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Trade and Development Report 2011

Post-crisis Policy Challenges in the World Economy

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Reforms of financial regulations are progressing slowly and only at the national level, monetary system reform is limited. After an interlude that some considered as a return to Keynesianism, the orientation of macroeconomic policy, especially fiscal policy, is back to business as usual. This will hinder a sustained recovery of the world economy and open the door for new financial crises. Thus, the rethinking of policies and reshaping the financial and monetary system remain an urgent task. This publication makes concrete proposals on how, and in which priority areas, to advance with strengthening regulation of the financial sector and commodity markets, reform of the international monetary system, and the reorientation of fiscal policy.

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Overview

Economic integration and interdependence in the world today have reached an unprecedented level. As a result, the globalized economy cannot function for the benefit of all without international solidarity and cooperation. This was highlighted by the global financial and economic crisis that followed the collapse of big financial institutions, and it has underlined the need for developing approaches to new forms of global collaboration. The G-20, which has become a leading forum for international economic cooperation, successfully coordinated an immediate policy response to the crisis, or “Great Recession” as it is now called. Coordinated monetary policy easing by leading central banks marked the first step, with most members of the G-20 launching large fiscal stimulus packages as well as emergency support programmes to restore financial stability. The aggregate impact of these measures stopped the economic freefall and won policymakers an important first round in battling the crisis. However, despite intense discussions, little progress, if any, has been achieved in major areas that were also of concern to the G-20. These include financial regulation, inter alia for tackling problems related to the “financialization” of markets for many primary commodities, and, even more importantly, reform of the international monetary system for curbing volatile short-term capital flows that are driven mainly by currency speculation.

English

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