One Belt, One Road, One grand design? Jayati Ghosh

It is a truism of history that rising powers tend to be the ones valorising “free” trade and more open and integrated national economies, just as waning powers tend to turn inwards. So it is no surprise that over the past half year, as the United States elected a President with an avowedly protectionist agenda (even if relatively little has been acted upon so far), China’s President has become the chief advocate of globalisation and more extensive trade and investment links across countries. This drumbeat reached a crescendo in mid-May 2017, at a summit in Beijing to celebrate the official…

The illusion of an economic spring C. P. Chandrasekhar

While policy makers, analysts and observers paint a picture of an ongoing global economic recovery, the numbers seem to drag the optimists down. Barely days after IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, declared at the spring meetings of the World Banka and the IMF that, “Spring is in the air and spring is in the economy as well,” came bad news from the US. The advanced economy that was being looked to as the one that would pull the world system out of a decade long period of sluggish growth performed poorly in the first quarter of 2017, growing at an…

Free trade agreements, Trade Policy and Multilateralism

  The rapid, if sometimes unsteady expansion of international trade from the late 1980s came to an abrupt end from 2009[1] as many large developed economies adopted more ‘protectionist’ policies to address balance of payments problems exacerbated by the 2008-2009financial crisis. This U-turn brought a halt to an extraordinary period of rapid trade expansion due to much greater international specialization, especially with the spread of ‘international value chains’ in production.   Free trade agreements Freetrade agreements (FTAs) are generally presumed to promote trade liberalization. While FTAs typically reduce some barriers to the international trade in goods and services, various provisions…

US Trade Hawks and the China Bogey Jomo Kwame Sundaram

New US President Donald Trump has long insisted that its major trading partners having been taking advantage of it. Changing these trade terms and conditions will thus be top priority for his administration, and central to overall Trump economic strategy to ‘Make America Great Again'. Quit WTO solution Candidate Trump's trade policy paper was written by Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross. Ross will now be Commerce Secretary while Navarro will head the National Trade Council. They view economic policy as integrated, including tax cuts, reduced regulations as well as policies to lower energy costs and cut the chronic US trade…

China’s Capital Flight Syndrome C.P. Chandrasekhar

China, now one of the world’s two largest nations measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is displa­ying a strange malady. A sudden and large outflow of capital from the country is resulting in a sharp fall in its reserves. Going by International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics, between the quarter ending June 2014 and the one ending June 2016, China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $752 billion, from $4.1 trillion to $3.3 trillion. According to recent reports, reserves had fallen further to $3.1 trillion by the end of October 2016. This collapse in reserves due to an outflow of capital is…

The Growing Resistance against Globalization Prabhat Patnaik

All across the world, from the United States to Britain to Europe to China, a huge resistance is building up against globalization. True, this resistance is not self-consciously aimed against globalization per se; in different countries it focuses on different issues. But since each of these issues arises as a fall-out of globalization, not to see the interconnectedness of this resistance, as one that essentially and implicitly targets globalization, is to miss the wood for the trees. What is also remarkable is that this resistance, contrary to what one might expect from the fact that its source lies everywhere in…

And Now, Price Deflation in India and China? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Ever since the Global Financial Crisis, advanced economies have been grappling with the spectre of deflation. While this was very clearly a reflection of the downswing in economic activity in the aftermath of the crisis, such price deflation has proved remarkably impervious to the most expansionary monetary policies and liquidity expansion that the world economy has yet seen. This has had adverse consequences in terms of producers’ expectations, which in turn have kept investment low. It has not benefited working people because wages have stayed low or continued to fall. And it has generated tendencies of the debt deflation-type that…