Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Project Syndicate’

Populism’s Common Denominator

Posted by hkarner - 13. November 2018

Barry EBarry Eichengreenichengreen is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former senior policy adviser at the International Monetary Fund. His latest book is The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era.

What unites supporters of authoritarian, upstart politicians like US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is revulsion against the corruption of the political process. But voters will learn the hard way that strongman rule exacerbates rather than mitigates corruption.

BRUSSELS – Following Emmanuel Macron’s election as president of France in May 2017, global elites breathed a sigh of relief. The populist wave, they reassured themselves, had crested. Voters had regained their sanity. Helped along by an electoral system in which the two leading candidates faced off in a second round, the “silent majority” had united behind the centrist candidate in the runoff.

But now we have Brazil’s presidential election, in which Jair Bolsonaro, who displays the authoritarian, anti-establishment, and anti-other tendencies of a textbook populist, won decisively in the second round. A two-round electoral system in which the runoff pits a populist outsider against the last mainstream candidate standing is no guarantee, evidently, that the center will hold.

A similar lesson flows from Italy’s election earlier this year. The country’s electoral rules had been reformed to add a majoritarian element to its proportional representation system, the goal being to encourage pre-election coalition building among mainstream parties. Instead, it brought to power a coalition of the populist left and right. Electoral engineering, it would seem, is not only ineffective in beating back the extremist threat; it can have unintended, counterproductive consequences. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

Posted by hkarner - 13. November 2018

The coming months may be especially dangerous for America and the world. As US President Donald Trump’s political position weakens and the obstacles facing him grow, his mental instability will pose an ever-greater danger.

NEW YORK – The drama of Donald Trump’s presidency has centered around whether an extremist president would be able to carry out an extremist policy agenda against the will of the majority of Americans. So far the answer has been no, and the midterm elections make it far less likely. Yet Trump’s rising frustrations could push him over the edge psychologically, with potentially harrowing consequences for American democracy and the world.

None of Trump’s extremist policy ideas has received public support. The public opposed last year’s Republican-backed corporate tax cut, Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his proposed border wall with Mexico, the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, and the imposition of tariff increases on China, Europe, and others. At the same time, contrary to Trump’s relentless promotion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), the public favors investments in renewable energy and remaining in the Paris climate agreement.

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Brexit vs. the Irish Question

Posted by hkarner - 9. November 2018

Michael Burleigh

Michael Burleigh’s books include Small Wars, Faraway Places: The Genesis of the Modern World, Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism, The Third Reich: A New History, and The Best and the Worst of Times: The World As It Is (forthcoming). He is CEO of the global political risk consultancy Sea Change Partners.

Brexiteers have given no serious thought to what withdrawal from the European Union will mean for Northern Ireland and its relationship with Great Britain. If they had, they would have known that there is no way to bring twenty-first-century reality into line with their nineteenth-century delusions of grandeur.

LONDON – On Brexit day – March 29, 2019 – the HMS Buccaneer Britannia will set sail in search of the riches of the “Anglosphere.” But there is a hitch: Someone has forgotten to raise the anchor, which remains planted firmly in Ireland.

This isn’t surprising. Of all the Euroskeptic Conservative politicians I know, not one has ever mentioned Northern Ireland, let alone the sovereign country to the south of it. The only thing on the Brexiteers’ minds is the quest for parliamentary sovereignty and liberation from the supranational “superstate” in Brussels.

This blinkered view may simply reflect ignorance. Even an erstwhile “Remainer” like Karen Bradley, the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, recently confessed that, “[…] when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland.” In other words, until very recently, she has been incurious about one of the central issues of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British history.

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The Global Impact of a Chinese Recession

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2018

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, his new book, The Curse of Cash, was released in August 2016.

Most economic forecasts suggest that a recession in China will hurt everyone, but that the pain would be more regionally confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, that may be wishful thinking.

CAMBRIDGE – When China finally has its inevitable growth recession – which will almost surely be amplified by a financial crisis, given the economy’s massive leverage – how will the rest of world be affected? With US President Donald Trump’s trade war hitting China just as growth was already slowing, this is no idle question.

Typical estimates, for example those embodied in the International Monetary Fund’s assessments of country risk, suggest that an economic slowdown in China will hurt everyone. But the acute pain, according to the IMF, will be more regionally concentrated and confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, this might be wishful thinking.

First, the effect on international capital markets could be vastly greater than Chinese capital market linkages would suggest. However jittery global investors may be about prospects for profit growth, a hit to Chinese growth would make things a lot worse. Although it is true that the US is still by far the biggest importer of final consumption goods (a large share of Chinese manufacturing imports are intermediate goods that end up being embodied in exports to the US and Europe), foreign firms nonetheless still enjoy huge profits on sales in China. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Trump Duping Putin?

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2018

Nina L. Khrushcheva, the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics and The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey into the Gulag of the Russian Mind, is Professor of International Affairs at The New School and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to think that he has been using his strategically incompetent American counterpart to advance his ends. In fact, Donald Trump has dragged everyone into his reality-TV world, in which sensation, exaggeration, and misinformation all serve his only true goal: to be the center of attention.

NEW YORK – Most of the world has spent the last two years thinking that Russian President Vladimir Putin is twisting his US counterpart, Donald Trump, around his little finger. But it could well be Trump who is leading Putin by the nose.

Trump does love Putin, or so he says. In his hyperbolic reality-TV-style, Trump has praised Putin’s strongman leadership style and boasted that he could improve America’s relationship with the Kremlin.

This summer, during their bilateral summit in Helsinki, Trump even sided with Putin, a former KGB operative, over US security officials on the issue of Russia’s now-documented interference in the 2016 US presidential election. According to Putin, he rooted for Trump (but of course did not interfere on Trump’s behalf) because they shared a desire to improve bilateral relations.

Now, more than ever, Putin needs America’s friendship. Though he was reelected president in a landslide in March, his approval rating has since plummeted to 45%. Russians resent the mounting economic insecurity brought about by the sanctions Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, initiated after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 (a move that initially bolstered Putin’s flagging approval ratings).

Popular discontent in Russia has also been inflamed by the authorities’ widely reviled pension reform, which includes an increase in the retirement age. It may be exacerbated further by a generalized “animosity fatigue” among Russians, who are simply tired of Putin’s belligerent foreign policy in Ukraine and Syria, and his unrelenting anti-Western propaganda. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Digital Disruption’s Silver Lining

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2018

Mark Suzman

Mark Suzman is Chief Strategy Officer and President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

For much of modern history, export-driven industrialization and natural-resource wealth were viewed as the only mechanisms for sustained growth in developing countries. But today, new technologies are giving countries more control over their social and economic fortunes.

SEATTLE – Technology is often oversold as either a panacea for the world’s problems or an unshakeable curse inflicting disruption and displacement on the most vulnerable. But historically, neither of these characterizations is accurate. From the steam engine to the personal computer, inventions have transformed societies in complex ways. On balance, however, technology has always created more jobs and economic opportunities than it has destroyed. That trend is likely to continue.

Why am I so upbeat? Because everywhere I look, leaders are repositioning their economies to ensure that technological change and automation are assets rather than liabilities. As the University of Oxford-based Pathways for Prosperity Commission recently observed, with “optimism and collective action,” so-called frontier technologies can empower even the poorest countries.

For much of modern history, export-driven industrialization and natural-resource wealth were viewed as the only mechanisms for sustained growth in the developing world. But today, new technologies, and the ability to combine them with old innovations, have given people more say over their economic fortunes. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can American Democracy Come Back?

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2018

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University and Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute. His most recent book is Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump.

America’s ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice for all may never have been fully realized, but now they are under open attack. Democracy has become rule of, by, and for the few; and justice for all is available to all who are white and can afford it.

NEW YORK – The United States has long held itself up as a bastion of democracy. It has promoted democracy around the world. It fought, at great cost, for democracy against fascism in Europe during World War II. Now the fight has come home.

America’s credentials as a democracy were always slightly blemished. The US was founded as a representative democracy, but only a small fraction of its citizens – mostly white male property owners – were eligible to vote. After the abolition of slavery, the white people of America’s South struggled for nearly a century to keep African-Americans from voting, using poll taxes and literacy tests, for example, to make casting a ballot inaccessible to the poor. Their voting rights were guaranteed nearly a half-century after the enfranchisement of women in 1920. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Grappling With Globalization 4.0

Posted by hkarner - 6. November 2018

Klaus Schwab

Klaus Schwab is Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The world is experiencing an economic and political upheaval that will not cease any time soon. The forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization, both of which demand new forms of governance to safeguard the public good.

GENEVA – After World War II, the international community came together to build a shared future. Now, it must do so again. Owing to the slow and uneven recovery in the decade since the global financial crisis, a substantial part of society has become disaffected and embittered, not only with politics and politicians, but also with globalization and the entire economic system it underpins. In an era of widespread insecurity and frustration, populism has become increasingly attractive as an alternative to the status quo.

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Auf Wiedersehen, and Good Riddance

Posted by hkarner - 5. November 2018

Philippe Legrain, a former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission, is a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute and the founder of Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), an international think-tank whose mission is to advance open, liberal societies. His most recent book is European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right .

Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision not to seek reelection in the next federal election has come as a surprise, it was long overdue. Merkel’s „steady hand on the tiller“ has guided the German and European ship of state directly into the populists‘ line of fire.

LONDON – She has been dubbed the Queen of Europe and, since US President Donald Trump’s election, the leader of the free world. As the European Union has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past decade, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s steady hand has helped hold the bloc together. According to the conventional wisdom, when she hands over the chancellorship after Germany’s next federal election in 2021 – and perhaps much sooner if her grand coalition collapses – she will be sorely missed.

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Blame the Economists?

Posted by hkarner - 5. November 2018

J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

Ever since the 2008 financial crash and subsequent recession, economists have been pilloried for failing to foresee the crisis, and for not convincing policymakers of what needed to be done to address it. But the upheavals of the past decade were more a product of historical contingency than technocratic failure.

BERKELEY – Now that we are witnessing what looks like the historic decline of the West, it is worth asking what role economists might have played in the disasters of the past decade.

From the end of World War II until 2007, Western political leaders at least acted as if they were interested in achieving full employment, price stability, an acceptably fair distribution of income and wealth, and an open international order in which all countries would benefit from trade and finance. True, these goals were always in tension, such that we sometimes put growth incentives before income equality, and openness before the interests of specific workers or industries. Nevertheless, the general thrust of policymaking was toward all four objectives. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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