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Meine Welt von Morgen – John Williamson

23. März 2009

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die Antworten in Original-Länge und -sprache. Heute: John Williamson (71). Der US-Ökonom prägte den Begriff Washington Consensus. Williamson forscht am Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

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

No. Being the leading economic power is determined principally by size (i.e. GDP), not by whether a country has a financial crisis or a recession.

* 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?

2020 is too soon for China to emerge as the leading economic power, though I expect that it will. That is, I expect growth to continue to be robust (though not as high as in recent years), despite the fact that it looks as though China will have a difficult transition to democracy (something that I do expect to happen in due course, since people like a say in how they are governed when they get rich enough to be able to think of things like that). Incidentally, I regard speaking of a Japanese “collapse” to be as absurdly exaggerated as the earlier Herman Kahn-like extrapolations that Japan would be ruling the world by now.

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

(a) Adopt the substance of the Volcker Committee’s proposals for reforming the regulatory system.

(b) Seek to turn the IMF into a body charged with serious exchange-rate surveillance.

(c) Create an International Tax Organization charged with ensuring that tax cheats cannot evade their obligations through the international system.

(d) Otherwise maintain policies rather than seeking to change everything.

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

A single global corporation tax, whose proceeds would be distributed among countries in proportion to the corporation’s value-added in each of them.

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

Tax carbon. Seriously. No exceptions. No subsidies.

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

No, but they do need efficient regulation. The G-30 Committee chaired by Paul Volcker has provided a blueprint.  

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

It is quite likely that globalization will suffer a setback in the next few years, but the battle is not lost yet.

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