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The Changed World Economy

Courtesy Reuters

The talk today is of the "changing world economy." I wish to argue that the world economy is not "changing"; it has already changed—in its foundations and in its structure—and in all probability the change is irreversible.

Within the last decade or so, three fundamental changes have occurred in the very fabric of the world economy:

—The primary-products economy has come "uncoupled" from the industrial economy.

—In the industrial economy itself, production has come "uncoupled" from employment.

—Capital movements rather than trade (in both goods and services) have become the driving force of the world economy. The two have not quite come uncoupled, but the link has become loose, and worse, unpredictable.

These changes are permanent rather than cyclical. We may never understand what caused them—the causes of economic change are rarely simple. It may be a long time before economic theorists accept that there have been

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