World Bank Warns of Stagflation Risk, Cuts Global Growth Forecast
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World Bank Warns of Stagflation Risk, Cuts Global Growth Forecast

Toll from Ukraine war and Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lead to years of slow growth and high inflation, bank says.

By YUKA HAYASHI
Wed, Jun 8, 2022 1:33pmGrey Clock 2 min

WASHINGTON—The World Bank sharply lowered its growth forecast for the global economy for this year, warning of several years of high inflation and tepid growth reminiscent of the stagflation of the 1970s.

Citing the damage from the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank said global growth is expected to slump to 2.9% in 2022 from 5.7% in 2021, significantly lower than its January forecast for 4.1% growth. Furthermore, growth is expected to hover around the reduced pace over 2023 and 2024 as the war disrupts human activity, investment and trade while governments withdraw fiscal and monetary support.

“Several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth now seem likely,” David Malpass, president of World Bank Group, told reporters. “The risk from stagflation is considerable.”

Mr. Malpass said recession will be hard to avoid for many countries as growth is hammered by the war in Ukraine, pandemic lockdowns in China and supply-chain disruptions. He urged policy makers to encourage production and avoid trade restrictions. Changes in fiscal, monetary, climate and debt policy are needed to counter capital misallocation and inequality, he said.

In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank conducted a detailed assessment of how current global economic conditions compare with the high inflation and weak growth—so-called stagflation—of the 1970s, when oil shocks, high federal spending and loose monetary policy caused inflation to soar.

The bank said that recovery from the stagflation of the 1970s required steep increases in interest rates in major advanced economies, which in turn triggered a string of financial crises in emerging markets and developing economies.

Economists and policy makers are increasingly concerned about the risk of stagflation in the global economy, which could damage living standards for people around the world, particularly in lower and middle-income nations.

As a result of the damage from the pandemic and the war, the World Bank said the level of per capita income in developing economies this year will be nearly 5% below its prepandemic trend.

“Higher food and energy prices are having stagflationary effects, namely, depressing output and spending and raising inflation all around the world,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in May, noting that the economic outlook globally is challenging and uncertain.

Ms. Yellen appeared before lawmakers on Tuesday as she and the Biden administration face scrutiny over how they have addressed high inflation.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 7 2022.



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Even amid two international conflicts and an upcoming U.S. presidential election, some philanthropic leaders are optimistic about the direction of overall giving through 2024.

Penta spoke with heads of several non-profits and leading philanthropists to gauge whether charitable giving will continue its reported slump from 2023 or rebound alongside renewed interest in various political and economic issues.

“Contrary to what some might expect, philanthropy has had resilience in these times,” says Stacy Huston, executive director of Sixdegrees.org, a youth empowerment non-profit based in Virginia founded by actor Kevin Bacon in 2007.

Huston’s view echoes recent data from the biennial Bank of America Study of Philanthropy published last year, which found that while affluent giving is largely down, the value of the average philanthropic gift is up 19%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The notion of what these gifts look like is changing, and is partially responsible for the growth. Philanthropy can be executed through more avenues than ever, whether through celebrity association, tech titans stewarding large endowments, or  athletes using their platforms to advocate for and create meaningful change.

“The industry and movement is creating new models, and you want to get it right,” says Scott Curran, CEO of Chicago-based Beyond Advisers. “No one should take their foot off the gas pedal.”

Curran spent a number of years with the Clinton Foundation in its infancy before leaving in 2016 to open his own consultancy, which focuses on philanthropy strategy at the highest levels. Curran and his team work with celebrities, athletes, multi-generational family foundations, and other affluent givers who need guidance in directing their philanthropic efforts. It’s a growing area of interest: Over half of affluent households with a net worth between US$5 million and US$20 million have, or are planning to establish, “some kind of giving vehicle” within the next three years, according to the Bank of America report.

Corporate philanthropy, rather than individual giving, is the cornerstone of Marcus Selig’s work as chief conservation officer at the National Forest Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit based in Montana responsible for protecting millions of acres of public lands.

“Our outlook is business as usual,” he says, advising that giving may slow down, but not enough for the foundation to change course.

Factors such as political polarisation in the U.S. and the wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are pushing nonprofits to consider their niche, and how they might work with other groups, both on the corporate and philanthropic levels, Selig says.

“It leads to a little more sharing on the ground in what needs to be done,” he adds.

Steve Kaufer , founder of Massachusetts-headquartered e-commerce giving platform Give Freely and founder of TripAdvisor, says that the economy has a much bigger role in election years, as he looks to build and grow something that can act as a “counterbalance.”

“There’s a trend towards democratisation, and acting collectively can lead to greater impact,” he says.

Kaufer’s new platform hopes to leverage the everyday philanthropist through online shopping dollars to benefit major charity partners like UNICEF and charity:water, who earn funds as shoppers choose an organisation to benefit through an online clickthrough process.

“Whether a good year or bad year, e-commerce will continue to keep growing,” he says. “Nobody doubts that.”

Whether a legacy foundation, corporation or individual, the political landscape this year is requiring some to exercise caution as they consider what their own charitable actions might be and how it could be viewed more broadly. For the personal philanthropist, every move is now scrutinised more closely. On the nonprofit side, entities are exercising more due diligence to understand if a specific donor aligns with their mission and that there aren’t any underlying issues that could cause greater pushback.

“You have to be able to walk the walk,” Huston says. “For example, we’ve had to turn down very large donor checks from corporations because there’s a Reddit stream calling them out on their human rights practices.”

She adds that even a routine charity activation could now be aligned with a political party, and that adds complexities to how a higher-profile organisation like Six Degrees can activate, especially as the film Footloose turns 40 in 2024 (which Bacon starred in).

“A lot of organisations and states want to align themselves with this feel good moment, and we should be able to stand side by side with everyone, but we have to be aware,” she says.

Another topic attracting donor interest today is  mental health, an area that historically has been underfunded and under-resourced by philanthropy, according to Two Bridge partner Harris Schwartzberg, who has been closely linked to the mental health space for more than a decade.

Today, the issue for mental health nonprofits is less about resources and more about societal divisiveness and polarisation around the topic. There’s an “overwhelming demand” for solutions, but the space is in a “perfect storm” for the broader political issues to make things worse, Schwartzberg says.

In Curran’s opinion, the storms brewing are troublesome, but they are also creating new opportunities for corporate and personal giving. The  current state of philanthropy is one of “dynamic, expansive, and blurred lines,” meaning a careful blending of targeted giving combined with an understanding of the broader geopolitical landscape could lead to a successful overall philanthropic strategy.

“There are a lot of headlines that distract, but shouldn’t,” he says. “2024 needs more serious philanthropists than ever.”

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