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Blog Post - views-on-the-economy-and-the-world

Let the WTO Referee Carbon Border Tariffs

| Dec. 02, 2022

The most important task in confronting global climate change is the need to enforce serious quantitative limits on Greenhouse Gas emissions, such as the Nationally Defined Contributions which were originally negotiated in the 2015 Paris Agreement.  The 27th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC,  which concluded in Sharm-el-Sheikh November 20, did not tackle this task.  Carbon border equalization measures, including tariffs against carbon-intensive imports from lax countries, might supply the teeth that have been missing from such agreements.  But they also risk advancing protectionism, which would ultimately slow the needed global energy transition.  Adjudicating the fairness of carbon tariffs would be a good job for a reinvigorated WTO.

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Blog Post - views-on-the-economy-and-the-world

Why Might Americans Vote the Extremist Party?

| Oct. 30, 2022

 Americans will go to the polls November 8.  It appears probable that they will give the Republican party majority control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate as well.  The same for Secretaries of State and other statewide offices.  The consequences could be enormous. Especially worrying is the future of US electoral democracy, if the result is further distortions of voter eligibility rules, congressional redistricting, the electoral college, and other structural features.  How could such an outcome of the mid-term elections be explained, seeing as how the Republican party is now dominated by its extremist MAGA faction?

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The Dollar Dazzles Once More

| Sep. 24, 2022

The dollar is sky-high.  Since May 2021, it has risen 19% against Europe’s euro, even reaching 1-to-1 parity in recent weeks. The dollar has appreciated 20% against Britain’s pound.  And it is up 28% against Japan’s yen, provoking the Bank of Japan to sell dollars on September 22, essentially the first foreign exchange intervention by a G-7 country since 2011 and the first in the direction of supporting a currency’s value against the dollar since the euro in 2000.

Two men walking in front of screens

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

In the Dollar We Trust

| Sep. 21, 2022

Surging inflation and an ongoing economic slowdown should have hurt demand for the US dollar, and yet the greenback is at a 20-year high. The US economy’s relative strength and the Fed’s rapid monetary tightening will likely keep the dollar strong for some time.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Global Recession is Not Inevitable

| Aug. 28, 2022

Project Syndicate asked, “Is a Global Recession Inevitable?”   Steven Roach says, “yes”;  Anne Krueger says, “Depends…Certainly not inevitable”; & Jim O’Neill says, “Quite possible.”

My answer to the question, Is a global recession inevitable:

No. A global recession is entirely “evitable.”

True, the odds of a downturn are high in Europe, hard-hit by the need to manage winter without Russian natural gas; China, where Covid shutdowns already turned growth negative last quarter; and Emerging Market and Developing Economies, many of which have debt troubles.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Why Commodity Prices May Have Peaked

| Aug. 26, 2022

Among the most salient of economic developments in the last two years have been big movements in the prices of oil, minerals, and agricultural commodities.  It was hard to miss the big rise in commodity prices.  The Brent oil price increased from a low $20 a barrel in April 2020, during the first Covid-19 wave, to a peak of $122, in March 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine.  But it was not just oil. The price of copper doubled over this period.  Wheat more than doubled. And so on. Global indices of commodity prices almost tripled from April 2020 to March 2022.

An Exxon gas station

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Why Commodity Prices Are Likely to Fall Further

| Aug. 23, 2022

Real interest rates appear to be on a firm upward trend, because nominal interest rates will rise and inflation will fall. Together with decelerating global growth, that could mean that the recent decline in the real prices of oil, minerals, and agricultural products will persist.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The July 28 Announcement of Q2 GDP Will Not Mean Recession

| July 21, 2022

On July 28, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its advance estimate of economic growth, as measured by GDP, in the just-completed second quarter of the year.  The announcement is attracting more than the usual eager anticipation.  The reason is that many observers predict that the Q2 GDP number will be negative and that this will officially confirm widespread beliefs that the economy went into recession in the first half of 2022, figuring that growth in national output is already determined to have been negative in the 1st quarter of the year. After all, isn’t a recession defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth?