This year's Global Competitiveness Report appears at a time of exceptional uncertainty. Global economic activity has slowed substantially, stock markets have shown considerable volatility, and the world's major currencies have experienced significant fluctuations. In Europe, where the final steps toward monetary are being taken, output has declined considerably below the region's production potential. In Japan, there are serious concerns about a prolonged recession, and in several countries throughout the rest of Asia, industrial production has shrunk markedly. Other emerging market economies have been subject to financial turmoil that reminds us of the severe crises of 1997 and 1998. The greatest uncertainty, however, concerns the United States, whose economy had essentially come to a standstill in the second quarter of 2001.
Coping with the enormous challenges currently facing the global economy requires pursuing a prudent and proactive macroeconomic policy stance. More importantly, it requires strengthening the cross-border networks that promote private investment, entrepreneurship, and social progress around the world. In this endeavor, The Global Competitiveness Report remains an invaluable tool by identifying existing impediments to economic growth and thus helping in the design of policy measures to remove such obstacles as a precondition for advancing human well-being across the globe. This year's Report appears in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. The unprecedented tragedy that occurred - and the events these attacks have triggered - have profoundly affected the global economic outlook. In response to this extraordinary economic shock, the 2001-2002 Report includes a separate, shorter-term analysis of the world economy in the new Introduction. Based on responses from 90 senior executives whose companies are part of the World Economic Forum, this "flash survey" assesses the magnitude of the effects of September 11 over the coming months. In addition, no fewer than 17 countries have been added to the country profile analysis, reflecting the rising integration of developing countries into the global economy. It also ensures that The Global Competitiveness Report remains the most authoritative source for policymakers, the business community, and other key stakeholders. Data CD-ROM: For the first time ever, results from the World Economic Forum/Harvard University Executive Opinion Survey are available to researchers and policymakers on CD-ROM. This includes many of the same results used in the construction of the Growth Competitiveness Index and the Current Competitiveness Index.