Here’s what the world’s top economists want us to pay attention to

Getty Images/Danny E. Martindale

TheFinancial Times’ Festival of Financetook place two weeks ago, on July 1 – a bunch of finance and economics professionals in one place.

At the festival, Aimee Keane – a producer of Alphachat, the Financial Times’ business and economics podcast – asked the participants what was going on in the world that we should be paying attention to.

The festival took place in London the week after Brexit, and the consequences of the referendum were on everyone’s minds. But with so much attention focused on Brexit, the FT wanted to know, “what might we all be missing?”

The answers were played by Cardiff Garcia in an Alphachat podcast published Friday, called “With all eyes on Brexit, what aren’t we seeing?” Here are some of the answers:

Central bank independence

Reserve Bank of India Governor Rajan will be stepping down from his position in September.
Thomson Reuters

Writer and blogger Frances Coppola said she found threats to the independence of central banks “very worrying” – particularly Raghuram Rajan being forced out,”effectively on political grounds” of the Reserve Bank of India and the attacks on Mark Carney of the Bank of England.

“Both of those are political attacks basically aimed at undermining the independence of the central banks,” she said. “The central banks we want to cooperate with fiscal authorities, but we don’t want them to be pushed around by politicians, so that’s actually a very concerning thing for me.”

The Italian banking crisis

The Italian Central Bank.
Wikimedia Commons

Robert Shrimsley, the managing editor of, said that “one of the things that people should certainly be alive to and worried about is thefate of the Italian banksand the possibility that the Atlas fund, which exists to rescue them, is almost depleted. If they start failing, which is a very serious possibility,” there would be “a very serious crisis for the Italian government” and “all of the Eurozone.”


People line up to buy food and other staple goods inside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, June 30, 2016.
REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Felix Salmon of Fusion and Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development focused on Venezuela – “which no one seems to be concentrating on,” they said. “But if you think that Britain is falling into the sea, just look at Venezuela. That is a true humanitarian catastrophe, which is being massively undercovered and is gonna have global implications and repercussions for many many years to come.”

On the plus side, though, Colombia has ended a civil war that has been going on for decades – one “sign of growing global peace.”

The Western world in general

Donald Trump.
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

George Magnus, an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University and senior adviser at UBS, says that although he can’t really focus on anything other than Brexit, it is an “existential” thing for Europe, and he’s concerned about its consequences.

“It has knock-on implications for the Western world,” he said, especially considering the upcoming elections in the US, France, and Germany. “There might be recurrent narratives and issues from the Brexit debate in the United Kingdom, which have implications for those countries, and that’s kind of what I’m worried about.”

And of course, two of the participants said Donald Trump.

CHECK OUT: MORGAN STANLEY: Here are 16 stocks that should thrive no matter what