Archive for December, 2005

The U.S. Trade Deficit and Net Foreign Income: No Escaping the Problem

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

Economists have long had an obsession with physics, evidenced by the metaphors of utility indifference curves and production iso-quants that derive from 19th century force field physics. Recently (Financial Times, Friday 8 December – not The Onion, April 1), Harvard University economists Ricardo Hausmann and Federico Sturzenegger claim to have discovered financial “dark matter“ that shows that neither the U.S. nor the global economy suffer from international financial imbalances. Consequently, the U.S. trade deficit is no longer an issue of concern. (more…)

Exchange Rates, Labor Standards, and Democracy: Why China Must Change

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

For the past five years the global economy has been flying on one engine. That engine is the U.S. consumer who has been on a consumption binge financed by borrowing, in turn backed by a housing price bubble. This situation poses the threat of a serious hard landing when that engine eventually stalls, as it must. Ever inflating house prices and rising debt-to-income levels are not sustainable. And as the late Herbert Stein, Chairman of President Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisers, wryly observed: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” (more…)