Egypt’s Revolutionary Coup - Shlomo Ben-Ami. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space MADRID – How revolutions unfold depends on many factors, including a country’s socio-economic structure, its particular historical traditions, and sometimes the role of foreign powers. So the Arab Spring was never expected to be a linear process, or a Middle Eastern version of Central Europe’s non-violent democratic revolutions of 1989. Egypt is a case in point. The structure of revolutions in non-industrialized societies has almost invariably comprised a succession of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary waves. The leaderless movement of angry young Egyptians that occupied Tahrir Square in February 2011 was motivated by two major grievances: decades of humiliation under autocratic rule, and a general impatience with the promise of a “democratic transition” based on a tortuous process of reform that never affected the underlying power structure.
Europe’s High-Risk Gamble - Martin Feldstein. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space CAMBRIDGE – The Greek government needs to escape from an otherwise impossible situation. It has an unmanageable level of government debt (150% of GDP, rising this year by ten percentage points), a collapsing economy (with GDP down by more than 7% this year, pushing the unemployment rate up to 16%), a chronic balance-of-payments deficit (now at 8% of GDP), and insolvent banks that are rapidly losing deposits. The only way out is for Greece to default on its sovereign debt. When it does, it must write down the principal value of that debt by at least 50%. If Greece leaves the euro after it defaults, it can devalue its new currency, thereby stimulating demand and shifting eventually to a trade surplus. Le pari très risqué de l'Europe - Martin Feldstein.
Countering the Contagious West - Mohamed A. El-Erian. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space NEWPORT BEACH – Imagine for a moment that you are the chief policymaker in a successful emerging-market country. You are watching with legitimate concern (and a mixture of astonishment and anger) as Europe’s crippling debt crisis spreads and America’s dysfunctional politics leave it unable to revive its moribund economy. Combattre le mal contagieux de l’Occident - Mohamed A. El-Erian. Thinking the Unthinkable in Europe - George Soros. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space NEW YORK – To resolve a crisis in which the impossible has become possible, it is necessary to think the unthinkable. So, to resolve Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, it is now imperative to prepare for the possibility of default and defection from the eurozone by Greece, Portugal, and perhaps Ireland. In such a scenario, measures will have to be taken to prevent a financial meltdown in the eurozone as a whole. First, bank deposits must be protected. Concevoir l'inconcevable en Europe - George Soros.
Saudi Arabia’s Decade of Denial - Mai Yamani. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space LONDON – Saudi Arabia may not have been directly implicated in the conspiracy that killed more than 3,000 people on September 11, 2001, but it has been consumed in a conspiracy of silence ever since. The Kingdom remains in sullen denial of the fact that the terrorists’ ideology – their inspiration to behave as they did – was created and nurtured within its borders. That stance appears to have been contagious, because the United States, too, has done everything possible to change the subject whenever the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks is raised. La décennie du déni de l'Arabie Saoudite - Mai Yamani. Will the IMF Stand Up to Europe? - Kenneth Rogoff. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space CAMBRIDGE – As the eurozone crisis continues to deepen, the International Monetary Fund may finally be acknowledging the need to reassess its approach. New Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s recent call for forced recapitalization of Europe’s bankrupt banking system is a good start. European officials’ incensed reaction – the banks are fine, they insist, and need only liquidity support – should serve to buttress the Fund’s determination to be sensible about Europe. Until now, the Fund has sycophantically supported each new European initiative to rescue the over-indebted eurozone periphery, committing more than $100 billion to Greece, Portugal, and Ireland so far.
Le FMI tiendra-t-il tête à l'Europe ? - Kenneth Rogoff. Hail to the Technocrats - Fabrizio Tassinari. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space COPENHAGEN – Is the European Union’s supposed “democratic deficit” now spreading to individual European countries in the wake of the sovereign-debt crisis? The rise of unelected technocrats to political power in Greece and Italy suggests, at least superficially, that the old taboo against technocratic governments pursuing an EU-dictated agenda has been shattered.
Consider Italy. Most Italians breathed a collective sigh of relief that three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is being replaced by a technocrat par excellence, former European Commissioner Mario Monti, a respected economist. Of course, there are many things wrong with the EU nowadays, but a widening of its so-called “democratic deficit” is not one of them. Éloge aux technocrates - Fabrizio Tassinari.
America’s Self-Inflicted Decline - Malcolm Fraser. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space MELBOURNE – If the broad post-World War II prosperity that has endured for six decades comes to an end, both the United States and Europe will be responsible. With rare exceptions, politics has become a discredited profession throughout the West. Tomorrow is always treated as more important than next week, and next week prevails over next year, with no one seeking to secure the long-term future. Now the West is paying the price. President Barack Obama’s instincts may be an exception here, but he is fighting powerful hidebound forces in the United States, as well as a demagogic populism, in the form of the Tea Party, that is far worse – and that might defeat him in 2012, seriously damaging America in the process.
Une Amérique responsable de son propre déclin - Malcolm Fraser. The Crisis of Fiscal Imagination - Dani Rodrik. Exit from comment view mode.
Click to hide this space CAMBRIDGE – Greedy banks, bad economic ideas, incompetent politicians: there is no shortage of culprits for the economic crisis in which rich countries are engulfed. But there is also something more fundamental at play, a flaw that lies deeper than the responsibility of individual decision-makers.
Democracies are notoriously bad at producing credible bargains that require political commitments over the medium term. La crise de créativité des politiques budgétaires - Dani Rodrik. Exit from comment view mode.
Will the Sun Still Rise? - Heizo Takenaka. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space TOKYO – The scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March was far greater than even the authorities’ worst scenarios foresaw. Nearly six months later, the total damage remains difficult to estimate. Social unrest and confusion, as well as radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, continue.
And now the country has absorbed another huge blow: another downgrade of its bond ratings. So what policies should be implemented in response to these economic blows? Last year, Japan’s economy grew at a relatively healthy 3% annual rate, higher than in the United States or the European Union, owing mainly to the fiscal expansion undertaken after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Now, with so much fixed capital and infrastructure destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, the economy’s productive capacity has fallen by an estimated 2% of GDP.
A key question has been the disaster’s impact on global supply chains. Le soleil levant renaîtra-t-il? - Heizo Takenaka. A Greek Catch-22 - Eduardo Levy Yeyati. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space BUENOS AIRES – Desperate times bring desperate measures. Le dédale de la dette grecque - Eduardo Levy Yeyati. The Coming Global Credit Glut - Andrew Sheng. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space HONG KONG – With world leaders meeting at the end of this week at the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, the next economic minefield that they will face is already coming into view. La prochaine vague planétaire du crédit - Andrew Sheng. The Responsibility to Protect Comes of Age - Gareth Evans. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space NEW YORK – Good news not only sells less well than bad news, but also often seems harder to believe. Reaction to Harvard psychologist Stephen Pinker’s majestic new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, is a case in point.
In 800 meticulously argued and documented pages, Pinker shows that, over the course of history, there has been a dramatic decline in violence, both domestically and internationally – and that this downward trend is continuing through the post-Cold War years. But the response of many reviewers to Pinker’s work has been incomprehension, denial, or a tenacious focus on individual horror stories, as though they somehow change the larger picture. Many will be similarly slow to accept that when it comes to the most conscience-shocking classes of violence – genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other mass atrocities – dramatic progress has been made recently. La responsabilité de protéger prend forme - Gareth Evans. The Bogey of Fiscal Stimulus - Jomo Kwame Sundaram. L'épouvantail des mesures de relance - Jomo Kwame Sundaram. Bleed the Foreigner - Harold James. Faire payer l'étranger - Harold James. A Free Lunch for America - J. Bradford DeLong. Le repas américain gratuit - J. Bradford DeLong. The Perverse Politics of Financial Crisis - Zingales Luigi.
Les effets pervers de la politique en temps de crise financière - Zingales Luigi. The Manufacturing Imperative - Dani Rodrik. L'impératif du secteur manufacturier - Dani Rodrik.