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After five years of crisis, the global economy is weakening again. In this we are not facing a new pattern. Over the recent past, signs of emergence from the crisis have more than once given way to a renewed slowdown or even a double-dip recession in some countries. The risk of a new major contraction cannot be ruled out. A recession is ongoing in the euro area, the US economy is growing but below what was expected earlier this year, and a slowdown has surfaced in many emerging market economies.

To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary edition of the OECD Observer, we take a brief look at how the information world and the global economy have transformed since the OECD’s first secretary-general, Thorkil Kristensen, launched the magazine in November 1962.  

Global economy facing hesitant and uneven recovery

The global economy is expected to make a hesitant and uneven recovery over the coming two years. Decisive policy action is needed to ensure that stalemate over fiscal policy in the United States and continuing euro area instability do not plunge the world back into recession, the OECD said in its latest Economic Outlook.

For more info visit: www.oecd.org/oecdeconomicoutlook

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The fallout from uncertainty that continues to undermine the global economy is reflected in international investment, which is falling once again, following two years of steady gains.

The EU’s crisis has as much to do with leadership and solidarity as resolving fiscal and debt problems. It is time to dispense with caricatures and write the next chapter in the EU’s ongoing history. And for that, clear and transparent data will be needed.

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Start-up rates in OECD countries are slowly edging back to their pre-crisis levels, but not all countries have seen significant acceleration in new businesses, according to Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2012

Are you able to make sense of the barrage of opinion poll data that is currently being published in the lead up to the US presidential election on 6 November? Bruce Stokes, Director of Pew Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center, sheds light on the poll trends and assesses to what extent issues such as the economy will be deciding factors when voters approach the ballot box.

See the trends in taxes on personal income for the G7 from 2008 to 2011.

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Two years after Israel joined the OECD, Sharon Kedmi, Director General at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is leading a delegation to an important OECD Employment Labour and Social Affairs Committee meeting on 26 October. He spoke with the OECD Observer.

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“Work more to earn more” was former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s refrain in his 2007 election campaign. But does working more hours mean the economy is better off?

The current economic climate has put increased pressure on young firms trying to raise money and develop their businesses. Banks remain reluctant to provide loans to start-ups and venture capital firms prefer to invest in later stage companies. Now, a growing class of experienced entrepreneurs and business people–known as “angel investors”–is stepping in to fill this funding gap. Could this be encouraged further?

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Bring back manufacturing! This refrain has echoed about since the start of the crisis: is it a serious proposition to win back manufacturing activity after years of decline and if so, how?

Two decades ago, when the first Rio Earth Summit took place in 1992, the most advanced economies were in an economic downturn. It was not as severe as the crisis many countries have endured since 2008, but asset bubbles had burst, unemployment had risen and recovery seemed a remote prospect.

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The OECD is preparing its forthcoming Economic Survey of Turkey. What issues will be examined? We asked the OECD Economics Department to outline them. Turkey has achieved strong growth in terms of GDP and employment and its public finances are in comparatively good shape. As you prepare your forthcoming Economic Survey of Turkey, what factors would you say contributed to these successes? 

The crisis-induced trend towards inward-looking policies poses great dangers for Europe. 

European leaders should shift their focus from austerity to growth, not least to fight unemployment, says the ETUC, which urges a Social Progress Protocol to be attached to the European treaties. 

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The new euro architecture that is to come into effect from July still suffers from shortcomings, and problem countries have yet to prove that they can survive within the euro says Thomas Mayer. It would be premature to sound the all clear on the euro crisis. 

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Poland is not yet a member of the euro area, though is watching the euro situation with close interest. 

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The euro area has been at the centre of the global financial storms for two years. Some serious observers have begun to question whether the euro area will survive these currents. The recently published OECD Economic Survey of the Euro Area shows how Europe’s bold experiment in economic integration can be made to work. 

Globalisation has always been a process of far-reaching and often unexpected change, as well as geographical shifts in power, and this is reflected in the rise and fall of great cities. What lessons can we draw for the future?

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Since the 2008 financial crisis, strains in the financial sector and in government balance sheets mean there is less and less supply of long-term capital. This has profound implications for growth and financial stability. Policymakers should take action. 

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The OECD Better Life Initiative can make a difference to policies, and to people’s lives too, though that also depends on participation. 

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Was a major lapse of consumer protection at the heart of the subprime crisis? For consumer advocate Ira Rheingold, only better financial regulation and consumer protection will prevent future meltdowns. 

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When it comes to fixing the economy, could the collective efforts of business and other interested parties be a better solution than passing new laws?

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Financial market overhang rather than excessive fiscal spending threatens confidence today. And there are sounds investments which can make society healthier.

The economic headlines may have brightened somewhat in 2012, but an OECD Spring this is not. The economic and financial crisis has left deep scars that will take a long time to heal and which will shape policymaking for years to come. 

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Brazil needs to invest heavily in basic infrastructure to support its expanding economy. Progress is being made, but it is a daunting task. 

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Anyone wishing to gauge Brazil’s status as one of the world’s most lucrative emerging markets should look at the growth of its financial sector. 

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Brazil has emerged as a global economic player and expectations are rising of further success ahead. But there are several tests to pass along the way. 

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q1 2019 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% May 2019 annual
Trade: +0.4% exp, -1.2% imp, Q1 2019
Unemployment: 5.2% July 2019
Last update: 8 July 2019

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