Last year proved to be difficult to describe. The economy didn’t experience a double-dip recession as some had feared, though recovery is too strong a word to describe it. The Eurozone did not implode, but not for lack of trying. The U.S. government did not default, even though it tried. Politics became more dysfunctional and we grow weary of an election still eight months away. Taking the cake is the MF Global failure that has the integrity of the futures industry teetering on a precipice.
War on terror: While we hesitate to celebrate a death, the Navy SEAL operation that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 was definitely a top as the undisputed leader of Al Qaeda had been at large a decade after unleashing the 9/11 attacks that forever changed our world. His attack on 9/11 killed nearly 3,000 people, many of them in our industry.
Economy: By no means is the economy flourishing, but we spent much of 2011 talking about a double-dip recession. That has not happened and while the jobs picture has not been great, there has been job growth; 1.9 million jobs have been added despite a net drop of 280,000 public sector jobs.
Arab spring: While still an unfolding story, the fact that popular uprisings have led to the end of oppressive regimes without all-out wars is a top. Tunisian and Egyptian leaders have been removed and there is hope for democratic reforms. Unfortunately, that is not the case in all Middle Eastern nations experiencing popular uprisings.