The EconomistThe Economist

How the West fell out of love with economic growth

11 Dec 2022 · 6 min read

The Economist provides a well-rounded analysis on why rich democracies face the slow-burning problem of weak economic growth—and suggests reforms that would raise the growth rate.

Curated by informed

This year has been a good one for the West. The alliance has surprised observers with its united front against Russian aggression. As authoritarian China suffers one of its weakest periods of growth since Chairman Mao, the American economy roars along. A wave of populism across rich countries, which began in 2016 with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, looks like it may have crested.

Yet away from the world’s attention, rich democracies face a profound, slow-burning problem: weak economic growth. In the year before covid-19 advanced economies’ gdp grew by less than 2%. High-frequency measures suggest that rich-world productivity, the ultimate source of improved living standards, is at best stagnant and may be declining. Official forecasts suggest that by 2027 per-person gdp growth in the median rich country will be less than 1.5% a year. Some places, such as Canada and Switzerland, will see numbers closer to zero.

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