Capital Accumulation, Growth and Structural Change

The Trade and Development Report 2003 offers a distinct perspective on global economic trends and prospects. With the leading industrial countries still not pulling in the same direction, prospects for much of the developing world are clouded by tensions in the trading system, volatility in the currency market and deflationary pressures. This year´s Report traces the difficulties back to the pattern of global trade and financial flows in the 1990s. But the Report also asks whether market-led reforms adopted in many developing countries after the debt crisis of the early 1980s have strengthened these countries´ ability to withstand external shocks. The Report looks for clues in what has been happening to their investment climate, their patterns of industrial development and their international competitiveness. The focus of this analysis is Latin America, where reforms have gone furthest, but where initially observed successes have not endured. As the UN Secretary-General notes in his Foreword, "The Report provides explanations that may challenge conventional points of view, and calls for new thinking on development strategies".

The Report analyses the troubled state of the world economy and asks some key questions:

  • Do recent signs of recovery suggest the United States has now thrown off the legacies of earlier financial excess, or is a more uncertain period of jobless growth the more likely scenario in the coming year? And are the constraints on growth in the European Union structural or macroeconomic in origin?

  • What has allowed Asia to steer through the global downturn and re-establish its position as growth hub of the South?

  • What caused the trade and financial surges of the 1990s, and should policy makers in developing countries be counting on their repetition?

  • Does downsizing the public sector and promoting private investment attract foreign direct investment and describe a good investment climate?

  • Why are parts of the developing world "deindustrializing", and is this damaging their development prospects?

  • What are the ingredients of competitive success in today´s rapidly integrating world economy, and which countries have been finding the right blend?

  • Are there alternatives to the "Washington Consensus"?

01 Oct 2003
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