December 21, 2012 11:50 am

FT Lexicon

The global financial crisis and austerity issues dominate the news as well as the top viewed terms of 2012 in FT Lexicon.

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FT Lexicon

As fears of a triple-dip loom in the UK, it may come as no surprise that the term recession is number two in the glossary site of FT.com

1. mutual fund

2. recession

3. austerity measure

4. M0, M1, M2, M3, M4

5. quantitative easing

6. business sustainability

7. structural deficit

8. general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR)

9. Basel III

10. fiscal cliff

With the furore surrounding Amazon, Google and Starbucks for not paying enough corporation tax in the UK, the introduction of a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) in April 2013 to fight tax abuse has caused a mix reaction. George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, aims to tackle what he calls “morally repugnant” tax evasion as part of efforts to raise tax revenues. However, there are concerns over whether this rule will damage competitiveness in the UK.

As the UK economy continues to falter, Mr Osborne has confirmed that austerity measures will be extended until 2018 in an attempt to reduce the British government’s structural deficit. Such deficit-reduction programmes have caused anger and distress, particularly among those who are dependent on the state sector. In other parts of Europe such as France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, protests have been staged against government spending cuts.

What solutions are there to revive flagging economies? In the UK and US, quantitative easing, the injection of money by central banks into the financial system to boost the economy, is making news as it develops into a trilogy known as QE3.

This year, President Barack Obama’s election win was overshadowed by the looming fiscal cliff – the combination of tax increases and spending cuts at the end of this year – which could tip the US into recession, unless a deal can be agreed with Congress by December 31.

International efforts to regulate banks still continue, but US banks have also called for easing of one part of the Basel III bank reform package, aimed at preventing another financial crisis. The global rules will require banks to hold more capital to safeguard against future losses as well as hold stockpiles of liquid assets to sustain them through a market freeze. The rules will be phased in from January next year through to January 2019.

Economic gloom and doom aside, innovate ways of doing business are surfacing as some companies look to manage their business sustainability consisting of financial, environmental and social opportunities.

With problems such as unemployment and poverty prevailing, cash-strapped governments could turn to enterprises to help resolve such issues. For example, in the US, the development of business entities known as benefit corporations – legally required to create a positive social and environmental impact – shows that it is not only profit-generation that is driving all businesses.

View the 10 most viewed terms of 2012 above and see what definitions readers are looking up.

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