Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

A Global Minimum Wage System [1]

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Published in the FT Economists’ Forum, July 18, 2011

The global economy is suffering from severe shortage of demand. In developed economies that shortfall is explicit in high unemployment rates and large output gaps. In emerging market economies it is implicit in their reliance on export-led growth. In part this shortfall reflects the lingering disruptive effects of the financial crisis and Great Recession, but it also reflects globalization’s undermining of the income generation process. One mechanism that can help rebuild this process is a global minimum wage system. That does not mean imposing U.S. or European minimum wages in developing countries. It does mean establishing a global set of rules for setting country minimum wages. (more…)

Letter to the Queen: Why No One Predicted the Crisis

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London
SW1A 1AA
29 July 2009
MADAM,

In response to your question why no one predicted the crisis you have recently received a letter from Professors Tim Besley and Peter Hennessy, sent on behalf of the British Academy. They claim economists’ failure to foresee the crisis was the result of a “failure of the collective imagination.” That claim is tendentious and will mislead you. (more…)

Decoupling vs. the Concertina Effect

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Over the last year, as the U.S. economy has slipped toward (and likely into) recession, there has been much talk of decoupling. According to this idea the global economy has decoupled from the U.S. economy and can continue growing even if the U.S. goes into recession. (more…)

Don’t Bet Against the Dollar

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

The global economy runs on the dollar, and that isn’t about to change. Today the world’s central banks hold about two thirds of their reserves in U.S. dollars. Most commodities are priced in American currency, and much of world’s trade is invoiced in dollars as well. The dollar is the lifeblood of the international system. (more…)

Through the Looking Glass: Saving Glut or Demand Shortage

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The old saying is that “If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail”. For economists, the hammer is “saving” and a host of problems are reduced to questions of saving. Nowhere is this clearer than discussions of the U.S. trade deficit and global financial imbalances, which are often explained as a saving problem. Unfortunately, this focus on saving distorts understanding and distracts from the real challenge of creating mass consumption markets in developing countries. (more…)

Exchange Rates: There is a Better Way

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

The world economy is poorly served by the current system of exchange rates. That system has contributed to today’s global financial imbalances, which are widely viewed as posing significant economic risk. These imbalances have also created political tensions between countries over how to adjust them, and within countries over job losses. Exchange rates matter more than ever under globalization, which means the world needs a better system. (more…)

Triangular Trouble: the Euro, the Dollar and the Renminbi

Monday, October 15th, 2007

For the last several years the euro has been appreciating steadily against the U.S. dollar. Given the Chinese renminbi and other East Asian currencies are pegged to the dollar that means the euro has been appreciating steadily against all. This spells trouble for Euroland, and it suggests European policymakers should join with the U.S. to address the global problem of under-valued currencies. (more…)

Jack Welch’s Barge: The New Economics of Trade

Monday, October 1st, 2007

The classical theory of comparative advantage has driven US trade policy for the past fifty years. That policy, in combination with technical innovations that have lowered costs of transportation and communication, has opened the global economy. Yet paradoxically, this opening has rendered classical trade theory obsolete. That in turn has left the US economically vulnerable because its trade policy remains stuck in the past and based on ideas that no longer hold. (more…)

The Profit vs. Country Dilemma

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin, was the leader of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia. One of his best known quotes is “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Today, Lenin must be chuckling in his Moscow mausoleum as he watches US business dealings with China. (more…)

Globalization Lock-in: What Should Be Done?

Monday, May 14th, 2007

“Lock-in” is a concept developed by economic historians to describe how economies get tied in to using inefficient technologies. It also applies to institutions as economies and societies can get locked into sub-optimal institutional arrangements. This has relevance for globalization where the arrangements governing trade and the global economy may be sub-optimal, posing problems of how to change them. The economics of lock-in helps understand the problem and suggests how to solve it. (more…)