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Economy and Globalisation

Submitted by J Bradford DeLong on January 5, 2007 - 9:50am.
Saved by Taxes

"What do we owe to our great-great-great-grandchildren? What actions are we obligated to take now in order to diminish the risks to our descendants and our planet from the increasing likelihood of global warming and climate change? Almost everyone – except the likes of ExxonMobil, US Vice President Dick Cheney, and their paid servants and deluded acolytes – understands that when humans burn hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere, where it acts like a giant blanket, absorbing infrared radiation coming up from below and warming the earth.": J Bradford DeLong

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on January 1, 2007 - 5:52pm.
Will the Dam Break in 2007?

"For the last few years, some bearish economists have warned about America’s real estate boom, its consumption binge, global imbalances, and even unreasonably low risk premiums; but somehow America, and the world, has muddled through. Some conclude that this proves that, even with poor political leadership, we can muddle through for still another year. Perhaps so. But perhaps not: muddling through has in some respects worsened the underlying problems, making the inevitable adjustments all the more painful. Indeed, that may be the main lesson we learn in 2007.": Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Jeffrey Sachs on December 22, 2006 - 12:39am.
Getting Practical in Controlling Malaria

"Many international assistance programs fail because they are badly designed and/or too complicated. The result is that the poor don’t get the help they need, and taxpayers in rich countries lose confidence in the use of their aid funds. A case in point has been malaria control. If rich countries adopt simpler and more practical strategies to help Africa fight malaria, they can save millions of Africans while building enthusiastic support among their citizens.": Jeffrey Sachs

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Submitted by Kenneth Rogoff on December 6, 2006 - 12:46am.
Losing Latin America

"When is the United States going to wake up to what is happening in Latin America? The growing influence of Venezuela’s leftist president, Hugo Chávez, is casting a dark shadow over the region.": Kenneth Rogoff

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on December 5, 2006 - 12:08am.
A coup in NAIRU

"For more than three decades, Phelps has shown that there is an alternative approach. He has tried to understand what we can do to lower unemployment and increase the well-being of those at the bottom. But he has also striven to understand what makes capitalist economies dynamic, what lies behind the entrepreneurial spirit, and what we can do to promote it further. Phelps’ economics remains one of action, not resignation." Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on December 3, 2006 - 12:36am.
From Oil to Information

"Sheikh Yamani, Saudi Arabia’s former oil minister and a founding architect of OPEC, once said, 'The stone age came to an end not for a lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil.' Humans stopped using stone because bronze and iron were superior materials. But will we really stop using oil when other energy technologies similarly provide superior benefits?": Karuna Raman

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Submitted by J Bradford DeLong on November 28, 2006 - 7:29pm.
Friedman Completed Keynes

"I do not know whether Keynes or Friedman was more right in their deep orientation. But I do think that the tension between their two views has been a very valuable driving force for human progress over the past hundred years.": J Bradford DeLong

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on November 18, 2006 - 3:50pm.
What Monetary Policy Does China Need?

"China’s remarkable growth has been financed recently by a rapid expansion of money and bank credit that is producing an increasingly unsustainable investment boom. This renews concerns that the country may not be able to avert a replay of the painful boom–and-bust cycle such as the one it endured in the mid-1990’s. ": Marvin Goodfriend and Eswar Prasad

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on November 14, 2006 - 12:33am.
Mind the Gap

"Within today’s booming world economy, most developing countries have been growing rapidly. Yet this has not diminished the pressure to reduce the yawning gap in income between developed and developing countries that has shaped global debates for over a half-century. International inequalities, while large three decades ago, have worsened ever since. But there is another international income divergence that demands attention. Since 1980, the world has witnessed a widening income gap among developing countries.": José Antonio Ocampo

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on November 13, 2006 - 12:27am.
A Cool Calculus of Global Warming

"The British government recently issued the most comprehensive study to date of the economic costs and risks of global warming, and of measures that might reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in the hope of averting some of the direst consequences. Written under the leadership of Sir Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, who succeeded me as Chief Economist of the World Bank, the report makes clear that the question is no longer whether we can afford to do anything about global warming, but whether we can afford not to." Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on November 10, 2006 - 2:16am.
Capitalism's Moral Bastards

"Oxytocin is active in evolutionarily old areas of our brain, outside of our conscious awareness. We simply have a sense that sharing with someone who has trusted us is the right thing to do. ... Our evidence suggests that bastards’ brains work differently. Their character traits are similar to those of sociopaths. They simply do not care about others the way most people do, and the dysfunctional processing of oxytocin in their brains appears to be one reason for this. Because bastards are out there, we still need government and personal enforcement of economic exchange.": Paul J. Zak

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Submitted by Kenneth Rogoff on November 8, 2006 - 12:46am.
America’s Anti-Environmentalists

"As an American, I am appalled, ashamed, and embarrassed by my country’s lack of leadership in dealing with global warming. Scientific evidence on the risks mounts by the day, as most recently documented in England’s magisterial Stern Report. Yet, despite the fact that the United States accounts for roughly 25% of all man-made global carbon emissions, Americans show little will or inclination to temper their manic consumption. ... America’s unwillingness to take the lead on environmental issues may some day be regarded as one of the country’s most profound political failures. One hopes that it changes course soon, before we all are forced to wear swimsuits to work.": Kenneth Rogoff

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on November 4, 2006 - 9:56am.
The New Baby Boomers

"Alienated and unemployed youth are a concern everywhere. They pose a particular challenge in the developing world, where a demographic bulge equal to the great "baby boom" that occurred in the West at the end of World War II is growing. But the post-war era in the world’s most developed countries was one of unprecedented prosperity for the baby boom generation, which is now nearing retirement. Will the future be as promising for the developing world’s billion-plus young people between the ages of 12 and 24?": François Bourguignon, Chief Economist, World Bank

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on October 26, 2006 - 12:37am.
Too precious to privatise

"In a world where water can only become rarer and more precious, it seems foolish in the extreme to allow it to become a commodity; something to be bought and sold where the only motive is profit. In this instance it is not so much a case of ‘selling our souls’ but of ‘selling our lives’ and watching our future drain away through those ‘golden’ corporate ‘fingers’.": Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Jeffrey Sachs on October 23, 2006 - 1:41am.
The Environment Fights Back

"Our political systems and global politics are largely unequipped for the real challenges of today’s world. Global economic growth and rising populations are putting unprecedented stresses on the physical environment, and these stresses in turn are causing unprecedented challenges for our societies. Yet politicians are largely ignorant of these trends. Governments are not organized to meet them. And crises that are fundamentally ecological in nature are managed by outdated strategies of war and diplomacy.": Jeffrey Sachs

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on October 22, 2006 - 11:21am.
The Tyranny of King Cotton

"Americans like to think that if poor countries simply open up their markets, greater prosperity will follow. Unfortunately, where agriculture is concerned, this is mere rhetoric. The United States pays only lip service to free market principles, favoring Washington lobbyists and campaign contributors who demand just the opposite. Indeed, it is America’s own agricultural subsidies that helped kill, at least for now, the so-called Doha Development Round of trade negotiations that were supposed to give poor countries new opportunities to enhance their growth." Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on October 11, 2006 - 6:59am.
Evidence-based Economics

"There is a movement in medicine to require that applications for licenses to sell a new drug be "evidence-based." By contrast, trained economists view their discipline as having already achieved this scientific standard. After all, they express their ideas with mathematics and arrive at quantitative estimates of implied relationships from empirical data. But economics is not evidence-based in selecting its theoretical paradigms. Economic policy initiatives are often taken without all the empirical pre-testing that could have been done." Edmund S Phelps

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on October 8, 2006 - 2:23am.
Corrupting the Fight Against Corruption

"At its recent annual meeting, World Bank officials spoke extensively about corruption. It is an understandable concern: money that the Bank lends to developing countries that ends up in secret bank accounts or finances some contractors’ luxurious lifestyle leaves a country more indebted, not more prosperous." Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Solomon Wakeling on October 5, 2006 - 2:47pm.
Exculpation of the Leisure Class

Solomon tries his hand at economics, via Thorsten Veblen: "To coin a phrase, we live in a world of conspicuous creation and purposeless splendour."

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Submitted by Kenneth Rogoff on October 3, 2006 - 6:55pm.
Where Did Market Volatility Go?

"Television and newspapers continue to trumpet every twist and turn of global financial markets. In truth, however, the big story is the uneerie calm that has engulfed virtually every major asset class, from stocks to bonds. Is the whole investment world on Prozac?": Kenneth Rogoff

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Submitted by J Bradford DeLong on September 29, 2006 - 9:39pm.
Has Neo-Liberalism Failed Mexico?

"The neo-liberal story may be true. But it is an excuse. It may not be true. Having witnessed Mexico’s slow growth over the past 15 years, we can no longer repeat the old mantra that the neo-liberal road of NAFTA and associated reforms is clearly and obviously the right one." J Bradford DeLong

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Submitted by Joseph Stiglitz on September 10, 2006 - 10:53pm.
Making Globalization Work

"Globalization can be changed; indeed, it is clear that it will be changed. The question is whether change will be forced upon us by a crisis or result from careful, democratic deliberation and debate. Crisis-driven change risks producing a backlash against globalization, or a haphazard reshaping of it, thus merely setting the stage for more problems later on. By contrast, taking control of the process holds out the possibility of remaking globalization, so that it at last lives up to its potential and its promise: higher living standards for everyone in the world. " Joseph Stiglitz

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Submitted by Kenneth Rogoff on September 6, 2006 - 9:18am.
Can the IMF avert a global meltdown?

"This year, the US will borrow roughly $800 billion to finance its trade deficit. Incredibly, the US is now soaking up roughly two-thirds of all global net saving, a situation without historical precedent." Kenneth Rogoff

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on September 4, 2006 - 8:25am.
Are foreign investors still welcome?

"World flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) have soared over the past two decades, from $40 billion in the early 1980s to $900 billion last year. The cumulative stock of FDI has reached close to $10 trillion, making it the most important mechanism for delivery of goods and services to foreign markets: sales by foreign affiliates total roughly $19 trillion, compared to world exports of $11 trillion. At the same time, the liberalisation of FDI regimes by virtually all countries has been a driving force of intra-firm trade – the lifeblood of the emerging system of integrated international production and already around one-third of world trade. But are the good times coming to an end?" Karl P Sauvant

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Submitted by Tony Phillips on September 2, 2006 - 7:02am.
Taking a dump on the public: the Telstra Fiasco

"Currently good telecommunications policy would be about things such as: maintaining and intensifying competition where possible; extending and improving the range of services available as quickly as possible and; balancing the demands of international competitiveness with concerns of equity and level playing fields within Australia. It once would also have been about projecting Australia as an international frontrunner in this new and booming industry; however that prospect died with the competition and privatisation policies Howard introduced." Tony Phillips

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Submitted by J Bradford DeLong on September 2, 2006 - 6:46am.
Man's fate / Man's hope

"Over the course of the late twentieth century, these causes of desperate poverty have largely fallen away. Governments as bad as Kim Jong-Il’s in North Korea are now extremely rare. Nearly all countries in the world are at most one generation away from near-universal literacy. The fast pace of technological progress has created a cornucopia of invention and innovation that is open to every place that can send someone away to get a master’s degree in engineering." J Bradford DeLong

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Submitted by Tony Phillips on August 9, 2006 - 9:28am.
Is Telstra right this time?

"The debates I heard yesterday around Telstra’s decision not to spend $4 billion providing fibre to the node infrastructure see-sawed around Telstra as the big baddie with big prices on the one hand versus Telstra as home to Mum and Dad shareholders on the other. Shareholders who shouldn’t be forced, through imposed price regulation, to donate their capital to the profits of the overseas multinationals that are Telstra’s competitors. On the whole I find myself more or less in agreement with the Telstra position.": Tony Phillips

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on August 8, 2006 - 7:28am.
The PC Turns 25

"In August 1981, IBM introduced the 5150 personal computer. It was not really the first personal computer, but it turned out to be 'The PC,' and it revolutionized not just business life, but also the way people thought about the world. No good deed goes unpunished: by making the PC, IBM practically destroyed itself as a company. Its innovation gave rise to a huge number of new and dynamic companies, forcing IBM to reinvent itself completely in order to compete with them – just one example of the socially transformative effects of the PC. ": Harold James

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Submitted by Peter Singer on August 7, 2006 - 7:21am.
Will the Polluters Pay for Climate Change?

"Americans tend to talk a lot about morality and justice. But most Americans still fail to realize that their country’s refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol, and their subsequent business–as-usual approach to greenhouse gas emissions, is a moral failing of the most serious kind. It is already having harmful consequences for others, and the greatest inequity is that it is the rich who are using most of the energy that leads to the emissions that cause climate change, while it is the poor who will bear most of the costs. ": Peter Singer

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Submitted by Kenneth Rogoff on August 4, 2006 - 9:13am.
Did America Really Kill the Trade Talks?

"It is appalling that the world has decided to blame the United States for the crushing end to five years of global trade talks last month (the so-called "Doha round"). I am the first to admit that the US under President George W. Bush has not covered itself with multilateral glory in recent years. But accuse America of sabotaging the trade talks? Give me a break.": Kenneth Rogoff

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