SAN FRANCISCO – In recent decades, the world’s wealth has soared – at least on paper – as low interest rates drove up asset prices. But the global balance sheet remains rife with fragilities, which recent financial-sector turbulence has exposed. Now, how the world borrows, lends, and creates wealth may be set to change fundamentally.
From 2000 to 2021, asset-price inflation created about $160 trillion in paper wealth. But while asset valuations grew rapidly, investment and growth remained sluggish. Moreover, every $1 in investment generated $1.90 in debt. But, recently, headwinds have confronted the world economy: in 2022, households lost $8 trillion of wealth.