As a proud lead sponsor of the Canada’s National Business Book Award, I’m pleased to congratulate Stephen Poloz as the winning author for 2023.
Sharing his insights as a former Governor of the Bank of Canada, his book, The Next Age of Uncertainty, offers a very basic – and valuable – explanation of how the central bank works and why it does what it does – especially in an age of chronic uncertainty.
Mr. Poloz looks at uncertainty in the context of five distinct “tectonic” forces that impact the economy both individually and in concert with one another over the long term. These are: population aging, technological progress, rising inequality, growing debt (personal and government), and climate change. In the book, he goes through each one, breaking down their respective impact and how they overlap with one another to exacerbate economic volatility.
His outlook calls for much greater economic volatility, lower economic growth, and greater risk in the future for corporations, individuals, and governments. The inevitable convergence of these forces, according to Mr. Poloz, will require a new policies and approaches to risk assessment and mitigation, the reallocation of public and private sector capital, as well as the review and revision of inflation targets and other accepted economic tenets.
Mr. Poloz raises the question of whether existing political structures and governments will be able to withstand these emerging pressures and how they may have to change to withstand them. The related question is the extent to which the private sector will step in where governments do not act.