The Heavy Price of Economic Policy Failures Jayati Ghosh

A lot of the media discussion on the global economy nowadays is based on the notion of the “new normal” or “new mediocre” – the phenomenon of slowing, stagnating or negative economic growth across most of the world, with even worse news in terms of employment generation, with hardly any creation of good quality jobs and growing material insecurity for the bulk of the people. All sorts of explanations are being proffered for this state of affairs, from technological progress, to slower population growth, to insufficient investment because of shifts in relative prices of capital and labour, to “balance sheet…

European Authorities Still Punishing Greece: Can they be stopped? Mark Weisbrot

Alexis Tsipras has a tough job.  He is leader of the Syriza Party of Greece, a left party that has risen meteorically in the past three years: from 4.6 percent of the vote in 2009 to 27 percent last June.  It is now the most popular party in the country and Tsipras could be the next Prime Minister. Unlike most of the eurozone’s leaders, he knows what is wrong with Greece and the eurozone, and so does his party: austerity.  “We have become the guinea pig for barbaric, violent neoliberal policies,” he said at a forum at Columbia University Law…

Who Will Allow Brazil to Reach Its Economic Potential? Mark Weisbrot

The biggest economic question facing Brazil, as for most developing countries, is when it will achieve its potential economic growth. For Brazil, there is a simple, most relevant comparison: its pre-1980 - or pre-neoliberal - past. From 1960-1980, income per person - the most basic measure that economists have of economic progress -- in Brazil grew by about 123 percent. From 1980 to 2000, it grew by less than 4 percent, and since 2000 it has grown by about 24 percent. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of this economic "regime change." Of course, economic growth is not…

The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The economy and social indicators Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray and Luis Sandoval

This paper looks at some of the most important economic and social indicators during the 10 years of the Chávez administration in Venezuela. Looking at the current situation and challenges, the authors argue that the size, speed, and efficacy of a fiscal stimulus would be the main determinant of Venezuelan growth in 2009 and probably 2010 as well. cepr (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published at cepr.net.)

Argentina Since Default: The IMF and the depression Alan B. Cibils, Mark Weisbrot and Debayani Kar

More than eight months since the economic crisis has passed and Argentina's economy continues to decline, with the recession now having lasted more than four years. This paper looks at Argentina's crisis since the default in an attempt to find a way out of the Depression. argentina_default (Download the full text in PDF format)

How the IMF Messed Up Argentina Mark Weisbrot

Argentina's implosion has the fingerprints of the International Monetary Fund all over it. The first and overwhelmingly most important cause of the country's economic troubles was the government's decision to maintain its fixed rate of exchange: one peso for one U.S. dollar. Adopted in 1991, this policy worked for a while. But during the past few years the dollar has been overvalued, which made the peso overvalued as well. Contrary to popular belief, a "strong" currency is not like a strong body. It is very easy to have too much of a good thing. An overvalued currency makes exports too…