Tuesday, January 24, 2012

IMF chief warns of global financial collapse

Christine Lagarde is managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Here's part of the presentation she gave Monday in Germany:

In too many places, uncertainty is holding back demand and the willingness to lend. A legacy of high public and private debt is hurting economic prospects. The global financial system remains fragile. 
In an interconnected world like ours, these forces are feeding each other across borders. Capital flows to emerging markets have already dropped off, and growth is expected to slow even in the most vibrant parts of the world economy. Low-income countries are especially vulnerable. 
Christine Lagarde
Yet before we indulge in yet another bout of collective pessimism, which is becoming something of a global sport, let me ask a simple question—why did 2011 turn out so badly? 
I would argue that it was not because of any fresh wound to the global economy. No, it was driven instead by a lack of a collective determination to reach a cooperative solution. We saw many false starts and half measures in 2011—in Europe, but also, for instance, in the United States with its debt ceiling debacle. 
Put simply, policymakers let an old wound fester, and in doing so made the situation worse. 
Looking at it from this perspective, 2012 must be a year of healing. But as Hippocrates put it long ago: “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity”. 
And today, it has to be an opportunity of our making. Otherwise, we could easily slide into a “1930s moment”. A moment where trust and cooperation break down and countries turn inward. A moment, ultimately, leading to a downward spiral that could engulf the entire world.
The world financial gurus she's speaking of have spent the past few years seeking solutions Legarde says must be put in place now. If they've not been able to do it up until now, what makes her think 2012 will be any different?

Are you making personal preps for a worst case scenario?

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