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The White Swans of 2020

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The White Swans of 2020

Project Syndicate,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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Financial crises usually erupt from a glaring build-up of economic stresses.

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People speak of black swans – events of major consequence that seem to come out of nowhere. But according to economist Nouriel Roubini, financial crises are really “white swans,” foreseeable accumulations of stress on a financial system’s fault lines, in which a single incident can set off a catastrophe. In this incisive article, Roubini – who foresaw the 2008 global financial crisis and whose generally pessimistic take on markets has earned him the sobriquet “Dr. Doom” – describes some blatant problems looming for the United States.


In 2020, the United States is in strategic competition with rising world powers.

China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are looking to dethrone the United States from its global superpower status, and they see opportunities to disrupt its political system via the 2020 US presidential election. The Trump administration seeks to restrain the leadership of all four nations through the use of economic sanctions and a variety of other policies. 

Internal American strife – in the form of divisive partisanship, glitches in voting processes and citizens’ lack of trust in officials – works to ...

About the Author

Nouriel Roubini is a professor of economics at New York University. He is the co-author of Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance and of Bailouts or Bail-Ins: Responding to Financial Crises in Emerging Markets.

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