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Rana Foroohar
Financial Times Columnist • Author, Makers and Takers
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Rana Foroohar
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Global Business Columnist at The Financial Times and Global Economic Analyst at CNN, Rana Foroohar covers the intersection of business, economics, politics, and foreign affairs. In her weekly column, Foroohar provides insight on the shifts occurring in globalization and the political economy.

Her first book, Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business, was a finalist for the 2016 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. 

Foroohar frequently profiles movers and shakers in finance and business, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gross, Howard Shultz, Mary Barra, Carl Icahn, and Fed chair Janet Yellen. Her high-level yet accessible analysis has made her a sought-after commentator on influential programs such as Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNNI, Face the Nation, and Morning Joe.

The former Economics Columnist and Assistant Managing Editor for TIME, Foroohar has penned numerous cover stories and essays on China and the next global recession, Europe’s economic crisis, and what the rise of "localnomics” means for American business.

For 13 years Foroohar served as the deputy editor in charge of international business and economics for Newsweek and headed up coverage for the annual Davos special issue. She spent six years as Newsweek’s European correspondent based in London, covering business news throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Foroohar chairs panel discussions with world leaders, intellectuals, and economists at the World Economic Forum and elsewhere, including a Harvard Business School program on improving U.S. competitiveness.

The recipient of awards and fellowships from institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and the East West Center, Foroohar is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Speaking Topics
THINGS THAT WORRY ME — AND THINGS THAT DON'T — IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

Uncertainty and risk are everywhere you look in the global economy. But some risk factors matter more than others. What are the events on the horizon that could truly effect global economic growth, and which risk factors are overblown? Drawing from her on the ground global reporting, Foroohar analyzes and explains the things that worry her — across both geographies and sectors — and the things that don’t. She will cover topics like China’s political economy, the global real estate market, the Eurozone crisis, the nature of the US recovery, the future of interest rates and the divergence of growth in emerging markets, laying out the patterns in the world economy that leaders and investors should really be paying attention to.

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Capitalism 2.0

Modern capitalism has created more growth and prosperity for more people than ever before in history. Why, then, do only 18% of Millennials consider themselves “capitalists”? Why do a majority of Americans question the capitalist system itself, according to the Pew Foundation? As Rana Foroohar outlines in her book “Makers and Takers,” it’s because the capital markets themselves have stopped working as they should to support business. Today, only about 15 percent of money in the market gets funneled into business investment, which is a key reason for slower GDP growth and the polarized politics that have resulted from it. We’re at a tipping point – unless we fix things, we’ll see lower returns, flat growth, and even more of a push back against globalization. The good news — we have the tools and the technologies to create Capitalism 2.0. Foroohar will explain how the economy got where it is today, and how we can fix things, by reforming financial markets, incentivizing longer term corporate thinking, and using new digital platforms to create a more inclusive kind of economic growth.

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The rise of the robots

Throughout history, new technology has always been a net creator of jobs and prosperity. But in recent years, technology has begun disrupting society, politics and our economy at an unprecedented scale and speed. The result has been growing fear that technologies like AI, robots and big data software will dehumanize the workforce and leave average citizens less well off. The truth is, of course, more nuanced – technology will change how companies, consumers and workers operate (30 percent of the tasks done by 60 percent of global workers will be done via AI, software or robots in the next few years) but it will also create fresh opportunities in surprising parts of the labor market, as well as profoundly changing the landscape for job seekers, labor policy makers, and corporate leaders. With deep data and on the ground reporting, Foroohar decodes how cutting edge technologies will change the very nature and meaning of work over the coming years, as humans and robots learn to coexist.  

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Trumpanomics

Whatever your political leanings, President Donald Trump’s election heralds a 40-year shift away from the status quo of neoliberalism and US led globalism, and towards a new kind of political economy. What will Trump’s brand of trade protectionism, tax cuts, and fiscal stimulus mean for the US and the global economy? What effect might it have on interest rates and the dollar? Will it be bad news for emerging markets? How might it effect the largest and most important economies, like China, Germany and Japan? Can the new president do anything to counter big macroeconomic trends like falling productivity and weaker demographics, which have slowed US growth? In the end, will Trumpanomics mean stronger economic trend growth and better jobs, as the President has claimed, or more volatile, bifurcated markets and a continued rise in populism? Foroohar will sort out action from rhetoric, and walk through the new president’s proposed policies, and what they might mean for companies, countries, and consumers.

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Makers and Takers: How to Create Sustainable Growth

Financial markets were set up to help business. That’s how Adam Smith envisioned capitalism working — Wall Street was the helpmate for Main Street, allocating capital to help business, and thus the economy, grow.

But today, something is broken in that equation — by some estimates, only 15% of cash washing around the financial system actually ends up in the real economy that businesses operate in. The rest is part of a closed loop of unproductive financial speculation. Finance has gotten rich — it’s an industry that creates 4% of jobs but takes 30% of corporate profits. But other industries have suffered; fewer businesses are being started, and companies are under huge pressure to provide “shareholder value,” which often forces CEOs to make decisions that favor short term profit making over longer term growth. How can business leaders please the Street while still nurturing their businesses for the long haul? In this speech, Rana Foroohar shares lessons on how corporate leaders can create long term, not just short term, growth and prosperity.

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INNOVATION 2.0

How to improve American economic competitiveness is a perennial topic of debate. We talk about reforming education, building better infrastructure, and cutting red tape. But we hardly ever speak of a deeper and more endemic problem – how American business itself has moved away from its roots in technologically based innovation, and towards a culture of short term balance sheet management, which is threatening not only the long term profitability of many businesses, but the viability of our economy. How can we bring the focus of American business away from quarterly profit taking, and back towards the idea based innovation culture that made our economy great? Foroohar will look at lessons that can be taken from winning businesses and economic models in both the US and abroad. 

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How Finance Can Be A Force For Good

Financial markets were set up to help business. That’s how Adam Smith envisioned capitalism working — Wall Street was the helpmate for Main Street, allocating capital to help business, and thus the economy, grow. But today, something is broken in that equation — as Foroohar writes in her award-winning book “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business,” only 15% of cash washing around the financial system actually ends up in the real economy that businesses operate in. The rest is part of a closed loop of unproductive financial speculation. Finance has gotten rich — it’s an industry that creates 4% of jobs but takes 30% of corporate profits. But other industries have suffered; fewer businesses are being started, and companies are under huge pressure to provide “shareholder value,” which often forces CEOs to make decisions that favor short term profit making over longer term growth. How can business leaders please the Street while still nurturing their businesses for the long haul? And how can bankers once again catalyze real Main Street growth? In this speech, Rana Foroohar lays out the evolution of the financial industry over the last 40 years, and how it can be put back in service to the real economy.  

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WHY EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT CHINA IS WRONG

China is on track to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy within the next few years. Yet much of what we think we know about the Middle Kingdom is wrong. Far from being a confident aggressor, the Chinese are in the midst of the most precarious moment in their own economic and political history since the 1980s. Chinese leaders are struggling to manage their own home grown debt crisis, over-heated real estate markets, and rising white collar unemployment, even as Chinese companies become more globally competitive and Chinese billionaires now outnumber European counterparts. China does pose huge opportunities and challenges for the U.S., but they aren’t necessarily what we think. In this speech, Foroohar exposes and corrects several myths about China.

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WOMEN: THE REAL EMERGING MARKET

It hasn’t been easy to find a bright spot in the global economy in recent years. But lately, economists have begun to track the rise of a new emerging market, one that may end up being the largest and most powerful of all: women. Female workers and consumers are now poised to drive the post-recession world economy, thanks to an estimated $5 trillion in new female-earned income that will be coming on line over the next five years. Worldwide, total income for men ($23.4 trillion) is still more than double that for women ($10.5 trillion), but the gap is poised to shrink significantly because the vast majority of new income growth over the next few years will go to women, due to a narrowing wage gap and rising female employment. That means women will be the ones driving the shopping — and, economists hope, the recovery. That growth represents the biggest emerging market in the history of the planet — more than twice the size of the two hottest developing markets, India and China, combined. Foroohar will look at how the real emerging market is reshaping investment strategies, world politics, and the global economy. 

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ARE COMPANIES MORE POWERFUL THAN COUNTRIES? HOW THE ROLES OF BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT WILL MERGE IN THE FUTURE

In 2008, after Lehman Brothers fell and the financial crisis and global recession began, the conventional wisdom was that we were entering an era in which government would take back power from business. In fact, just the opposite has happened. Politicians have few solutions to the huge problems of the day — such as labor bifurcation, growth, and competitiveness. Markets want answers, but elected leaders have been reluctant to give them — in part because for them, nearly any sort of action poses political risk. This is a challenge for global businesses that find themselves under siege from populist leaders over issues like tax optimization, trade, and job creation. But it also presents a huge opportunity for corporate leaders and organizations that are ready to leverage their balance sheets and talents in areas like education, vocational training, information technology, urban planning, and energy efficiency. In this speech, Foroohar will sketch the ways that the world’s most creative companies are taking on jobs that used to be part of the public sector and the risks and potential rewards that come with it.

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Books & Other Works
  • Makers and Takers
  • TIME cover story: 'American Capitalism's Great Crisis'
  • TIME cover story: Made in China - The Next Global Recession
  • TIME cover story: What Starbucks Knows About America
  • TIME cover story: The Mechanic: Mary Barra’s Bumpy Ride at the Wheel of GM
  • TIME cover story: The School That Will Get You a Job
  • TIME cover story: The Sixteen Trillion Dollar Woman
  • TIME cover story: Master of the Universe: Why Carl Icahn Is the Most Influential Investor in...
  • TIME cover story: The Myth of Financial Reform
  • TIME cover story: Broken City: Detroit
  • TIME cover story: 'The Wimpy Recovery'
  • TIME cover story: 'Warren Buffett Is on a Radical Track'
  • TIME cover story: 'The End of Europe'
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Testimonials
“Rana was awesome! She’s now got a big fan club in Portland. Delightful energy, sharp mind, and equally rigorous and accessible.”
World Affairs Council of Oregon
“Rana Foroohar recently delivered an informative and engaging series of talks for the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville to rave reviews. She tackles complex issues in a conversational manner, incorporating real-world, nuanced vignettes from Main Street to Wall Street. She’s fabulous! ”
World Affairs Council of Jacksonville
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