In this week's special issue, you'll find a review of the year we're about to exit, with a focus on company strategies, consolidation, executive changes, the fate of online retailing and other trends. No doubt, these trends and events are all important ingredients in the happenings of the year. But the subtext of many or all these changes is the condition of the economy. This is not to overlook the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, addressed in this issue. These events had profound ...

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