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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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Vulnerability to natural disasters

Many of the transition countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as well as Mongolia are in a difficult geographical location which is not helpful to economic development: they are far from the three major markets in the world—Japan, the United States of America and Western Europe—and some are landlocked. Unlike the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe countries, there are no rich neighbours, which, in theory, can help to pull their economies out of stagnation through trade linkages and by serving as models for learning by watching.

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