Trade and Development Report 2009

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The Trade and Development Report 2009, subtitled Responding to the Global Crisis - Climate Change Mitigation and Development” addresses the main issues of global economic outlook and short-term policy response to the financial and economic crisis, international monetary reform to complement stricter financial regulation and climate change mitigation as a process of structural change. The report analyzes global economic prospects within the framework of the current economic and financial crisis. It also heeds the short-term fiscal, financial and monetary policies that were adopted in response to the impacts of the 2008-2009 crisis. It also looks at the question of how increased efforts aimed at climate change mitigation can be combined with forward-looking development strategies and rapid growth in developing countries.

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Learning from the crisis: Policies for safer and sounder financial systems

The most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, the de facto nationalization of a large segment of the United States financial system, and the deepest global recession since the Second World War are now casting doubts on assumptions made by a number of economists on the functioning of contemporary finance. Many economists and policymakers believed that securitization and the “originate and distribute” model would increase the resilience of the banking system, that credit default swaps would provide useful hedging opportunities by allocating risk to those that were better equipped to take it, and that technological innovation would increase the efficiency and stability of the financial system. And Alan Greenspan (2003), as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, once stated: “Although the benefits and costs of derivatives remain the subject of spirited debate, the performance of the economy and the financial system in recent years suggests that those benefits have materially exceeded the costs”. Events of the past two years warrant a reappraisal of these assumptions.

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