How the World Feels Today

How the World Feels Today

by Bill Hurt, Capital International Asset Management

Bill Hurt is a portfolio manager of the Capital International — U.S. Equity portfolio and chairman of Capital Strategy Research, the Capital organization's macroeconomic research division. Mr. Hurt joined Capital in 1972 and has a total of 58 years of investment experience. We recently asked him what has been forefront in his mind during this recovery.

I've spent the summer thinking about what I call the "Massive Restructuring" that I think is underway and trying to get a grip on its implications. Many of you have heard me repeatedly observe that I think the world has never been in better shape — and never felt worse. And in the course, I had cause to revisit Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, written by John Maynard Keynes in 1931 as the Depression was gaining steam — and

I felt like I was in an echo chamber. Here are the opening paragraphs of his essay, said so much better than I ever could:

"We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the nineteenth century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down...that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us.

"I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another.

"The prevailing world depression, the enormous anomaly of unemployment in a world full of wants, the disastrous mistakes we have made, blind us to what is going on under the surface to the true interpretation of the trend of things. For I predict that both of the two opposed errors of pessimism which now make so much noise in the world will be proved wrong in our own time — the pessimism of the revolutionaries who think that things are so bad that nothing can save us but violent change, and the pessimism of the reactionaries who consider the balance of our economic and social life so precarious that we must risk no experiments."

About Bill Hurt

William H. Hurt is chairman of the board of Capital Strategy Research, Inc. He joined our sister organization, Capital Research and Management Company, in 1972 and served as a director of The Capital Group Companies, Inc. Mr. Hurt graduated from the University of Southern California (magna cum laude) and received an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. Prior to joining Capital Guardian, he was with Dean Witter & Co. for 20 years where he was executive vice president and director of marketing and research. He is based in Los Angeles.

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