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World Economic and Social Survey 2001

Trends and Policies in the World Economy

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Part one. State of the World Economy: chronicles how the very positive developments in output and international trade, with reasonably buoyant levels of international finance for emerging markets for the first half of 2000, turned into retrenchment. The ongoing downturn in the business cycle in developed countries has been unusual in a number of respects when contrasted with previous downturns in the post-war period. Part two. A Globalizing World: Risks, Vulnerability and Opportunity: looks at some examples of vulnerability in the context of globalization, with the discussions focusing on how the liberalization of financial markets can bring benefits to individual countries; how trade shocks can be absorbed and whether the risk of such shocks reduces the potential gains from trade; how three small landlocked transition economies survived the shocks arising from the collapse of the centrally planned system; and how a country can cope with a recurrent and, to some extent predictable, natural disaster, and flooding. The insights from these chapters should help the international community as it confronts the issues of vulnerability and globalization.

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The world economy in 2001

With recovery from the 1997–1998 international financial crises still incomplete, the world economy is experiencing another setback in the form of a significant decline in the growth of global output and trade. While the previous global economic slowdown was set off by financial turmoil in some developing countries and economies in transition, this one started with a retrenchment in economic activity in the developed economies, particularly the United States of America, during the second half of 2000. The slowdown, which initially emerged in only a few economies, has since broadened and intensified. Although the spillover effects to and among developing countries and economies in transition have so far been less than the contagion witnessed during the 1997-1998 crises, the short-term growth of these countries, as well as their longer-term development, is already being adversely affected.

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