could help central bankers, previously profligate about printing money, act cautiously.

The forecast rates for growth in 2018 look slower than the previous years, at 2.7% compared to 2.9% in 2017. This however, obscures an encouraging prediction, that developed and emerging ‘big’ economies will only move forward. With India looking to set sail at 8%, China will chug along at nearly 6% with America and the European Union growing at a relatively respectable 2%.

The year has also seen political events closely affect economic trends, with the French election results strengthening the nearly divided Euro area, and electoral surprises pushing investor sentiments in interesting directions.

2018 brings with it fresh challenges in the form of techlash (where increased state intervention hopes to break up and dilute tech monopolies), greater suspicion of China influences politico-economic ties, possible cryptocurrency bubble hover around the precipice and, the global economy reimagines protectionism and free movement.

This column does not seek to be an authoritative source on issues important, nor an informant on events sundry. Despite the flavour contained in this initial piece, the column will instead explore topics in a lighter tone, but test ideas in economics to understand complex social phenomena, or at least expose the reader to already established but richer understandings of the same. A precursor to this illuminating objective is to recommend books, so here is a list of some of the widely acclaimed economics and business books of 2017, to get you started.

  1. Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake.

  2. The One Device by Brian Merchant

  3. Adaptive Markets by Andrew W. Lo

  4. The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, by Tyler Cowen

  5. WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us, by Tim O’Reilly

  6. The Power of Bias in Economics Research, by John P. A. Ioannidis, T. D. Stanley, and Hristos Doucouliagos

  7. Economics for the Common Good, by Jean Tirole

  8. The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class. By Elizabeth Currid- Halkett

  9. Nicotine. By Gregor Hens. Translated by Jen Calleja.

Article has been updated for accuracy.

About the Author

Balasubramanyam Pattah is a Research Associate at the Indian School of Business. He holds a Masters in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Originally from Kerala, India, Balu has a Bachelor in Economics from the University of Delhi. His interests and past work concern migration, demography, labour and, employment. He has served as the co-chief editor of the Hans Raj college Economics journal in 2014-15. During his undergraduate studies, Balu was an active quizzer and respected quizmaster.

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