Foreign Policy Magazine

Welcome to the World’s Least Ugly Economy

Despite inequality, debt, and a tariff war, the

ECONOMIC COMPETITION AMONG NATIONS is more of a beauty contest than a footrace. In reality, every economy performs under its own spotlight. By that reckoning, as the new year dawns, it’s already obvious which economy is likely to be crowned Miss World 2019.

Yes, it’s last year’s pageant winner, the still-booming U.S. economy. Despite problems with income inequality, debt, market turmoil, and policy paralysis—and the tariff war launched by President Donald Trump— most economists say the United States is far outpacing all rivals in growth and stability.

At the very least, “the U.S. keeps coming out tops in the least ugly contest,” said Adam Posen, the president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). “It gets uglier all the time, but it’s still winning.

“The world will be a worse place under many of the things the Trump

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