Everyone was on a high — extravagant lifestyles, unbelievable yearly profits and diversification to every possible corner of the world. And then it came — the big change. Profits plummeted, CEOs resigned and lifestyles shrank. As the world still reels with aftershocks of the economic downturn, Gulf News asked readers to look into the future of a world, post-recession. How do you see the world emerging from the slump? Do you think it will lead to a more stable world economy? Will the divide between the haves and have-nots reduce?

The economic crisis is forcing countries to cooperate with each other on poverty, energy and climate change.

Each country is going to be looking at its own crisis and dealing with it. I am from the UK, where sustainability is a huge issue in the way businesses are run. I can see some changes happening across the world in this direction as people are becoming more aware of practical ways of operating their businesses. And to be completely honest, I do not think they have any other option.
Nicola Davis

I actually think it will do the exact opposite. One of the reasons why this crisis happened is because of the over-globalisation of the market. A lot of countries have started taking a step back now, because they feel they trusted each other to hold up their end of the bargain, but now everyone seems to be backing out, with the entire economy falling apart. I think the crisis will lead to a more isolationist mentality.
Mustafa Ali

I recently heard that charity organisations were sending out a plea to countries and corporations to not forget them during the global economic crisis. I definitely hope that the crisis will encourage them to take constructive steps towards these issues. However, I feel that it is easy to forget them as well. Despite the fact that they are pressing issues, nobody is concerned about them at this time of crisis.
Katrina Hall

I would definitely hope this crisis acts as a wake-up call and brings countries together. If not, I am concerned about how it may lead to social unrest in countries with a high population. Our lifestyle across the board, environmentally or economically, needs to change. We are all in this crisis together, and it calls for a collaborative effort. However, how it can be achieved is not the easiest of questions to answer.
Chris T.

The emerging banking system will be based on sounder principles of accountability and transparency.

The emerging banking system will certainly have firm principles of transparency to encourage discipline. Improved regulatory frameworks will be introduced in the banking industry and bank managements have already undergone stringent reporting through audits. As far as accountability is concerned, banks need to be liable for their own actions. However, there is a need for government intervention in certain cases.
Jyoti Chandwani

Lack of transparency played a major role in creating the global crisis, markets were largely unregulated, complex and ambiguous. As firms took more risks, regulations should have demanded they be more transparent. Investors should have been given the information as to where their money was going and how it was being used, especially credit default swaps. There were so many frauds that went around in the market.
Yasmeen Abdul Azeem

There was so much competition among banks in the past, that they started giving out loans irrationally, which led to the entire crisis. It is not an issue that can be taken lightly, especially when it comes to someone's hard-earned money. The level of strictness in lending money needs to vary from case to case. However, bank policies definitely need to be modified.
Reza Al Kareem

I do not think banks will come up with a completely new system. Instead, it should be a case of going back to the basics. Banks were overlooking basic procedures that needed to be carried out, like verifying records before granting loans. They should now take more proactive measures and be careful with lending practices. Hopefully, they will become more cautious with their operations.
Adrian Samson

Environment and low-carbon economies will be the focus of the coming years.

Even though one may find environmental concerns on an individual level, the impact of the environmental crisis on our lives is still not taken very seriously by the general public. Secondly, I also feel that with the global economic crisis already seriously impacting the world, many countries' main aims will be to have a more stable and steady economy, before focusing on environmental issues.
Rima Mansingani

These issues will become important in the future, but I do not see businesses being concerned about it at the moment. The way they are run is generating a lot of waste and impacting the environment, but it is cheaper. The fact is steps in the direction of eco-friendly operations are very costly, and I don't see any major changes happening as the world economy is already in a crisis. I hope they look towards it in the future.
Dana Audeh

I do not see these becoming a concern for the next few years. Countries and corporations will just try to get the economy back on track, first. Their main aim is to get out of this recession, in any way they can. Any new move should be financially viable for a company to make the switch. Ideally, governments should slowly introduce steps like regulations or laws that push companies towards these goals.
Kashif Khan
Al Ain

What people are worried about, at the moment, is losing their jobs. I and my husband lost our jobs in New Zealand because of the massive lay-offs there and were lucky to find new ones. However, it is a pattern that is being seen across the globe. Additionally, things like processed foods, that lead to high carbon emissions, have become a part of our lifestyle. People need money to live, for which they need their jobs.
Marli Henderson

The crisis will give rise to the growth of smaller businesses and the crumbling of giant corporations.

It all depends on what the product is. For example, when it comes to restaurants, eating out can be attractive, but due to the crisis, people are avoiding these expenses. The number of diners in high class restaurants has fallen as people prefer eating at home or going to fast food outlets or cafés. Automobile companies have seen their businesses collapsing, whereas those owning cafeterias and grocery stores are more satisfied.
Zehra Walji

Giant corporations will not have the same opportunities necessary for their survival, hence they will tend to become extinct. However, where there is protectionism, they may survive. However, in a competitive environment, the need for lean and mean functioning will be primary. They will cut down on unnecessary costs and provide services without fancy attachments. This will lead to the growth of smaller firms.
Georgina Mathias
Abu Dhabi

I already see this happening. American cars are becoming cheaper, there are salary cuts all across the globe. However, I am not too sure if this will be beneficial for smaller companies, as even big companies with all their resources are struggling to survive. Personally, the only way in which this has affected me is that my father moved to Abu Dhabi from Dubai, so I get to see him less often.
Ali Emara

I recently read an article debating the bailout packages for the American auto-makers. I feel it is not only about saving certain corporations when governments try to bail them out. These auto-makers have a major role to play in a country's economy and if they collapse, the damage to the economy will be huge. So, it is not really about saving the firms, it is about saving the economy.
Nisin Mathew