Americans have been hammered for decades with an economic message that amounts to this: When wealthy people like me gain even more wealth through tax cuts, deregulation, and policies that keep wages low, that leads to economic growth and benefits for everyone else in the economy. And equally, that investing in you, raising your wages, forgiving your debt, or helping your family would be bad—for you! This is the trickle-down way of thinking about economic cause and effect, and there can be no doubt that it has substantially contributed to the greatest upward transfer of wealth in the history of the world.
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April was a month for some international institutions to publish data and forecasts to revise or confirm their economic projections made at the beginning of the year. So far, it has been bad news after bad news. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly cut its projections for world gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2019. The World Bank and IMF revealed further worsened accumulation of public and private debt. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported declining official development assistance (ODA). The World Trade Organization (WTO) worried about decelerating international trade and intensified trade tension. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted consecutive drops of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. When so many dark clouds are gathering together at the same time, one can only say that the world economic prospects for 2019 are indeed gloomy. A closer examination of the performance of developing countries in these datasets would clearly show the economic conundrum that developing countries are facing.
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