Zachary Karabell

Authority on Future Trends, Geopolitics and the Changing Global Economic System; Author of "The Leading Indicators"

Zachary Karabell
  • Delivers in-depth insights on specific policy issues as they relate to both the American and global economy
  • Offers an optimistic, big-picture analysis of current domestic and global trends using key data points and hard-hitting insights
  • Non-partisan expert who challenges common assumptions, from global economics to the future of American innovation

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In a world full of noise, Zachary Karabell brings a unique perspective as both a doer and thinker who has the pulse on the major trends shaping our world today. The author of more than a dozen books on business, economic trends, and history, and a prolific commentator in both print and on television, he has helped manage, advise, and invest in companies globally. With a career ranging from China to the Middle East to the United States, he has watched the world evolve over the past twenty years and speaks to the forces that will shape our world, and your business, now and in the years to come. Named one of the World Economic Forum’s “Global Leaders for Tomorrow,” his prolific, award-winning writing career, illustrious background on Wall Street, and PhD from Harvard give him a unique, multifaceted perspective of what’s going on in the world, from politics and the economy to international relations. His expertise is regularly sought-after by top national media, and he is a contributor for POLITICO, CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC. He is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

Zachary Karabell is edgy, upbeat, at times humorous, and always provocative as he offers audiences hard-hitting insights on the current global environment. With a bright personality and a quick wit, he presents a positive view of what’s to come and shows that optimism is a vital ingredient in capitalizing on current opportunities. In spite of multiple domestic and global challenges, Karabell sees a world that continues to be buffeted and moved by technology, demography and a rapidly growing global middle class. These changes are accelerating, not halting and not reversing, and they provide incredible opportunities for those willing to understand them and design strategies to meet them, and massive risks to those who are not. From the interconnectedness of the world’s financial markets all the way down to how government policy affects American business, he addresses the trends that will most affect our businesses and lives in the years to come and challenges common assumptions in the discussion of global trends.

Karabell was the executive vice president and chief economist at Fred Alger Management and president of Fred Alger and Company. A recognized authority on the emergence of China in the global economy, he served as the portfolio manager of the China-US growth fund, which won a five-star designation from Morningstar. He was executive vice president of Alger’s Spectra Funds, which launched the Spectra Green Fund based on the idea that profit and sustainability are linked, and is the former vice chairman of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

He is the author of 13 books including, The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World. How we feel about the future is often determined by the numbers we read about in the news, and Karabell tackles the limitations of metrics like GDP and inflation and taps into the power of data to answer the important questions about our economy.

His previous books include,  The Last Campaign, which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for “Best Non-fiction Book of the Year”. Karabell is also a contributing editor for POLITICO and Wired magazine. He previously wrote “The Edgy Optimist” column for Reuters and The Atlantic. He has contributed to the Daily Beast, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, TIME magazine, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs.

Karabell sits on the board of New America and PEN America, is a senior advisor for Business for Social Responsibility, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Speaker Video

Are Our Economic Indicators Useless

Zachary Karabell: Leading Indicators

Global Trends. In a world full of noise, Karabell brings a unique perspective as both a doer and thinker who has the pulse on the major trends shaping our world today. With a career ranging from China to the Middle East to the United States, he has watched the world evolve over the past twenty years and uses that knowledge to inform audiences of the multiple domestic and global challenges, and opportunities, they face. Karabell sees a world that continues to be buffeted and moved by technology, demography and a rapidly growing global middle class. These changes are accelerating, and they provide incredible opportunities for those willing to understand them and design strategies to meet them, as well as massive risks to those who are not.  

The Case For (Edgy) Optimism. We live in a world saturated with bad news and marked by skepticism and pessimism. But given that the future is inherently unknowable, it’s more than possible that we are giving too much sway to the belief that things are getting worse and not enough credence to the many ways the future may grow brighter and get better. From technological innovation to healthcare breakthroughs to food security and global stability, the present and the future may be in better shape than we perceive. Karabell’s case for optimism in terms of politics, economics, and culture is a vital ingredient in recognizing the opportunities that abound—and seizing them.

What’s Going On In The World Economy? Karabell analyzes the current domestic and global economic environment. With key data points and eye-opening insights, he looks at the multi-decade transformation the economy is in – for example, the emergence of the middle class around the world and the movement to service economies – and brings a unique perspective to the discussion of what audiences can expect in their near-economic future. From the interconnectedness of the world’s financial markets all the way down to how fiscal policy affects American business, Karabell addresses the trends that will most affect our economy and lives in the years to come.

The Leading Indicators. Everyday we are bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us whether we are doing well or badly. These numbers—GDP, inflation, unemployment—rule much of the world and shape whether we buy a home, start a business, and spend money individually or nationally. But should they? All of these were invented a century ago, and using them to navigate our lives today is like using a 1950's road map to get where we need to go. Instead, every person and every business should start with questions and, using the unparalleled power of big data, craft their own indicators to help guide decisions. In this talk, Karabell offers a tour of how these numbers shape our world, how that leads us astray, and how we can all do better by unlocking the data at our fingertips.

The Global Economy According To The Leading Indicators. In this presentation, Karabell fuses his global economic outlook presentation with his talk on leading indictors. Believing that we rely too heavily on metrics like GDP, inflation, unemployment, and trade to forecast economic performance and growth, he shows audiences how to craft their own indicators that will help them understand and navigate the current economic climate. Karabell challenges common assumptions from global economics to the future of American innovation and growth to environmental sustainability. He brings a unique perspective to the discussion of globalization, the domestic and world economy, business, and the shape of things to come.

The China Syndrome. More than 15 years after China burst onto the global economic scene, it remains one of the most important fulcrums of the global economy and how it fares determines how well the world does. But what is actually going on in China? What are the current challenges? And what are the opportunities? Will China be able to maintain its growth and evolve into a more inclusive, more consumer-oriented system? How China answers these questions will go a long way to determining how we all fare in the years ahead.

The Next Wave Of Growth. The 20th century saw America grow rich from manufacturing and exporting and its middle class reap the rewards. The same story could be told for Europe and Japan. But now, that model no longer yields the same results. What will be the winning formula for the future? How might the United States create a new model of sustainable growth, and what are the signs of that today, from creative cities to innovative companies to dynamic individuals?

Sustainable Excellence. Drawing on his book of the same title, Zachary Karabell shows how companies that use sustainability as core aspect of their strategy have powerful competitive advantages. At its heart, sustainability is about efficiencies and understanding the world as it evolves—knit together by technology and emerging centers of commerce and labor. Companies that strive to decrease their use of natural resources and reduce their environmental impact benefit from reduced costs and deeper connections to markets and consumers. In this presentation, Karabell shows how sustainable excellence is a key to success.

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