At FPA Denver, Strategist Ian Bremmer Closes Conference on Wary Note

Final speaker warns of increasingly conflicted, protectionist world

“I believe we’re nearing the end of the free market, not necessarily here at home, but globally.”

That startling statement kicked off the FPA’s final keynote speaker Monday afternoon. Author and geopolitical strategist Ian Bremmer, Ph.D. (left) used his time to argue that currency wars, increasing tariffs and reduced global growth are the future. He attributes his reasoning to the fact that anger over the financial crisis, once turned inward towards each country’s political establishment, is now turning outward.

“We have seen three distinct waves since the onset of the crisis,” Bremmer said. “The first, panic, began in September 2008. The second, in mid-April 2009, began with Larry Summers stating that the recession was over. Well, OK, as the panic subsided the insular political fallout began. The third wave, one in which each country blames external sources, is now beginning.”

He believes this will lead to more fights between the state and corporations, more tariffs and lower growth.

“As a consequence,” he explained, “we have to think differently about how we allocate resources, and how politics will increasingly affect economics.  Countries like China and Saudi Arabia, which have manipulated markets for political purposes, are doing better than those that have not. This seemingly validates their approach, which presents problems moving forward.”

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