If the World Bank is to be believed, the world will need 600 million additional jobs by 2020—largely in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa—to absorb the rising tide of working-age population.
In a world where trade is shrinking and growth is stagnant, it’s questionable whether so many working-age people can be employed. The “demographic dividend” now looks like a dream. The danger today is from a combination of volatile politics and the return of outdated economic ideas (such as protectionism) that feed into each other.
History shows this combination is fatal not only for future economic prospects, but also for the cause of peace. There are eerie similarities between what is happening today and what happened when the last round of globalization ended just before the start of World War I. Six hundred million jobs may be a tall order, but some effort in that direction may prevent a repeat of that horrible past.