Health in a Global Crisis

Simon Johnson, MIT professor, author, and former Chief Economist of the IMF, writing on Global Health Delivery (pre-cursor to GlobalHealth Lab) and it’s relation to the global financial crisis:


November 12, 2008

The global financial crisis began (and continues) in relatively rich places, like the US and Western Europe, and it has obviously spread to previously fast growing middle-income countries, often known as “emerging markets.”

We are also beginning to see significant effects in lower-income developing countries.  Part of this is just now becoming evident in their macroeconomies. Many of these countries are net sellers of commodities to the outside world, so they are seeing a fall in export revenue (albeit from generally high initial levels) and speed of this decline is more than a little worrying – this is the kind of shock that often throws countries’ public finances and other macro policies into some disarray. In addition, while we do not yet have hard evidence on aid flows, these typically go down when a donor country hits any kind of economic speed bump, and almost all donors are now experiencing big slowdowns. (Yes, I know that some poor countries, and many poor people, were also hit hard by high food prices earlier in the year.)

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