While we have been through many recessions in the past, there is one thing very different about this one. It is the first one in a truly globalized world. There are reasonable arguments on both sides as to whether globalization will make the recession better or worse. While it is far too early to have a firm opinion, I suspect it will make the first one worse but subsequent ones easier.
One little-noticed result of this credit crisis has been a shifting of world leadership in dealing with financial problems. While Washington dithered, England implemented a plan that did a great deal of good. Europe and the U.S. followed them. I recently attended a lecture at the International Monetary Fund in DC and they discussed the lack of a global solution to the global credit crisis. Last week, two European heads of state visited the White House, asking the U.S. to immediately convene an international monetary summit. Fortunately, they prevailed. Leadership is shifting to Europe.
Because no global solution is possible now, I suspect the current recession will be made worse by globalization, but future recessions will have a better mechanism for dealing with them.