Een jaar zonder hoogtepunten

NEW YORK – Het jaar 2012 bleek inderdaad zo slecht te zijn als ik had voorspeld. De recessie in Europa was het voorspelbare (en voorspelde) gevolg van een bezuinigingsbeleid en een raamwerk voor de euro dat wel moest mislukken. Het bloedeloze herstel van Amerika – met een groei die nauwelijks genoeg was om banen te creëren voor de nieuwkomers onder de beroepsbevolking – was het voorspelbare (en voorspelde) gevolg van de politieke patstelling, die de uitvoering van de banenwet van president Barack Obama heeft tegengehouden en de economie op het pad van de 'fiscal cliff' (de 'begrotingsafgrond' van gelijktijdige bezuinigingen en belastingverlagingen) heeft gestuurd.

De twee grootste verrassingen waren de groeivertraging bij de opkomende markten, die iets scherper en wijdverbreider was dan verwacht, en de omarming door Europa van een paar werkelijk opmerkelijke hervormingen, ook al zijn het er nog steeds niet genoeg.

Vooruitblikkend op 2013 liggen de grootste risico's in de VS en Europa. China heeft daarentegen de instrumenten, middelen, prikkels en kennis om een harde economische landing te voorkomen, en anders dan de westerse landen heeft het land geen institutioneel kader dat heilig gelooft in dodelijke ideeën als 'expansieve bezuinigingen.'

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