Recent event, including stock market falls, the escalating sovereign debt crises, US credit rating downgrade and a near-stalling of growth in the developed world is leading increasing numbers of experts to wonder if the world is facing some fundamental changes.
In reality, many of the ideas reflect trends that have been under way for many years, but the crisis had accelerated the process of change.
Four years after the financial crisis began and the world has certainly not returned to normal.
No major developed economy has yet fully regained the output lost during the recession and global share prices remain almost a third lower than their peak prior to the crisis.
Financial stocks have lost two-thirds of their value. Government debt has spiralled due to the bank bailouts, although it has become apparent that not all governments can finance this debt.
If stage one of the crisis involved the transfer of liabilities from the financial sector to governments via bank bailouts, stage two is witnessing transfers from weaker governments to stronger governments, as the latter seek to prevent the former from defaulting and causing more financial turmoil.
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