Gerard Lyons, former city economist and now Chief Economic Advisor to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, remains stubbornly optimistic about the future world economy and Britain’s place in it.
Military strength, soft power, and influence in international political organisations: Britain has all the advantages necessary to succeed in the ‘global century’. The West’s dominance may be over, but for countries like the UK, that does not necessarily mean we will be worse off. We’ll have a smaller share for sure, but of a much larger economic cake.
Speaking at a recent Legatum Institute roundtable, Lyons discussed these themes, which he outlined in his book, The Consolations of Economics: How We Will All Benefit from the New World Order.
Despite his optimism, Lyons admitted that the UK does face big challenges, namely demographic change and political inertia.
Demographic change and population growth is no threat if it is well planned for, the challenge is the short-termism of the political cycle. Lyons sparked debate about how we might overcome this—and this was of special interest, given his political role—but the broad consensus was that free markets, not more government, was the solution.
This held also for discussion of the drivers behind the global century. The rapidly expanding middle classes in developing nations pose great opportunities for British exports, highlighting the importance of freer international trade as the ‘engine’ of global prosperity.
Boris Johnson’s ambitions for national office are well known: he benefits a strong and refreshingly optimistic economic adviser by his side.
Video Interview with Gerard Lyons
A selection of photos from the discussion is available here.
About the Speaker
Gerard Lyons is a leading global economist, widely respected for his understanding of macro-economic trends and the accuracy of his forecasting. In August 2008 he was one of only two UK economists predicting an imminent deep recession. He was ranked number one forecaster globally by Bloomberg (out of over 360) in 2010 and 2011.
Gerard has served as Chief Economic Advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson since 2013. His remit is to provide the Mayor with strategic advice and intelligence on the economic outlook for London and the global economy. Previously, Lyons served as Chief Economist and Group Head of Global Research at Standard Chartered Bank plc., Chief Economist and Executive Director at DKB International, and Chief UK Economist at Swiss Bank Corporation.