According to the International Monetary Fund, the global economic crisis has not only screwed over the poor but has left “deep scars” on the developed world. The level of debt owed to richer countries is the highest since World War II, the IMF says.

The high level of indebtedness, IMF official John Lipsky says, will push developed nations to reduce spending because money will be slow to return to lenders.

The grim prognosis, though, is typical IMF speak, which abhors state spending and pushes a strong free-market agenda. –JCL

The New York Times:

The global economic crisis has left “deep scars” in the fiscal balances of the world’s advanced economies, which should begin to rein in spending next year as the recovery continues, the No.2 official at the International Monetary Fund said Sunday in Beijing.

In a speech at the China Development Forum in Beijing, the I.M.F. official, John Lipsky, who is the deputy managing director, offered a grim prognosis for the world’s wealthiest countries, which are at a level of indebtedness not seen since the aftermath of World War II.

For the United States, “a higher public savings rate will be required to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability,” Mr. Lipsky said.

The United States and other industrialized countries, as well as some developing countries, have been putting pressure on the I.M.F. to criticize China for its large-scale intervention in currency markets to hold down the value of the renminbi against the dollar. But Mr. Lipsky refrained from chastising China in his speech, which Chinese officials would have found particularly offensive if he had done so in Beijing.

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