Policymakers: Steering With Both Hands On The Wheel

Policymakers know that one false move could upset a fragile world economy

For politicians and policymakers around the world, 1999 is shaping up as a year of high ambitions--and high anxiety. Washington hopes to spend the year overhauling Social Security's creaky finances and structure. European leaders, after uniting their major currencies into one on Jan. 1, will move to cut unemployment while knitting the Continent into one vast economy. Tokyo at last is hearing--and may even start heeding--calls for bold action to rescue Japan's failing banks and pull its businesses out of a seven-year slump. And for the other crisis countries of Asia, 1999 is the year they can hope their economies will stop shrinking and they can start repairing their banking systems and industries.

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