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Meine Welt von morgen: Kevin O’Rourke

22. Juni 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Kevin O’Rourke, Professor am Trinity College in Dublin. Der irische Ökonom zählt zu den profiliertesten Wirtschaftshistorikern Europas. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie alle Antworten in Original-Länge und -Sprache.

 

 

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

No. The United States (and Europe) will decline in relative terms as emerging economies continue to converge on the leaders, but in absolute terms the US will remain the leading economic power for some time.

* 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?

The US will still be the world’s economic superpower in 2020, and for longer than that if your definition of ‘superpower’ includes being at the world technological frontier. As regards China, it should remain capable of substantial growth for some time to come as it transfers labour from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity manufacturing and services, accumulates capital, and imports modern technology. The extent to which that happens depends however on a number of unpredictable factors: the length of the current depression, the future of international trade, and the political stability of China itself.

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

Like many other political leaders, he needs to be much more decisive in dealing with the banking system than he has been to date. On the other hand, his instinct that dealing with falling aggregate demand requires a coordinated international macroeconomic stimulus seems right to me. One danger we now face is that individual countries’ stimuli will fall short of the mark, since there is only so much that individual countries can do on their own to prop up world aggregate demand; that individual countries will therefore run out of ‘fiscal room’, as the IMF calls it, without having solved the world aggregate demand problem; and that protectionist pressures will consequently rise along with dole queues. Another danger is that not dealing properly with the banking crisis will lead to years if not decades of stagnation.

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

There is something perverse about a system geared to consumer wants in the West which are so ephemeral that once a crisis hits, they can be jettisoned with such ease (which is one reason why the downturn is so steep) – while incredibly fundamental individual needs in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, and environmental needs everywhere, remain unmet.

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

We obviously need major investments in alternative energy sources and new transportation technologies. A depression would seem like a good time to start investing. Heavy carbon taxes will also eventually be part of the solution.

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

We need capital to flow from rich to poor countries, but that is of course not the direction in which capital has been flowing, net, in the recent past. As for the two-way capital flows that were supposed to diversify away risk, it seems safe to say that their benefits have been oversold. I think it is very important to keep commodity trade reasonably open, for political as well as economic reasons, but I am much more agnostic about capital flows. If controls help countries to stabilise their economies at a time of crisis, then let them be introduced.

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

That depends on the actions of policy makers. In the worst case scenario, a prolonged slump and rising unemployment could indeed make it difficult for governments to resist protectionist demands. In the best case scenario, successful international cooperation to deal with the crisis could strengthen our multilateral institutions, in particular making them more representative of the world as a whole. There are also a range of intermediate scenarios with correspondingly uncertain implications. The policies chosen by politicians matter.

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Meine Welt von morgen: Raghuram Rajan

18. Juni 2009 Kommentare aus

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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Meine Welt von morgen: Andreu Mas-Colell

9. Juni 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Andreu Mas-Colell (64). Der Spanier ist Präsident der Graduate School of Economics in Barcelona. Zuvor war er 16 Jahre lang Wirtschaftsprofessor in Harvard. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die 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 will have a smaller weight quantitatively speaking but I do not see any other candidate for the position of leader. What happens is that to exercise leadership the US will need, in possible contrast with the past, to display policies with which large segments of the world can identify.

 * 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?

The year 2020 is almost around the corner. So, the answer should be no, even if, as I would hope, there is no collapse. On the other hand the current world situation reminds us that every expansion ends at some point. Let’s hope for a soft landing.

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

 The Obama administration is doing pretty well. Keep it up.

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

Elimination of agricultural protectionism and the setting up of strong, and well endowed with resources, cooperative institutions empowered with the mission to eliminate poverty in the world, and with the ability and the brains to do it intelligently.

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

Two things have to happen: drastic reduction of CO2 emissions and economic development of the less developed world. Both can only happen with a very substantial transfer of resources from the rich to the less rich countries (and this has to be done well). In addition: massive research on energy, including the issues related to the residues of nuclear energy.

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

No. There is no way back.

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

Not a major setback. Perhaps a minor one. And more concentrated on the financial system than on trade. The experience of 1929 constitutes strong vaccination against protectionism.


Von Birgit Marschall

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Meine Welt von morgen: Jean Pisani-Ferry

2. Juni 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Heute: Jean Pisani-Ferry (56). Der französische Ökonom lehrt Volkswirtschaftslehre in Paris, berät Frankreichs Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy sowie die EU-Kommission und leitet den Brüsseler Thinktank Bruegel. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die 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. True, the crisis originated in the US and confidence in the US economic system has therefore been shaken. It has made the arrogance of the Bush-era unbearable and has accelerated the emergence of a multi-polar world. Even the Clinton-era notion of ‘the indispensable nation’ sounds ironic now.

But the crisis has also confirmed that, for better or worse, developments in the US determine developments in the rest of the world. For all the talks about decoupling, no other country or continent has been able to substitute the US as a driver of world growth. Europe, in particular, has proved once again that in spite of its size and the sophistication of its economy it is not capable of becoming an autonomous growth engine. Seen from Beijing or Mumbai, the world after the crisis is perceived as being more dependent on the US, not less.

* 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. China has become the indispensable partner and it is set to become one of the two or three poles of the world economy, together with the US and perhaps with Europe. But its weaknesses are all too apparent and in an unstable world economy, China’s “peaceful rise”, to quote the Chinese concept, is unlikely to be smooth. It has not yet engineered the transition from an export-dependent growth model to a balanced model. Providing jobs to the masses from the countryside remains a huge challenge, the financial system is fragile, demography is awful, and there are permanent tensions between the centre and the provinces, to name just a few challenges. Also, China is not yet ready for the world leadership role called for by the proponents of the G20. So the rise of China is  inevitable but there are likely to be crises and setbacks on the road.  

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

The short term priorities are clear: to ward off depression and to repair the financial system. The new administration has been acting forcefully on the first front but less on the second one, essentially for political reasons I think.

For the longer term the vision of a better regulated, more multilateral, more environment-friendly US that borrows from Europe some of the traits of the social market economy is welcome. To this, Barack Obama needs to add a framework for fiscal sustainability. If he makes progress on these five fronts, or even only on most of them, he will have produced a policy realignment of historic magnitude. But he has yet to move from vision to policy formulation, let alone implementation, and this has barely begun.   

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

A global carbon tax. This would be an unequivocal indication that the international community recognises the intensity of interdependence, and is the best way to ensure that all agents worldwide behave on the basis of the same price signal. Its proceeds could be used to both to stimulate research and investment, and to compensate the poor for the loss of purchasing power. But a global tax would require a level of international cooperation that is unlikely to be achieved.  

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

In the absence of a global tax, we need a comprehensive international agreement in which all the major countries take part, even if they do not enter into the same commitments at the same time. This is essential because, if the major emerging and developing countries do not take part in the agreement, the developed countries are likely to resort unilaterally to some form of border measures to maintain the competitiveness of production from their territory. This would give rise to dangerous trade disputes.

A global agreement, while differentiated, will need to go beyond nominal participation of developing countries. There will be a fine balance to strike and that’s what is at stake in the global negotiations this year. 

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

No. The world of 1980 was fragmented into a series of autarkic national financial systems that were themselves often fragmented into further sub-sectors. Today’s challenge is to make financial globalisation work, that is, to reap the benefits of a global allocation of savings and the diffusion of the best financial technologies, without paying a high price in terms of instability.

This challenge was already apparent ten years ago, after the Asian crisis, but it was ignored. It is now glaringly evident. To make financial globalisation work implies better regulation at global level or at least better coordination. It also requires surveillance of national policies, including those of the great powers. If we do not succeed we may well return to the fragmentation of the 1980s. But at a price, because it would imply less efficiency and tighter constraints on economic development. 

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

It may. Fortunately, so far governments have avoided resorting to the protectionist option. There have been disputable measures here and there but on the whole priority has been given to cooperation, not stand-alone solutions. Visibly, governments have not forgotten the lessons of the 1930s. But with unemployment and business bankruptcies on the rise in the coming quarters, and as citizens become increasingly angry (and justifiably so), domestic politics will pull them in the opposite direction. Even in the best of cases the financial crisis and the economic crisis will be followed by social and political crises.

So it is not enough to know what not to do. The only way to counter the protectionist risk is to make international cooperation deliver. The good start at the G20 summits in Washington and London needs to be followed by further reforms at the G20 meeting in New York in September and at the UN COP15 climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December of this year. The momentum needs to be kept.

Von Birgit Marschall

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Meine Welt von morgen: Philippe Martin

25. Mai 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die Antworten in Original-Länge und -sprache. Heute: Philippe Martin. Der Franzose ist Professor am Sciences Po-Institut in Paris. Der Makroökonom ist besonders bekannt für seine Forschung auf dem Gebiet der Wirtschaftsgeografie. Hier gibt es den kompletten Fragebogen in Originallänge und –sprache:

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

Not yet as the largest and richest economy of the world and it will take some time before China catches up. However, the time of the United States economic and especially financial model as the lead model has come to an end. Also, after the crisis ends, it is likely that the long term trend growth rate of the US will be lower. This should make it easier for China to catch up.

* 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?

It is likely that China’s exceptional growth rate is going to slow down as its income catches up to the rich countries. I see no reason for a collapse except for a political reversal. However, as China opens up its financial system the likelihood of a financial crisis is high in the next few years.

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

In the short term, I would recommend to stay the course on the fiscal stimulus. The danger is to believe that the few timid economic green shoots we now observe mean one can reverse the stimulus. This is what was done in the US in 1936 and this led to a fall back into recession.

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

A transformation of the main international institutions (IMF, World Bank, WTO) towards the end of the sole leadership of the rich countries. Inclusion of poor countries and emerging economies is essential.

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

A “cap and trade” system where polluters receive or buy emission permits, but where the number of available permits falls over time. China has to be part of the process.

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

No we can’t go back to before 1980 but we have to find new ways to regulate capital markets in ways that into account the financial innovations.

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

Certainly on international financial flows because this is where the gains are least obvious. On the “real” side, trade of goods and services, the collapse should be temporary except if there is a major political backlash on globalization through protectionism. But I do not see this as very likely.

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Meine Welt von morgen: Rick van der Ploeg

18. Mai 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die Antworten in Original-Länge und -sprache. Heute: Rick van der Ploeg (52). Der Niederländer lehrt an der Universität Oxford und der Universität Amsterdam Volkswirtschaft. Der Makroökonom bekleidete neben seiner Forschungstätigkeit bereits verschiedene Ämter in der niederländischen Politik und erlangte durch Zeitungskolumnen und Fernsehauftritte größere Bekanntheit im deutschen Nachbarland.

 

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

No, but it will have to share the stage with China and India. Furthermore, it will have to adjust spending and stop living on borrowed money. If not, we can expect further slides in the dollar and fragility of the international financial 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?

China is and will be a superpower, not only as a big investor in the US and the UK and an exporter of manufacturing commodities but also a major importer of natural resources from Africa and elsewhere. Furthermore, China will not be just exporting low-skill, labour-intensive goods, but will also surprise the world by being a front runner in R&D of new products and creation of new designs. Their universities will be in a few decades the best in the world.

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

Regulate the financial system: supervision, supervision, supervision. And make you sure people start consuming and firms start investing again with whatever it takes. Obama should try to resist protectionist pressures. 

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

Get developing countries on the negotiating tables.

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

Curb CO2 emissions and invest much more in clean technology rather than in missiles and defense.

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

Not necessarily as heavily, but much more effectively.

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

There is a big danger of an upsurge of protectionism, which should be avoided.

 

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Meine Welt von morgen: Ricardo Hausmann

11. Mai 2009 Kommentare aus

Was kommt nach der Krise? Die FTD fragt prominente Ökonomen. Im WirtschaftsWunder finden Sie die Antworten in Original-Länge und -sprache. Heute: Ricardo Hausmann. Er lehrt Ökonomie in Harvard. In seiner Heimat Venezuela war der Spezialist für Entwicklungspolitik 1992 und 1993 Planungsminister.

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

I don’t think so. The crisis has caused a flight to quality which has made the US the only remaining super-borrower, able to mobilize the resources of others, while Eastern Europe and much of the emerging market world is forced into pro-cyclical cutbacks in bad times, because they have lost access to finance. While much of Europe has been financially more careful than the US, it lacks the capacity to respond to crisis and hence is suffering more. East Asia, focused as it is on a growing world market, has been hit much harder than the US. So, while the crisis may have been brewed in the US, the relative standing of the US will not be curtailed.

* 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 definitely not be the world’s superpower by 2020. It will be very hard for China to grow at 8 percent when the global economy will grow at 3 or 4. Export-lead growth is easy when you are small, but not when you are big. Look at Germany. My bet is that China will continue growing but at a slower rate and that it will face a major political and a banking crisis.

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

At this stage, I would not add more noise to the already over-charged policy agenda. Just focus on execution and pray for the best. 

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

No silver bullet can fix the world. Africa needs much more governance and I am not sure that elections are the solution. We need a new partnership between the private and public sector in developing countries that is perceived to be legitimate by the rest of society. It is needed to identify opportunities and remove obstacles to economic activity. We need a fully funded IMF and a recapitalized World Bank and regional development banks. We need more liberal migration policies so that people can move out of countries that are not viable.

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

A cap and trade regime for carbon, a new electric power system, R&D in technology including solar energy, biofuels, wind and conservation.

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

No. Regulation needs to be forward looking. You cannot unscramble the eggs. We need a system of regulation that evolves with the markets as the EUREGAP does successfully for food safety standards.

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

Lets better work to prevent that from happening. Nobody expected August 1914 and when it happened, it was not pretty. Let’s make sure it does not happen again.

Von Ulrike Heike Müller

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