In this world of extremes, many of the world's extremes stem from economics. So the term global economy covers a lot of ground. It includes the mansions of Beverly Hills on the one hand and, on the other, the favelas (shantytowns) in the hills of Rio de Janeiro. Its inhabitants range from multibillionaire oil sheiks to people so poor that they eat rats in order to survive. Its markets operate with all the sophistication of the Goldman Sachs trading floor in Manhattan and all the simplicity of the barter society of the Huli tribe in Papau New Guinea.
It's not going too far to say that it's impossible to understand the world we live in without understanding its economics. In this section, we take a tour of the world economy and get to know the key players on a national level. We also look at the major economic developments going on in the world today, and the stakes in these issues for various parties.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics © 2003 by Tom Gorman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.