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Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.
We at CGD warmly welcome president-elect Barack Obama's appointments of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury and Lawrence Summers to head the National Economic Council. Both are members of the CGD Board of Directors. This is no coincidence.
When you’re done reading today’s news stories about the crisis, take a deep breath. Media coverage is focused on the very short term, as usual. Speculation abounds that we live in a different world now. I’m reminded of portentous claims after the Asian Financial Crisis that “the miracle was over”, claims which look very overwrought in hindsight. In historical perspective, many of the most worrisome recent crises are small bumps on a very long road.
Among the likely but unanticipated consequences of the U.S. financial crisis: AIDS treatment jobs could become a "safe haven" for people whose current employment depends on foreign assistance funds that are currently expended for other purposes.
For many developing countries, the U.S. credit crisis will mean slower growth and rising inequality. The effects will be protracted, and not all will show up at the same time. And the nature and degree of impact will vary widely. Some countries, notably those with extensive foreign exchange reserves and strong fiscal positions, will be much better able to cope than others. But overall the crisis is very bad news for developing countries and especially for the poor.