We have all read articles, seen pictures, listened to shows, and read blogs on the impact of the Great Recession. But somehow when you have leading economists (current and former) from the World Bank, the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and international universities describe the consequences of the recession it becomes a more profound social and political force.
On March 25, 2010 four economists joined Columbia's Committee On Global Thought for an afternoon discussion entitled, "The Continuing Financial Crisis: Perspectives from the North and the South." Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN, Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist at the World Bank, Prabhat Patnaik, Professor of Economis at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University shared unique perspectives on how the financial crisis has impacted both developed and developing nations.
Stiglitz joined the conversation
While some, myself included, may focus on how the recession affects their own job, neighborhood, or local school district, the economists showed important evidence on why it is critical that politicians and organizations pay greater attention to the global impact of the economy.
Unbalanced international economic systems made Southern nations the "innocent victims" of the recession, shared Sundaram, explaining that today's international systems exclude and constrain the poorest nations. He noted that the, "G7 means 171 other countries are not included." Developing nations have had to deal with the blow of unemployment, unproductive investments, decreased remittances, and higher borrowing costs.
Despite the hurdles, the economists noted that there were several avenues for improving the economic situation including more careful foreign direct investment, better international coordination between the developed nations, and strong stimulus policies.