New Jersey Speakers Series Continues with Economist Editor Zanny Minton Beddoes 

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s acclaimed New Jersey Speakers Series continued on October 24 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. with Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist.

Named one of the "Most Powerful Women in the World” by Forbes, Beddoes is a renowned global economics expert, sought-after for her authoritative perspectives on the world economy – past, present and future.

The first female editor in The Economist’s 170-year history, Beddoes is renowned for delivering sophisticated insight into all facets of economic affairs. She was previously the newspaper’s business affairs editor. She joined The Economist in 1994, after spending two years as an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

FDU President Christopher Capuano, student Cassie Laman, Beddoes and student Tomasz Kasztelan

Photos by Shelley Kusnetz.

For her lecture, Beddoes focused on short and middle term forecasts for the world economy. What the world is experiencing right now is what she called “the paradox of the front half and the back half of the newspaper.” The front half, traditionally devoted to political news is, she said “really grim,” reflecting an “unbelievable rise in political polarization.” The back half, she said, traditionally devoted to financial reporting, reflects “seemingly good economic news,” including low unemployment.

The juxtaposition of those two realities may be the cause of upcoming economic instability. The world economy is in the midst of “four fundamental shocks,” Beddoes said, any one or two of which could cause “many years of considerable volatility.”

The first “shock” is the tech revolution which, she speculated, is in its infancy. The second is a fundamental geopolitical shift. “The U.S. has been the undisputed global economic leader for more than a century,” said Beddoes. “But, in the 21st century, the rising power is China.”

The third "shock" is a demographic shift. The world’s population is aging and birth rates are dropping. “People are anxious about the future,” Beddoes said. Polling shows that a majority of people in both developed and developing countries think that their children will have a worse standard of living that they have themselves.

Beddoes’ fourth "shock" is climate change. “The growing frequency of extreme weather events will have a profound effect on the world economy,” she said. But she noted that decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and reducing the pace of carbon emissions represents an opportunity for innovation that could be an economic driver. “That’s the power of capitalism,” she said.

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