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The political economy of development
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The IMF point of view on the current world economic crisis
December 2008

Finance $ Development
A quarterly magazine of the IMF
Current Issue of F&D

World Economy Under Stress

Cracks in the System: Repairing the Damaged Global Economy

Olivier Blanchard
The global economy is facing its worst crisis in 60 years, triggering fears of a long, deep recession. The task ahead is to design new rules and institutions to reduce systemic risks without stifling innovation.

Preventing Future Crises

Noel Sacasa
The financial crisis has exposed the limits of the current regulatory and supervisory frameworks. The four priorities for reforming the financial sector—which include reducing systemic risks—are spelled out.

A Crisis to Remember

Mohamed A. El-Erian
The financial system will not reset to what it looked like just a year ago, and the longer-term impact will change the fundamentals of the world economy. All this accentuates the need for urgent and bold modernization of the multilateral framework.

The Crisis through the Lens of History

Charles Collyns
The most important lesson from every financial crisis since the Great Depression is to act early, to act aggressively, and to act comprehensively to deal with financial strains. The priority must be to quench the fire, even if unorthodox measures are needed.

Stockholm Solutions

Stefan Ingves and Göran Lind
Sweden and other Nordic countries went through systemic financial crises in the early 1990s. A crucial lesson from the Nordic experience is the need for prominent state involvement in crisis resolution through restructuring and asset value protection.

The Road to Recovery: A View from Japan

Kenneth Kang and Murtaza Syed
Japan's financial crisis a decade and a half ago evokes an unmistakable sense of déjà vu amid the current turmoil. Japan's story shows that here is nothing like a crisis to bring to light—and build popular support for—much-needed reforms.

The Catch-Up Game

Michael Spence and Mahmoud Mohieldin served on a panel of policymakers and academics that looked at what it takes to generate sustained high economic growth rates. Archana Kumar asked them what makes countries grow, in good times and bad.

When Crises Collide

Stijn Claessens, M. Ayhan Kose, and Marco E. Terrones
Earlier episodes of recessions, crunches, and busts are sobering, suggesting that recessions following the current financial crisis may be more costly because they are likely to take place alongside simultaneous credit crunches and asset price busts.

Global Financial Turmoil Tests Asia

Kenneth Kang and Jacques Miniane
Any hope that Asia would escape the global financial crisis has by now evaporated. How Asia withstands the shock of both slower world growth and a spreading financial crisis is critical not only for the region, but for the world as a whole.

F&D on Financial Crisis Origins

The June 2008 issue of F&D examined the origins of the crisis and how it spread. See particularly A Crisis of Confidence ... and a Lot More and Outbreak: U.S. Subprime Contagion. Banking on More Capital looks at the capital adequacy rules for the banking system.

Also in This Issue

Ensuring Food Security

Maros Ivanic and Will Martin
Agricultural trade reform in developing countries can help improve food security by reducing the cost of food to poor people. But trade policy must be complemented by other measures to ensure sufficient food is available.

Neighborly Investments

Mahmoud Mohieldin
Gulf oil producers are investing petrodollars in other Middle East countries—a trend that should continue even as oil prices fall, as Gulf states have learned from previous bad experiences and become more strategic about investing their wealth.

Nigeria's Shot at Redemption

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Nigeria squandered its oil windfall of the 1970s, which led to three decades of economic stagnation. The new oil boom of the last few years has given oil-exporting developing countries a rare shot at redemption.

The Economic Geography of Regional Integration

Uwe Deichmann and Indermit Gill
Regional integration means much more than preferential trade access between neighbors. If it includes steps such as infrastructure investment and labor market liberalization, regional trade integration helps connect developing countries to world markets.


Letters to the Editor

Weder di Mauro on governance; Who's to blame for the free market crisis?

IMF News

IMF's new liquidity facility; Exogenous Shocks Facility revamped; IMF surveillance priorities; Loans to Ukraine and Hungary; Tanzania conference

People in Economics

From Visionary to Innovator

Paolo Mauro
In some of his best-selling books, economist Robert Shiller—known for identifying speculative bubbles at an early stage—has made the case for creating new financial markets in which individuals would be able to diversify away the most important risks affecting them.

Picture This

The Ingredients of Sustained High Growth

Natalie Ramirez-Djumena and Jair Rodriguez
Sustained fast growth is not a miracle—it is possible for developing countries, as long as their leaders are committed to it and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the global economy.

Back to Basics

What Is Gross Domestic Product?

Tim Callen
One thing people want to know about an economy is whether its total output of goods and services is growing or shrinking. When an economy's gross domestic product is growing, workers and businesses are generally better off than when it is not.

Book Reviews

Straight Talk

Shifting Perceptions of Poverty

Justin Yifu Lin
Although new data show the level of poverty across all developing countries is higher than previously estimated, the revised statistics reveal big successes in poverty reduction and may improve understanding of the development process.

Country Focus

Saudi Arabia

Since the start of the oil boom in 2003, Saudi Arabia has achieved strong growth, aided by high oil revenues and a rapid expansion of the non-oil private sector. While inflationary pressures are easing, the global financial crisis poses new risks.

Index of Articles in 2008

Print editions of current and back issues are available from:

Finance & Development
700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20431 U.S.A.
Fax: (202) 623-6149