The big story from the recent meetings of the IMF and the World Bank is that the world economy is recovering substantially more quickly than expected even six months ago. But the recovery in the global economic aggregate masks what is happening to the world’s people. Both within countries and among them, the disadvantaged seem set to suffer the slowest recoveries. Moreover, this house divided may not stand: what is going on — above all, the slow global rollout of the vaccines — will worsen prospects for everybody.

The striking feature of the new forecasts from the IMF is that cumulative growth in global gross domestic product per head between 2019 and 2022 is now forecast to be only 3 percentage points less than was forecast in January 2020. This is far better than the 6.5 percentage point shortfall last year and the 4 percentage shortfall forecast for this year. This then is the picture of a world economy in…

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