A Perfect World Economic Storm

In late 2008, at the start of the Great Economic Recession, Queen Elizabeth famously berated the economics profession for not having warned her of a major world economic and financial market crisis. Next year, should the world succumb to another economic and financial market crisis, the economics profession will again come in for severe criticism for having been as complacent about the world economic outlook as they are today. But unlike in 2008, when serious economic weaknesses were largely confined to the US housing and credit markets, today every major part of the world economy is seemingly prone to a serious economic crisis.

The European economy is perhaps the most immediate cause for concern. Europe facing an energy crisis on the scale of that experienced in the 1970s as Vladimir Putin shuts off Russian natural gas exports to Europe. Not only that, Italy is again beset by deep economic and political difficulties that could trigger another round of the European sovereign debt crisis. It hardly helps matters that in the forthcoming Italian parliamentary elections a populist anti-European party could form the next government.

According to the International Monetary Fund, if Putin does carry out his threat to keep Europe shut off from Russian gas exports, the German economy could be more than 4 percent weaker than it would otherwise have been. That would come on top of the expected damage to its economy from a once-in-a-century drought, multi-decade-high inflation, and an abrupt slowing in the Chinese economy.

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Πηγή: aei.org

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