The World in 2020

Towards a New Global Age

Release Date: December 1, 1997

We stand on the threshold of a New Global Age. All countries now have the potential to become active players in the global economy. By 2020 here could be dramatic shifts in global economic weight. What will the world economy look like in 2020? How can we ensure increased and better distribution of wealth? This publication, based on a wide spectrum of OECD works, takes us to the world of 2020 covering such closely linked fields as trade, investment, taxation, social stability and the environment. The challenges awaiting us at the dawn of the 21st century can thus be assessed more clearly.

Two visions of the world economy in 2020 are presented. The first scenario suggest a continuation of current trends and leads to only modest growth, limiting the potential for human progress. The second provides a more optimistic outlook based on an acceleration of policy reform, with the promise of greater human well-being, better integration of developing countries, enhanced international security and a reduction in poverty world-wide.

This New Global Age will not materialize automatically. Significant efforts will have to be made to secure the stability of macro-economic policy, facilitate large-scale structural reform and define innovative approaches. The projections under this optimistic scenario are not enough: they must lay the foundation for even more ambitious vision so that new age of global prosperity can be fully realized.