Napping at a brokerage in Qingdao, China, April 2013.
CHINA DAILY / reuters

The global recovery from the Great Recession of 2009 has just entered its eighth year and shows few signs of fading. That should be cause for celebration. But this recovery has been an underwhelming one. Throughout this period, the global economy has grown at an average annual pace of just 2.5 percent—a record low when compared with economic rebounds that took place in the decades after World War II. Rather than rejoicing, then, many experts are now anxiously searching for a way to push the world economy out of its low-growth trap. Some economists and investors have placed their hopes on populists such as U.S. President Donald Trump, figuring that if they can make their countries’ economies grow quickly again, the rest of the world might follow along. 

Given how long the global economy has been in the doldrums, however, it’s worth asking whether the forces slowing growth are

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