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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


Tyler Cowen
Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Sascha Steffen
Associate Professor of Finance and Karl-Heinz Kipp Chair in Research, ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Edward H. Kaplan
Edward H. Kaplan
William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research, Professor of Public Health & Professor of Engineering

Jim Matheson
CEO, Oasys Water

Andrew W. Lo
Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance, MIT Sloan School of Management; Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, AlphaSimplex Group, LLC


Dean Karlan
Professor of Economics, Yale University

James Choi
Professor of Finance

Ibrahim Mayaki
CEO, New Partnership for Africa's Development

Michael Apkon
President and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children

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