Is the Party Over for Economic Growth? Yes, he can! No, he couldn't. Obama 3 months ago   1:25:09

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It was a blast. Since the Industrial Revolution, we enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, propelled by a seemingly unstoppable wave of technological innovation. For 100 years from around 1870, life in the West was transformed by inventions such as electricity, the car and domestic appliances, which led to soaring growth, better lives and booming wealth for all. The poor became less poor, and the number of middle income earners exploded. In the second half of the 20th century the rest of the world began to catch up, with China lifting hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty and the rise of the BRICs.

But then it stopped. Since around 1970, middle incomes in the US have stagnated, while the top 1% have pulled away in terms of earnings and wealth. Productivity growth fell. The great recession of 2008 was expected to be a blip but we are still in the doldrums. China’s miracle growth has shuddered to a slowdown and is set to drop even further. Just last week, the European Central Bank announced fresh rounds of quantitative easing to try and pump life into the eurozone’s flagging economy.

Many economists are now predicting that stagnation is here to stay. We may hear a lot of excited talk from the techno-optimists about the Second Machine Age and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rewards they are set to bring us, but some say that most of the fruits of the IT revolution have already been harvested. For example, driverless cars may be the future, but they will change the world far less than the invention of cars in the first place – and put millions of professional drivers out of a job.
If the age of endless growth is over, how should we assess the implications? Does the developed world face decades of misery-inducing recession, or – given that the planet’s resources are finite – can we look forward to a more sustainable future where ever-increasing consumption does not count as the main good? Or are the economic doom-mongers wrong? Will capitalism, that engine of human ingenuity, continue to be the route to rising prosperity for all? If so, what are the mechanisms that will kick-start the global economy again?

On 16th May 2016, we were joined by a star panel for this major discussion on the future of the global economy. On stage were Stephanie Flanders, JP Morgan’s chief market strategist for Europe; Deirdre McCloskey, acclaimed US economic historian; and Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and author of 'Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet'. The event was chaired by Economics Editor of BBC News Kamal Ahmed.

Comments 23 Comments

Ken Dreamer
I came here because the title was economic growth not social welfare and getting people out of poverty. (what ever that means) Click bait much.
Alexander G. Leon
Excellent video. I suggest you also read this post that I think is very relevant when we talk about this topic. Why is the rate of economic growth in developing countries generally higher than in developed countries?
brinbrin62 62200
"Sub-Saharan Africa is one place of optimism..." I though it was a bunch of shitty countries. I had it aaaaall wrong.
Just kidding. Third world is not gonna rise anytime soon. Currently they are exporting their subhuman genetics to Europe. More than this, any political system that put "human equality" at the center of its ideology is just doomed to fail. Humans may have equal rights, but that's all. Their physical strength and their intelligence are the two key factors of their social integration. Humans are not equal. People are not equals. Human beings are not equal. And there's nothing that socialism can do to address what is not an issue. Period. The Pareto law is like the laws of thermodynamics : You can do nothing about it. 20 % of the people will always own 80 % of the wealth. To try to bend reality leads to Utopian totalitarianism.

BTW : Growth has nothing to do with demographics. The key factor is available cheap energy. World population has increased seven-fold due to coal and oil during the industrial revolution. Once oil has reached its peak (and it has in 2005), the oil will get less available. Within the next decade, we will see the world population dramatically shrink through wars, starvation and epidemics. I've not heard the word "energy" once during this video (I may have missed it, though), so I guess these people do not even know what they are talking about.

See also these two articles by Paul chefurka : "No really, how sustainable are we? " ( and "World Energy and Population
Trends to 2100" (
they have to read Rostow's model ! Also some Austrian interpretation would do.
Liberals who do not create wealth, who have positions, are idiots and don't understand the real world. Conservatives are much wiser about the real world, thus the "liberal" and conservative labels. Too many parasitic college graduates who are wasteful.
Debt is the crisis because we have sold our children into debt slavery to live luxuriously. I am not responsible for people outside my nation. I can not going save the world. I just want to save myself. Screw the foreign nations that have to save them self.
Global warming done by humans is a hoax. Getting our machines and emissions more efficient is just intelligent. Get rid of waste and heat waste, carbon waste, of course. Don't blame the children and enslave them as debt slaves to enrich elites. Get the 80% waste out of the system. Cars, airplanes, electricity, education, waste 80% or more. Be more efficient. Often that means NOT DOING SOMETHING. Get rid of wasteful professional sports and waste. Humans waste too much. Be Buddhist monks.
Armani Ghrissi
simply a goddess that Stephanie.
It is definitive. Someone should give the nobel peace prize to robert gorden.
Thomas Underhill
good job iq2, this was a nice breath of fresh air.
You had a big long recession between 1872 and ca 1900. Despite this , very significant strides where made. The biggest difference is that without inflation, you can't borrow on your house without paying back. The demise of the neoclassic economy is not the end of the World. In a normal World it would be the end of the banks.
I wonder if people were saying the same things in the 1930's... Hmm.
CabbagePatch Bstard
Irritatingly pompous host at at the start.
utubetruthteller utubetruthteller
Historically western countries were successful by looting colonizing other countries of the world.
claudia xander
300 percent? wonderful tho
Kristopher Driver
Marvellous job, excellent panel and host. Such a great service you guys provide the world with so little appreciation. Thank you iq2!
William Alston
Nice, panelists were in good spirits.
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Yes, he can! No, he couldn't. Obama Is the Party Over for Economic Growth? 3 months ago   46:47

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Filmed at the Emmanuel Centre on 20th June 2016.

Eight years ago the banners said ‘Behold the new Kennedy!’ Tears flowed and expectations were sky-high as Obama spoke on election night surrounded by his young family. Here was America’s saviour, the man who could overcome the legacy of slavery, heal a divided nation, even reclaim its moral leadership.

In fact, Obama’s record has been one of failure. Once the world’s policeman, today America is seen as weak. Tyrants know that Obama rarely exercises power and they have taken full advantage of that fact. Putin has rolled the tanks into part of Ukraine while China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea. Islamic State rose to ugly prominence on his watch, and Obama did little to stop it. He also let Assad get away with gassing his people even though he had warned such action would be crossing his ‘red line’. Traditional Middle East allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia are rightly dismayed. At home, the president has been just as limp. Some critics go so far as to say that he prepared the ground for Donald Trump, by failing to reassure Republican voters who feel vulnerable to terrorist attacks and not doing enough about uncontrolled immigration. Equally he has disappointed Democrats by his failure to counter the gun crime epidemic, and African Americans have gained little stature or pride from his time in the White House. Who would have imagined #BlackLivesMatter taking off under the first black president of the United States? Far from being an inspiring leader, Obama has turned out to be a sensitive loner, temperamentally unsuited to the hustle and bustle of power.

To Obama’s supporters, such charges are ludicrous. Despite the many crises that have afflicted his time in office, he has pulled off a significant number of his promises. Through Obamacare, he has enabled 20 million uninsured adults to have health insurance – something seven previous presidents were unable to achieve. He agreed a climate change accord unthinkable under his predecessors. He negotiated a groundbreaking deal with Iran, stopping its dash to nuclear weapons. Far from being weak and passive in his foreign policy, he has been tough when needed. Bin Laden was killed and so were other terrorist leaders. Yet he has refused to continue hopeless wars that cost lives, tarnish America’s reputation and squander money. Instead, he has concentrated on reviving the economy. Millions of new jobs have been created in the past eight years. Obama’s stewardship has been calm and assured, generating no personal scandals. His real crime, in the eyes of his opponents, was his rejection of ideology. Partisans on all sides despise his willingness to compromise.