News & Commentary:

March 2005 Archives


The Next Wave of Offshoring Recommended!
Robyn Meredith (FEER) Mar 2005
The emergence of a new wave of offshoring bound for Asia.

A silver lining in the US trade deficit
Diana Farrell, Sacha Ghai, and Tim Shavers (McKinsey Quarterly) Mar 2005
The successful global expansion of multinational companies is a major contributor to the trade imbalance.

Lifting the Resource Curse
George Soros (Project Syndicate) Mar 2005
Countries that are rich in natural resources are often poor, because exploiting those resources has taken precedence over good government. Competing oil and mining companies, backed by their governments, are often willing to deal with anyone who can assure them of a concession. This has bred corrupt and repressive governments and armed conflict. In Africa, resource-rich countries like Congo, Angola, and Sudan have been devastated by civil wars. In the Middle East, democratic development has been lagging.

Democracy in Inaction at the World Bank
Joseph E. Stiglitz (Project Syndicate) Mar 2005
James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, has announced his intention to leave, and the search is on for a new head of the world’s most important multilateral organization promoting development. The choice is especially important now, when poverty in the Third World is finally being recognized as our greatest problem and challenge.

In Search of Global Demand Recommended!
J. Bradford DeLong (Project Syndicate) Mar 2005
Once again, Germany and Japan have slipped into recession. Once again, the second and third largest of the world’s major industrial economies are subtracting from, not adding to, growth in the world’s aggregate demand.

Dollar Liquidity Is the World's Lifeblood Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
George Melloan (WSJ) Mar 1, 2005
The economic action is still in the United States.

Convertibles Don't Necessarily Float Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Mar 1, 2005
Convertibility makes it easier to maintain a fixed regime.

Asia/Pacific: Oil Is a Bubble
Andy Xie (MSDW) Mar 1, 2005
The impact of high oil prices on China’s economy and on profit margins in general is a key risk in the current global boom. If current oil prices persist, the windfall for oil exporters may exceed the total earnings of S&P 500 companies, and China will have to pay 2% of GDP more in 2005 than last year for oil imports.

The battle for Britain
The Economist Mar 1, 2005
The scrap over the London Stock Exchange is more than good spectator sport

Leveraging the Dragon: Toward "An Africa That Can Say No"
Chris Alden/eAfrica (YaleGlobal) Mar 1, 2005
The rapidly growing engagement between China and Africa requires a greater balance of the economic and strategic interests of both sides.

The Global Economy's Odd Couple
Guy Pfeffermann and Bernard Wasow (Globalist) Mar 1, 2005
Why is the income gap in the United States and China so wide?

Tumbling Dominoes in the Middle East? Recommended!
Quentin Langley (Globalist) Mar 1, 2005
Is the Middle East primed for a wave of democracy?

China, U.S., Europe — Whose Century?
Kishore Mahbubani (Globalist) Mar 2, 2005
How will existing and rising world powers influence the course of the 21st century?

China's Surfeit of Riches Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Stephen Green (WSJ) Mar 2, 2005
Can Chinese authorities cope with the pressures that such a foreign-exchange reserve build up entails?

Greenspan Humbled By Asia's Central Bankers Recommended!
William Pesek Jr. (Bloomberg) Mar 2, 2005
Asia's economies are rolling the dice with an enterprise that may alter the complexion of the global financial system, affecting powerful central bankers like Alan Greenspan on the other side of the world.

Trade not aid will meet Africa's challenges Financial Times Subscription Required
Alan Patricof (FT) Mar 3, 2005
A key priority of the discussions on Africa should be the development of the local framework of a functional private sector.

The Middle East: Something stirs Recommended!
Economist Mar 3, 2005
Two years after the invasion of Iraq, the Arab world is beginning to show tantalising signs of change. But it is too early to talk of a year of revolutions, as the three prime exhibits being used to make the case for democracy—Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine—are in many ways special cases.

Argentina's successful debt restructuring: A victory by default?
Economist Mar 4, 2005
The successful restructuring of Argentina's debts has set a painful new benchmark for creditors

Beijing tries to face unrest over wealth gap
IHT Mar 4, 2005
Chinese leaders seek to resolve a vexing pair of problems: the economy is growing too fast, and most people feel left out of the boom.

Argentina's Lessons for Global Creditors Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Mary Anastasia O'Grady (WSJ) Mar 4, 2005
Lend to deadbeats at your own risk.

The Water Century
Steve Loranger (Globalist) Mar 4, 2005
Why has water scarcity become a global problem?

'Cotton pickin' days is over'
AT Mar 5, 2005
In the US it's subsidies, in some Central Asian countries it's pure tyranny. The net result is the same: artificially low cost of cotton. Much to the glee of the developing world, the World Trade Organization has ruled that US cotton subsidies are illegal. But that won't eradicate exploitative cotton farming in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Plus: The curse of cotton.

Buffett warns on US trade deficit
BBC Mar 6, 2005
Billionaire Warren Buffett warns about the extent of the US trade deficit, saying it creates an over-reliance upon foreign investment.

EU bids to get in shape to compete Financial Times Subscription Required
FT Mar 7, 2005
At the start of a series on the European Union's search for ways to lift economic growth rates and create more jobs, the FT assesses the prospects for progress as the targets are honed down.

Currencies: We Still Maintain a Positive Bias on the USD
Stephen L. Jen (MSDW) Mar 7, 2005
We maintain a positive bias on the USD in the short run, against both EUR and JPY. While market concerns about the US structural problems are genuine, we believe the cyclical outperformance of the US and the Fed’s actions will be the ‘newer news’ that will support the USD.

De Rato in Maghreb Adobe Acrobat Required
IMF Survey Mar 7, 2005
Plus: IEO releases report on technical assistance; Institutions and economic growth; Central bank transparency; Postconflict experience in sub-Saharan Africa; Monetary policy implementation.

Unraveling cotton subsidies
IHT/NYT Mar 8, 2005
The World Trade Organization struck a huge blow for poor countries the world over last week when it upheld a ruling that the billions of dollars America spends to subsidize its cotton farmers violate global trade rules. It is long past time for the United States to take responsibility for its dreadful cotton subsidy program, which, by distorting the real price of cotton on the world marketplace, has managed to drive poor farmers from Chad to Benin to Burkina Faso out of business.

They made a democracy and called it peace Recommended!
Spengler (AT) Mar 8, 2005
This year's 60th anniversary of the Anglo-American victory in World War II will call forth innumerable orations about the triumph of liberty. Ad nauseam, we will hear that the occupation of Germany and Japan as well as the fall of communism set a precedent for the birth of democracy in Iraq, leading to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East. If the experience of World War II and the Cold War were any guide, the Middle East would be well advised to shun democracy at all costs.

Trade Wins
Stuart E. Eizenstat & David Marchik (WSJ) Mar 8, 2005
The Democratic opposition to Cafta is very poor politics.

Why the Dollar is Falling
Antony P. Mueller (Mises Daily) Mar 8, 2005
When confronted with complaints about the falling value of the dollar, the U.S. official is said to have responded to his European visitors: "The dollar is our currency, but it's your problem." That was in 1971. The politician to whom this statement is attributed was John Connally, who at that time served as the secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His boss was Richard Nixon, the same President who used a word for the Italian lira which politeness prohibits repeating. Nevertheless, Connally and Nixon made clear how matters were.

US parties and their foreign policy masquerade
Francis Fukuyama (FT) Mar 8, 2005
The Republicans endorse open-ended democracy promotion, while the Democrats have become the party of pragmatic caution. How this reversal occurred is a matter of accident.

China moves to free the shackles from trade
AT Mar 9, 2005
China will talk free trade with 23 countries this year, ranging from Pakistan to Australia and Chile to New Zealand, as well as trade blocs such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and Latin America's Mercosur. But the most coveted, and the most difficult, remains an accord with East Asia.

Brazil: WTO Cotton Victory Against US Reaffirmed; Pressures EU On Sugar
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 9, Number 8 Mar 9, 2005
The WTO Appellate Body has upheld all major findings of an earlier WTO panel that ruled that US cotton subsidies were in violation of WTO rules on agriculture and subsidies.

Ministers Report Progress At Kenya Mini-Ministerial
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 9, Number 8 Mar 9, 2005
Ministers and senior trade officials from about 30 influential WTO Member countries are saying that the 2-4 March 'mini-ministerial' meeting in Kenya has helped speed up the ongoing Doha Round trade negotiations. Although the three days of talks saw continuing differences among Members, particularly over the priority of agricultural subsidy reform within the overall discussions, the attendees set out time frames and technical processes for moving forward in the industrial goods and agriculture talks.

Trade Two-Step Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Mar 10, 2005
U.S. trade policy takes one step forward and one step back.

The WTO After 10 Years: The Lessons Learned and The Challenges Ahead
Mar 10, 2005
Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, in his speech "The WTO After 10 Years: The Lessons Learned and The Challenges Ahead" to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on 10 March 2005, expressed confidence that "the lessons learned during our first decade will help future leaders to chart the course for greater equity, stability and prosperity". He said that one of the most important achievements has been "the enhanced integration of developing countries into the WTO system".

China's trade up 35%
AT Mar 11, 2005
China's total two-way trade topped US$1 trillion in 2004, with both exports and imports surging by over 35%, creating a trade surplus of $31.98 billion. The flip side: China's dependency on foreign trade climbed, raising fears of exposure risks.

Koizumi stirs up currency speculation
IHT Mar 11, 2005
The dollar swooned Thursday after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi suggested that Japan might consider shifting some of its huge dollar holdings into other currencies.

The high price of oil: Time for OPEC to plump up its cushion
Economist Mar 11, 2005
Oil prices rose to within a whisker of all-time highs this week, before falling back on profit-taking. If OPEC wants to keep its grip on the market, it will have to widen the gap between the amount it pumps and the amount it can.

The greenback catches Asian flu
AT Mar 12, 2005
After South Korea, now Japan is hinting at ditching its dollars, adding momentum to the greenback's already sliding trend against Asian currencies. The world's central bank confirms that Asian banks have been steadily shedding their dollar holdings and pursuing an independent course, mirroring the region's growing importance to world trade. - Alan Boyd

China's trade up 35%
AT Mar 12, 2005
China's total two-way trade topped US$1 trillion in 2004, with both exports and imports surging by over 35%, creating a trade surplus of $31.98 billion. The flip side: China's dependency on foreign trade climbed, raising fears of exposure risks.

U.S. trade gap unexpectedly widens
IHT/NYT Mar 12, 2005
The United States trade deficit soared in January to its second-highest level ever, defying predictions that a weakened dollar and lower oil prices would improve the American trade picture.

Europe's leading role in the spread of democracy Financial Times Subscription Required
FT Mar 13, 2005
We should seize the new opportunities to advance a wider agenda for democracy, security across the Middle East, writes Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the common foreign and security policy.

Trade Deficit Trickery Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Frank Newman and Dan Newman (WSJ) Mar 14, 2005
Spend less! Save more! Slash the dollar! Why?

Global: The China Disconnect
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Mar 14, 2005
The world remains in the grips of a China mania. Although it still accounts for only about 4% of world GDP, China continues to be viewed as something close to a savior for an otherwise growth-starved world. It’s all about China’s “delta” -- visions of an open-ended 8-9% growth trajectory that enthralls western industrialists, investors, and policy makers alike. Meanwhile, the Chinese leadership is treading far more cautiously as it takes its slowdown campaign into a second year. This underscores an important disconnect: Just when the world seems to be counting on China the most, there is a growing risk the Chinese economy goes the other way.

Oil's not well
Chris Shaw (AT) Mar 15, 2005
Don't let the fancy talk on "alternative" sources of fuel fool you. Inferior energy sources are critically dependent on oil for their extraction, processing and distribution, and to give them the illusion of being "profitable". We are soon getting to a point where there will be no energy because there will be no oil.

An `Unexpected' Change in Yuan Isn't Imminent
Andy Mukherjee (Bloomberg) Mar 15, 2005
China's Premier Wen Jiabao created a minor flutter in the foreign-exchange market yesterday when he said that measures to make the pegged Chinese currency more flexible may be announced ``unexpectedly.''

Global: Fiscal Adjustment vs. Financial Exposure
Robert Alan Feldman (MSDW) Mar 15, 2005
My colleagues Eric Chaney and Vincenzo Guzzo have drawn attention to fiscal balances as a potential market theme. Eric’s most recent piece (“Europe: Fiscal Alert,” Weekly International Briefing, March 14, 2005) says that “sovereign bond markets may have to rethink their benchmarking habits.” Eric’s chart with four classes of countries quite correctly includes Japan in the “unsustainable and rising” category. Indeed, Japan will not even fit on his chart. And Vincezzo’s piece says, “ . . . financial markets are still well aware of profligate policies and willing to punish any rising default risk. It is on long-term issues that their scrutiny is looser . . .” (“Europe: No Deal on the Pact,” ibid.)

Why the oil price rise does not yet threaten crisis Financial Times Subscription Required
FT Mar 15, 2005
Central bankers' control of inflation has won them credibility and reduced the likelihood of upward pressure on wages and prices. The other risks faced by the US, Europe and Japan are varied.

Robber Barons of the Internet Age?
Guy Pfeffermann and Bernard Wasow (Globalist) Mar 15, 2005
Is government the biggest obstacle to developing countries' Internet access?

Is the Global Economy Unstable?
Robert J. Samuelson (WP) Mar 16, 2005
One of the big questions of our time is whether the global economy is stable. The gains from "globalization" -- more cross-border trade, investment and technology transfers -- are indisputable. Countless millions have escaped poverty in Asia and Europe. A recent study by the Institute for International Economics concluded that American living standards are roughly 10 percent higher as a result of globalization's benefits (cheap imports, greater competition, new technologies). Globalization's winners vastly outnumber its losers.

Opec agrees to raise oil output
BBC Mar 16, 2005
Opec ministers meeting in Iran agree to lift production limits by an extra 500,000 barrels per day, and to consider another rise.

The Dollar: Starkers
Economist Mar 16, 2005
The dollar may get another short-lived respite but it is heading inexorably down. The question is how much it takes with it.

Brazil: Navigating the Straits of Globalization
Mark Langevin (Globalist) Mar 17, 2005
How is Brazil using international trade to achieve its development goals?

Wolfowitz tapped for World Bank
IHT Mar 17, 2005
President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he plans to nominate Paul Wolfowitz to become the next president of the World Bank.

In Europe, suspicion and worry on choice
IHT Mar 17, 2005
European officials digested the United States' nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank with a mixture of surprise, consternation and curiosity.

Banking on Wolfowitz
WSJ Mar 17, 2005
Can Paul Wolfowitz save the World Bank?

Paul Wolfowitz Picked to Head World Bank
WP Mar 17, 2005
President Bush has nominated the controversial deputy secretary of defense, and key architect of the Iraq War, to lead World Bank.

Wolfowitz at the door
AT Mar 17, 2005
US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in US history, is President George W Bush's choice to head the World Bank, the world's largest development agency. His nomination has sparked a wave of outrage among independent development groups, who blame him for promoting unilateralism and militarism in US foreign policy, and for a lack of transparency in bidding for reconstruction contracts in Iraq.

Another Wolf for Russia Recommended!
AT Mar 17, 2005
And the Academy Award for the best fascist dictator goes to - Adolf Hitler! Woody Allen cracked that joke once at the expense of the US habit of making awards out of self-congratulation of the least worthy type. Were anyone to dare in the same spirit, they might award the new US nominee to head the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, the title of the worst American ever to hold such an international post.

The World Bank: A hawk to ruffle the World Bank's feathers
Economist Mar 17, 2005
George Bush has nominated Paul Wolfowitz, one of the main architects of the Iraq war, to run the World Bank. Though this is normally America’s prerogative, Europeans and others may object to the candidacy of so hawkish a figure.

Prospering in a Globalized Economy
Rodrigo de Rato (IMF) Mar 17, 2005
Globalization is, of course, a much-discussed theme. But I believe India is the perfect venue to bring to it a new perspective. For India recently has grasped firmly the opportunities of globalization, as the international successes of so many of you in the audience can attest. At the same time, India remains a country struggling against poverty, inequality and poor living conditions for hundreds of millions of its citizens.

Bold choice, message sent Recommended!
IHT/NYT Mar 18, 2005
By sending Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank, Bush all but said that the institution could benefit from unconventional thinking, fresh leadership and stern discipline.

Why Wolfowitz? Recommended!
IHT/NYT Mar 18, 2005
When asked why he had nominated Paul Wolfowitz, a chief architect of the Iraq invasion, as the next president of the World Bank, President George. W. Bush repeatedly pointed out that as deputy defense secretary, Wolfowitz had managed a large organization. Even he seemed slightly flummoxed about why a job that is all about international cooperation should go to a man whose work has so outraged many of the nations with which he will be expected to work.

The Ugly American Bank Recommended!
Paul Krugman (NYT) Mar 18, 2005
Developing countries will distrust any economic advice Paul Wolfowitz might give as leader of the World Bank.

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
Fred Kaplan (Slate) Mar 18, 2005
Why Paul Wolfowitz may be a good choice to run the World Bank.

Regime Change at the World Bank Recommended! Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Allan H. Meltzer (WSJ) Mar 18, 2005
Wolfowitz and the World Bank should lead the way in making the case for democracy.

Economic Development and Security
Horst Köhler (Globalist) Mar 18, 2005
Is too much emphasis put on the military dimension of security today? And how does global poverty factor into the equation?

UN chief's haste sparks criticism
AT Mar 19, 2005
Kofi Annan's rushed nomination of a new chief for UNCTAD is raising eyebrows.

President Bush's Debt
NYT Mar 19, 2005
Last week, as Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain unveiled the commission on Africa's report to tackle poverty, Bob Geldof, the Live Aid star-turned-humanitarian, walked to the microphone with expletive-filled advice for how Mr. Blair and the British chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, should get the American president, George Bush, to step up to the plate on aid to Africa. Saving Africa, Mr. Geldof said, would cost "half a stick of chewing gum a day" for each citizen of the Group of 8 industrialized nations.

The vanguard of muscular diplomacy Financial Times Subscription Required
Amity Shales (FT) Mar 20, 2005
John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz are not going to endanger the future of the United Nations or the World Bank. Those futures are already in danger.

The dollar has fallen enough Financial Times Subscription Required
Wolfgang Munchau (FT) Mar 20, 2005
An analysis of investment flows shows the sustainable current account deficit for the US may be higher than had been thought.

What Are We to Make of the Trade Deficit?
Stefan M.I. Karlsson (Mises Daily) Mar 21, 2005
Despite a falling dollar, the U.S. trade deficit has continued to increase to new record levels. The total current account deficit1 rose to a record 6.3 % of GDP during the 4th quarter of 2004, exceeding for the first time ever 6% of GDP. What are the implications of this for the U.S. economy? Is it good or bad? Or a little bit of both?

Global: Diversification? Again
Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Mar 21, 2005
Diversification is the catchword of the moment. A number of developments have whetted the market’s interest: First, we saw a sharp ramp-up in FX reserves toward year-end 2004. This was followed by a well-publicized survey of central banks that showed a shift out of dollars. A few weeks later, the Bank of Korea’s announcement on reserve diversification sent more ripples through the market, which was followed by comments by other central banks, including Japan, China, India, and the Ukraine. The latest Bank of International Settlements (BIS) quarterly review shows a decline in the share of dollar deposits by Asian ex-Japan banks, adding further fuel to the fire. Our impression is that the diversification story is overblown, but we concede that any subsequent speculation is likely to weigh on the dollar.

America's New Chief Trader Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Naotaka Matsukata (WSJ) Mar 21, 2005
Suggestions for the new U.S. Trade Representative.

De Rato applauds growth in China and India Adobe Acrobat Required
IMF Survey Mar 21, 2005
Plus: Romanian president's visit; Moldova; Libya; Italy; Slovak Republic; Country insurance facility; Microfinance; U.S. Federal Reserve; United Kingdom; Canada; Offshore financial centers.

Easy Ways to Aid Africa
WP Mar 21, 2005
People know that Africa is desperate -- that half the population lives on less than one dollar daily; that life expectancy has fallen to 46 because of the AIDS crisis. But people are mostly resigned to this. They believe, wrongly, that progress is impossible. They suppose, wrongly, that helping Africa would cost impossible amounts.

Lending the Good Loan
James P. Rubin (NYT) Mar 22, 2005
Though criticisms of his miltary decisions are valid, Paul Wolfowitz is the right person to lead the World Bank.

Bush's Shake-Up-the-World View
Fred Barnes (WSJ) Mar 22, 2005
Wolfowitz, Bolton and Huges understand--and share--Bush's shake-up-the-world view.

A Chance to Lift the 'Aid Curse' Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Jagdish Bhagwati (WSJ) Mar 22, 2005
Increased aid could do more harm than good.

It is time to free the World Bank
Jeffrey Sachs (FT) Mar 22, 2005
If the World Bank is to be a leading force in the promotion of good governance in developing countries, its own governance must move beyond backroom politics.

Living Up to Nafta Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Mar 23, 2005
Free Canadian softwood lumber and Mexican cement.

Scraping the bottom of the oil barrel
Michael T Klare (AT) Mar 24, 2005
Usually when major oil companies release their annual performance data, everyone outside the business world yawns. Not this year. Big Oil is reporting record profits, which is all very well in the short term, but they mask a more sobering reality: the world is headed for a severe and prolonged energy crunch.

Australia courts the Dragon
AT Mar 24, 2005
Negotiations on a free trade agreement between China and Australia look increasingly likely. For Australia, this is even more important than its accord with the United States.

Indian Parliament Approves Controversial Patent Bill
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 9, Number 10 Mar 23, 2005
The Indian parliament has approved a controversial patent bill that would make it illegal for domestic companies to make generic copies of patented drugs. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and health advocacy groups were especially critical of the legislation's provisions for the production of generic drugs, proclaiming the law to represent "the beginning of the end of affordable generics." Commerce Minister Kamal Nath denied allegations that the law would push up the price of drugs.

Agriculture Negotiations: Technical Work Ongoing
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 9, Number 10 Mar 23, 2005
The latest 'agriculture week' at the WTO ended on 18 March. Informal negotiations continue, however, on the process for converting 'specific' agricultural tariffs based on imported quantities into 'ad valorem' equivalents (AVEs), i.e., tariffs based upon the price of the product. Establishing AVEs is a pre-condition for addressing the tariff reduction formula that is a central pillar of ongoing agriculture negotiations. The special (negotiating) session of the Committee on Agriculture was not formally closed, however. The body's chair, Ambassador Tim Groser of New Zealand, suspended the meeting on 17 March with the intention of reconvening the group after the informal consultations in order for Members to formally agree on an AVE conversion process. While no date has been set for its resumption, Members will most likely reconvene after a ministerial-level meeting of the Cairns group scheduled for 30 March - 1 April in Cartagena, Colombia.

Members Continue To Differ Over NAMA Formula
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 9, Number 10 Mar 23, 2005
During WTO talks on non-agricultural market access (NAMA) last week, Brazil and India argued that US and EU proposals for reducing tariffs on industrial goods would disproportionately affect developing countries. The 'NAMA week' concluded on 18 March with a meeting of the Negotiating Group on Market Access.

The Diamond Fallacy
Gene Callahan (Mises Daily) Mar 28, 2005
Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years is a fascinating and quite readable speculation on the relationship between geography and history. He has assembled a cornucopia of interesting facts and plausible insights concerning the course of events over the last 13,000 years. The result is well worth reading, despite the fact that I think the ambition of his main thesis reaches well beyond his actual achievement. That discrepancy is due, I believe, to Diamond's having little understanding of what history actually is.

A New Era for Oil?
WP Mar 30, 2005
The interesting question about the advent of $50-a-barrel oil is whether it signals a new era in the economics and politics of energy. To sharpen the question: Have we entered a period when, owing to consistently strong demand and chronically scarce supplies, prices have moved permanently higher? We don't know, but the answer could be "yes" for at least one reason: China.

Wolfowitz at the World Bank? We Could Do Worse Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Sebastian Mallaby (WSJ) Mar 30, 2005
Is a passionate democratizer right for the World Bank?

Wolfowitz reassures Europeans on his goal
IHT Mar 31, 2005
The visit to Brussels came on the eve of his expected confirmation as president of the World Bank president by its 24 executive directors.

Solid Choice on Trade
NYT Mar 31, 2005
President Bush's choice of Rob Portman to succeed Robert Zoellick as the United States trade representative was a solid pick for the job of prying open markets abroad.

Mr. Wolfowitz and the Bank
WP Mar 31, 2005
The World Bank's board will meet today and will almost certainly confirm the nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as its new president.

The Skinny on Cafta Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Thea Lee (WSJ) Mar 31, 2005
Like Nafta, it's neither "pro-jobs" nor "pro-growth."

The challenge of financial integration
FT Mar 31, 2005
For those who have been despairing at the lack of integration in European financial markets, this has been a good week.

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