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On the Other Hand

What’s happening to the global economy? Dozens of equity markets have fallen into bear territory. There’s solid job growth in the U.S., but China is struggling to avoid a hard landing. The Fed is confident enough to raise interest rates, but oil prices have crashed.

The atmosphere is one of profound uncertainty. “What makes these falling prices unnerving,” the New York Times says, “is that it’s hard to tell a simple story about what is driving them.”

What’s the worst-case scenario? “We might be at the edge of a global recession,” said Citibank’s Christian Schulz on Bloomberg. In the fourth quarter of 2015, global growth approached the 2% mark—and central banks have few options remaining. “It’s a vulnerable situation.”

The drop in equity markets may simply be a needed correction, the Economist noted. But, the magazine wrote elsewhere, “whether the market gyrations are rooted firmly in fundamentals or not, they could themselves be a source of economic instability…. A recession, after all, is nothing more than a rut of self-ratifying pessimism.”

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Contributors


Ned Welch
Senior Practice Expert, McKinsey & Company

Britta Rendlen
Head, Sustainability Risk Management, Swiss Reinsurance Company

Francois Bonnici
Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Lynn Stout
Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law, Cornell University Law School, Author of The Shareholder Value Myth

Lori Lucas
Executive Vice President and Defined Contribution Practice Leader, Callan Associates

Robert A. M. Stern
Dean & J. M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture, Yale School of Architecture; Founder and Senior Partner, Robert A. M. Stern Architects



Jacob S. Hacker
Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University

Manuel Gomez Pena
Vice President of Sustainability, Walmart

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