The Rocky Road to Recovery

A consensus now exists that America’s recession – already a year old – is likely to be long and deep, and that almost all countries will be affected. Still, there is insufficient appreciation of some of the underlying problems facing the global economy, without which it is unlikely that the current global recession will give way to robust growth.

NEW YORK – A consensus now exists that America’s recession – already a year old – is likely to be long and deep, and that almost all countries will be affected. I always thought that the notion that what happened in America would be decoupled from the rest of the world was a myth. Events are showing that to be so. 

Fortunately, America has, at last, a president with some understanding of the nature and severity of the problem, and who has committed himself to a strong stimulus program. This, together with concerted action by governments elsewhere, will mean that the downturn will be less severe than it otherwise would be.

The United States Federal Reserve, which helped create the problems through a combination of excessive liquidity and lax regulation, is trying to make amends – by flooding the economy with liquidity, a move that, at best, has merely prevented matters from being worse. It’s not surprising that those who helped create the problems and didn’t see the disaster coming have not done a masterly job in dealing with it. By now, the dynamics of the downturn are set, and things will get worse before they get better.

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