Ten Problems for Economy in the 2020s

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Literature Review: Economy Problems for the 2020s

Following the devastating health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the global economy appears to be emerging from one of its deepest recessions and beginning a subdued recovery. Beyond the short-term economic outlook, this edition of Global Economic Prospects makes clear, policymakers face formidable challenges—in public health, debt management, budget policies, central banking and structural reforms—as they try to ensure that this still-fragile global recovery gains traction and sets a foundation for robust growth and development in the longer run [1].

Multiple vaccine approvals and the launch of vaccination in some countries in December 2020 have raised hopes of an eventual end to the pandemic. Despite the high and rising human toll of the pandemic, economic activity appears to be adapting to subdued contact-intensive activity with the passage of time. Finally, additional policy measures announced at the end of 2020—notably in the United States and Japan—are expected to provide further support in 2021–22 to the global economy [2].

As we make progress in coronavirus vaccinations and the economy continues to reopen, this can help to drive future earnings growth and additional equity market rotations into cyclical sectors like Financials, Materials, Industrials and Energy. It may be a “sell the news” Q4 earnings season, but we are likely in the early stages of a new profit cycle and that supports our positive view on equities [3]. Positive earnings estimate revisions and upside surprises expected into 2022 could potentially help equity valuations moderate.

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.

As the international community, regional organizations, and countries plan the post- COVID-19 recovery, it will be important to put the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of policymaking. COVID-19 does not resolve the climate and biodiversity crises, and it is gravely amplifying income inequalities and other forms of inequality. It has also shown us that countries will only be able to protect themselves from global pandemics if health systems are strengthened in every country. The Sustainable Development Report 2020 shows that significant progress has been achieved in many regions and on many goals over the past five years [5].

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 2021, Washington, DC: World Bank, online at 

[2] International Monetary Fund, “World Economic Outlook Update”, January 2021, International Monetary Fund, online at 

[3] Merrill Lynch Chief Investment Office, “Capital Market Outlook”, 1 Mar 2021, 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] J. Sachs et al., “The Sustainable Development Goals and COVID-19. Sustainable Development Report 2020”, 30 Jun 2020, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 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,

booklet updated on 30 Mar 2021, now on sale as version 1.1 business insider