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Meine Welt von morgen: Markus K. Brunnermeier

1. September 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Markus K. Brunnermeier. Der 40-Jährige lehrt an der US-Eliteuni Princeton und gilt als einer der weltweit renommiertesten Experten der internationalen Finanzkrise.

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* Welche große Maßnahme würde die Klimakatastrophe am ehesten verhindern?

Die drohende Klimakatastophe ist eine sehr große Herausforderung und es wäre von daher zu risikoreich sich nur auf eine einzelne Maßnahme zu versteifen. Vielmehr sollte man mehrere Maßnahmen parallel ergreifen. Zum einen sollte man mit Steuern und handelbaren Verschmutzungsrechten den zukünftigen CO2 Ausstoß begrenzen und umweltfreundlichere Technologien gezielt fördern, zum anderen sollte man aber auch „Geoengineering-Verfahren“ nicht ausschließen und gezielt erproben. Geoengineering erlaubt einem direkt den Klimawandel zu verlangsamen, in dem man z.B. Wasserpartikel über dem Meer in die Luft sprüht und so den Sonnenlichteinstrahlung verringert. Insgesamt gilt es, das Problem mit mehreren intellegenten Mitteln anzugehen, um rechtzeitig verschiedene Lösungswege zu finden.

 

* Haben die USA als wirtschaftliche Weltmacht ausgedient?

Nein, die USA ist und wird eine bedeutende Weltmacht bleiben. Schon allein wegen der hohen Bildungs-und Forschungsausgaben, wird sie eine treibende Kraft für neue Technologien bleiben. Dies wird verstärkt von der allgemeinen Aufgeschlossenheit der US Bevölkerung gegenüber neuen Technologien, die Weltoffenheit und die sich fortsetzende Einwanderung von hoch motiviertem und hoch qualifiziertem Personal. Sicherlich wird es Rückschläge geben und Asien wird seinen Rückstand abbauen. Das letztere ist aber eine sehr gute Entwicklung und wird wahrscheinlich von Standpunkt künftiger Historiker als eine der größten Errungenschaften unserer Zeit gelten.

 

* Wird China 2020 die wirtschaftliche Weltmacht sein? Oder abgestürzt sein%2

Von Birgit Marschall

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Hans Peter Grüner

10. August 2009 Kommentare aus

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* Welche große Maßnahme würde die Klimakatastrophe am ehesten verhindern?

Eine globale Mindeststeuer auf CO2 Emissionen. Lokale Lösungen verschieben die Nachfrage in Billigsteuerländer ohne deutlich das Gesamtangebot zu begrenzen.

* Haben die USA als wirtschaftliche Weltmacht ausgedient?

Viele finden diese Frage interessant, weil sie denken, ein totalitärer Staat könnte zur führenden Wirtschaftsmacht aufsteigen. Totalitarismus und Wohlstand passen aber auf Dauer nicht zusammen. Die USA kombinieren Pluralismus, freie Märkte, hohe Militärausgaben und weltpolitische Erfahrung. Das Land wird weiter eine zentrale Rolle spielen. Die hausgemachte Ungleichheit ist das politische Hauptrisiko für die USA. Trotz Wirtschaftswachstums realisieren viele Haushalte seit 35 Jahren Mehreinkommen vor allem durch mehr Arbeitsangebot.

* Wird China 2020 die wirtschaftliche Weltmacht sein? Oder abgestürzt sein wie Japan und andere frühere Weltmachtkandidaten?

Wirtschaftlicher Wohlstand wird den Ruf nach politischer Freiheit verstärken. Ungleichheit und ethnische Konflikte sind ein Problem. Das birgt politische Risiken in sich.

* Was ist die radikalste Veränderung, die Sie sich für das Weltwirtschaftssystem wünschen?

Es gibt viele kleine Reformen, die vielen Menschen nutzen würden. Globale Mindeststeuern auf den Verbrauch von Umwelt, bessere Startchancen (93 Millionen Kinder erhalten keine Schulausbildung), der globale Abbau von Korruption, Subventionen, Markteintritts- und Handelsbarrieren, die Absicherung von Eigentumsrechten in Entwicklungsländern mit dem Ziel, die Vergabe von Kleinkrediten zu erleichtern, die bessere Orientierung öffentlicher Ausgaben an den Interessen der Bürger durch geeignete Entscheidungsmechanismen.

* Wäre es besser, die Finanzmärkte wieder ähnlich stark zu regulieren wie in der Zeit vor 1980?

 Es geht um die Richtung der Regulierung: mehr Einfluss der Aktionäre auf das Bankmanagement verhindert Eskapaden. Der Zielkonflikt zwischen Diversifizierung und systemischen Risiken muß in der Regulierung berücksichtigt werden und nicht jede Grösse eines Finanzinstituts ist in Ordnung.

* Welche wirtschaftspolitische Strategie würden Sie dem neuen US-Präsidenten Obama empfehlen?

Eine stärkere Steuerprogression zum Abbau des Defizits ist eine Alternative zur Inflation.

* Steht der Globalisierung in den nächsten Jahren ein großer Rückschlag bevor?

Nein, die Gewinner globaler Märkte sind zu zahlreich. Der Globalisierung der Märkte wird die weitere Globalisierung der Politik folgen. Hier gilt es, die Externalitäten im Finanzsektor und beim Umweltschutz in den Griff zu bekommen, ohne das Subsidiaritätsprinzip aufzugeben.

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Lars-Hendrik Röller

3. August 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Lars-Hendrik Röller. Der Ökonom ist Präsident der European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) und Vorsitzender des Vereins für Socialpolitik. Zuvor war er Chief Competition Economist der Europäischen Kommission. Lesen Sie hier seinen kompletten Antwortbogen in Originallänge:

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* Welche große Maßnahme würde die Klimakatastrophe am ehesten verhindern?

Die langfristige und nachhaltige Förderung von Umwelttechnologie. Deutschland ist hier führend. Darin liegt eine Chance, die es gilt zu nutzen. Wichtig ist dabei, verlässliche staatliche Rahmenbedingungen zu setzen, sodass die Unternehmen – viele davon KMU – Rechtssicherheit haben.

* Haben die USA als wirtschaftliche Weltmacht ausgedient?

Sicherlich werden andere Länder wirtschaftlich stärker werden, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die USA absolut gesehen zurückfällt.  Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung wird kein Nullsummenspiel sein. Allerdings werden internationale Abkommen immer schwieriger zu erreichen sein – wie etwa im Klimabereich oder die Doha-Runde. 

* Wird China 2020 die wirtschaftliche Weltmacht sein? Oder abgestürzt sein wie Japan und andere frühere Weltmachtkandidaten?

Weder noch. China wird seinen Platz finden. Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung wird sich auch in China „normalisieren“. Wichtige Reformen, die Rechtssicherheit für Investitionen und geistiges Eigentum sicherstellen, stehen noch aus.

* Was ist die radikalste Veränderung, die Sie sich für das Weltwirtschaftssystem wünschen?

Einen Agrarmarkt, der das Wort verdient hat. Vom jetzigen System werden weder die EU-Bauern, noch die Entwicklungsländer nachhaltig profitieren. 

* Wäre es besser, die Finanzmärkte wieder ähnlich stark zu regulieren wie in der Zeit vor 1980?

Es geht in der jetzigen Krise nicht um per se mehr Regulierung, sondern um die richtige und effektive Regulierung. Der Regulierungsrahmen aus den 80er Jahren ist für die heutige Zeit nicht geeignet. Insbesondere sollte jetzt nicht überreagiert werden, indem man innovative Bereiche durch Regulation behindert.

* Welche wirtschaftspolitische Strategie würden Sie dem neuen US-Präsidenten Obama empfehlen?

Insgesamt macht die Obama Administration in der Wirtschaftspolitik viel richtig. Meine größte Sorge ist, dass die USA – als Vertreter offener Märkte – protektionistische Maßnahmen ergreift. Ein Beispiel wäre die so genannte „buy amercian“ Klausel.  Ein internationaler Subventionswettlauf wäre zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt fatal für eine wirtschaftliche Erholung und den Erhalt von Arbeitsplätzen weltweit.  

* Steht der Globalisierung in den nächsten Jahren ein großer Rückschlag bevor?

Nein, einen großen Rückschlag sehe ich nicht. Internationaler Handel und Arbeitsteilung sind Bestandteile unseres Wohlstands. Allerdings wird es zu einer Verlangsamung des Weltwirtschaftswachstums kommen.

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Charles Goodhart

29. Juli 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Charles Goodhart (72). Der Brite ist emeritierter Professor der London School of Economics und war Chefvolkswirt der Bank of England. Er plädiert für flexible Bankenregeln: In schlechten Zeiten sollten die Institute weniger Eigenkapital vorhalten müssen, in guten mehr. Lesen Sie hier seinen kompletten Antwortbogen in Originallänge:

 

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

No. Europe is not unified.  Japan is going backwards.  China has a long way to go and has political problems.  The US will remain the world’s leading economic power for the foreseeable future.

* 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?

If China can develop from a one party state to a stable democracy, it will eventually become one of the two or three main superpowers.  But this will not happen by 2020.

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

Pay more attention to reform of the housing market, including housing finance.  Maintain free trade.  Introduce universal health care, while at the same time establishing a credible programme for reducing the fiscal deficit.

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

Require all senior bank executives to hold a, non transferable, unlimited liability share in their own bank, until death or three years after leaving the bank, whichever is sooner.

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

Impose a varying world-wide tax on oil/gas/coal that adjusts so as to maintain a minimum price on CO2 usage.

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

No

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

Yes.  Regulation will shift towards tougher host country control.

Von Birgit Marschall

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Norbert Walter

21. Juli 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Norbert Walter (64). Seit 1990 ist er Chefökonom der Deutschen Bank. Walter engagiert sich zudem im Gremium der “Sieben Weisen” zur Regulierung der europäischen Wertpapiermärkte der EU-Kommission. Lesen Sie hier seinen kompletten Antwortbogen in Originallänge:   /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Normale Tabelle”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

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* Welche große Maßnahme würde die Klimakatastrophe am ehesten verhindern?

Eine internationale Umweltbehörde von der Statur der WHO – unterstützt von einer weltweiten Emission von Umweltzertifikaten.

* Haben die USA als wirtschaftliche Weltmacht ausgedient?

Selbstverständlich nein – der Riese ist nur wegen Drogenkonsums derzeit wegen Entzugs in geschwächter Verfassung. Die Vitalstatistik und das immer noch lernfähige Gesellschaftssystem sorgen ab 2015 für die Renaissance der (einzigen) Supermacht.

* Wird China 2020 die wirtschaftliche Weltmacht sein? Oder abgestürzt sein wie Japan und andere frühere Weltmachtkandidaten?

China wird noch ein Jahrzehnt als die neue Supermacht gehandelt, wird es aber nicht. Umweltprobleme und die dramatischen Folgen der „Ein-Buben-Politik“ machen die Chance auf Weltführung zunichte.

* Was ist die radikalste Veränderung, die Sie sich für das Weltwirtschaftssystem wünschen?

Ich wünsche mir die Familie mit Mann, Frau und Kindern, die Geschwister haben, zurück und eine Welt, die Gott sucht und vielleicht findet – damit klar ist, dass Menschenwürde für niemanden disponibel ist, nicht für die Wirtschaft und nicht für die Medien.     

* Wäre es besser, die Finanzmärkte wieder ähnlich stark zu regulieren wie in der Zeit vor 1980?

 Nein, aber intelligente und effiziente Regulierung auf internationaler Ebene, für alle Geschäfte, die grenzüberschreitend sind. 

* Welche wirtschaftspolitische Strategie würden Sie dem neuen US-Präsidenten Obama empfehlen?

 Keynes, for now, exit from it soon, Hayek’s und Schumpeter‘s Einsichten für die Antwort auf die großen Herausforderungen.

* Steht der Globalisierung in den nächsten Jahren ein großer Rückschlag bevor?

Es steht vor lauter wohlgemeinter Firmenrettungen mit Steuergeld und dem damit verbundenen Protektionismus leider zu befürchten.

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Augusto de la Torre

13. Juli 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Augusto de la Torre ist Lateinamerika-Chefökonom der Weltbank. Bevor der aus Ecuador stammende Volkswirt nach Washington ging, war er Chef der ecuadorianischen Zentralbank. Zuvor arbeitete er bereits mehrere Jahre für den Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF). Lesen Sie hier seinen kompletten Antwortbogen in Originallänge und-sprache: Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Normale Tabelle”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Normale Tabelle”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Normale Tabelle”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

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

The crisis ravaged the most admired financial system in the planet, leading many to believe that the U.S. would be dethroned from its dominant position and the dollar lose its status of international reserve currency.  However, the opposite has happened so far.  The run against the dollar never materialized and the demand for the perceived safety of U.S. assets has surged.  Moreover, the U.S. has shown leadership in managing the crisis compared to other rich economies.  And the global recession revealed the great dependence of the world on the U.S.—i.e., that the U.S. cannot collapse without the world also collapsing.  In the future, the U.S. economy will certainly not wield hegemonic power but will remain as a central pillar of the global system.

* 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?

Neither scenario is likely to happen.  Rather than collapsing, China will continue to increase its importance as a player in global markets and its role in shaping global economic policy, along with other large emerging markets (Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia).  However, it is unlikely that it will surpass the United States, certainly not in terms of income per capita.  China has a long way to go in reducing poverty and has yet to put in place the necessary reforms to modernize its domestic financial markets, address the rising rural-urban inequality, and create a functional social security system.  It will also need to find a new growth model, one that is less reliant on exports and more on consumer spending.  More fundamentally, China will only become an enduring world economic power by exerting its responsibilities in the world’s government, and that will take time.

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

The shorter run priority is to restore the U.S. economy to a sustainable (possibly more modest) growth path and rebuild a more prudent financial system.  Beyond that, it is imperative that the U.S. becomes a credible leader in the global effort to deal with climate change.  Education and health care reforms are long overdue, as is a serious debate on immigration policy reform.  The U.S. should remain the uncontested leader in keeping the world economy open.

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

Free labour mobility across borders would be a most radical change, and a welcome one, but it may be too much to ask from our nationalistic tendencies.  I would be satisfied with a serious move towards multilateralism and global institutions—the need for collective action on a world-wide scale is increasing inexorably because the social and cross-border implications of individual actions are growing in importance (global warming is a prime example).

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

It is critical to achieve a global agreement to drastically reduce world GHG emissions, ideally by the end of 2009 at the UN COP conference.  Climate change is proceeding at an even faster pace than what had been recently predicted by IPCC.  To minimize the risk of catastrophic damages, industrialized and developing countries alike need urgently to start moving towards a low-carbon growth path.  Rich countries must exercise strong leadership to generate incentives for investments in R&D and the adoption of low-carbon technologies as well as to ensure that the global response is equitable–i.e., wealthier countries that have had a greater responsibility in the historical accumulation of GHG in the atmosphere must carry a proportionately greater share of the burden.  To curve emissions in an effective and efficient way, countries should use, according to their circumstances, a combination of carbon taxes, cap and trade systems, subsidies, and regulations.

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

It makes no sense to consider that alternative.  Markets have developed and changed considerably in the past decades, and regulating them as in the 1980s would be inappropriate.  A more nuanced regulatory system would be needed, in at least three dimensions.  First, regulation should better ensure that financial intermediaries and asset managers act more prudently with the money that is not theirs and do not take advantage of their less informed clients.  Second, regulation should induce financial intermediaries to take more into account the social and systemic costs and implications of their individual actions.  Third, regulation would need to tame the propensity of financial markets to be caught in euphoric moods of exuberant optimism followed by gloomy moods of exaggerated pessimism and panic.

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

As risk aversion subsides, credit will be re-established, the economic activity will recover and trade and capital flows would pick up.  Hence, globalization should resume.  A major setback in globalization could be possible only if insufficient progress is made towards a stronger architecture of international institutions.

 

Schlagworte:

Meine Welt von morgen: Daron Acemoglu

29. Juni 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Daron Acemoglu (42), Wirtschaftsprofessor am renommierten Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Der amerikanisch-türkische Ökonom gilt als eines der bedeutendsten Talente der US-Wirtschaftswissenschaften und forscht zur Entwicklungs- und Wachstumstheorie. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie alle Antworten von ihm 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? 

This is an idea that has been floating around since the beginning of the crisis. But I doubt it.

First, who will replace the United States? Even though the crisis is US-made, it has even more seriously affected developing countries because of their export exposure. European banks and economies have the same problems as in the United States, and there is little evidence that central banks and regulating agencies are taking more decisive action in Europe than in the United States.

Second, when the crisis increased the demand for safe assets, the demand for the dollar and dollar-denominated assets increased, because the market still views US assets as safer than the alternatives, even with all of the trepidations of the Chinese.

Third and most importantly, being the world’s leading economic power is not, and in fact should not be, related to expertise in and depth of financial services. It should be related to the innovation capacity and the technological leadership of a country. The United States has been the world’s leading economic power because it has been at the frontier of many of the most major technologies of the past century. At some level, the past 10 years have been an aberration, where the United States misallocated talent towards relatively unproductive Wall Street jobs away from the dynamic innovative sectors of the economy. Even with all of these distortions, there are many new ideas and products in biotech, nanotechnology, software, hardware, retail delivery, health delivery, and green tech, many being developed in the United States, that will spearhead economic growth during the coming decades. The crisis, at some level, should be a wake-up call for the United States, and should solidify its role as a world economic leader in innovation. This scenario of course leaves the potential danger that Wall Street, because of its political power, will avoid downsizing and start becoming a bigger drag on the US economy. Then all bets are off.

* 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?

Even 10 years is a long horizon for making political predictions and where China will be in 2020 is mostly about politics.

Yes, it can collapse because the political system can collapse or can clampdown further, damaging the great economic potential of this nation. It can become more militaristically aggressive, destabilizing the region and the world. There is even a small probability that China will open up its political and economic system even further, thus unleashing its economic potential to its full extent.

But my guess, a very crude one and one on which I would definitely not wager a bet, would be that in 10 years time China will still be an authoritarian regime and suffering the economic consequences of this political choice. Growth under authoritarian regimes often takes the form of “crony capitalism” and China is no exception. Crony capitalism can deliver growth for short periods. But it is not the best arrangement for innovation and transition to new technologies, and certainly it’s not the best system for the welfare of the majority of the citizens.

Having said all that, China is still growing and the Communist Party elite still have a firm grip on political power, and the nationalism card is further strengthening their hold on this power. So even if elements of crony capitalism slow down growth in China, the regime need not be destabilized and hence my prediction that politics in 10 years is likely to be more or less where it is in China today. Economically, we should then expect China to grow, but at somewhat more modest rates. Taking into account that the reported growth rates in China are most likely exaggerated (perhaps quite a bit), this means China growing 4 or 5% a year for the next 10 years. This is hardly enough to make China one of the richest countries in the world per capita.

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

Well I guess it’s too late to make many recommendations. The Obama administration has been very quick in charting its course and implementing policies. I sympathize with many of them, but I see also many mistakes and many danger signs. I’ll mention only the most important ones.

·         I think the stimulus plan was largely wasted. A new one would be a bad idea.

·         The financial system has not been cleaned up properly, and the initiatives taken by the administration, which were almost direct continuations of those started by Hank Paulson, are being effective, but at a relatively high cost. National debt is ballooning and this will become a major problem for the US and the world economy. High national debt will become a break on economic growth in the near future. Policies that will increase indebtedness even further should be avoided.

·         In this light, the tax cuts proposed by Obama and the health care reform, unless managed extremely carefully, could become very costly. The health care reform is something this country badly needs. But the current plans are unclear in their details, and all the details that come out suggest that they will increase the health care spending in the United States even further, and with taxpayer money. This would be a disaster. A nationalized, single-payer health care system with appropriate cost control mechanisms, for example like the one in Germany, would certainly be a system I would support. But there is no evidence that this is where we are heading. Instead, it seems like the health-care reform will be a mixture of the current system, with even less cost control, together with additional government funds to reduce cost control even further.

·         A true and honest environmental policy is also essential. Carbon tax and support for research on new green technologies are important parts of a viable strategy. But the carbon tax has been sacrificed to politics, and replaced by the porkbarrel cap and trade system. The cap and trade system is economically logical, perhaps even preferable to a carbon tax. But at the moment, it is being used as a way of delivering political favors. It is a sad situation.

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

I’ll mention two.

1.  More democracy and economic growth around the world. There is so much poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, in parts of South Asia, in Central America, in the Caribbean and in other parts of the world, and the citizens of these nations live not only with few economic resources but also with few civil and political rights. There is nothing inevitable about these outcomes. They can be changed. And yet, change can only start from bottom-up entrepreneurial activities and democratic movements in these countries, but also needs support from the developed world—us. But we still continue to throw foreign aid around the world just to feel good—rather than achieve anything. We still continue to support dictators because they are our “supposed friends”. At the end of the day, the main initiative has to come from the citizens of these countries. All we can do is to encourage and facilitate such a transition.

2. Viable green technologies. Global warming is a real threat and new green technologies will not only help us avoid an unsustainable growth path, but can also act as a platform for future economic growth and innovation, the same role that the silicon chip and computer technologies played over the past 35 years.

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

I guess I answered many parts of this question already. In one word: Green technologies. They are feasible and they can become cost effective with further innovation. Carbon tax, or an appropriate cap and trade system, is important in the short run, but is not the long-run solution, because it would ultimately have to reach a high level and would become a break on economic growth. We do not want to sacrifice economic growth; in fact, as I noted above, the world badly needs economic growth in many of its poorest parts. What we want is sustainable economic growth, and this means developing new technologies to break our dependence on fossil fuels.

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

Yes and no. There have been important financial innovations, reducing the cost of capital for many firms. We do not want to restrict their use or prevent the emergence of new financial innovations.

Moreover, I don’t see any need for regulating private transactions, as long as they do not create systemic risks and misaligned incentives. The problem of the past 15 years has been the combination of lack of regulation, astronomical leverage and implicit and explicit guarantees given by the government and the Fed to financial institutions. Most banks receive explicit subsidies and support from the government because of deposit insurance. Deposit insurance is a crucial part of our financial system and not something we would like to give up. But if there are such subsidies, then they must come with regulation. The other part of the dysfunctional picture were the implicit subsidies because of “too big to fail” or “politically too connect it to fail” features of many banks. Combine them with unrestricted leverage, and we have an explosive mix.

Regulation is also needed because of systemic risk, and because of fraud. I don’t think the investment behavior of a wealthy individual through a hedge fund should be regulated. If he or she wishes to invest in risky assets, I do not see any problem with that. But even the wealthiest individual needs some guarantee from the government that the hedge fund is not just running a Ponzi scheme (or should we say a Madoff scheme?) or is just a fly by night operation, getting ready to run to the Cayman Islands. But more important than fraud is systemic risk. Real problems arise if this hedge fund then borrows further from institutions that have deposit insurance in order to make leveraged bets using the money of the wealthy individual as seed funds. Thus leverage, especially leverage coming from institutions that have deposit insurance and other subsidies from the government, is the real problem.

Of course, the type of regulation that I am suggesting can always be blocked by the financial industry if they continue to have as much say in political matters and in their own regulation. So the regulation of finance must go hand-in-hand with the regulation of the politics of finance. The US political system has not passed through the crisis with flying colors to say the least.

Bottom-line: I think we need smart regulation rather than excessive regulation. A big element of this is to limit leverage and deal with systemic risks. Another important part is to make sure that institutions that receive deposit insurance are properly regulated. And perhaps the most important part is the regulation of the political power of the corporations that need to be regulated.

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

I fear so. But not because of the financial crisis. The biggest fear I have for the future of our world is a setback in globalization, with all of its economic, political and social dimensions, coming from the rise of extremist views. The rise of nationalism and the rise of religious extremism are with us, pure and simple. We are far from the end of history as Fukuyama envisaged. We may be reliving it. There is tremendous amount of extremism in the Middle East and in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But as dangerous is the national extremism breeding quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) in Russia and China, and in other parts of the world.

Europe is not immune to this new tide. European Union’s reaction to the accession of Turkey sadly illustrates the strength of nationalist and religious feelings in Europe, even though most would like to deny them. Greater nationalist and religious extremism will weaken the ties across nations, and globalization will be its first casualty.

This is my fear, but this path is not unavoidable. Advances in communication technology are making the world more and more connected, and perhaps they will overwhelm the rising extremist tide.

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