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UsernameSlightly Optimistic
Joined04 Feb '06  18:48
First Post04 Feb '06  20:22
Last Post03 Feb '18  17:40
Total Posts10537
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Last 10 posts

03 Feb '18  17:40
European Political Economy
The G20 for starters.

What do you think, little c?
02 Feb '18  16:56
European Political Economy

Certainly it looks as though the UK doesn't have much going for it outwith the politics of the European Union.

A member of the UN security council that China, by some accounts, wants to dilute. A member of the G20, whose most important wing is the Financial Stability Board chaired by the governor of the Bank of England; that influence is unlikely to last much longer either - see earlier comments in these forums on the questionable performance of the G20.

Continued membership of the European Union seems the answer. But the EU's longevity is also in doubt; the politics of the EU are unsatisfactory and likely to remain unchanged despite the trends we see. Interesting to see that the media, including the FT [China believes in free and fair trade too, President Trump] and Carnegie Europe are exploring the crucial subject of global trade. Judy Asks: Is the EU Getting Trade Right?

Political changes in the future? Africa is becoming a big player. A presentation at the LSE recently told us that Africa by 2025 will have a larger population than China or India. By 2050-2070 it will have the world's biggest working age population - 18 to 58 year olds. Unemployment is reckoned by that time to have reached 50 percent. I don't think this was fake news.
01 Feb '18  10:49
European Political Economy
One common global language that many rely on, Thoughtful, is regulated finance.
The Belt and Road Initiative should meet cross-border standards. Mrs May's comments on China's BR initiative are roughly in line with the views of Australia, France, Germany, the European commission and the US. It was also reported that China's flagship project still lacks a significant western endorsement.

Unfortunately governments at the G20 repeatedly vote against trust in global finance. EU members included. Imminently hegemonic China, for example, might reasonably ask why it should straitjacket itself in the present system of finance, as GSA tells us Liam Fox is now hinting.
31 Jan '18  17:34
European Political Economy
Leaving may be very painful. The Brexit news today includes EU rejects Brexit trade deal for UK financial services. We are told that the EU has now rejected a Brexit trade deal on financial services, which could hit a sector that is Britain’s biggest source of exports and tax revenue.

Meanwhile the PM is visiting China on a sales trip where she said the two countries would continue to work together “to identify how best China and the UK can co-operate on Belt and Road across the region and ensure it meets international standards".

Mrs May's comments on China's BR initiative are roughly in line with the views of Australia, France, Germany, the European commission and the US. It was also reported that China's flagship project still lacks a significant western endorsement.

Unified action by the West can encourage China to weigh up the political arguments. In fact Downing Street said Beijing had already made a commitment to cut steel capacity by 200m tonnes by 2020, and had already cut 100m tonnes since 2016.

However in all this I am reminded of Ronald Reagan's words: "Trust but verify", something that G20 governments [all?] repeatedly refuse to countenance - for example on global public spending of $trillions. Not a good example for the West to show China.
31 Jan '18  10:55
European Political Economy

Interesting comments.

Yesterday a member of the House of Lords highlighted the problem for a parliament of a democratic decision, if invited as many governments refuse to do. He once asked his elderly aunts how they'd like to spend an afternoon. They had a discussion and they arrived at a democratic solution. They'd like to go to the cinema tomorrow. So he looked in the local paper and discover that the only films on offer were 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre'. What was he then to say to his highly nervous and indeed squeamish but much loved aunts. "You must stick with your democratic decision", or should he say "now you know what's on offer, what do you think".

What's at stake here? The future of the European Union. It seems hugely important that the EU survives to become an effective voice on the world stage in what is becoming a discussion between only the US and China. They are edging towards a purely economic world in which politics plays little part.
30 Jan '18  14:51
European Political Economy
The UK economy of the future will do worse if it leaves the European Union? One counter-argument is that the EU itself might disintegrate soon. Many members are restless, with Macron suggesting a couple of weeks ago that if national governments allowed referendums throughout the EU then there would be a wholesale vote to leave.

The EU had so much political promise but it is falling apart. An actor on the world stage beside the US and China?

Here is a view from the German economy ministry’s Advisory Council on one aspect of where the present arrangements will lead.
The Road to a European Transfer Union

A comment before the referendum in the UK was that a Brexit might encourage the EU to rethink its governance - no sign of this yet.
27 Jan '18  13:05
Finance and Investment

27 Jan '18  13:05
Finance and Investment
Without being bound by enforceable political rules, global finance doesn't discriminate - as long as it is safe and lucrative enough to risk investing. See Davos.
26 Jan '18  10:10
Finance and Investment
International institutions/financial safeguards are powerless to deal with 'America first'. For example, Draghi opens fire at US dollar policy
Without explicitly mentioning him, Draghi took aim at the US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said earlier this week that "obviously a weaker dollar is good for us [the US] as it relates to trade and opportunities."

Asked whether Mnuchin's comments were "helpful", Draghi read lines from a statement at a International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in October, where finance ministers and central bank governors said that: "We recognise that excessive volatility or disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will refrain from competitive devaluations, and will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes," the statement said. "I think that's my answer," Draghi told reporters.

He accused the US of "targeting" exchange rates to boost its economic interests, thus violating an agreement that "has been in place for decades".

From Quartz, a news agency: "Trump speaks at Davos. In a heavily anticipated speech today, the US president is expected to explain why his “America First” agenda is good for the world. A number of conference attendees plan to walk out during the address in protest of Trump calling African nations “sh*thole countries” earlier this month."
21 Jan '18  17:17
European Political Economy
Regulated global finance appears to be the commendable aim of France's president.

However the difficulty in securing this is apparent in China sticks firmly to its path to globalisation by the FT's James Kynge.
The Davos splash made last year by Xi Jinping, China’s leader, derived from his apparent defence of globalisation. His message played well to the globetrotting elite, but a year later the disharmonies between China and the west are proliferating.

The idea that China would be integrated into a western-led global system created under Pax Americana looks to have been wishful thinking. . .China on one side is building a state-driven, hybrid economy while espousing its own distinct vision for globalisation. For its part, the west’s adherence to rules-based, free market economics is undermined by the “America first” doctrine of Donald Trump, the US president.

“The west does its thing; China does its thing. Countries get a bunch of money from China and they do it China’s way. Countries get a bunch of money from us and they do it our way", says former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers”.

fundamental question: what is the system of global governance in which the US and the west and China are all going to participate?

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), through which China intends to boost commerce with about 70 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, puts Beijing in the driving seat of a new type of multilateralism. The BRI diverges from the US playbook in that it does not seek to negotiate a free trade treaty with member countries but promises infrastructure projects financed and built by Beijing.

Can a disintegrating EU really get agreement on new rules for global finance? The absence of enforceable rules there is already apparent - eg 2008.

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