The hangover’s finally clearing, the Christmas bloat has started to subside, resolutions have come and erm, gone. It’s 2018 everyone, we made it!
In 2017 we had Trump “putting America first”, we had Brexit (or more of it), we had elections in what feels like every damn country of the world, there was Uber’s apparent fall from grace, the women’s march, #metoo, and fights over equal pay. It was exhausting.
But now it’s time to look ahead: we’re not normally ones to make predictions ‘cos let’s face it, they’re pretty much always wrong. But here are some things to look out for.
It’s probably very likely people will still be talking about Brexit...all year long
But no Brexiting will actually be done… oh no, that’s next year. This year’s for more agonising, more negotiations and more arguing about whether or not the whole thing should just be called off (and not that much more communication about it).
In the final gasps of 2017, Trump got closer to his first major law-change: a pretty massive overhaul of the tax system. Taxes have been cut for all Americans, with the richest getting the biggest tax cut. He’s also cut the corporation tax rate, which means businesses pay less. He promised he’d do it in his election campaign, and that by cutting taxes for businesses (and rich people) he’d encourage jobs, wage growth, etc.
Well, probably not all eyes, but quite a few. Each year economists predict how fast an economy is going to
– as in, how many more goods and services it’s going to produce. It’s this magic number that people use as an indicator for how healthy a country’s economy is. The established wisdom is that if that number’s big, the country’s in good health.
In the UK, economists have predicted that growth isn’t going to slow down as much as they feared. It’s still going to grow. The problem is, some people think we need to flip the way we think about growth on its head: we’ve already grown too much, and we’re running out of resources to grow from.
The idea is that by encouraging employers to take a close look at how much male and female employees are earning in their businesses, they’ll be encouraged to act to make sure things are fair. Big pay gap = bad PR.
Iceland’s gone one step further, at the beginning of January it passed a law that makes it illegal for companies of over 25 people to pay men and women differently. They'll have to get a government certificate assuring pay equality otherwise they’ll face a fine.
…So where next? Not only do economic ideas shape the institutions and communities we live in, they also influence our own ideas of personal success – be it earning well, achieving a ‘Dr.’ or ‘CEO’ at the front of our label, or living a sustainable life. But what with the speed at which technology is transforming our economies, we can barely predict what ‘s in store for our economies and where we’ll fit in…