In much of the Western world, two highly successful economic policy initiatives are coming to an end. Quantitative easing, the creation of money by central banks to purchase financial assets, is likely to have run its course in most countries by the end of 2015. Next year is also the deadline for hitting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals—eight ambitious global aid targets, ranging from halving extreme poverty to reducing child mortality and combating HIV.
Both initiatives have changed the world for the better. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, quantitative easing reawakened the world economy’s “animal spirits” when nothing else seemed capable of doing so. The Millennium Development Goals have been described by the UN as the most successful anti-poverty push in history.