Finance and Development Jun/Aug 2002
Point of View by Professor Angus Deaton of Princeton University on reliability of poverty counts. Overview on new approaches to poverty reduction followed by articles covering recent reviews of the IMF/World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach and the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, as well as an article on the preparation of Bolivia's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper bringing together the views of five participants. Other articles on how financial crises affect income distribution and the poor, the need for automatic safety nets, the streamlining of IMF conditionality in new loans, the impact of external debt on growth, the issue of whether countries should be obligated to repay "odious" debt incurred by their leaders, and the challenges of expanding aid flows to poor countries with small economies. On other subjects, articles on the popular value-added-tax and the lessons from a decade of transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In his regular column, Straight Talk, Kenneth Rogoff, IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department explores the volatility of G-3 exchange rates.
Chapter 11 for Countries?
Richard N. Cooper (Foreign Affairs) Jul/Aug 2002
A debate is unfolding over a new IMF proposal to avert future Argentina-style financial meltdowns: an international "Chapter 11" that would let a country declare bankruptcy, just like a troubled firm. Such a plan would represent an improvement over the current approach -- but it will not eliminate financial crises altogether.
Clash of Globalizations
Stanley Hoffmann (Foreign Affairs) Jul/Aug 2002
After September 11, the world risks being squeezed between a new Scylla and Charybdis. On one side, America is tempted to launch a dangerous, unilateral mission of robust intervention. But the alternative -- resignation to fresh terrorist attacks and oblivion to the security threats posed by globalization -- is no better.
Ties That Bind
Joseph P. Quinlan (Foreign Affairs) Jul/Aug 2002
A single-minded focus on the U.S. trade deficit with China ignores a new reality: since the early 1990s, the ground beneath U.S.-China relations has been shifting. Shallow links based on trade have given way to deeper ties characterized by rising U.S. foreign direct investment and sales by U.S. foreign affiliates in China.
Bretton Woods Update 29
Bretton Woods Project Jul/Aug 2002
Bank declaration of human rights; Counting the poor: do the poor count; Rebranding Adjustment: the World Bank and 'development support lending'; IMF chides former WB Chief Economist; Bank's pledge to fight corruption put to test; and IMF boss grilled by British MPs
Optimism for Global Rebound Relies on United States
Latin Focus Aug 2002
While global economic growth will pick up over sluggish 2001, the recovery will be moderate. Only two economic areas, non-Japan Asia and the United States, will drive growth this year with the other world regions dragging along. Despite improving prospects, Japan will experience yet another year of negative growth, the third in the past five years. Europe is poised for moderate growth in the wake of increasing demand from the US. However, the recent strength of the Euro against the US$ threatens to choke off the recovery before it translates into higher domestic demand. In Latin America, the persistence of the Argentine crsis and a growing shadow over Brazil weighs heavily on this year s prospects.
Are the Dollar's Days Numbered?
Philippe Bacchetta and Eric van Wincoop (Project Syndicate) Aug 2002
A year ago, the dollar bestrode the world like a colossus. Now it is humbled and the euro looks triumphant. Is the dollar on the way out as the world's unchallenged reserve and trade currency? Or is "euro triumphalism" premature?
Three Cheers for Brazil
Joseph Stiglitz (Project Syndicate) Aug 2002
World markets seem to be turning up their nose at Brazil right now. They may be as mistaken about Brazil as world football experts were earlier this summer. When the World Cup began, you will recall, the Brazilian team was deemed talented but flawed. Yet somehow Brazil again became the World Cup champion. The country, too, may prove equally surprising and resilient.
The Globalization of Old Age
Serdar Sayan (Project Syndicate) Aug 2002
Anti-globalization campaigners gripe that the rich are getting richer. That's true in many ways. But rich countries are also getting older. This "graying" of the world's richest nations will profoundly affect not only these societies, but poorer countries as well.
Without ethics in society, capitalism fails
Charles Colson (IHT) Aug 1, 2002
President George W. Bush said recently, "There is no capitalism without conscience, there is no wealth without character." "There's no harm in this rhetoric," a Washington Post editorial responded, "but it is naive to suppose that business can be regulated by some kind of national honor code." Will we never learn?
Flying Down to Rio
WSJ Aug 1, 2002
There's no reason to think new IMF loans will stop Brazil from defaulting.
Options Should Be Expensed
Zvi Bodie, Robert S. Kaplan and Robert C. Merton (WSJ) Aug 1, 2002
There's nothing new about estimating an asset's value.
Director-General's farewell speech to the General Council
WTO Aug 1, 2002
Director-General Mike Moore, who completes his term on 31 August 2002, said in his farewell speech to the General Council on 31 July 2002 that "our greatest motivation is the people we serve", underlining that "confidence in the system is restored...our outstanding success in launching a new round of trade negotiations in Doha last year has opened up enormous possibilities to advance the conditions of people throughout the world".
Senate Grants Bush Authority on Trade Deals
NYT Aug 3, 2002
The Senate agreed not to interfere in trade deals negotiated by the White House, giving final approval to an accord requested by two presidents over eight years.
World trade talks
Economist Aug 3, 2002
After months on tenterhoooks, President George Bush has finally won from Congress the trade promotion authority that eluded his predecessor. This is crucial if America is to participate fully in the Doha round of world trade negotiations, but it is not enough to guarantee their success
Uruguay to get aid from IMF
IHT Aug 5, 2002
Uruguay will receive $1.5 billion in emergency loans in a few days from the International Monetary Fund and other international lenders, and the U.S. Treasury will advance the money immediately so that the country's banks can reopen Monday, U.S. and Uruguayan officials have said.
What's a 'Bubble' Anyway?
WSJ Aug 5, 2002
"At the time of writing, the theoretical literature has yet to converge on an agreed definition of bubbles, and on whether they are possible."
World trade talks
Economist Aug 5, 2002
A triumphant President George Bush has said he will sign into law on August 6th the trade promotion authority he finally won from Congress last week. The authority was crucial for full American participation in the Doha round of world trade negotiations, but it is not enough to guarantee their success.
Key Developing Countries Cry Foul As Textiles Stumbles At WTO
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 29 Aug 6, 2002
A continuing rift between developed and developing countries at the WTO over textiles liberalisation widened considerably at a 31 July meeting of the General Council, leaving developing countries asking where the 'development' aspect had gone from the so-called 'Doha Development Agenda' and dampening hopes on progress in other WTO negotiating areas. The meeting was a continuation of the session begun on 8 July, and was the last General Council session to be held with Director-General Mike Moore still in office.
With Little Movement Since Doha, S&D Review Extended To End-2002
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 29 Aug 6, 2002
Officially adopted at the 31 July General Council meeting, WTO Members agreed on 24 July to a report that, inter alia, extends a review of special and differential treatment for developing countries (S&D) until 31 December 2002. Despite having found 'consensus' on the key issue of a timeline, other contentious questions have been left unresolved, leaving an ambitious agenda for the special session of the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) when it resumes after the summer break.
The dollar rebounds, but for how long?
IHT Aug 7, 2002
The dollar, in retreat for much of this year, is making a tentative comeback, helped by its allure as a bulwark of safety in turbulent times. Though analysts say the danger of a renewed recession in the United States is growing, potential political and financial hazards outside America are piling up even faster.
Back to Bailouts
Allan H. Meltzer (WSJ) Aug 7, 2002
The IMF opens the bank for Brazil.
Latin America’s economies
Economist Aug 7, 2002
The abrupt change in American tone toward Latin America’s economic problems has fuelled speculation that a change in policy might not be far behind. Will aid for Uruguay be the exception, or the start of a U-turn?
Summit aims, again, for a better world
IHT Aug 8, 2002
The road from the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago to a similar global conference in Johannesburg later this month is paved with good intentions about improving the lot of the world's poor while safeguarding the environment.But the path also risks running into a dead end.
The West may be cracking
Francis Fukuyama (IHT) Aug 9, 2002
Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and radical Islamism more generally represent ideological challenges to Western liberal democracy that are in certain ways sharper than those offered by communism. But in the long run it is hard to see that Islamism offers much of a realistic alternative as a governing ideology for real world societies.
The Lost Continent
Paul Krugman (NYT) Aug 9, 2002
The U.S. should be very cautious about what it expects for its money in South America, which is currently facing a financial crisis.
DG Moore Says WTO is Delivering on LDC Trade
WTO Aug 7, 2002
Director-General Mike Moore, in his opening address to the Ministerial Conference of Least Developed Countries in Cotonou, Benin on 5 August 2002, said that the WTO is delivering on LDC trade including significant market access improvements and increased technical assistance, and stressed that that "the greatest threat to LDCs is not globalization, but marginalization".
Managing the World Economy
Ken Rogoff (IMF) Aug 8, 2002
Sometimes I spend my nights re-reading how Englishman John Maynard Keynes and American Harry Dexter White calmly traded ideas for reshaping the international financial system, even as the second world war exploded around them. That puts today's challenges into perspective - useful for those of us who sit, as I now do, at the International Monetary Fund, attempting to implement Keynes's and White's vision as it has evolved over the past 60-some years. Taking a pause to look ahead, here are six issues that seem particularly salient over the coming decades.
Latin American bail-outs
Economist Aug 9, 2002
The huge IMF rescue package for Brazil, aimed at heading off the risk of default by Latin America’s largest economy, has been given a warm welcome by the markets. The new loan was announced shortly after a visit to Brazil by America’s treasury secretary and in the same week that America handed a financial lifeline to Uruguay. But the new loans do not automatically mean the end of Latin America's problems.
Global: A Global Double Dip?
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Aug 9, 2002
With globalization comes a world business cycle with increasingly synchronous fluctuations. Cross-border linkages in trade, capital, and information bind together seemingly autonomous countries and regions as never before. Signs of this cyclical convergence are unmistakable. That was certainly the case last fall in the aftermath of the terrorist-induced shock in the United States. And it may well be the case today, with the odds of a US double dip on the rise. What are the chances that America’s double dip could turn into the world’s double dip?
Currencies: Multiple "Shadow Prices" of Currencies
Stephen L. Jen (MSDW) Aug 9, 2002
Exchange rates are often considered the most important prices in the world, yet they are also very difficult to analyze and forecast. Part of the difficulty is that there are many competing theories and different ways to think about them. In this note, I propose a conceptual framework to accommodate different -- often passionately held -- theories on currencies, with applications to the current environment.
Brazilians Find a Political Cost for I.M.F. Help
NYT Aug 10, 2002
Brazil has just secured a $30 billion lifeline from the International Monetary Fund, but the deal imposes strict policies on the next government.
A Second Chance for Brazil and the I.M.F.
Joseph E. Stiglitz (NYT) Aug 14, 2002
The world is waiting to see whether the International Monetary Fund's rescue package will bring Brazil back from the brink.
CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT The expanding reach of nongovernment aid
IHT Aug 15, 2002
Although the decade between the World Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and its successor in Johannesburg later this month is marked by the failure of governments to prevent the degradation of the environment or to rescue humanity from poverty and hunger, the last 10 years have seen an enormous upsurge in civic groups concerned about these critical global issues.
This is the third of five articles leading up to the World Summit for Sustainable Development, which begins Aug. 26 in Johannesburg.
A Free-Trade Revival
WSJ Aug 15, 2002
Cutting tariffs is good for America, even if no other country does the same.
China, Asia's Paper Tiger?
Jonathan Anderson (AWSJ) Aug 15, 2002
Even a large labor force can't sustain gravity-defying manufacturing.
WTO set to rule on US tax break
FT Aug 15, 2002
A World Trade Organisation arbitration panel is expected next week to deliver its long-awaited decision on the scale of European Union retaliation in a dispute over a US corporate tax break.
Sigmund Freud, meet Alan Greenspan
Paul Steinberg (IHT) Aug 16, 2002
For the last century, economists have borrowed heavily from the mental health field in describing dramatic economic phenomena of the last 300 years. Who can forget the "depression" of the 1930s or the "panic" in sell-offs in 1987 or even the tulip "mania" of 1636?
No Options on Options
Daniel Gross (Slate) Aug 16, 2002
How corporate America is being coerced in expensing options.
WTO DG Designate Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi selects deputies
WTO Aug 16, 2002
WTO Director-General Designate Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, on 16 August 2002, announced his selection of four persons who will serve as his Deputy Directors-General for three years commencing on 1 October 2002.
Ripples from America
Economist Aug 16, 2002
The latest data on the American economy point to a much weaker recovery than previously thought. This could force policy changes not only in America, but around the world.
Nasdaq’s bridge too far
Economist Aug 16, 2002
During the Internet boom, Nasdaq, the American stockmarket favoured by many technology companies, led the charge to set up a global network of linked stock exchanges. Investors, it boasted, would one day be able to trade in virtually any share, anywhere and at any hour of the day or night. Now tumbling share prices and investors’ indifference have forced Nasdaq to retrench. Has the global market had its day?
Currencies: Rising Risk of a Softening in the US' Strong USD Policy
Stephen L. Jen (MSDW) Aug 16, 2002
I believe that the risk of the US Treasury softening its strong USD policy further is rising. I do not believe that the Treasury will explicitly abandon the strong USD policy; that would be too dangerous for the bond market. However, another "re-definition" of this currency policy is a logical next step, in my view, in light of the fact that (1) the USD has failed to correct in broad index terms and (2) the Fed’s capacity to ease is diminishing. This prospective policy adjustment would be particularly relevant for USD/JPY.
A world court on the environment? Multinationals object
IHT Aug 19, 2002
Many large international corporations are gearing up for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg this month with an outpouring of promotional advertising to highlight their environmental credentials.
The Euro Rally Is for Real
Melvyn Krauss (WSJ) Aug 19, 2002
A sluggish American economy can't explain away good European monetary policy.
Earth summit urged to focus on Africa
FT Aug 19, 2002
The World Bank says the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens in Johannesburg next weekend, should give special focus to food production in famine-blighted sub-Saharan Africa.
Democracy's Quiet Victory
Joshua Muravchik (NYT) Aug 19, 2002
A remarkable chain of events suggests that democracy is completing its triumph as a global norm, endangering the remaining pockets of authoritarianism.
The Right Menu for Foreign Policy
Filipe Fernandez-Armensto Aug 19, 2002
Around the world, the right food is as important to a diplomatic encounter as it is to a well-planned seduction.
Nielsen NetRatings: Worldwide Internet population grows slightly
Nua Aug 19, 2002
More than 553 million people worldwide have Internet access, according to the latest study from Nielsen-Netratings.
Steel's Tariff Addiction
WSJ Aug 20, 2002
The industry continues to invest in Beltway lawyers.
S&P warns on Japan's sovereign rating
FT Aug 20, 2002
Standard & Poor's, the rating agency, on Monday warned that further delays to Japan's structural reform programme could result in an additional downgrade to its sovereign credit rating, which is already the lowest among the Group of Seven nations.
Currencies: Structural Fiscal Slippage Likely to Retard EUR/USD Ascent
Stephen L. Jen & Vincenzo Guzzo (MSDW) Aug 20, 2002
In this note, we bring to the attention of FX investors a brewing problem in Europe that could gradually develop into yet another head wind against EUR/USD. While this head wind is not likely to be strong enough to reverse the structural uptrend in EUR/USD, it will likely constrain the speed and the magnitude of this rally, in our view. While the deterioration in the fiscal positions of the Euroland economies is not surprising, in light of the cyclical economic slowdown, there are signs that this could degenerate into structural fiscal slippage. Our long-term view on EUR/USD remains unchanged, that a higher EUR/USD will be necessary in normalising USD valuation, balancing the relative inflation pressures between the US and Euroland, and shifting the pressure to ease from the Federal Reserve to the European Central Bank. However, we are increasingly concerned that such a rally in EUR/USD will be retarded by this fiscal problem.
Renewable Energy for the 21st Century
Christopher Flavin (Worldwatch) Aug 21, 2002
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's selection of energy as one of five key themes to be addressed at the World Summit is itself an important indicator of progress over the past decade. At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, discussion of energy-and particularly the potential of renewable energy-was given short shrift in the Agenda 21 document that emerged from the conference. Energy was indirectly addressed in the Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in Rio, but renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power, and bio-energy received little attention.
Surviving in newly poor Argentina
Economist Aug 22, 2002
Argentina's government sent a draft letter of intent to the IMF and said that it hoped for a speedy but limited agreement to roll over its debts to the Fund itself. But the country's Congress approved two bills which partially reverse the repeal, demanded by the IMF, of a debtor-friendly bankruptcy law.
After the deluge, moi?
Economist Aug 22, 2002
Two of Europe's biggest rivers, the Elbe and the Danube, flooded towns and villages in Germany, the Czech Republic and, less extensively, Hungary, whose capital, Budapest, managed to stay above the waves. Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, did not escape. Across the region, more than 100 people died and hundreds of thousands were forced out of their homes. Repairs in Germany, the worst hit, may cost euro15 billion ($15 billion).
CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT Talks to tackle threat to biodiversity
IHT Aug 23, 2002
Since the Earth summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, more than 180 countries have signed a convention to protect one of the planet's most valuable natural resources: the tremendous variety and diversity of plant and animal species. But as the world prepares to address the issue again at the Johannesburg conference starting Monday, the record shows that humanity is squandering this biological bounty at a high rate.
The Case for Sanctions
Robert H. Frank (NYT) Aug 24, 2002
As Adam Smith himself was well aware, the invisible hand of the marketplace does not always produce the greatest good for all.
Spreading across the globe, a great struggle for water
IHT Aug 26, 2002
Across a widening swath of the world, more and more people are vying for less and less water, in conflicts more rancorous by the day. From the searing plains of Mesopotamia to the steadily expanding deserts of northern China to the cotton fields of northwest Texas, the struggle for water is igniting social, economic and political tensions.
The Environmentalists Are Wrong
Bjorn Lomborg (NYT) Aug 26, 2002
The West is prone to believe that the environment is in poor shape, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Economist Aug 26, 2002
Tens of thousands of officials, politicians, activists and journalists are in Johannesburg for the United Nations Earth summit, which runs to September 4th. The aim is to build a framework for sustainable development—eliminating poverty while protecting the environment. Is there any chance it can succeed?
Global: A Capital Embargo from the Middle East?
Joe Quinlan/Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Aug , 2002
Because the US needs to import over $1 billion a day in foreign capital to fund its current account deficit, news that investors in Saudi Arabia were poised to pull billions of dollars out of the US has not gone over well. The chief fear is that if Middle East funds exit the US, the US dollar and other US financial assets will come under renewed pressure and compromise the US’s ability to attract foreign capital.
Philip Stott (WSJ) Aug 27, 2002
We've gone from global cooling to global warming, and yet some people still take this stuff seriously.
Czar of Steel
WSJ Aug 27, 2002
Why impose the tariffs if we're going to grant 727 exemptions?
World Development Forum Begins With a Rebuke
NYT Aug 27, 2002
Tens of thousands of officials, environmentalists and advocates for the poor converged on this old mining city today to devise an ambitious blueprint to promote development while protecting natural resources.
UN says earth summit will focus on Aids
FT Aug 27, 2002
The United Nations said on Sunday that finding strategies to combat the HIV/Aids pandemic ravaging southern Africa would be central to the agenda of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens on Monday in Johannesburg.
Record $50bn is pulled out of US equity funds
FT Aug 27, 2002
US investors reached breaking point last month and pulled a record $50bn out of US equity funds - the largest monthly net outflow in history, early data to be released by fund trackers this week will confirm.
The world's people need decent jobs
Juan Somavia (IHT) Aug 27, 2002
The International Labor Organization estimates that more than a billion women and men are unemployed, underemployed or working poor. A direct result of this is that some 120 million migrant workers and their families have left their home countries in the hope of finding a job somewhere else.
CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT Judges call for tougher action on environment
IHT Aug 28, 2002
One hundred and thirty chief justices and senior judges urged environmentalists Tuesday to take miscreant corporations and backsliding governments to court to protect the earth's resources.
Economist Aug 28, 2002
International efforts to stamp out graft among public officials have made little progress, laments a new study. Corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen are not just enriching themselves, but hampering economic development.
Economist Aug 28, 2002
The oil price has been hovering close to $30 a barrel over the past few days on fears of an American invasion of Iraq. The real danger the war poses may be of an interruption in the supply of oil from Saudi Arabia, which sits on a quarter of the world’s reserves
An American Abdication
Norbert Walter (NYT) Aug 28, 2002
The United States stands to forfeit much international good will by dragging its feet on the next great global issue: the environment.
For the markets, it's back to basics
IHT Aug 29, 2002
As the economic news looked reassuring this month, stocks rallied from their July lows. But in the past few days, amid more negative reports on the U.S. and global economies, share prices have stumbled.
Businesses urge investment in poor countries
FT Aug 29, 2002
Global business leaders yesterday launched a programme to promote greater investment by multinationals in the world's 50 poorest countries. Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD), a grouping of international chambers of commerce, unveiled the initiative at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Comment & Analysis: India stirs
Edward Luce (FT) Aug , 2002
India is experiencing a sharp increase in foreign direct investment. But the burden of regulation and poor infrastructure are leaving many regions behind.
Overview: External Risks, Internal Rewards
FEER Aug 29, 2002
A weak U.S. economy is bad news, but robust intraregional trade has made Asia more resilient to external shocks than ever before. Rising domestic demand and China's steady growth provide the region with a solid buffer. Plus Country Reports: Japan, China, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, New Zealand.
Trade wars: cooling off?
Economist Aug 29, 2002
Pity America's steel makers. George Bush attempted to mollify the EU by granting exclusions from steel tariffs of up to 30% announced in March. Now America's International Trade Commission has rejected charges of dumping brought by America's steel makers against firms from five countries. The ITC is still considering the same charges against 15 other countries.
The Market Failure Myth
D.W. MacKenzie (Mises Daily) Aug 29, 2002
The term "market failure" came into frequent use by economists during the 20th century. During the 1930s, economists like Joan Robinson and Abba Lerner succeeded in focusing the attention of their colleagues on imperfections in market prices.[i] Deviations from optimal prices in markets were responsible for failures to direct resources to their most highly valued uses. Thus, markets supposedly fail on efficiency grounds.
Food fights on the global scale
CheckBiotech Aug 29, 2002
When East meets West, food fights often ensue.
Revisiting the pros and cons of GM crops
Robert Derham (CheckBiotech) Aug 30, 2002
About two weeks, an interesting article on the pros and cons of genetically modified (GM) food crops was published.
Save the planet? It's rich vs. rich
IHT Aug 30, 2002
For days now, the battle between rich and poor nations has dominated the United Nations talks here on the environment and development, with marches and fiery debates over how to reduce poverty. But one of the fiercest struggles has been raging behind the scenes as the United States and the European Union clash over strategies to preserve the planet.
Economist Aug 30, 2002
After reaching a draft agreement on the protection of fishing stocks, delegates at the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg have moved on to other contentious issues, including the provision of water. Tens of thousands of officials, politicians, activists and journalists are at the summit, which runs to September 4th.
World trade talks
Economist Aug 30, 2002
The World Trade Organisation has ruled that the European Union can impose trade sanctions worth $4 billion on America because of disputed tax concessions given to American companies. Continuing transatlantic arguments will not help progress in the Doha round of international trade negotiations, the success of which will be the key challenge for the new head of the WTO.