After two turbulent years, is the worst now behind us or is crisis always just around the corner? Will the current economic fragility be overcome to give way to major successes?
On the economic front, big question marks lie over the latter part of this year, which is also the end of the millennium. Globalization has made the evolution of the planet’s different economies increasingly interdependent. In this issue, scholars, financiers and industrialists who are involved in the international scenario intervene in an effort to find an answer to our questions. Have the effects of the financial crisis that has halved the rate of world growth in the past two years run their course? Can the impetuous rise of the American economy and Wall Street continue? After a tempestuous start, how will the exchange rate of the single European currency against the dollar evolve? What place is the European Union destined to occupy in the world economic and political context? These are issues of great importance that form part of an ongoing debate at an international level. The editorial that provides an introduction to the theme of globalization and financial crises is the work of Enzo Grilli, who, until a few months ago, was executive director of the International Monetary Fund and is today professor at the Johns Hopkins University of Washington. In Grilli’s opinion, the financial crisis of the past two years is over, but it is necessary to push ahead, reforming a number of basic mechanisms of the world financial system. It is also the point of view of the well-known American financier George Soros. The worst is over, but crises are always lying in wait. To minimize the risks, this financier presents some proposals for the international banking, financial and payments systems.
A viewpoint that is decidedly against general opinion is that of the brilliant economist and Boston’s MIT professor, Rudiger Dornbusch. The risks are by no means over, as many think. However, they are not lurking in Asian countries or Latin America, but rather in the United States and Japan, where marked factors of imbalance could lead to growing difficulties. On the other hand, the political scientist Thierry de Montbrial, director of IFRI in Paris, is more optimistic. According to de Montbrial, the present weakness of the European Union and the euro is only temporary, and in the next few years the overall project of integration will go forward and be successful. Lastly, the chairman of the multi-national Pilkington, Paolo Scaroni, expresses the industry’s opinion on the subject of crises: it is necessary to learn to live with the turbulence that in one way or another will also accompany us into the future. And he emphasizes that firms, especially European ones, must be more committed on the innovation and new technologies front, backed up by major education projects that governments need to implement in order to prepare a future of well-being and competitiveness.
As usual, the central section of arcVision focuses on architectural themes and the art of construction, but this time it is dedicated to matter. Matter can be identified with form by giving life to extraordinary architectural works. Riccardo Mariani has introduced this theme with well-thought acumen and it is supported by a panorama that knows no bounds. The international precincts in which the great planners work are probed and examined: from the likes of Fuksas to Fumihiko Maki, from Predock to Sordo Madaleno and José de Yturbe, not forgetting Gonzáles de León, Serrano and Tejeda. And then again, there’s “Yanbu Main Gate” from Studio 65 and “Parilly Venissieux” by Jourda and Perraudin.
And to finish: an in-depth study and a series of interviews on one of the major state-of-theart architectural events happening in Italy: the Church that Richard Meier designed for Rome’s Jubilee 2000, which we presented in the first issue of arcVision. In the Roman construction site of Tor Tre Teste a futuristic, and very demanding, project takes form little by little; it is a great challenge to create this work that is characterized by the American architect’s “white sails” that should have the “power to guide us towards a new world.”