Column: Billboard 2013

Jan 01 2014, 18:09 IST
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SummaryThe most-dramatic of all that played out last year on the stage of the world economy

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.

– William Shakespeare

Quite like the Bard had said, the economic scene last year had its share of dramatic moments which, though serious, could be narrated with a touch of the sardonic. Let’s look at the top-10 for the billboard.

At #10, is the famous tapering programme of the US Federal Reserve, which actually happened just recently. But ever since May, everyone was guessing what Fed chairman Ben Bernanke would do and how Larry Summers would be different from Janet Yellen (both were the top contenders to succeed Bernanke as Fed chair, until Summers quit the race). The chaos the taper-talk caused in stock markets and the damage it did to exchange rates was quite phenomenal, and Bernanke surely left his mark by being the major market-mover, who did things whenever he thought fit. But such is the case with Every man in his humour (Ben Jonson)!

Number 9 played out again in the US, when Uncle Sam played truant. The US debt ceiling was not a new issue but it resurfaced, waiting for an utterance. While the problem has not been addressed but simply deferred, it will come back to haunt President Barack Obama in 2014. The US also had a shutdown, something that no one could have thought of. Can a government actually come to a standstill with salaries not being paid? The world fretted and mocked. It was more a case of Man versus Superman and the President was left red-faced seeking acquiescence from the Republicans over the Affordable Care Act. Yes, it did happen. When Americans do recall the shutdown and the partisan politics that led to it, they will Look back in anger (John Osborne).

Number 8 played out here, at home, with the proverbial state of denial. We have been consistently told that the economy will pick up during the course of the year and that all policies are in place. Every attempt of the government at moving a bill came with self-eulogy even as it was shouted down by the Opposition. The economy was on the rise and things would turn around. The monsoon was going to be good, and the farmer, who was neglected by our entire reforms process for 20 years, was going to stand up and

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