Negative Global Growth

by: Felix Salmon

The World Bank's pronouncement over the weekend is sobering:

The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War Two, with growth at least 5 percentage points below potential.

If gross world product is on the order of $50 trillion, that's $2.5 trillion of real economic output foregone as a result of this financial and economic crisis -- in just one year.

As recently as last April, I was saying that "it's pretty much impossible for the entire world to register negative growth in any given quarter" -- and now the World Bank is predicting that the entire world will register negative growth over an entire year. All I can hope for now is that this will be the only year in my lifetime that this will happen.