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Introduction The average Canadian has become conditioned to rising prices however it is impossible to ignore the impending threat of a sustained decline in prices and wages Roger Bootle a respected British analyst points out that the chronic inflation experienced by Western economies in recent decades is unusual as in the past centuries prices tended to fall as often as they rose Today however inflation has almost disappeared due to globalization and changes in technology that have made markets more competitive and decreased the power of unions For millions of consumers the resulting drop in interest rates has made mortgages car loans and other major expenses more affordable Investors have benefited as well because lower corporate borrowing costs and increased consumer demand have contributed to big profits and generous returns for shareholders Unable to raise prices at will companies have endeavored to improve productivity which ultimately leads to a higher standard of living for all Asian Crisis Background Was Asias economic boom a miracle or just a mirage That is the overriding question facing economists today For nearly a decade Asian economies grew rapidly where industries such as textiles and semiconductors took over fishing villages This impressive growth was the result of the natural flow of capital to regions with cheap land Government built infrastructure which aided in the production of goods and their transport to market as well as inexpensive labor were also factors Gradually costs rose and time exposed weaknesses such as the misuses of capital in the Asian economic shell Corruption greed and government interference directed capital to uses that were unproductive or wasteful such as property development and security speculation Moreover because of this overinvestment the remarkable economic growth in the early years went overboard producing excess capacity in a wide range of industries as well as weighing companies down with unserviceable debt The outcome was that the price at which these companies thought they would sell their product came up
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