Ten Problems for Economy in the 2020s

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Literature Review: Economy Problems for the 2020s

The Global Economic Prospects 2020 [1] analyzes several topical themes underlying the fragile outlook. One is the largest, fastest, and most broad-based wave of debt accumulation in advanced economies as well as in emerging and developing economies in the last 50 years. A second is the widespread slowdown in productivity growth over the last ten years. Additional key themes include price controls—which, despite good intentions, can dampen investment and growth, worsen poverty outcomes, and lead to heavier fiscal burdens—and the drivers of the long recent policies to maintain low and stable inflation. There are signs that global growth skirted a rough patch and is recovering; it is up to policy makers to make sure it thrives.

Market sentiment has been boosted by tentative signs that manufacturing activity and global trade are bottoming out, a broad-based shift toward accommodative monetary policy, intermittent favorable news on US-China trade negotiations, and diminished fears of a no-deal Brexit, leading to some retreat from the risk-off environment that had previously set in [2]. However, few signs of turning points are yet visible in global macroeconomic data and economy problems. Early signs of stabilization could persist and eventually reinforce the link between still- resilient consumer spending and improved business spending.

The Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak has imparted a deflationary shock to the global economy that may delay the full benefit of the underlying recovery that we believe is setting up a fourth mini-wave expansion [3]. Lower global rates, a “Phase I” US-China trade deal, a strong US consumer, central bank accommodation, a potential improvement in the manufacturing sector and corporate earnings should mitigate higher absolute valuations, and the near-term economic impact from the Coronavirus outbreak.

Despite considerable efforts these past four years, we are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We must dramatically step up the pace of implementation as we enter a decisive decade for people and the planet. We must connect the dots across all that we do – as individuals, civic groups, corporations, municipalities and Member States of the United Nations – and truly embrace the principles of inclusion and sustainability [4]. Science is our great ally in the efforts to achieve the 17 Goals. The future is determined by what we do now and the window of opportunity is closing fast.

Many ‘decade ahead’ predictions prove unreliable. And we admit this special edition of Konzept cannot be a perfect crystal ball [5]. Regardless, we present 24 contrarian ideas for how the 2020s may evolve because we believe it is best to be prepared for the unexpected themes that may arise over the coming decade. After all, if the 2010s have taught us anything it is that the trends of the prior decade are no guide for the decade to come.

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant areas from very recent contributions put forward at academic level in the form journal articles, conference proceedings and students theses. Ten freely accessible internet references have been selected for each area and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our selected references do not intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, diverse and scientifically-sound case studies for vertical dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also be able to scoop even more references through the bibliography that is reported at the end of each selected reference.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Economy in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. business, 
  2. finance,
  3. policies,
  4. technology,
  5. debt,
  6. labor,
  7. entrepreneurship,
  8. markets,
  9. wealth,
  10. growth.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introductory section, a short presentation of the ten selected references and a conclusions section.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter again in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] World Bank, “Global Economic Prospects, January 2020: Slow Growth, Policy Challenges”, 2020, Washington, DC: World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/978-1-4648-1468-6. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO, online at 

[2] International Monetary Fund, “ World Economic Outlook, January 2020: Tentative Stabilization, Sluggish Recovery”, 2020, International Monetary Fund, online at 

[3] Merrill Lynch Chief Investment Office, “Capital Market Outlook”, 10 Feb 2020, Merrill Lynch, online at 

[4] Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the Secretary-General, “Global Sustainable Development Report 2019: The Future is Now – Science for Achieving Sustainable Development”, 2019, United Nations, New York, online at 

[5] Deutsche Bank Research, “Imagine 2030”, 2019, Deutsche Bank Konzept, online at  better business bureau, business, international business machines, master in business administration, business insider

“Ten Problems for Economy in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2020; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page better business bureau, business, international business machines, master in business administration, business insider

better business bureau, business, international business machines, master in business administration, business insider