Soft Signs of Economic Revival in the Developed World

2013 was a painful year for developed economies, particularly those in the Eurozone. Finland, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain all saw their GDP shrink. France and Germany just barely avoided the same fate. But the latest International Monetary Fund projections for 2014 economic growth are better news for those ailing economies, as well as for the non-Eurozone G7 nations. The chart below ranks these countries from greatest projected 2014 growth (The United Kingdom) to worst (a tie between Finland and Slovenia). Although none of them has a red-hot economy, neither is any of them projected to contract.

IMF Growth Projections for 2014

The biggest projected turnaround from 2013 is long-suffering Greece, whose economy shriveled by a ghastly 3.9% in 2013. The Greeks must also feel relieved that investors seem willing to lend them money again. However, the end of economic contraction does not necessarily mean an end to misery for most people in an economy. Ryan Cooper glumly points out that Greek unemployment is at 27%! That grim statistic underscores how far Greece remains from a healthier economy like the U.K.’s, where respectable economic growth is being projected concurrent with a 5-year low in unemployment.

Still, as a whole, the developed world seems poised to move ahead economically in 2014. That’s encouraging news for the millions of its people who spent 2013 hanging on by their fingernails.

p.s. In case you are wondering why I use “Holland” instead of “The Netherlands”, it’s because Holland is an ancient Dutch word that translates roughly as “Name for our country that fits on a PowerPoint slide”.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College Lonon. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over ten thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.