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Meine Welt von morgen: Raghuram Rajan

18. Juni 2009

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Raghuram Rajan (46). Der aus Indien stammende Ökonom lehrt in Chicago und war von 2003 bis 2007 Chefökonom des Internationalen Währungsfonds. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie alle Antworten in Original-Länge und -Sprache.

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* Has the time of the United States as the world’s leading economic power come to an end? 

No, it is still by far and away the strongest economy in the world, and may be the first to emerge from this recession. But its lead is waning. Moreover, the capacity of action for any government depends not just on the size of its economy, but also on its fiscal situation. Here the crisis may have a serious effect, increasing deficits, and expanding the U.S. government’s debt substantially.

* In 2020, will China be the world’s economic superpower, or will it have collapsed just like Japan and other former would-be economic powers of the world?

I am not sure Japan has collapsed. It certainly did stop growing, but it is still the second largest economy in the world. That said, I take the point that growth need not proceed in a straight line. China is on track to become the world’s largest economy, but its progress needs continued political stability, and a steadily shift from reliance on foreign demand to a reliance on domestic demand. Neither can be taken for granted. However, in sheer economic terms, China will still have a low level of overall per capita GDP when it overtakes the US, and will have the potential for many more years of significant growth.

* What economic policy strategy would you recommend to the new US president Obama?

This is tough in a few lines. I think he needs to bring hope and opportunity to the masses who feel they have missed out on the past decades of growth, even while avoiding an excessive reliance on tax and transfer policies, overregulation, or protectionism that will stultify growth.

* What is the most radical change in our global economic system that you would like to see?

I would like to see more global dialogue to address the problem of global demand. This, in some ways, led to the crisis, and is likely to be with us long after the crisis is over.

* What sort of major step would most likely prevent the most disastrous effects of global warming?

I don’t think there is a silver bullet. We should try a number of things, including taxes on carbon emissions. But I do think that given the consumption levels of the people in industrial countries, and the consumption growth of people in emerging markets and developing countries, there will have to be a shift in the pattern of consumption if we do not have some miraculous technological breakthrough. The rich will have to consume less, while the poor have to be more careful about how they grow consumption. This requires hard choices on all sides.

* Would it be better to regulate capital markets as heavily as before 1980 again?

No. I am not sure the regulators covered themselves with glory this time, so on what basis are we giving them more powers? Moreover, the regulations that were in place before the 1980s were archaic and hence removed. By reinstating them, we may well just set the stage for removing them in the future, when the public is in a less vengeful mood. What we really need are better regulations, more uniformly applied across institutions, and which are enforced more effectively.  

* Will globalisation suffer a major setback in the next few years?

Perhaps, especially if the recession lasts long and countries turn more protectionist.

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