The fate of the global economy does not rest on the US election, says Dr. Moyo. “It’s bad, whatever happens.” By Kevin Helliker.
She speaks for the left, the right, the poor, the rich, the third world and the first. A native of Zambia, she holds a doctorate in macroeconomics from Oxford University, a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University and an MBA from American University, from which she also received a degree in chemistry.
Her résumé includes stints at Goldman Sachs and the World Bank, and she has published four best-selling books: Dead Aid, a treatise on the failure of aid to Africa; How the West was Lost, on misguided economic policies of developed countries; Winner Take All, on the implications of China’s purchase of natural resources around the world; and Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth and How to Fix It.
She has nearly 1.4 million followers on LinkedIn, and more than 200,000 on Twitter. Time magazine once called her one of the world’s 100 most influential people. She sits on the boards of Chevron and 3M, having previous served on the boards of Barclays Bank and SABMiller. She’s a serial marathoner. She has visited more than 80 countries. She lives in New York and London, where she is finishing her fifth book and serving on an equal-rights panel at the behest of the British Prime Minister.
For the global economy, how important is the U.S. election?
I don’t think the election will make a material difference to the global economy. It’s bad, what-ever happens.
What leads you to say that?
Even before the financial crisis hit in earnest this year, the global economy was in a precarious place. Large economies, from emerging markets with at least 50 million people to very large developed markets, were struggling to create growth. Most countries were failing to generate 3 percent growth—the minimum annual growth rate needed to double per capita incomes in a generation—roughly 25 years.
Add to that a lot of economic headwinds: technology and the risk of a jobless underclass, demographic shifts, income inequality, climate change, natural resource scarcity. India’s adding a million people a month to its population. Social mobility in the US has been halved in the past 30 years. Debt: Just this week the WSJ reported that consumer, business and government debt in the US had reached $64 trillion—triple the gross domestic product. Productivity—a factor accounting for 60 percent of why one country grows and another doesn’t—has fallen considerably over the past decade in developed markets, in an era when technology should be leading to increased productivity. Finally, there is impotent public policy. We have been living in a period of negative interest rates, massive debt, massive government deficits and enormous, and arguably unsustainable, welfare systems.
Again, that is all before COVID.