News / Economy

Top Economic Stories of 2010

Multimedia

The tide from the global recession has ebbed, but economists say the world is still feeling turbulence in its wake:  continuing high unemployment, the European debt crisis and a lopsided, uneven recovery. Mil Arcega spoke with economists about the big stories that shaped the global economy in 2010.

A snapshot of the world economy in 2010 shows the globe weathering the worst financial crisis of this generation.

But more than two years after the downturn, it remains a fragile, uneven recovery - one that World Bank economist Hans Timmer says is largely driven by growth in developing nations.

"By far the most, the biggest story is the very strong performance of the emerging economies especially in Asia, but increasingly also in Latin America," said Timmer.

But the rapid expansion in countries such as China, India and Brazil underscored a growing imbalance.
By the mid-point of the year, stubbornly high unemployment in the United States, and the threat of insolvency within the 16-nation eurozone had become another reminder that the recovery would neither be smooth nor easy.
Uri Dadush is the director of Carnegie's International Economics Program.

"I think the biggest story in 2010 was the continuation of the recovery which was actually quite rapid, but the other big story of 2010 was the emergence of the European debt crisis which is continuing to simmer and represents the biggest risk for the global economy in 2011, " said Dadush.

Amid a storm of protests in Greece over austerity measures that were preconditions for a European bailout, worried investors lost confidence in the euro. The dollar wasn't doing much better. A week before a crucial meeting of G20 leaders, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a new plan to buy $600 billion in government securities.  The policy was meant to lower interest rates and bolster the U.S. economy.  

But G20 leaders accused the U.S. pumping dollars into world markets to make U.S. exports cheaper.  

The policy fanned protectionist sentiments and, says Domenico Lombardi at the Brookings Institution, undermined the U.S. argument against currency manipulation by China.

"The timing of that announcement was a little bit unfortunate because it sort of jeopardized in a way the chances of having a full cooperative meeting because then emerging economies reacted to that announcement," said Lombardi.

Without the urgency that had characterized previous meetings, G20 leaders managed only a commitment in principle against currency manipulation.

But the G20's inability to find more common ground was soon eclipsed by fears of a larger European crisis.  Faced with a banking crisis and the prospect of not being able to repay its debts, Ireland became the second eurozone country to ask for a bailout.

Without a bigger fund, economist Desmond Lachman at the American Enterprise Institute says other high-debt countries will fall.

"The country that is very likely to be next is Portugal, and after Portugal, we'll get Spain," said Lachman.

Spain poses the biggest challenge yet for the European Union.  As the third largest economy in Europe, many consider Spain too big to fail.

"You know my view is that countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland, that they simply can't stay within the rigors of the euro," explained Lachman.

But the World Bank's Hans Timmer says talk of the euro's demise is greatly exaggerated.

"He [referring to Lachman] underestimates the determination by the European policy makers to stick to the euro and to do everything to defend it," he said.

Economists say a stable Europe is critical to the global recovery. Domenico Lombardi at Brookings says that's especially true in Africa, where European donor money represents a significant chunk of the overall budget of some countries.

"If the prospects for Europe improve then clearly Africa is going to benefit from that," he said.

Adding to the inter-connectedness of the global economy is growing consensus among experts that rapid expansion in some emerging markets is unsustainable without balanced growth in the West.  
Again, the World Bank's Hans Timmer:

"Part of the problem is that increasingly unemployment becomes structural in the United States," he said. "It's concentrated in sectors that were unsustainably large during the boom period before the crisis, so you need to create employment in new sectors."

But as the old year makes way for the new one, a late but noticeable surge in U.S. consumer confidence is helping to reduce the prospects of another downturn.  Still - even the most optimistic analysts say a realistic forecast for the world economy in 2011 is for more of the same - painfully slow but steady growth - amid rapidly rising debt.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.