Chart of the week: The 40-year slowdown in GDP

Ever since the Seventies, GDP growth rates in the developed world have been falling. One of the reasons is that baby boomers are retiring and workforces are no longer growing, as The Economist’s Buttonwood blog points out.

So, fewer workers are producing less overall output. Higher productivity per worker could compensate for this, but is struggling to keep up.

Another problem is that recent growth has been unstable. Periods of strong economic expansion have coincided with asset bubbles and a build-up of debt. This has laid the foundation for slumps to follow the booms.

Gross global debt has now reached around $100trn, a heavy burden in a slow-growing world, and in turn likely to undermine growth rates further.

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