Revival requires a broad spread of demand

By Kemal Dervis

We are talking about the end of the economic crisis while it deepens. Economic projections have had to be continuously revised downward. Yet a relatively quick economic recovery is possible, provided four things happen.

First, public authorities must restructure and rewrite balance sheets in the financial sector, when necessary by taking over banks, instead of waiting any longer. Second, public expenditure must replace faltering private demand to reverse the downward spiral before it becomes a rout. Third, this must be done with international co-operation so that the global current account imbalances that contributed to the crisis will diminish rather than increase. Fourth, there must be aid to the most vulnerable so that they will not be pushed into destructive despair.

Will politics allow all this to be accomplished in time to avoid a catastrophe? If so, growth may resume some time in 2010. Even under this optimistic scenario, however, the world will have changed irreversibly.

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