Economic Futures of the West
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Economic Futures of the West

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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A postscript: back to the future

Jan Winiecki


What futures (in the plural because more than one scenario is envisaged) emerge for the West from considerations in the preceding nine chapters? As in my earlier futurological venture, more than one scenario looks probable. Such an assessment should not come as a surprise. The world today is more complex than it was in the 1980s. Thus it is multipolar rather than bipolar as it was at that time. Moreover, new global challenges – spurious, but perceived as real (and it is perceptions that matter!) – seem to shape the thinking of large segments of Western elites. Even more unfortunately they have shaped the actions of governments since at least the late 1990s. Again, in a more complex world, no scenario considered by me enjoys – in my own rough assessment – a probability higher than 50 percent. This means that the future, limited to this and the next decade, is a nearly open-ended one, within a certain range, though.

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