Bill Emmott

Former Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Author of forthcoming The Fate of the West: The Decline and Revival of the World’s most Successful Political Idea

How America, Europe and Japan can revive and thrive in the face of 21st-century pressures

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One of the world’s most respected and articulate voices on business and political economy, a truly global expert on Asia, Europe and the US. In 13 years as editor-in-chief at The Economist he more than doubled circulation and built it into a must-read journal on world affairs. In 2016 the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun — Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

His new book, The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World's Most Successful Political Idea, which will appear on both sides of the Atlantic under The Economist Books imprint and distributed by Profile and Public Affairs (May 2017), will explain why today’s pessimistic mood in the West, which has caused the rise of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and other populists, is overblown. Western democracies can and will turn their fortunes round if they focus on restoring the blend of openness, social mobility and equality of democratic voice that made them strong in the past. And they can be inspired by successful turnaround stories in recent years in such formerly deadbeat cases as California, Sweden, Switzerland and pre-Thatcher Britain. It is the inflexible dictators of Russia, Turkey, China and Islamic State that are doomed to fail, not the adaptable West, of the US, Europe and Japan.

In recent years he has made two controversial documentary films, both broadcast on the BBC — Girlfriend in a Coma (2013), about Italy’s 20-year decline, of which he was narrator, and The Great European Disaster Movie (2015), of which he was executive producer. The Great European Disaster Movie was awarded Germany’s prestigious CIVIS Media Prize in May 2016. Previously, he wrote a study of why Italy’s brilliant entrepreneurs were being blocked, Good Italy, Bad Italy (2012), and a pathbreaking analysis of the nascent conflicts in Asia, Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will shape our next decade (2008). Prior to that he has published 11 other books, including some in Japanese translation only, including most notably the number one bestseller, The Sun Also Sets (1989) which predicted Japan’s financial crash and subsequent decline when most pundits were predicting Japan’s looming dominance.

Based in London, Bill is a fine speaker with an excellent sense of humor and a clever, engaging style. He is excellent event chair and moderator. His international perspective makes him invaluable to companies with global operations.


  • Former Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
  • 2009 Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award, UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • First foreign winner, "È giornalismo" ("This is journalism") award, senior Italian journalists
  • Recipient Japanese Government’s Order of the Rising Sun: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon
  • Member of Swiss Re’s Chairman’s Advisory Council
  • Chairman of the London Library
  • A regular columnist on global affairs, for La Stampa, Project Syndicate, Nikkei Business
  • Previous posts at The Economist: Brussels correspondent, economics correspondent, Tokyo correspondent, finance editor, business affairs editor
  • Visiting Professor, Shujitsu Gakuen, Okayama, Japan
  • Member, President’s Council, University of Tokyo
  • Visiting Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford
  • Chairman and co-founder, The Wake Up Foundation (charity dedicated to using films and text for education)


The Fate of the West

The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea

Bill Emmott

The West has long been a font of stability, prosperity, and security. Yet when faced with global instability and economic uncertainty, it is tempting for states to react by closing borders, hoarding wealth, and solidifying power. We have seen it in Japan, France, and Italy in the past, and today it is infecting all of Europe and also the United States. This rigidity, together with income inequality, is the enemy of the liberal democracy of the West — a force for good which is now needed more than ever.

Fortunately, this fate is avoidable. States such as Sweden in the 1990s, California, or Britain under Thatcher all halted stagnation by clearing away the powers of interest groups and restoring their societies' ability to evolve. In this forward-thinking book, Emmott argues that in order to regain its strength, the West needs to be porous, open, and flexible. If liberal democracies are able to maintain confidence in their values and act on their core beliefs in policies like free trade and innovation, they will be able to avoid a rigid future with international consequences. From reinventing welfare systems to redefining the working age, and from reimagining education to embracing automation, Emmott lays out the changes the West must make to revive itself now and thrive in a better future.

Public Affairs; Economist Books (May 9, 2017)


"Brilliantly argued new book..."
Prospect Magazine

Good Italy, Bad Italy

Why Italy Must Conquer Its Demons to Face the Future

Bill Emmott

Not long ago Italy was Europe's highly touted emerging economy, a society that blended dynamism and super-fast growth with a lifestyle that was the envy of all. Now it is viewed as a major threat to the future of the Euro, indeed to the European Union as a whole. Italy's political system is shorn of credibility as it struggles to deal with huge public debts and anemic levels of economic growth. Young people are emigrating in droves, frustrated at the lack of opportunity, while older people stubbornly cling to their rights and privileges, fearful of an uncertain future.

In this lively, up-to-the-minute book, Bill Emmott explains how Italy sank to this low point, how Italians feel about it, and what can be done to return the country to more prosperous and more democratic times. With the aid of numerous personal interviews, Emmott analyzes "Bad Italy" — the land of disgraced Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an inadequate justice system, an economy dominated by special interests and continuing corruption — against its contrasting foil "Good Italy," the home of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, truth-seeking journalists, and countless citizens determined to end mafia domination for good.

Yale University Press (29 June, 2012-UK; August 14, 2012-US)


Long lifeThe Economist
The bittersweet lifeFinancial Times


How the power struggle between China, India and Japan will shape our next decade

Bill Emmott

The former editor in chief of The Economist returns to the territory of his bestselling book The Sun Also Sets to lay out an entirely fresh analysis of the growing rivalry between China, India, and Japan and what it will mean for America, the global economy, and the twenty-first-century world.

Though books such as The World Is Flat and China Shakes the World consider them only as individual actors, Emmott argues that these three political and economic giants are closely intertwined by their fierce competition for influence, markets, resources, and strategic advantage. Rivals explains and explores the ways in which this sometimes bitter rivalry will play out over the next decade — in business, global politics, military competition, and the environment — and reveals the efforts of the United States to manipulate and benefit from this rivalry. Identifying the biggest risks born of these struggles, Rivals also outlines the ways these risks can and should be managed by all of us.

Penguin (April 3, 2008)


Three's a CrowdThe Washington Post
Asia's awesome threesomeAsia Times
Rise and CollideThe Wall Street Journal
Asian RivalsForbes
RivalsThe Independent
China: the new rulers of the worldThe Telegraph

20:21 Vision

Twentieth-Century Lessons for the Twenty-First Century

Bill Emmott

The attacks on September 11, 2001, shook the rich West out of its complacency; suddenly, peace seemed to be in peril. Already it had become clear that prosperity was endangered. Campaigns were being mounted against the purported evils of capitalist globalization — inequality, pollution, and financial instability — and America's high-tech stock market boom had turned rapidly to bust. How had it all happened? During the decade following the end of the cold war, prospects had looked so rosy: peace prevailed among the world's great powers, billions of people were joining the world market economy, and great waves of technological change were driving economies forward. Can we find a pattern in such possibility, confusion, and disappointment? What will the twenty-first century be like now? Bill Emmott, the Editor in Chief of The Economist, the world's leading current affairs weekly, answers these questions by looking back at the past, isolating the forces that have shaped our world, and showing how they determine whether we are at peace or at war, in a state of liberty or repression, in a period of prosperity or depression. He persuasively argues that two questions will matter above all others: Will America continue to lead the world and to protect its peace? And will we continue to accept capitalism, with all its strengths and weaknesses, or will it be challenged once again? Set in a global framework. Emmott's analysis of two centuries — one just past, one beginning -- is eye-opening, wise, and indispensable.

Farra, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (February 7, 2003)

Japan's Global Reach

The influence, strategies, and weaknesses of Japan's multinational corporations

Bill Emmott

Japan's Global Reach analyzes the future of key Japanese multinationals amid a changing Japan and a rapidly changing world economy. Japan's Global Reach was published in the United States under the title Japanophobia: The Myth of the Invincible Japanese. Like The Sun Also Sets, the book's Japanese edition was a bestseller in Japan.

Random House Business Books (September 24, 1992)

The Sun Also Sets

The Limits to Japan's Economic Power

Bill Emmott

Japan, that special set of islands, has a constant ability to amaze. Time & time again in the past few decades the country, its society, & its economy have appeared to be set on one particular course, or to be headed for an inevitable crisis, or in some important respect to be unchangeable. & yet time & time again Japan has spring a big surprise, astonishing observers, whether Japanese or non Japanese, by its ability suddenly to switch direction. That is exactly what has been happening as Japan has entered the final decade of the 20th century. An outstanding contribution to our understanding of Japan & its present & future role in the world.

Touchstone (April 15, 1991)


Bill tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Three Giants in Asia

Bill Emmott has spent a lot of time in Asia visiting the three great economic giants in the region — India, China and Japan. (He’s also written three books on Japan.) His presentation on these economies offers up-to-the-minute, first-hand research and experience on a region that’s vital to the global economy. Here are the highlights of his speech:

  • The big economic and political trends in Asia’s three giants, and how they might change during the next decade. Is the economic growth sustainable, in India and China? Is Japan really recovering?
  • The implications for Asia, and the world, of having three powerful countries in Asia simultaneously, for the first time in history.
  • The likely sources of tension, between China and India, and China and Japan, and how things could be managed.
  • The implications, especially for European business, of all of this.

On Politics & the Economy & Investment Risk


  • The Current Economic Recovery — how optimistic should we be?
  • Europe — a look ahead and review of the bright lights and the dark skies.
  • The Trans-Atlantic Divide — making sense of the situation today.
  • The Middle East — where to now?
  • The US — what has changed since 9/11?
  • Attention-deficit Disorder or Attention-surplus? — How too much information encourages a bias towards pessimism concerning international affairs.

For the Financial Services/Investment Sector

Exploring and Evaluating Risk—a look at the obvious factors (inflation, debt. etc.), the less obvious (terrorism, social trends, etc.), and where you should place yourself on the optimistic / pessimistic continuum.

Emerging (and Reemerging) Asian Markets: China, India and Japan

  • Looking IN: The Western perspective (are these markets the next big thing? – the implications...)
  • Looking OUT: The viewpoint from within these markets (e.g. how will we in the Indian economy fit in the world economic order?)
  • Japan: Much has been done but more is left to do—a critical appraisal of how the Japanese economy is regaining its economic stability.


Reforms, economic prospects, corporate change. Bill is especially well known in Italy, where he is a columnist for the Corriere della Sera daily newspaper.

Morning in America, Again

An outsider's view on the economy, the election and America's place in the world

World economic outlook perspectives over one year, five years or ten years

The big trends in business, finance and global politics


Leadership In The Future


A large global accounting firm:
Dear Mr. Emmott — On behalf of {…} Japanese Practice, I would like to express my sincere thanks for attending our client reception and luncheon, as well as speaking to our guests. We appreciate your insightful presentation on the global economy, and the future of Asia and Japan – it was informative, humorous and very well received by all who attended.

An executive search partnership:
The feedback from your presentations was universally glowing. People were impressed by your clarity, breadth of knowledge and your general niceness and lack of pomposity. How you managed to do all this with so much energy, I don't know.

A leading design technology company:
Bill, you did a GREAT JOB!

Thank you so much for a fantastic presentation. I got a lot of positive feedback throughout the day about your speech. The Japanese attendees were bursting with pride at your bullish outlook on Japan.