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North American Economy

Be it resolved, North America faces a Japan-style era of high unemployment and slow growth...

November 14, 2011

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As stock markets gyrate, Europe lurches from crisis to crisis, and U.S. recovery slows, the future of the North American economy is more uncertain than ever.

Can individual entrepreneurship, corporate innovation and governments create a new era of sustained economic growth? Or, will the financial crisis, U.S. political dysfunction, and the rise of emerging nations erode our living standards for the long term? Fundamentally, will the next generation of North Americans enjoy the same quality of life as its parents?

To promote a far-ranging discussion of an issue critical to every Canadian, the 8th semi-annual Munk Debate convenes four big thinkers to tackle the resolution: Be it resolved North America faces a Japan-style era of economic stagnation.

The Results

Pre-Debate

56%

Pro

26%

Con

18%

Undecided

Post-Debate

55%

Pro

45%

Con

CON gains 19%. CON wins

The Debaters

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Pro

"It’s now impossible to deny the obvious, which is that we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery."

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Pro

"It’s now impossible to deny the obvious, which is that we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery."

Paul Krugman is one of the preeminent economists of our time. A renowned columnist for The New York Times, Krugman won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics for his groundbreaking work on international trade and economic geography. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Krugman’s work in economics has earned him broad acclaim from the economic press and several prestigious awards, including the John Bates Clark medal for his work on international trade and the 2011 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary. Foreign Policymagazine named Krugman one of its 2012 Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers "for wielding his acid pen against austerity."

A gifted observer and contributor on policy and economics, he has published over 200 scholarly articles and 20 books including the most recent call to action End This Depression Now! He is also the author of the bestsellers, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 and The Great Unraveling. Professor Krugman teaches economics and international affairs at Princeton University.

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David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg

Pro

"When all the stimulus is gone and the Emperor is disrobed, it is not going to be a pretty picture."

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg

Pro

When all the stimulus is gone and the Emperor is disrobed, it is not going to be a pretty picture.

David Rosenberg is the Chief Economist and Strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc. and the former Chief North American Economist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. He was one of a handful of economists to correctly predict both the anemic pace of the economic recovery in North America and the recent reversal in stock valuations. His economic analysis is frequently featured in Barron’sThe Globe and MailThe Wall Street Journal, and on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

Rosenberg has been ranked first by economists in the Brendan Wood International Survey for Canada for the past seven years and has been on the U.S. Institutional Investor American All Star Team for the last four years. He ranked second overall in the 2008.

Mr. Rosenberg has been consistently bearish in recent years on the global economy and continues to be so. At the start of the recent rally in equity markets that has seen stocks climb by double digits on both sides of the border, Mr. Rosenberg published a note, predicting the S&P 500 could drop back to 600 and the current bear market wouldn't end until 2010.

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Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers

Con

"The American people have not become less dedicated to hard work, and the productive potential of this economy has not declined."

Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers

Con

The American people have not become less dedicated to hard work, and the productive potential of this economy has not declined.

Lawrence H. Summers is one of America’s most influential and respected economists, and one of the most distinguished voices in America today on issues ranging from the global economy to education to the role of the United States in the world. He has served as Chief Economist of the World Bank, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, President of Harvard and most recently as President Obama’s director of the White House National Economic Council. Since the 2008 financial crisis he has been a steadfast defender of long-term resiliency of the American economy and the Obama administration’s policies for economic recovery.

As Director of the White House National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, Summers emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration. The Economistmagazine referred to the “Summers Doctrine” of massive active response to economic downturn combined with respect for markets in the basic allocation of resources as defining the recent approach to economic policy. He served as an architect of the Recovery Act and other job creation measures and the Financial Stability Program.  

Summers served as a key policymaker in the Treasury Department throughout the administration of President Bill Clinton, ultimately rising to serve as Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001. His service coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in United States history and he was the only Treasury Secretary in the last 60 years to see the national debt decline on his watch.

One of the youngest tenured professors in the modern history of Harvard, he is the only social scientist ever to receive the National Science Foundation's $500,000 Alan T. Waterman Award for Scientific Achievement. He is also the 1993 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics.

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Ian Bremmer

Ian Bremmer

Con

"North America’s long-term prospects are brighter than Europe’s or Japan’s; the "rise of the rest" does not automatically imply our decline."

Ian Bremmer

Ian Bremmer

Con

North America’s long-term prospects are brighter than Europe’s or Japan’s; the "rise of the rest" does not automatically imply our decline.

Ian Bremmer is the founder and president of Eurasia Group, the world’s leading global political risk analysis and consulting firm.  Bremmer founded Eurasia Group in 1998 with just $25,000. Today, the company has offices in New York, Washington, and London, as well as a network of experts and resources around the world. Eurasia Group provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and insight on how political developments move markets.

Bremmer created Wall Street’s first global political risk index, and has authored several books, including the national bestseller, The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?, which details the new global phenomenon of state capitalism and its geopolitical implications. He also wrote The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall, which was selected by The Economist as one of the best books of 2006, and The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing. Bremmer is a contributor for the Wall Street Journal and writes "The Call" blog on ForeignPolicy.com; he has also published articles in the Washington Postthe New York TimesNewsweekHarvard Business Review, and Foreign Affairs. He is a panelist for CNN International's "Connect the World" and appears regularly on CNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, and other networks.

Bremmer has a PhD in political science from Stanford University (1994), and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He presently teaches at Columbia University, and has held faculty positions at the EastWest Institute and the World Policy Institute. In 2007, he was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. His analysis focuses on global macro political trends and emerging markets, which he defines as “those countries where politics matter at least as much as economics for market outcomes.”

Bremmer grew up in Boston, and now lives in New York and Washington, DC.

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