For many around the world, we are richer today than we ever thought possible. Can the level of economic growth that we have seen since the mid-19th Century be sustained in the 21st century? And with that, capitalism itself?
We certainly think that the level of economic well-being enjoyed by the world’s population will continue to rise, provided political forces allow capitalism to continue making innovations in the way goods are produced and delivered to markets. But it is unlikely to maintain its current rate of growth. Miraculous growth in the Third World will certainly diminish, as these late-comers catch up with the leaders by exploiting their technologies, institutions, and governance. Population growth is also declining everywhere, and the aging associated with it will drag down growth. In addition, rising inequality in the leaders and even followers – like China and India – may reinforce anti-capitalist, anti-market, and populist feelings.
– That’s from an interview in which Jeff Williamson and Larry Neal discuss the new Cambridge History of Capitalism.