What is an economic miracle?

An economic miracle is a term used for any kind of resurgence in a national economy from a period of extreme distress.

An economic miracle is a term used for any kind of resurgence in a national economy from a period of extreme distress. This kind of resurgence is considered miraculous because of the depths to which the economy in question has sunk and the seemingly dwindling prospects for recovery. Common examples of an economic miracle include Germany and Japan, which, after being ravaged by World War II, both managed to become economic superpowers again in a relatively short time. In most cases, this phenomenon is triggered by some kind of change in philosophy or innovative strategy implemented by government or economic leaders.

There have been a few moments in history when countries with seemingly hopeless economic prospects not only rose from the depths, but also found a way to thrive again. On many of these occasions, recoveries have occurred in much faster time periods than economic experts could have predicted. Since these surprising twists seem to have been almost divinely inspired, the phenomenon has become known as an economic miracle.

Certain characteristics usually exist for a situation to be considered an economic miracle. The economy of the country described is generally one that has fallen from an earlier high point perhaps to the lowest point in its history. At the lowest point, macroeconomic signifiers such as high unemployment, stagnant growth and rising inflation often reigned. From there, the economy began to reverse its trajectory until reaching its previous levels and perhaps even surpassing them.

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For an economic miracle to happen, usually some sort of action must be taken by government leaders. In some previous cases of these miracles, it was necessary to loosen restrictions to get the economy flowing and stimulate growth. Other economic miracles have happened through the combined efforts of all types of entities, from national banks to small businesses and consumers. Whatever initiatives are used, they are usually carried out by individuals with a vision of how these measures would reinvigorate the economy.

Throughout history, perhaps the best examples of an economic miracle have come from two countries that were devastated by being at the losing end of World War II. Immediately after the war, Germany and Japan seemed to have little chance of returning to the ranks of economic superpowers. Yet in the second half of the 20th century, its booming economies were the envy of most nations around the world.

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