The global economy is a vast, complicated framework involving many different moving parts. But at the heart of the global economy are people who work, invest and live their lives. Unfortunately, the individual often feels powerless in the face of large economic forces.

To combat this, individuals with similar economic goals often form groups in order to advance their common interests. This guide details what types of groups exist, how they’re formed and how they impact the global economy.

A Brief Overview of the Global Economy

International, national and local economies are increasingly blurred. While nations have always been connected economically for centuries, this economic intertwinement is rapidly increasing like never before.

There are two main reasons for this rapid increase. First, technology allows for easier communication and access to people and markets around the world. Language, time and cost are no longer the barriers they were before widespread, high-speed internet access.

Access to low-cost, low-skilled sources of labor is another factor. Companies can find a workforce in a developing country who are willing to be paid significantly less than what workers in the Western world require.

Of course, there are often significant problems with this approach. Workers in the western world, especially unskilled workers, run the risk of losing their jobs due to outsourcing. The “replacement” workers in the developing world also face perils, too, including harsh and unsafe working conditions.

Against this complicated backdrop, groups need to promote their economic interests. So, what type of economic groups exist?    

Global Economic Groups as a Concept

Any group which is organized around advancing a certain economic interest could be considered an economic group. For instance, a group of different beef producers – even competitors — could form a council, purchase some air time and run ads promoting steaks, burgers and so on. They’re simply working together to advance their economic interests.

A global economics group works to advance their interests on the world stage. Same basic principle, just with a larger group of people and more complications. In many cases, the group will be navigating new markets and even new cultures.

Global Economics Group

Global Economics Group is also a formal title of a well-known private company. GEG produces a variety of world economic white papers and analysis. They work for a variety of corporations and government agencies.

The Group consists of ex-industry executives, finance economists, econometricians and other experts. They develop legal and regulatory framework for economic situations around the world.

Economic Innovation Group

The Economic Innovation Group is an economic think-tank and advocacy organization. Founded in 2013, most of the members are high-profile innovators from the tech industry. Members include Napster co-founder Sean Parker, investor Joe Sanberg, investor Ron Conway and more.   

The overall goal of the group is to promote innovation and entrepreneurialism within the U.S. economy. Because the U.S. is a major economic engine in the world, the EIG’s efforts will naturally impact the global economy as well.   

This group creates policy proposals, develops economic research and otherwise takes a data-driven approach towards solving a variety of economic challenges. Projects include:

The Distressed Communities Index

This is an interactive presentation which highlights the difference between economically distressed and economically advantaged areas in the U.S. Over 25,000 zip codes are utilized to provide a comprehensive picture.

Investing in Opportunity Act

This bipartisan legislation is created to benefit economically distressed communities throughout America via billions in private investment. The EIG helped develop this Act after working with legislators on both sides of the aisle.

The Millennial Economy

This is a comprehensive national survey on the financial views and situations of members of the Millennial Generation. As the largest generation, their attitudes towards today’s financial institutions and practices will eventually shape future global economic systems.  

The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery

A historical look at new business creation since the Great Recession of 2008. Illustrates a growing and often shocking look at economic disparity within the U.S.

Dynamism in Retreat

The United States is in a period of declining dynamism. This report details the current situation while examining possible future trends and solutions.

The Power of Interest Groups

Unfortunately, the average person can’t make a huge difference in most political systems. While democratic governments do allow for an individual to create a grassroots movement, the logistic and financial barriers can sometimes be very severe.

However, when many people get together to form a group, they have an easier time being heard. Interest groups are any organization which attempts to influence government policies in order to advance a specific agenda. Interest groups lobby politicians in order to shape legislation and otherwise address their concerns.

Interest groups can form around pretty much any cause. The NRA is an interest group which lobbies on behalf of gun-related issues. The AARP is a group dedicated to the concerns of senior citizens. Any group of people can form an interest group. Typically, the larger the group, the more influence (and money) they have.

Of course, these so-called “special interest groups” aren’t always loved by the public. Lobbying can seem an awful lot like vote buying and influence peddling. Many interest groups have notoriously not had the public’s interests at heart, such as the tobacco lobby.  

Economic Interest Groups  

The largest type of interest groups are economic interest groups. An economic interest group is typically defined as one primarily concerned with finance, business or intra-industry costs.

Some of the largest and most influential economic interest groups represent the needs of big business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the AFL-CIO and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are the four biggest groups. They even have offices in D.C.

Another powerful subsection of economic interest groups are trade associations. These groups represent individual industries. For instance, the American Public Power Association (APPA) represents all electric utilities, state power authorities and rural electric co-ops.

Similar to trade associations, groups of professionals create interest groups. For example, the American Medical Association is a group of professionals. When an interest group is large enough, they’re bound to have an economic impact on society, so they’re at least partially considered to be an economic interest group. For instance, the AMA is often concerned with health care costs, so they tend to have a lot of influence in the health care debate.

The Benefits of Forming Groups

Economic groups allow for many advantages compared to an individual. Members can pool their resources and areas of expertise.

For instance, global economic systems often involve more than just numbers. Different cultures and political systems must also be considered. Some members of the group might understand the culture while others understand the economics. Together, the group can tackle diverse, large-scale projects.

Groups can also often bring media attention to their cause. If one person wants to express their opinion on an economic issue, he or she would typically only get attention if they were already a high-profile member of society such as a politician or celebrity.

However, if a group with hundreds or thousands of members speaks together in support or disapproval of an issue, media exposure is far more likely to occur. Groups allow everyday individuals to make their voices heard.

This can have a snowball effect. As the message is exposed to a wider audience, more people are likely to agree with the group, assuming the message is one which benefits a large section of society. As more people then join the group, the easier the message will spread.

Eventually, a group can become so large that everyone within a nation or even the world will understand the group’s position on an issue. For instance, regardless of any one person’s stance on the NRA, practically everybody in the country has heard of the group and understands what their beliefs are.   

Final Thoughts: Economic Groups

As technology brings the world closer together, the global economic framework grows more complex and connected. Just one person can often feel as if they have no influence over their economic destiny.

Groups form as a way to voice concerns and wield influence. In order to understand global economics, each major economic group must also be understood. What are their goals? How do group economies interact with the overall global economy?

Too often global economics focuses exclusively on nations and business. But groups are an equally important component of the overall global economy.

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