Patrick Fearon-Hernandez, CFA | PDF
Whether you’re a policymaker, an investor, a small business owner, or simply a student of world history and international affairs, it’s useful to have meaningful labels for various epochs. Ideally, such a label is widely accepted and captures some essential aspect of the era you’re thinking about, making it easier to talk about that era with others. The Elizabethan Age, The Progressive Era, World War I, World War II, and The Cold War are all terms that suit that purpose quite well. Each immediately conveys not only the period you’re talking about, but it also conjures up something of the political, economic, and military landscape of the period.
The world has just concluded a great epoch that ran for nearly three decades from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism to Donald Trump’s term as U.S. president. During that epoch and in the years since it has ended, the labels used to describe it have been unsatisfying, probably because we were still unsure about which of its aspects were defining and which were not. Now that that world has ebbed, there seems to be a growing consensus toward calling it the post-Cold War period or the period of Globalization. Both terms capture the sense that it was a time of relative peace, which encouraged global trade and investment.
But what about the new era that is now taking hold as China and its evolving geopolitical and economic bloc increasingly assert themselves against the global hegemony of the United States? In this report, we explore some ways to describe this new world epoch in hopes that it will help sharpen investors’ understanding of what really differentiates it from the post-Cold War globalization period that has now come to an end.