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The Global Economic Crisis and Developing Countries

The Global Economic Crisis and Developing Countries

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Published by Oxfam
Behind the official statistics, farmers, manufacturing workers, migrant workers, waste-pickers, and women working unpaid in the home all over the world are asking the same question: 'What hit us in 2009?'. Oxfam's research on the global economic crisis in 12 countries, involving some 2,500 individuals, is combined in this report with the findings of studies by a range of universities, think tanks, and international organizations. The report reveals the depth and complexity of the impacts of the global economic crisis, and the vulnerabilities and resilience of poor people and countries worldwide. Oxfam's research presents a diverse picture, with pockets of export-dependent workers and industries in countries like Ghana and Indonesia devastated, even as national economies seem to be weathering the storm. While householders spoke of having increasing trouble putting food on the table, they did not make neat conceptual distinctions between rising food prices, the economic crisis, or the impacts of climate change on their harvests. While this crisis has shown that governments' spending on health and education certainly increases poor people's resilience to shocks, so too does fiscal space, which may imply greater restraint in public spending during boom periods. This is a delicate balance, and one that is best struck by accountable national governments, rather than being imposed by technocrats in Washington, London, or Frankfurt. The crisis has highlighted social protection as a development issue, and the importance of managing risk and volatility at all levels. It is not enough to pursue economic growth now, and social welfare later - the two must come together in pursuit of improved well-being. Poverty is not just about income, or lack of it; it is about fear and anxiety over what tomorrow may bring. This crisis will not be the last, but if one of its lessons is that reducing vulnerability and building resilience are the central tasks of development, then future crises may bring less suffering in their wake.
Behind the official statistics, farmers, manufacturing workers, migrant workers, waste-pickers, and women working unpaid in the home all over the world are asking the same question: 'What hit us in 2009?'. Oxfam's research on the global economic crisis in 12 countries, involving some 2,500 individuals, is combined in this report with the findings of studies by a range of universities, think tanks, and international organizations. The report reveals the depth and complexity of the impacts of the global economic crisis, and the vulnerabilities and resilience of poor people and countries worldwide. Oxfam's research presents a diverse picture, with pockets of export-dependent workers and industries in countries like Ghana and Indonesia devastated, even as national economies seem to be weathering the storm. While householders spoke of having increasing trouble putting food on the table, they did not make neat conceptual distinctions between rising food prices, the economic crisis, or the impacts of climate change on their harvests. While this crisis has shown that governments' spending on health and education certainly increases poor people's resilience to shocks, so too does fiscal space, which may imply greater restraint in public spending during boom periods. This is a delicate balance, and one that is best struck by accountable national governments, rather than being imposed by technocrats in Washington, London, or Frankfurt. The crisis has highlighted social protection as a development issue, and the importance of managing risk and volatility at all levels. It is not enough to pursue economic growth now, and social welfare later - the two must come together in pursuit of improved well-being. Poverty is not just about income, or lack of it; it is about fear and anxiety over what tomorrow may bring. This crisis will not be the last, but if one of its lessons is that reducing vulnerability and building resilience are the central tasks of development, then future crises may bring less suffering in their wake.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 12, 2011
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02/08/2013

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www.oxfam.org
The Global Economic Crisisand Developing Countries
Duncan Green*, Richard King*, MayMiller-Dawkins
+
 
*Oxfam GB,
+
Oxfam Australia
28 May 2010
For further information, or to comment on this paper, emailresearch@oxfam.org.uk
OXFAMRESEARCHREPORT
 
 
 
The Global Economic Crisis and Developing Countries 
, Oxfam InternationalResearch Report, May 2010
2
Contents
Contents 2
 
Summary 4
 
The limits to resilience 5
 
Responding to crises 6
 
Lessons for the future 6
 
The future: building back better? 7
 
Scope and methodology 8
 
1 Impact, resilience, and vulnerability 9
Asia and the Pacific 14
 
Regional overview 14
 
Formal productive economy 16
 
Informal productive economy 18
 
Migration and remittances 18
 
Reproductive economy: household impacts 19
 
Sources of vulnerability and resilience 21
 
Sub-Saharan Africa 23
 
Regional overview 23
 
Financial economy 23
 
Formal productive economy 24
 
Informal productive economy 25
 
Migration and remittances 26
 
Reproductive economy: household impacts 26
 
Sources of vulnerability and resilience 27
 
Latin America and the Caribbean 31
 
Regional overview 31
 
Financial economy 31
 
Formal productive economy 31
 
Informal productive economy 33
 
Migration and remittances 33
 
Reproductive economy: household impacts 34
 
Sources of vulnerability and resilience 34
 
2 Responses to the crisis 36
Fiscal and monetary responses 36
 
Economic policy and job creation 37
 
Social responses 38
 
International institutions’ responses 40
 
Asia and the Pacific 41
 
Fiscal and monetary responses 41
 
Economic policy and job creation 42
 
Social responses 43
 
Sub-Saharan Africa 46
 
Fiscal and monetary responses 46
 
Economic policy and job creation 47
 
 
 
The Global Economic Crisis and Developing Countries 
, Oxfam InternationalResearch Report, May 2010
3
Social responses 48
 
Latin America and the Caribbean 50
 
Fiscal and monetary responses 50
 
Economic policy and job creation 51
 
Social responses 52
 
3 Conclusions 54
After a crisis 56
 
References 58Notes 62
 
Annex 1: Scope and methods of Oxfam research projects 68
 
Annex 2: Overview of consultation on the draft report 70
 
Acknowledgements 71
 

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