Dr. Dambisa Moyo, the Global Economist and Best-Selling Author, is conquering the world by adding insightful thinking to solve old and insidious problems. Having completed a PhD in Economics at Oxford University, and a Masters at Harvard, her work has taken her to more than 70 countries over the last decade, during which time she has developed a unique knowledge that allows her to review issues with a rare, in-depth perspective.
Our interview together is broken into two parts. This interview focuses on Dr. Moyo’s valuable economic perspective on global resources, China, technology and jobs.
The second interview will focus on how Dr. Moyo developed such a well-respected, global career. I’ve long admired Dr. Moyo both for her work and her successful rise in global economics. I’m thrilled to share how she achieved this in the next edition of our interview together. Follow us here on Twitter to stay tuned for her second interview!
Gabrielle Reilly: Please tell us about the global resource race and the potential consequences.
Dr. Dambisa Moyo: The global resource race is a structural problem of imbalance of supply and demand. On the supply side, potable water, arable land, minerals, and energy are all scarce, finite and depleting. In terms of demand, there is an ever-increasing demand driven by population growth, rising global wealth, and urbanization.
Some of the potential consequences include: higher commodity prices, political
instability, and an increasing risk of violent resource-based conflict.
As I mentioned in my Cato Institute article in July 2015, there are around 25 conflicts with origins in commodities around the world today and many more likely to occur in next decade.
There are also potential consequences stemming from geopolitical shifts: China is a leading country implementing a multilateral strategic approach to securing global resource supplies.
Gabrielle Reilly: What is your forecast for China’s longer term economic growth?
Dr. Dambisa Moyo: On balance, my forecast for China’s longer term economic growth remains tilted towards the positive and more constructive.
Like many other emerging economies, China’s economic performance has suffered in recent years, falling from double digits to around 7 percent.
Although many economic challenges remain in the Chinese economy - such as an ageing population, environmental degradation and what many economists believe is a looming property bubble - the Chinese government has many tools available to stimulate growth.
As I mentioned in my interview in the Globe & Mail in August 2015, China still has the ability to cut interest rates, and increase public investment - among many other tools at their disposal.
While growth may not be at the previous double-digit records, I believe the practical and non-ideological approach of the Chinese political class to economic growth will help ensure the economy continues to grow at growth rates adequate to continue to reduce poverty and meaningfully improve living standards of the Chinese populous.
Gabrielle Reilly: Democracy spread naturally across Europe as a direct result of the rise of the middle-class. Do you foresee a similar pattern for China, or are there other factors that would redirect that outcome?
Dr. Dambisa Moyo: The evolution of Western liberal democracy has not been without its challenges, but its success thus far cannot be delinked from economic success that has created a substantive middle class.
In a 2013 TED talk I made the argument that economic success is a pre-requisite for a successful liberal democracy. In particular, the establishment of a middle class of critical mass to hold its government accountable is a precursor to democracy.
In this vein, China’s political structure has de-prioritized democracy, and primarily focused efforts on its now legendary economic success. As China’s middle class emerges over time, there are reasons to be optimistic that democracy will emerge organically.