WORLD ECONOMY: The Slowdown Goes Global

In much of the industrialized world, unease is growing among people who have mostly prospered since they pulled themselves from the rubble of World War II. European and Japanese headlines tell of inflation, layoffs, strikes, bankruptcies—and economic slowdowns. Businessmen abroad are hearing that well-worn aphorism: When the U.S. sneezes, the rest of the world catches red-white-and-blue flu.

That is not the real cause of trouble this time. Instead, the foreign slowdowns are largely self-induced. Governments have adopted policies to contain intolerable inflation, which has been fueled by the rising cost of...

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