Tackling the Global Unemployment Crisis in the Interests of Peace
How can the U.S. government and private sector investors accelerate economic development in countries with high unemployment and rising violence?
Widespread unemployment, especially among young men, creates conditions that are ripe for social unrest, radicalization, and crime. This was the case in Europe and Japan in the 1920s and 1930s, and is the case in the Middle East and elsewhere now.
This largely underreported crisis afflicts much of the undeveloped world. More than 197 million work-age individuals were unemployed in 2015, according to estimates from the International Labor Organization. The number is expected to increase by another three million people by 2017. The burgeoning refugee crisis will likely also contribute to rising unemployment.
The U.S. spends only about one percent of its budget on foreign aid (around $35 billion in 2014). Increasing government aid is one means of combatting this international issue, as is philanthropy, but private sector investment—or impact investment—should also play an important role. Given that total global capital is estimated to reach $900 trillion by 2020, according to a Bain & Company report, we should be thinking about investing more of this capital toward easing global unemployment, for the benefit of all.
What should be done to expand economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East, Africa, and other explosive regions? What development strategies on the part of governments and philanthropies are likely to be most effective? How can the private sector fully realize the growth potential in these underdeveloped markets? What legal and political reforms are needed in these countries to produce greater economic development?