Most of those people who have enjoyed this success would argue that there is some unwritten rule that says economic conditions, at least for them, must improve every year. Alas there is no such rule. There is no guarantee that future generations will have better lives than current generations. In fact, over the last decade the level of economic conditions has actually regressed, and on average most western economies are lower today than they were a decade or so ago.
The Economist magazine has developed a set of measurements to determine the extent to which an economy has advanced or declined, and if it has declined, to what year it has declined back to.
In order to assess how much economic progress it has undone, The Economist has constructed a measure of lost time for hard-hit countries. It shows that
’s economic clock has been turned back furthest: it has been rewound by over 12 years. Elsewhere in the euro area, Greece Ireland, Italy, Portugal and have lost seven years or more. Spain , the first country forced to rescue a credit-crunched bank, has lost eight years. Britain , where the trouble started, has lost ten America
Some have not yet learned the lesson that economic growth is not inevitable. The IMF is one of them.
But exactly why that would be the case is not clear. It is certainly not the situation in
Unlike income and GDP, there is no reason why unemployment statistics should improve year on year. But many advanced countries had managed to reduce joblessness to new lows in the years before 2007. The crisis blew all those gains away. In
the unemployment rate stands at 8.3% of the labour force, its 1983 level. In America it is at its worst for 17 years. Britain
But one of the few absolutes in economics is that not every country can have a trade surplus. Really, it is, you can look it up.