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December 5, 2000

Economic Planning Agency

Government of Japan



   Although there are several destabilizing factors, such as surge in crude oil prices and a weak euro, the world economy is in a better condition as a whole than it was shortly after the Asian currency and financial crisis. In major countries, prices are stable as a whole though energy prices are rising due to oil price hikes. Economic expansion is continuing in many countries and regions. As a result of the rapid diffusion of IT, such as Internet and mobile phones, it is no longer possible to discuss the world economy without taking IT into consideration.

   Against the background of progress in globalization and IT revolution, firms are under increasing pressure to cut back on labor costs, and at the same time, they are seeking workers with advanced knowledge and skills. While workers are able to choose from a variety of work styles, they are faced with the problem of how to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to expand career opportunity and increase income. Governments must increase employment and secure qualified workers who support the economic development. Enhancing knowledge and skills has become an extremely important matter not only for individuals and corporations but also for governments that are responsible for the economic policy.

   The White Paper on the World Economy 2000 introduces and analyzes developments in various countries. Chapter 1 reviews the world economic situation over the past year and discusses major topics by region. Chapter 2 examines how the labor market has changed and what measures have been taken to enhance knowledge and skills by individuals, companies and governments amid the on-going globalization and IT revolution.

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