United Nations Trade and Development Report

2225-3262 (online)
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The Trade and Development Report (TDR), launched in 1981, is issued every year for the annual session of the Trade and Development Board. The Report analyses current economic trends and major policy issues of international concern, and makes suggestions for addressing these issues at various levels.
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Trade and Development Report 1986

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31 Dec 1986
9789210602891 (PDF)

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This publication identifies the key issues in the global economy and the design of development strategies addressed in the Trade and Development Report over the past three decades, tracing them through its various editions. It shows how ideas, opinions and proposals expressed in the Trade and Development Report, and the analytical approaches used, differed from those of “the mainstream” and their evolution in response to new challenges. This review revisits the concept of interdependence and explains the approach of the reports to macroeconomic and financial policies in both developed and developing countries. It also summarizes development policy failures and successes over the years.

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  • Explanatory notes
  • Abbreviations
  • Overview by the Secretary-General of UNCTAD

    If stagflation, plentiful liquidity and shortages of basic materials were the hallmarks of the 1970s, those of the 1980s have thus far been deflation, financial stringency and glutted markets. The process of deflation began in 1979, but did not stop with the end of the recession in 1982. It has persisted, rendering recovery weak, uneven and hesitant, and prolonging the crisis of debt and development.

  • The depression of the 1980s and the setback to economic and social development

    The 1980s have been marked by the widespread collapse of the development process. This collapse has been characterized by financial disorder and extended periods of negative or negligible growth in most developing countries, entailing high costs in terms of social stagnation and, in some cases, regression. Moreover, the effects on investment in productive capacity, infrastructure and social services call into question the future ability of many countries to respond to the needs of their populations and to bring about the changes in the structure of production necessary to restore growth and development.

  • The macroeconomic setting: Interaction of policies in the major developed market economies
  • The transmission of growth and the stability of the world economy
  • Deflation, debt and trade

    The deflationary pressures and other monetary and financial disturbances that have persisted over the first half of the 1980s have impaired significantly the capacity of the international financial and trading systems to contribute to growth and development and to foster the efficient use of resources.

  • The world economy in 1985 and prospects for the near future

    The preceding chapters have reviewed the main characteristics of the acute crisis facing most of the developing world; the evolution during the 1980s of problems and policies in the developed market-economy countries, which have played such an important role in shaping the external environment for development; and, more specifically, the way in which these problems and policies influenced commodity prices, the trading regime, financial flows and debt. The present chapter takes up these same issues, focusing on the most recent aspects of economic performance and the immediate outlook.

  • Debt, growth and development: Prospects for the future

    The Trade and Development Report 1985 drew attention to the weaknesses of the recovery process in industrialized countries and of the strategy being pursued with respect to the debt problems of developing countries. It saw the need for a co-ordinated shift of monetary and fiscal policies in the major developed market economies to bring about a more even pace of demand and output growth, and a depreciation of the dollar. Pointing out that adjustment by debtor countries had depressed investment, it emphasized that, unless growth revived in these countries, their capacity to service debt would fail to expand sufficiently; indeed, it might suffer further erosion. The intimate connection between recovery, on the one hand, and debt and development on the other, was also underlined. The 1985 Report further pointed out that policy reorientation was needed in the major OECD economies to bring about not only more balanced growth in the OECD area, but also a faster overall rate of growth and substantially lower interest rates, since, unless the latter objectives were met, the external trading and financial environment of developing countries would remain hostile, obstructing the revival of investment needed for development and debt servicing. At the same time, unless the debt prospects of developing countries improved, the international financial system, and hence recovery in OECD countries, would remain at risk.

  • Statistical annex
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