Jim O'Neill

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BRICS leaders pose for a photo during the closing day of the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)

When I coined the BRIC acronym back in 2001, my primary point was that global governance would need to adjust to incorporate the world’s largest emerging economies.

Not only did Brazil, Russia, India, and China top the list of that cohort; they also were collectively responsible for governing close to half of the world’s population. It stood to reason that they should be represented accordingly.

Over the past two decades, some have misread my initial paper as a kind of investment thesis, while others have interpreted it as an endorsement of the BRICS (South Africa was added in 2010) as a political grouping.…  Seguir leyendo »

La recuperación en forma de V avanza

Grandes segmentos de la economía global están exhibiendo señales tradicionales de una recuperación en V del colapso inducido por la pandemia esta primavera (boreal). Los indicadores mensuales para muchos países muestran rebotes vigorosos en junio y julio, con un crecimiento proyectado del 10-15% en el PIB real (ajustado por inflación) en el tercer trimestre, si todo el resto sigue igual.

Sin duda, existen motivos para preguntarse si la recuperación percibida es simplemente un repunte técnico –una ilusión causada por la propia profundidad del colapso inicial-. Podría ser el caso, especialmente si muchos países sufren una segunda ola fuerte de infecciones de COVID-19, o si las altas expectativas de una pronta vacuna resultan injustificadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

A statue of George Washington is pictured in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on 16 March 2020, at Wall Street in New York City. Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images.

One of the features of financial markets since early summer has been a decline in the value of the dollar against many currencies, and with it, an especially interesting acceleration in the price of gold. In addition to the usual professional market analysis about the dollar’s movement, this has led to speculation that it might be the beginning of the end of the dollar’s pre-eminence.

Having spent far too much of my professional life as a supposed currency expert, I reiterate something I learnt early on: the foreign exchange business sometimes grants an analyst their 15 minutes of fame, but no expert is a match for the millions who participate in this huge global market all day long.…  Seguir leyendo »

Local residents line up outside a food pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic on 23 April 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Due to increased levels of unemployment, the lines at the daily food pantry have been getting longer. Photo: Getty Images.

What is quantitative easing? How was it used after the 2008 financial crisis?

Quantitative easing (QE) has been in existence since the Japanese central bank introduced it at the turn of the millennium. The simplest way to think about it is this: when interest rates can't go down anymore and play their normal role of stimulating growth, central banks try to expand the money supply. So, they're expanding the quantitative amount of money they put into the system.

Of course, after 2008 because of the scale of the financial and economic collapse, many Western countries resorted to QE. Some have never gotten rid of it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Así como la crisis del COVID-19 avanza estrepitosamente también braman los debates sobre el papel que jugó China en ella. En base a lo que se sabe, es claro que algunas autoridades chinas cometieron un grave error a fines de diciembre y principios de enero, cuando intentaron impedir que se divulgara información sobre el brote del coronavirus en Wuhan, silenciando inclusive a los trabajadores de la salud que quisieron hacer sonar la alarma. Los líderes de China tendrán que convivir con estos errores, aun si logran resolver la crisis y adoptar medidas adecuadas para prevenir un futuro brote.

Lo que resulta menos claro es por qué otros países piensan que de alguna manera los beneficia seguir refiriéndose a los errores iniciales de China, en lugar de trabajar para encontrar soluciones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Medical staff on their rounds at a quarantine zone in Wuhan, China. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images.

As the COVID-19 crisis roars on, so have debates about China’s role in it. Based on what is known, it is clear that some Chinese officials made a major error in late December and early January, when they tried to prevent disclosures of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, even silencing healthcare workers who tried to sound the alarm.

China’s leaders will have to live with these mistakes, even if they succeed in resolving the crisis and adopting adequate measures to prevent a future outbreak. What is less clear is why other countries think it is in their interest to keep referring to China’s initial errors, rather than working toward solutions.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man with a protective mask by the Coliseum in Rome during the height of Italy's COVID-19 epidemic. Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images.

As tentative evidence emerges that Italy and Spain may have reached - or are close to - the peak of the curve, this could demonstrate that not only can Asian countries get to grips with COVID-19, but so can western democracies. And, if so, this offers a path for the rest of us.

The last few weeks does demonstrate there is a role for governments to intervene in society, whether it be health, finance or any walk of life, as they have had to implement social distancing. Some have been forced, and the interventions are almost definitely only temporary, but perhaps some others may be less so.…  Seguir leyendo »

A researcher works on a vaccine against coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen University research lab. Photo by THIBAULT SAVARY/AFP via Getty Images.

Having chaired the independent (and global) Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Review for David Cameron, I know a similar approach should have been taken quickly about COVID-19.

Similar not in precise nature but - in so far as incorporating infectious disease modelling, and using economic analysis to try to contain and solve it - it should be applied in parallel.

The AMR Review is well-known for highlighting the potential loss of life as well as the economic costs of an escalating growth of resistance to antimicrobials, and the inaction to prevent it.

In particular we showed that, by 2050, there could be around 10 million people each year dying from AMR, and an accumulated $100trn economic cost to the world from 2015 to 2050.…  Seguir leyendo »

Esta semana, los líderes del G20 mantendrán una reunión virtual sobre la crisis de la COVID-19. Uno esperaría que esa cumbre de emergencia marque el inicio de una respuesta colectiva seria a este difícil desafío. De ser así, la reunión podría llegar tener incluso más repercusiones que la cumbre de Londres organizada por el primer ministro británico Gordon Brown en abril de 2009, que creó el marco para una respuesta multilateral coordinada a la crisis financiera mundial.

Después de haber dirigido el Informe sobre farmacorresistencia (o resistencia a los antimicrobianos, RAM) del Reino Unido sobre el mundo, me es imposible no pensar que la crisis actual exige un emprendimiento similar que combine el modelado de las enfermedades infecciosas, el análisis económico y las soluciones basadas en la evidencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Delivery bike rider wearing a face mask as a precaution against coronavirus at Madrid Rio park. Photo by Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images.

Linked to the call for a global response to the Covid-19 pandemic that I, Robin Niblett and Creon Butler have outlined, the case for a specific dramatic economic policy gesture from many policymakers in large economies is prescient.

It may not be warranted from all G20 nations, although given the uncertainties, and the desire to show collective initiative, I think it should be G20 driven and inclusive.

We need some sort of income support for all our citizens, whether employees or employers. Perhaps one might call it a truly People’s QE (quantitative easing).

Against the background of the previous economic crisis from 2008, and the apparent difficulties that more traditional forms of economic stimulus have faced in trying to help their economies and their people - especially against a background of low wage growth, and both actual, and perception of rising inequality - other ideas have emerged.…  Seguir leyendo »

A currency dealer wearing a face mask monitors exchange rates in front of a screen showing South Korea's benchmark stock index in Seoul on March 13, 2020. Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images.

An infectious disease outbreak has long been a top national security risk in several countries, but the speed and extent of Covid-19’s spread and the scale of its social and economic impact has come as an enormous and deeply worrying shock.

This pandemic is not just a global medical and economic emergency. It could also prove a decisive make-or-break point for today’s system of global political and economic cooperation.

This system was built up painstakingly after 1945 as a response to the beggar-thy-neighbour economic policies of the 1930s which led to the Second World War. But it has been seriously weakened recently as the US and China have entered a more overt phase of strategic competition, and as they and a number of the other most important global and regional players have pursued their narrowly defined self-interest.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gilets jaunes protestors march through the Place de la Concorde in Paris in November 2018. Photo: Getty Images.

As the chair of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, I recently hosted an offsite event with some of the organization’s strongest supporters, research staff, and other leaders. I left with a clearer view of three of the biggest issues of our time: slowing productivity growth, anti-establishment politics, and the rise of China.

Generally speaking, the reason that we have so many 'issues' is that the international capitalist model has stopped functioning as it should, particularly in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. This has become increasingly apparent to many Western voters, even as experts have struggled to understand the precise nature of the economic and political shifts underway.…  Seguir leyendo »

Signage for 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

When the G20 leaders held their first summit in late 2008, many welcomed what looked like a diverse, highly representative new forum for crafting common solutions to global problems. The group acquitted itself well in responding to the global financial crisis, and, for a while, its emergence as a forum for international policy coordination seemed like one of the only silver linings of that mess.

I was certainly among those applauding the G20’s initial achievements. Since 2001, when I identified  the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as a key feature of the 21st-century world economy, I had been calling for a major overhaul of global-governance structures.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tokyo skyline. Photo: Getty Images.

When I participated in the Chatham House/Daiwa Research Institute conference on the post-Brexit Japan-UK relationship in Tokyo last month, it was my first visit back to Japan since my departure from Goldman Sachs almost six years ago. Prior to this trip, I had been visiting the country regularly since 1988, so it was helpful to see things from a slightly more detached perspective.

By and large, Japan in 2019 feels relatively stable when compared to other advanced economies. A decade from now, I would not be surprised if it continues to show the highest real (inflation-adjusted) per capita GDP growth rate in the G7.…  Seguir leyendo »

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. Photo: Getty Images.

Among executives it is fashionable to say that if you think Brexit is bad enough, wait until you see what happens when the markets focus on the risk of a Labour government. While I have concerns about the overall fiscal framework of the opposition’s policies, I am not overly concerned by some aspects of a prospective Jeremy Corbyn administration. Indeed, in at least six policy areas, which Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell are treating as priorities, businesses and the government need to catch up.

Dealing with Brexit is obviously the most pressing task facing Theresa May’s government. But it remains a matter of grave concern that the UK prime minister has virtually no time for anything else, including the few ideas that the previous Conservative government introduced, such as devolving powers and responsibilities to the urban regions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of OXFAM dress as G7 leaders ahead of the summit at Quebec in June 2018. Photo by Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Though US President Donald Trump’s appearance at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Quebec last week was not particularly well received, I find myself sympathizing with his skepticism toward the group. I have long doubted that the annual meeting of leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States serves any useful purpose.

Back in 2001, when I coined the BRIC acronym, I predicted that the growing economic importance of Brazil, Russia, India, and China would eventually require a significant change to global economic governance. At a minimum, I observed, global-governance bodies should include China, if not all of the BRICs.…  Seguir leyendo »

La semana pasada, Volvo hizo público un anuncio alentador: dejará de  producir automóviles a gasolina o diésel después de 2019. Puede que sus ejecutivos estén previendo que los vehículos tradicionales serán menos rentables en el futuro. Pero más allá de sus motivos, su decisión ha alcanzado amplias repercusiones. En 24 horas, el presidente francés Emmanuel Macron anunció que para 2040 Francia prohibirá la venta de automóviles a gasolina y diésel.

La decisión de Volvo confirma que las cosas están cambiando en la industria automotriz y a la vez envía un mensaje positivo en la lucha contra el cambio climático. Y demuestra algo más importante aún: que las personas y las organizaciones siguen siendo capaces de adoptar medidas importantes y audaces para resolver los grandes desafíos.…  Seguir leyendo »

He estado fuera del mundo de los pronósticos económicos y las finanzas internacionales económicas durante más de cuatro años, pero gran parte de lo que aprendí durante mis 30 años trabajando a tiempo completo en ese campo aún influye la forma cómo veo el mundo. Una lección aprendida es medir el desempeño económico y financiero de una entidad según la forma como se compara con el potencial subyacente de dicha entidad y con la valoración de mercado de su desempeño. La aplicación de este enfoque a las principales economías da lugar a algunas puntualizaciones – y posibilidades – sorprendentes.

Para empezar, contrariamente a la creencia popular, el crecimiento mundial no ha sido especialmente decepcionante hasta ahora en esta década.…  Seguir leyendo »

En el mes de febrero, comenté que la economía global a fines de 2016 estaba en una posición cíclica más fuerte de lo que la mayoría de la gente había esperado, teniendo en cuenta las turbulencias políticas de los 12 meses previos. Ese impulso alcista se prolongó hasta el primer trimestre de 2017. Según los últimos indicadores del tipo "pronóstico del tiempo presente", el crecimiento del PIB mundial está superando el 4% -quizás el desempeño más sólido que se haya visto desde antes de la crisis financiera de 2008.

Aun así, algunos observadores -y no sólo los pesimistas crónicos- han argumentado que la evidencia sigue siendo anecdótica y que resulta imposible predecir cuánto tiempo durará el momento económico actual.…  Seguir leyendo »

Este es un golpe de realidad para los responsables de las políticas en Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos, y para los muchos expertos que frecuentemente hacen comentarios sobre el comercio mundial sin entender sus realidades: los datos sobre las exportaciones e importaciones totales de Alemania en 2016 indican que su principal socio comercial ahora es China. Francia y Estados Unidos han sido relegados al segundo y tercer puesto.

Esta noticia no debería ser una sorpresa. Muchas veces he reflexionado que, en 2020, las empresas (y los responsables de las políticas) alemanes podrían preferir una unión monetaria con China que con Francia, considerando que el comercio germano-chino probablemente seguiría creciendo.…  Seguir leyendo »