Results 51–100 of 108 found.
The Fear Factor in Global Markets
The phenomenal market volatility of the past year owes much to genuine risks and uncertainties about factors such as Chinese growth, European banks, and the oil glut. Yet, from a macroeconomic perspective, the fundamentals are just not that bad.
The Great Escape from China
It might seem odd that a country running a $600 billion trade surplus in 2015 should be worried about currency weakness. But a combination of factors, including slowing economic growth and a gradual relaxation of restrictions on investing abroad, has unleashed a torrent of capital outflows.
Extreme Weather and Global Growth
Until recently, the usual thinking among macroeconomists has been that short-term weather fluctuations don’t matter much for economic activity. But recent economic research, bolstered by an exceptionally strong El Niño, has prompted reconsideration of this view.
Oil Prices and Global Growth
Oil prices were not as consequential for global growth in 2015 as seemed likely at the start of the year, and strong reserve positions and relatively conservative macroeconomic policies have enabled most major producers to avoid falling into crisis. But next year could be different, and not in a good way – especially for producers.
The Fed’s Communication Breakdown
Nothing describes the US Federal Reserve’s current communication policy better than the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. Indeed, the Fed’s communication strategy is a mess, and cleaning it up is far more important than the exact timing of its decision to exit near-zero interest rates.
The French Exception?
A healthy French economy would do wonders to help lift the eurozone out of its malaise and could provide an example to countries everywhere of how inclusive capitalism can work. But that assumes that the government will embrace the structural reforms that France’s economy so desperately needs.
The Age of Bobby Fischer
The new Hollywood movie “Pawn Sacrifice” depicts the Cold War match between the tormented chess prodigy and Russian world champion Boris Spassky. It also makes one wonder whether a creative genius like Fischer, deeply troubled yet supremely functional at the chessboard, would be able to exist in today’s unforgiving online world.
The Art of Capital Flight
For emerging-market investors, art has become a critical tool for moving and hiding wealth, which has been a major factor in the spectacular rise in auction prices of the last several years. So, with emerging-market economies from Russia to Brazil mired in recession, and China slowing rapidly, is the art bubble about to burst?
A New Deal for Debt Overhangs?
The IMF’s acknowledgement that Greece’s debt is unsustainable could prove to be a watershed moment for the global financial system. Clearly, heterodox policies to deal with high debt burdens need to be taken more seriously, even in some advanced countries.
Why the Greek Bailout Failed
As the crisis in Greek demonstrates, imposing structural reforms from outside a country is unlikely to succeed without the willingness of a capable government. If a bailout program requires a wholesale change in a country’s economic model, moving swiftly to write down outstanding debts may be the more sensible option.
The Right Food Fight
The question of the extent to which governments should regulate or tax addictive behavior has long framed public debate about alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other goods and services. And now, in the US – arguably the mother of global consumer culture – the debate has turned toward the fight against the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy
Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality. Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries?
Will China’s Infrastructure Bank Work?
With China's creation of the new $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, most of the debate has centered on the futile US effort to discourage other advanced economies from joining. Bu the real question is why multilateral development lending has so often failed, and what might be done to make it work better.
The Stock-Bond Disconnect
How should one understand the disconnect between the new highs reached by global equity indices and the new depths plumbed by real interest rates worldwide? Several competing explanations attempt to reconcile these trends, and getting it right is essential for calibrating monetary and fiscal policy appropriately.
What Is Plan B for Greece?
Though the far-left Syriza party’s recent election victory has sent Greek equities and bonds plummeting, there is little sign of contagion to other distressed countries on the eurozone periphery. The question is how long this relative calm will prevail.
Do Economic Sanctions Work?
With Western economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Cuba in the news, it is a good time to take stock of the debate on just how well such measures work. The short answer is that economic sanctions usually have only modest effects, even if they can be an essential means of demonstrating moral resolve.
Can Japan Reboot?
Shinzo Abes recent policy decisions to increase monetary stimulus dramatically, to postpone a consumption-tax increase, and to call a snap election in mid-December have returned Japan to the forefront of an intense policy debate. The question is simple: How can aging advanced economies revive growth after a financial crisis?
Celebrity Central Bankers
Major central banks growth and inflation forecasts in the years since the financial crisis have consistently overestimated both growth and inflation and by wide margins. So why do the comments of major economies central bankers command outsize attention?
China’s Inscrutable Contraction
As China shifts to a more domestic-demand driven, services-oriented economy, a transition to slower trend growth is both inevitable and desirable. But the challenges are immense, and no one should take a soft landing for granted.
The Exaggerated Death of Inflation
Modern central banking has worked wonders to bring down inflation. Ultimately, however, a central banks anti-inflation policies can work only within the context of a macroeconomic and political framework that is consistent with price stability.
A Tear for Argentina
Argentinas latest default poses unsettling questions for policymakers. Though the countrys periodic debt crises are often the result of self-destructive macroeconomic policies, the default has been triggered this time by a significant shift in the international sovereign-debt regime.
The 4% Non-Solution
The idea of permanently raising inflation targets to 4%, first proposed by IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard, has been endorsed by a number of other academics, including, most recently, Paul Krugman. Unfortunately, the problem of ensuring a smooth and convincing transition to a new target is perhaps insurmountable.
Where Is the Inequality Problem?
Though Thomas Piketty is right that returns to capital in rich countries have increased in the last few decades, he is too dismissive of the wide-ranging debate among economists concerning the causes. More important, when it comes to reducing inequality between rich and poor countries, capitalism has had an impressive three decades.
A Surplus of Controversy
When the US Treasury recently added its voice to critics of Germany?s chronic trade surplus, it underscored the deep disagreement over what, if anything, should be done about it. It is a highly contentious debate, often informed more by ideology than facts.
How Fragile are Emerging Markets?
Emerging-market equities and exchange rates are again under severe downward pressure, but are the underlying economies really as fragile as global traders seem to fear? The short answer, for a few, is probably "yes," but, for most, "not quite yet."
The huge gap between the world’s richest and poorest countries remains one of the great moral dilemmas for the West. It also poses one of the toughest questions for development economics: Do we really know how to help countries overcome poverty?
What's the Problem With Advanced Economies?
Is todays slow growth in advanced economies a continuation of long-term secular decline, or does it reflect the normal aftermath of a deep systemic financial crisis? Fortunately, we do not need to answer that question definitively in order to boost the pace of economic recovery.
Why Wealth Taxes Are Not Enough
The IMF is right on grounds of both fairness and efficiency to raise the idea of temporary wealth taxes in many countries. But, as appealing as such taxes may seem at first sight, a closer look reveals that the revenues are lower, and the costs higher, than calculations used to promote them would imply.
America's Endless Budget Battle
Perhaps investors are becoming inured to America’s annual debt-ceiling debacle, now playing out for the third year in a row. But, as the short-term antics become more routine, the risks of long-term dysfunction become more apparent.
Are Emerging Markets Submerging?
After years of solid output gains since the 2008 financial crisis, the combined effect of decelerating long-term growth in China and a potential end to ultra-easy monetary policies in advanced countries is exposing significant fragilities in emerging markets. Is the inevitable echo crisis in these countries already upon us?
The Federal Reserve in a Time for Doves
The battle is on to replace current US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and two of the leading candidates, Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen, display a dovish bias regarding inflation. In normal times, that would be a handicap; under current conditions, it is an advantage.
From the onset of the global financial crisis, the price of gold has often been portrayed as a barometer of global economic insecurity. So, does the collapse in gold prices from a peak of $1,900 per ounce in August 2011 to under $1,250 at the beginning of July 2013 represent a vote of confidence in the global economy?
Inflation Is Still the Lesser Evil
The worlds major central banks continue to express concern about inflationary spillover from their recession-fighting efforts. That is a mistake: given the political, social, and economic risks of continued slow growth, policymakers should encourage a sustained burst of moderate inflation.
Europe's Lost Keynesians
There is no magic Keynesian bullet for the eurozones woes, despite what many commentators and much of the public seem to believe. The eurozones difficulties stem from European financial and monetary integration having gotten too far ahead of actual political, fiscal, and banking union not exactly a problem that Keynes tried to address.
The Long Mystery of Low Interest Rates
As policymakers and investors continue to fret over the risks posed by todays ultra-low global interest rates, academic economists continue to debate the underlying causes. While everyone accepts that a global savings glut is at the root of the problem, no one has provided a convincing explanation of what, exactly, is driving it.
Mexico Breaking Good?
Mexico is enjoying a manufacturing boom that has boosted its exports to the US after a long secular decline. With China's wages soaring and rising oil prices driving up shipping costs, production in Mexico is suddenly looking much more attractive, even taking security concerns into account.
Blaming the Fed
Critics of the Federal Reserve are having a field day with embarrassing revelations of its risk assessments on the eve of the financial crisis. But, while it is legitimate to criticize individual policymakers, their poor judgment does not impugn the entire institution.
The Unstarvable Beast
As US President in the 1980's, the conservative icon Ronald Reagan described his approach to fiscal policy as "starve the beast": cutting taxes will eventually force people to accept less government spending. So why has the cost of government not only in the US continued to rise inexorably?
What's Troubling India?
Just a couple of years ago, India was developing a reputation as an attractive investment location, with heads of state virtually tripping over one another to meet business leaders in Mumbai and pave the way for further trade and investment. Now their interest has faded, along with India's macroeconomic numbers.
King Ludd is Still Dead
Since the dawn of the industrial age, a recurrent fear has been that technological change will spawn mass unemployment. By and large, neoclassical economists' prediction that people would find other jobs, though possibly after a long period of painful adjustment, has been proven correct but for how much longer?
Ending the Financial Arms Race
As finance has become more complicated, regulators have tried to keep up by adopting ever more complicated rules. It is an arms race that underfunded government agencies have no chance to win, which means that it is time to change the nature of the contest.
How Long for Low Rates?
Global investors are apparently willing to accept extraordinarily low interest rates, even though they do not appear to compensate for expected inflation. But, while interest rates could fall still further, over the longer term this situation is not stable and could unwind rapidly.
Will Governmental Folly Now Allow for a Cyber Crisis?
When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, many shocked critics asked why markets, regulators, and financial experts failed to see it coming. Today, one might ask the same question about the global economys vulnerability to cyber-attack; indeed, the parallels between financial crises and the threat of cyber meltdowns are striking.
Austerity and Debt Realism
With many of todays advanced economies near or approaching the 90%-of-GDP level that loosely marks high-debt periods, expanding todays already large deficits is a risky proposition, not the cost-free strategy that many advocate. On the contrary, the impact of prolonged high debt levels on long-term growth is likely to be profound.
Why a More Flexible Renminbi Still Matters
Given the sharp drop in Chinas current-account surplus, should the US, the IMF, and other players stop pressing China to move to a more flexible currency regime? The answer is no, because Chinas economy is still plagued by massive imbalances, and a more flexible regime would provide an important stabilizer.
A Centerless Euro Cannot Hold
Europe may never be an optimum currency area by any standard. But, without further profound political and economic integration which may end up excluding some current eurozone members the euro may not make it even to the end of this decade.
Jeremy Lin and the Political Economy of Superstars
High salaries for athletes and movie stars are easily accepted by the public. So why, if a financial trader or a corporate boss is paid a fortune, does the public suspect that he or she must be undeserving or, worse, a thief.
Just as the financial industry caused a near-meltdown of the global economy in 2008, the food industry has facilitated the explosion of obesity around the world. In both cases, the links to broader problems with contemporary Western capitalism have become impossible to ignore.
Results 51–100 of 108 found.