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The world economy is staring into a dangerous precipice; many see uncomfortable parallels with the period between the two world wars. Excessive financial liberalization has created a world where global private financial flows have broken free from multilateral supervision and regulation. Systemic instability and recurrent crises have followed and so far international policy makers have failed to find effective answers. This disturbing scenario provides the backdrop to the Trade and Development Report 2001. Part one of the report sets out to answer some key questions about the health of the world economy while part two takes a hard look at efforts to reform the international financial architecture.