Geopolitical analyst meets with Harrisburg business community

By - Last modified: September 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

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Ian Bremmer. Photo/Submitted
Ian Bremmer. Photo/Submitted

What happens when there is no single country or alliance of countries out there to take the lead?

Geopolitical analyst Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, was in Harrisburg on Thursday to discuss the fragmentation occurring around the globe.

"There is no more global framework, no more global leadership," he said, speaking to a group of local media members before a speech to several hundred business and community leaders at the Hilton Harrisburg.

Bremmer, whose company works with financial institutions, corporations and government clients to provide information and insights on how political developments move global markets, calls this absence of leadership a "G-Zero" world.

As he writes in his new book, "Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World," the diverse political and economic values of the G-20 have produced political gridlock.

The world is facing a leadership vacuum and is in a "transformational moment," he said, which hit in 2008 with the financial crisis.

Bremmer spoke of emerging markets and growing economies — China and Brazil were popular topics — and the different priorities each has.

The U.S., which is a lot stronger than it has gotten credit for in recent years, needs to accept the fact there is more than one game in town and that power has become more regionalized, he said.

But, at a time when there is greater uncertainty and volatility, capital gets cheaper for the U.S., Bremmer said.

In a G-Zero world, "resilience matters at least as much as growth" and "stability matters as much as returns," he said, regarding investment in the global markets.

Derek Hathaway, former CEO of Cumberland County-based Harsco Corp., sponsored the event, which was called "Too Big to Fail: The United States in a G-Zero World."

"Things are going to change, and they are changing right in front of our eyes," Hathaway said, believing that now is the time to prepare and align locally for the implications of the global economic environment.

No matter who wins the presidential election, Bremmer said, it's not likely to have a dramatic change on U.S. foreign policy. He also said the ability for the American president to be transformational is much more constrained today because the system is dictated largely by private interests.

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