Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts hosted Editor-in-Chief of The Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes Wednesday evening, beginning at 8pm. Acclaimed as one of the “Most Powerful Women in the World” by Forbes, Beddoes engaged the Quick Center audience in discourse about key global economic and political trends and their implications for the future.

Beddoes’ remarks were preceded by a Q&A session with students in the Dolan School of Business, and were followed by a panel discussion hosted by Professor of Art History at the University Philip Eliasoph, PhD., Market Executive and Managing Director at Bank of America Emily Dreas, and Business Separation Leader at GE Kelly Lafnitzegger. 

From left to right: Philip Eliasoph, PhD., Emily Dreas, Zanny Minton Beddoes and Kelly Lafnitzegger.

In order to simplify what she characterized as “the most volatile, hard-to-read world economy” she has seen over the course of her career, Beddoes offered an explanation of how she makes sense of the contemporary world, introducing four key shifts and four key shocks that define the global economy. 

Beddoes described “the integration of China… into the world economy over the last 20 odd years, as it joined the WTO in 2000” as the single most significant deviation to the world economy. More than this, however, Beddoes also noted the tremendous impacts of “climate change, the digital revolution and demographic shifts.”

As she developed her argument, Beddoes went on to name the major shocks that contribute to her understanding of the global economy’s extreme volatility. She listed these shocks as: the Covid-19 pandemic, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a “huge transformation in energy markets” as a result of sanctions put on Russia and the introduction of the ChatGPT.

In light of these insights, Beddoes vouched for institutional adaptation in order to address the ongoing transformation of today’s world, saying, “we need to change the way that we run our societies to cope with and make the most of all these developments in the 21st century.”

She approached this suggestion with optimism, however, citing her belief in future generations’ ability to grapple with new challenges. 

“This is why I love coming to universities…because the people who will sort this all out— make sure that we have a world that can benefit from the opportunities and minimize the risks, are sitting in the audience,” she shared.

In an interview with The Rearview, Beddoes underscored the importance of the intersection between journalism and economics, stating that “There’s a real need to have people who understand economics in business journals.”

In the panel following Beddoes’ remarks, the journalist was prompted about a variety of questions surrounding her daily duties at The Economist, her family-life, her thoughts on social media and political polarization, energy reforms as well as other timely topics. 

More information about future events is available on the Quick Center’s website. 

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