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The Long Unwinding Road: Global Consumers And The Economic Imbalance

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Executive Summary

The global economic crisis of 2008-09 exposed the fault lines of the imbalanced global economy. When the inflated values of property-based assets peaked and then collapsed, global financial institutions suffered huge losses. The resulting loss of confidence caused a near shutdown in global credit markets as investors fled to the safety of short-term government securities. Moreover, indebted consumers were forced to dramatically shift gears. They increased savings, paid off debts and ceased to spend with abandon. Of course this crisis, like all economic crises, will eventually end, and the global economy will recover - indeed there are significant indications that recovery is now under way. Yet the global pattern of consumer spending of the past decade will not return.

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