Economic Futures of the West
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Economic Futures of the West

  • New Thinking in Political Economy series

Jan Winiecki

Jan Winiecki explores the various problems that the West must deal with in order to remain an efficient competitor in the world economy. These, he argues, are primarily consequences of the ever-expanding welfare state; consequences that are not only economic but also socio-psychological and, therefore, political. The author also considers the evolution of Western Europe and the USA from a new perspective, noting the ‘Europeanization’ of US economic policies and regulation and the ‘Americanization’ of polices and regulation in some European countries. The book concludes that the main challengers to the West – Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called BRIC group of countries) – are unlikely to gain economic supremacy over the West any time soon, given that they have to contend with their own difficulties.
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Chapter 9: Underpinnings for scenarios

Jan Winiecki

Extract

Since the future is shrouded in uncertainty, the best one can do in considering future developments is to rely on past trends and patterns and think in terms of their relevance in years to come. We should also think about probable discontinuities. However, quite a few of them emerge from some earlier-noted components of the said trends and patterns, which, for some reason, increased rapidly in importance, undermining or even reversing an earlier dominant larger trend or pattern. The foregoing type of thinking may additionally be supported by records of some earlier intellectual ventures that tried to look into the future. I have a certain advantage in taking such a common-sense approach. For I have already tried such a venture a quarter of a century ago. In Economic Prospects: East and West, I tried not only to present the underpinnings of what had been taking place on both sides of the cold war fault-line, but also formulated some opinions about future developments.

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