The storm clouds are gathering, but the world’s economies now have far fewer shelters from disaster than they did in 1929
Late last month Indonesia was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left thousands of people dead and missing. This week the International Monetary Fund arrived in the country to hold its annual meeting on the island of Bali. On the day when the IMF issued a warning about trouble ahead for the global economy, the latest report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change said the world had only a dozen years left to take the steps necessary to prevent a global warming catastrophe. The message is clear for those willing to hear it: get ready for a time when economic failure combines with ecological breakdown to create the perfect storm.
Even without the added complication of climate change, the challenge facing the finance ministers and central bank governors gathered in Bali would be significant enough. The IMF has cut its forecast for global growth, but the chances are that next year will be a lot worse than is currently forecast. The risks, the IMF says, are skewed to the downside. You bet they are.