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A disaster of choice
On the IMF's latest economic forecast and who bears the blame for the bad news
Back when computers were a novelty (rather than omnipresent in our lives), coffee cups and other tchotchkes were sometimes sold with the slogan "To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer". A more relevant spin on that quotation today might be "To cause disruptions is the will of Mother Nature; to cause a real catastrophe requires a human".
■ The International Monetary Fund, noting that the global economy has been recovering from the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, has issued its opinion that "Global economic prospects have been severely set back, largely because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine." Other than the handful of lunatics who embrace "degrowth" as the solution to the world's problems, most people properly appreciate that rising living standards resulting from broad-based economic growth are a human good. Effects like rapidly-declining child mortality rates are the dividends of growth.
■ Many aspects of the economic troubles we can all observe are consequences of a shocking pandemic. Some of the widespread price inflation can be traced to money-supply interventions that have been employed by central banks for the last 15 years to try to ease the pain of recessions. But nothing whatsoever excuses the completely unnecessary and deliberate assault initiated by the powers in the Kremlin -- most specifically, Vladimir Putin -- against Ukraine and, consequently, against the world's economy.
■ This is an unforgivable, totally unnecessary, and (almost singularly) man-made disaster. The world cannot excuse the malicious decisions made. And it must not forget the lesson that human choices have consequences.