It is the new year and pundits across the globe are making their future predictions. Fear will be the key business and economic trend in 2016 – though it shouldn’t be.
The press and pundits will constantly barrage us with the potentially devastating impact of forthcoming interest rate hikes, recessions, stock market meltdowns, commodity price swings and geopolitical realignments.
During 2016, fear will be stressed even more than usual because of the US presidential election. Any budding politician understands the easiest way to mobilize voters is to strike fear in their hearts, especially over their own economic condition. By inciting fear, they hope to persuade voters to elect them to solve the problem.
This fear is grossly misplaced. Long-term economic trends across the globe are impressive. Since the year 2000, in just 15 years, the world’s per-person GDP has grown by 20%, after adjusting for inflation. It is even stronger in poor areas like sub-Saharan Africa, which grew over 30%.
If global growth continues at this rate, in a bit more than half a century the world – every man, woman and child – will produce twice as much annually as what is produced now. That tremendous growth means twice as many goods like homes, cars and food; twice as many services like medical care and education; twice as much available for cleaning up the environment and helping the needy.
The world’s economic pie is growing dramatically. However, almost all of us fail to see this growth and the amazing possibilities it presents humanity. Instead, human nature causes us to focus on short-term problems.
Former US President Franklin Roosevelt said at his inauguration, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That statement is as true today as it was during the Great Depression.
Ignore the fear and instead enjoy the growing pie in 2016.
This article also appeared in The Conversation (click here).