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Meine Welt von morgen: Erik Berglöf

4. Mai 2009

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die Antworten in Original-Länge und -sprache. Heute: Erik Berglöf (52). Der Schwede ist Chefökonom der Europäischen Bank für Wiederaufbau und Entwicklung. Transformationsökonomien sind Berglöfs Forschungsschwerpunkt.

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

The United States will continue to be the world’s leading economic power for the foreseeable future. The crisis has also shown how important the United States still is for the world economy and for the resolution to the crisis. At the same time the last few years have demonstrated the limits of that power. We are definitely going towards a more multipolar world economically as well as politically.

* 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?

China will become increasingly important. Potentially it could continue growing at similar growth rates as over the last two decades – there are historical precedents such as the Asian tigers – but more likely it will face various constraints, economically, socially and environmentally. How China copes with these constraints will be crucial for the rest of the world.

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

First and foremost, I would hope the new US president would reinforce the commitment of the United States to openness and promotion of global trade. Protectionist pressures, of the more traditional kind as well as new tendencies in the financial sector, will grow to levels we have not seen in decades. An open United States is critical for effective responses to the key challenges of this century.

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

There are many radical changes I would like to see globally, but what is more relevant is what can actually be achieved.  At the European level, the crisis has shifted the momentum and there is some hope that we may see a more coordinated approach to regulation and supervision of the financial system. That would be a radical change of tremendous importance, particularly to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that have been so adversely affected at a vulnerable point in their quest to integrate with the rest of Europe, and this by a crisis largely created elsewhere.

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

As the new US administration has demonstrated the economic stimulus packages now adopted by the countries that can afford them can generate an important push for measures to mitigate climate change. Its commitment to a cap-and-trade scheme, and apparent openness to complementary carbon taxes, should also facilitate efforts to find a workable arrangement post-Kyoto.

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

No. Some additional regulation and, more importantly, better enforcement of existing regulation should be an important part of the new financial architecture, but the levels of regulation pre-1980 are neither desirable nor feasible. The recent proposals from the Financial Stability Forum go some way towards building this new architecture.

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

Yes, that is unavoidable. We will see a contraction in trade and, most likely, in financial integration, at least in the short term. On the other hand, the economic and financial crisis does bring home that we are closely interconnected, an insight that will be important in the struggle to build institutions and implement policies that can address our common challenges of climate change and access to clean water, energy, and food.

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