The US Recession in Comparative Perspective

by Joshua Tucker on June 3, 2009 · 5 comments

in Political Economy


Stratfor Global Intelligence has a thought provoking article up on their website that puts the US recession in comparative perspective. The article makes a number of interesting claims:

  • Despite widespread belief to the contrary, the current recession is only the worst in the US since 1982, not since the 1930s
  • Despite the fact that the recession started in the US, it is actually having a far milder effect here than in many other large economies (see table above, from the original article; India and China are noticeable omissions)
  • Perhaps most interestingly, the article argues that this is the case because “the American system is far more stable, durable and flexible than most of the other global economies, in large part thanks to the country’s geography ” (emphasis added). Valuable geographic attributes include usable land, its maritime transit system, and very little local competition.
  • In contrast, “If in economic terms the United States has everything going for it geographically, then Russia is just the opposite”.

While I was surprised not to see a bit more emphasis on the Russian economy’s reliance on the oil and gas industries—thus the extreme effect that a drop in natural resource prices can have on Russian GDP —the article is an interesting “outside the box” take on the recession and, perhaps more importantly, opportunities for recovering from the recession.

[Hat Tip to The Power Vertical, a fantastic blog that I strongly recommend for Russia watchers.]


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