So how are we doing? Well, we are not out of the woods yet. Not even close. They think we are in stage two of a three stage crisis. In stage one we had the shock and then the stimulus which softened the blow. Now we are in stage two where high deficits and sovereign debt are leading to austerity measures. A slow recovery is not helping matters. If there is a second shock there will be second dip in growth and employment with very little money left in government coffers to lift us out.
Before the crisis there were 171 million unemployed workers to which we can now add another 27 million. And then there are the 40 million new workforce entrants per year (young people). That's just the jobs picture and doesn't even touch the other issue: a "decent work deficit," jobs that can keep food on the table and a roof over the head of a family. They estimate that we need to create 400 million new jobs over the next decade. For those of you who would prefer not to read pdf's in bed late at night, here is a synopsis by Steven Kapsos, labour economist at the ILO that goes over the figures I've cited above:
- Global policy coordination
- Regulation of the world financial system to loosen credit for SMEs which create 70 percent of jobs
- Stimulus packages targeted to increasing employment
- Incentives for the private sector to invest but....
- Without putting fiscal stability at risk.
I'm not an economist nor a reader of tea leaves so I can't judge the merits of their recommendations or the accuracy of their predictions. What is clear to me as I watch the ramp up to the 2012 elections in both the U.S. and France is that all this talk of contraception, immigration, flag-waving, saber-rattling and the merits of one civilization over another, is really nothing more then a bread and circus show. If the world economy goes to hell yet again, all this will be pretty irrelevent.