​Atlas Shrugged (or Around the World in 8 Maps)

I am not going to do a book review of Ayn Rand’s all-time best seller. Atlas Shrugged, if you have not read it, depicts a dystopian United States, wherein many of society's most prominent and successful industrialists abandon their fortunes and the nation itself, in response to aggressive new regulations, whereupon most vital industries collapse. 

Rings a bell? 

Any resemblance to existing or past situations is totally coincidental. 


I will not tell you either about Around the World in Eighty Days, a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne in which Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. 

Yet, you can’t ignore this famous quote: “A true Englishman doesn't joke when he is talking about so serious a thing as a wager”. 

This again, does ring a bell. 

What on earth happened to Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, to decide to shake things up like this? One can project many fantasies (and conspiracy theories) on who nowadays Atlas may be: money, politics, global governance and so forth. 

In the end what seems like the new normal is a very turbulent world. Some may say it is because we get the information a swipe of a finger away and suffer from infobesity, others may believe we actually are on the verge of a revolution or a series of revolutions. 

Globalization and Fordism are questioned to their core, often in a populist way. Yet making them work or reinventing them to ensure inclusiveness, will shape the global economic and political agenda for years to come. 

To understand the world in its complexity, it is important to visualize it. In a special edition of our economic outlook, we decided to draw eight maps to understand why so much volatility and what the impact on businesses can be

From growth and trade to payment delays and collection practices, we will take you on a trip around the world. 

One word of caution though. Maps are a great representation but even if borders do not change that often anymore, country and sector risks do. 

So if you feel that this snapshot may be outdated or want to see how recent data affect some of the forecasts in this report, you can find a brand new interactive atlas on Euler Hermes website

Remember: “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” ― Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days

Ludovic Subran 

Chief Economist 

Euler Hermes 

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