Top 10 Global Economic Challenges Facing America’s 44th President

October 10, 2008

The 2008/2009 Top 10 Global Economic Challenges report focuses on the most critical issues facing America’s 44th president. From restoring financial stability to establishing a U.S. policy on climate change and engaging the emerging economic powers, the report contains timely analysis and recommendations by Brookings leading global economic experts.

Download the full 2008/2009 report »

Introduction » (PDF)
by Lael Brainard
Given its enormous stake in a strong and resilient economy, it will be critical for America to lead on today’s main global economic challenges. In this introduction to the 2008/2009 Top 10 report, Lael Brainard discusses the global context and America’s opportunity.

The top 10 global economic issues, as identified and ranked by Brookings Global, include:

1.  Restoring Financial Stability » (PDF)
by Eswar Prasad
With U.S. financial troubles at the center of the current global vortex, the U.S. has important obligations to strengthen the global financial system, including by enhancing financial regulation and diminishing reliance on foreign credit.

2.  Setting the Right Green Agenda » (PDF)
by Warwick McKibbin, Adele Morris and Peter WilcoxenFor the U.S., it is time to muster the political will to act on climate change at the national level while also working to forge international agreement so that markets and regulatory policy will provide a consistent set of incentives to wean the economy from carbon foundations.

3.  Exercising Smart Power » (PDF)
by Lael Brainard and Noam Unger
Investing in the education, health, livelihoods, and the security of the world’s poorest not only makes Americans feel good about themselves but also makes the world feel good about America. It is critical to increase not only resources but also the impact of each dollar spent.

4.  Reimagining Global Trade » (PDF)
by Paul Blustein
Americans feel most secure about global engagement when they are well equipped to compete and have insurance against economic risks. This requires vigorously enforcing the trade rules and investing in economic competitiveness.

5.  Navigating China’s Rise » (PDF)
by Wing Thye Woo
On issues such as climate change, enforcement of trade rules and exchange rate adjustment, where the stakes are simply too high to ignore, America should look for cooperative mechanisms to advance its goals where possible but continue to press bilaterally with China and better deploy regional and international mechanisms where necessary.

6.  Deciphering “Russia, Inc.” » (PDF)
by Clifford Gaddy
Difficult as it may be to accomplish, America nonetheless has significant interests in alternately coaxing and goading a resurgent, resource nationalist Russia toward international norms and cooperation on energy, trade, financial integration and security more broadly.

7.  Engaging an Emerging India » (PDF)
by Eswar Prasad
America has enormous interests in India’s successful integration into the global economy as the world’s most populous democracy engages in the task of lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. America must look for areas of cooperation where possible and deepen bilateral engagement broadly in order to make progress on its agenda.

8.  Revitalizing Ties to Latin America » (PDF)
by Mauricio Cárdenas and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz
America must become a stronger partner to its neighbors and engage on issues of mutual concern, including on energy, environmental protection, economic competitiveness and social policies.

9.  Supporting Africa’s Growth Turnaround » (PDF)
by John Page
America can become a stronger and steadier partner to Africa as it navigates economic challenges by supporting global standards for natural resource management, opening markets to African products, supporting vibrant private enterprises, supporting African efforts to enhance regional security and build resilience to climate change, and both increasing and improving the quality of development assistance.

10.  Pursuing a Positive Agenda for the Middle East » (PDF)
by Navtej Dhillon, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Tarik Yousef
America can build partnerships in the Middle East based on trust and mutual respect if it aligns its agenda on economic and political reform with the aspirations of the majority of the region’s people: the young who are striving for opportunity and global integration.

Download the full 2008/2009 report »

View the 2007 report »