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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department


This paper discusses the role of fiscal policy and demographics. By the end of this century, about two-thirds of all countries are expected to have declining populations. This will have profound implications for economics, financial markets, social stability, and geopolitics. Fiscal policy responses and technological innovation are especially important parts of the solution. Without action, public pension and health systems will not be sustainable over the long term. The increase in life expectancy and economic welfare that came with the industrial revolution brought with it the seeds of demographic change. This is a demographic double whammy that will have major implications for economic growth, financial stability, and the public purse. With declining fertility rates, populations in some advanced economies did not just grow more slowly; they stagnated or began to shrink. IMF analysis suggests that, if everyone lived three years longer than expected, pension related costs could increase by 50 percent in both advanced and emerging economies. This would heavily affect private and public sector balance sheets and could also undermine financial stability.

Ms. Christine Lagarde


This chapter presents the content of the Richard Dimbleby lecture, which has been delivered by an influential business or a political figure every year since 1972. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, delivered the 2014 lecture at Guildhall in London on February 3. The 44 nations gathering at Bretton Woods have been determined to set a new course based on the principle that peace and prosperity flow from the font of cooperation. Fundamentally, the new multilateralism needs to instil a broader sense of social responsibility on the part of all players in the modern global economy. A renewed commitment to openness and to the mutual benefits of trade and foreign investment is requested. It also requires collective responsibility for managing an international monetary system that has travelled light-years since the old Bretton Woods system. The collective responsibility would translate into all monetary institutions cooperating closely mindful of the potential impact of their policies on others.