G20: How not to Rule the World Jayati Ghosh

Not much could have been expected from this G20 Summit. Despite the urgency of a global economy going rapidly over the cliff, there is still too much disagreement about most issues among the members. Even so, the resulting communiqué released with so much fanfare is deeply disappointing. There is deafening silence on the fiscal front, with no clear commitment to co-ordinated fiscal stimulus, just some vague statements. There are politically correct noises about tax havens, banking secrecy and financial regulation, but since small print matters crucially in this regard, the statements are too general to be meaningful. The only apparently…

Why more of the same will not work Jayati Ghosh

A visit to Western Europe in early March provided some slightly different – if unsettling – insights into global economic arrangements and their socio-cultural co-ordinates. As the crisis unfolds, people everywhere are questioning current economic institutions and processes, and naturally enough their fears, insecurities and concerns also affect their visions for the future. The fundamental issues relate to income and resource distribution (don’t they always?) but in this time of global crisis, the expression of these issues can become sharper and even more openly divisive in spirit. Two features of some current public responses in these societies are especially relevant…

Fiscal Stimulus Plans: The Need for a Global New Deal Isabel Ortiz

This article reviews the fiscal stimulus packages announced in 43 countries. In March 2009, the total amount announced for these stimulus plans is US$ 2.18 trillion, or 3.5% of world’s GDP, mostly in higher income economies. The majority of these recovery packages contain measures to stimulate firms, consumers, and public investment in infrastructure. The author argues that a country approach is inadequate;a global crisis requires global responses. Developing countries will be hit hard; there is a need for increased ODA to enable them to engage in countercyclical stimulation. Stimulating global demand (and reducing poverty) will require further redistributive measures. Responses…

Whatever’s happened to Global Banking? C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

The call for nationalization of banks in developed countries, even if for a temporary period, marks a potential ideological shift. Even staunch free market advocates are declaring that nationalization is inevitable. This article examines the factors explaining this acceptance of public ownership and the implications that this has for the future of banking regulation. Global_Banking  (Download the full text in PDF format)

The Asian Face of the Global Recession C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

As news of the intensity of the global downturn worsens, so do assessments of the extent of its global spread. This is distressing since it implies that the argument, that a "decoupled" Asia could serve as a shock absorber that moderates the impact of the crisis, was wrong. Global_Recession (Download the full text in PDF format)

The Wisdom of Storytellers Jayati Ghosh

The Italian playwright, author of the brilliant satirical play “Accidental Death of an Anarchist”, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997. According the Academy, Fo “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”. Fo noted that a medieval Italian edict against “jesters who defame and insult” allowed any and all citizens to insult, beat and even kill them without any risk of being brought to trial or being condemned. In his acceptance speech, Fo noted his debt to the rich oral tradition of old storytellers, the glassblowers of his village.…

Tools for a New Economy Robert Pollin

In this article, the author outlines the reasons for the current financial crisis, juxtaposing them to earlier such crises. He then argues that it is the removal of the Glass-Steagall system in 1999 that lies at the base of the current crisis. The author also suggests a range of policy prescriptions for regulating the financial sector to avert such calamities in the future. new_economy (Download the full text in PDF format)

Just Say “No” to the Credit Rating Agencies Gerald Epstein

The credit rating agencies have got us, coming and going. First they help cause the biggest economic calamity since the 1930's. And now they tell us we can't take the fiscal measures needed to get us out of this mess. Meanwhile, they are laughing all the way to the bank (that is, if they can find one that is still solvent). Why are we still listening to them? The role played by the big credit rating agencies - such as Standard & Poor's and Fitch - in the unfolding financial crisis is now well-known. By giving complex, opaque and ultimately…

Coping with Financial Market Crisis UNCTAD Policy Briefs

Recent UNCTAD policy briefs discuss the reasons behind the crisis and options before policymakers. They make a case for stronger regulation of the financial system and the need to avert deflation through government intervention. The need for global co-operation and regulation of trade and finance are also highlighted. UNCTAD_PB_1 (Download the full text in PDF format)