This is a good thing for the U.S. economy
The author is the chief global strategist of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and the author of “Ten Rules for Successful Countries”
Driven by the successful launch of vaccines in the United States and the government’s large-scale stimulus measures, the US economy is expected to achieve a rapid growth of 7% this year and is currently leading the world’s recovery. Critics are talking about an “American renaissance”, the country ushered in its 245th Independence Day on Sunday.
But there is a problem: the United States has just experienced an economic renaissance. The possibility of rebirth is unlikely.
Ten years ago, after the 2008 financial crisis, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US government debt rating for the first time, triggering terrible predictions of the US economic recession. On the contrary, in the 2010s, driven by its technological prowess and relatively quick resolution of the debt crisis, the US economic power expanded.
The United States’ share of global GDP has risen from a low of 21% in 2011 to 25% last year. At the beginning of the decade, the average income in the United States was 26% higher than in Europe, and at the end it was more than 60% higher. The income of the United States is ahead of Japan’s growth more significantly. By the beginning of 2020, despite talking about “despair“Among the unemployed middle class, the confidence of American consumers and small businesses has reached the highest level since the 1960s.
As a financial superpower, the United States has reached a higher level. Its share of the global stock market increased from 42% to 58% in the 2010s.This U.S. dollar More dominant than ever before, helping the United States expand its leading position ahead of other developed countries.
By the end of 2019, 75% of personal and corporate overseas loans were denominated in U.S. dollars, up from 60% before the 2008 crisis. Six out of every 10 countries use the U.S. dollar as their “anchor”—that is, their currencies measure and stabilize the value of their currencies—close to record highs. China’s efforts The challenge to the US dollar as the world’s most popular reserve currency also failed completely in the 2010s.
After a ten-year comeback, the United States is unlikely to rise again in the 2020s.Just like me debate At the beginning of a pandemic, a strong boom is almost always accompanied by a long hangover.
The US economy led the world in the 1960s, but in the 1970s it worried about lagging behind the oil-fueled Soviet Union. In the 1980s, it was troubled by the rise of Japan. The United States made a comeback during the technological boom of the 1990s, but the 2000s were all about the rise of emerging markets led by China.
The prediction of another surge in the United States depends in part on its belief that it can continue to expand its technological leadership. But American Internet giants are already facing challenges in emerging markets from Asia to Africa, and local entrepreneurs are establishing national and regional market leaders in the fields of e-commerce, e-banking, and search.BEurope is closing the innovation gap In areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence, European startups have attracted more private equity investment than ever before.
Prosperity is often stifled by complacency, and this complacency is now haunting the United States. Important voices in both parties believe that, due to the unparalleled status of the US dollar as the most popular currency in the world, the United States should continue to borrow and spend freely.
But the loose money flowing out of the Fed may weaken the dollar and encourage the rise of zombie companies—companies whose income is too low to even pay interest on debt. Twenty years ago, they almost did not exist in the United States, but by 2010 they accounted for 6% of listed companies and almost 20% last year.
The federal government and companies are now heavily in debt, and it is hard to imagine how they can further boost the economy. In 2010, the United States owed the rest of the world US$2.5 trillion, equivalent to 17% of US GDP.By the beginning of last year, those Debt It has risen to 10 trillion US dollars, accounting for more than 50% of GDP-a threshold that has often triggered currency crises in the past. Currently, they are US$14 trillion, accounting for 67% of GDP.
This does not mean that the decline theorists in the United States were wrong in the 2010s and will eventually prove to be correct. China’s rising share of the global economy has largely come at the expense of Europe and Japan. Decliners who still believe that the United States will soon be surpassed by China ignore the fact that China also has a huge debt problem.
It is more likely that the United States will spend a mediocre decade, dragged down by recent excessive prosperity. Compared to other markets, the US stock market is at a 100-year high. Such high valuations reflect new optimism: after a decade of unexpected success in the United States, many analysts now expect more of the same situation. Alas, this may be the best for the United States.