(continuing my series on economics)
When I look at current events, I wonder if we are looking at a transition to a static (non-growing) economy (although I am a pessimist, so it just might be me).
As I mentioned before, the primary factor of the economy is people. With abortion rates approaching 25%, we must admit that we have fewer people now (the producers and consumers of today's economy have been murdered). Also, reproduction rates in the West have fallen below the replacement rate (in America, you must overlook the first generation immigrant rate to see this trend). It is highly unlikely the population in the West will double in 40 years, or ever. It is possible the population will decrease (and will become heavily weighted toward the elderly).
When you look at the events of the Arab Spring, they are fundamentally economic (young people realizing they have no jobs). This is also somewhat present in the West, although to a lesser degree (although we are seeing some contraction of welfare states).
Interest rates are an indirect indicator of people's belief about growth in the economy. The government can lower rates to try and drive growth, but when rates stay low for long periods of time (record low rates on 30 year loans, for example) - this is an implicit statement that the economy will not grow.