In light of the uncertainty caused by the US-China trade war, the IMF expects the US economic growth to slow from a three-year high of 2.9 per cent in 2018 to 2.5 per cent in 2019, while China’s expansion has already slowed in recent years, albeit from much higher levels.
After US President Donald Trump withdrew from Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involving twelve countries on the Pacific rim, on his first day in office, Japan, Australia and their closest allies proposed and promoted the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to draw the US back into the region to counter China’s fast-growing power and influence.
The notion of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and later, South Africa) was concocted by Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill
. His 2001 acronym was initially seen as a timely, if not belated acknowledgement of the rise of the South.But if one takes China out of the BRICS, one is left with little more than RIBS. While the RIBS have undoubtedly grown in recent decades, their expansion has been quite uneven and much more modest than China’s, while the post-Soviet Russian economy contracted by half during Boris Yeltsin’s first three years of ‘shock therapy’ during 1992-1994.
Over the last two decades since the Global Compact, the United Nations has increasingly embraced the corporate sector, most recently to raise finance needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e., for Agenda 2030. But growing big business influence has also compromised analyses, recommendations, policies and programme implementation, undermining the SDGs.
In criticizing the ‘free trade delusion’, UNCTAD’s 2018 Trade and Development Report
proposes an alternative to both reactionary nationalism, recently revived by President Trump, and the corporate cosmopolitanism of neoliberal multilateral discourse in recent decades by revisiting the Havana Charter
on its 70th anniversary.
On 24 October 1945, the world’s most inclusive multilateral institution, the United Nations, was born to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, ... reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, … establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (UN Charter: Preamble).
Economic inequality – involving both income and wealth concentration – has risen in nearly all world regions since the 1980s. Gross economic inequalities moderated for much of the 20th century, especially after World War Two until the 1970s, but has now reached levels never before seen in human history.
Of the ten fastest growing economies since 1960, eight are in East Asia. Two main competing explanations claimed to explain this regional concentration of catch up growth since the late 20th century, often referred to as the East Asian miracle.
Although initially obscured by The Economist, among others, the sudden and unprecedented increase in Russian adult male mortality during 1992-1994 is no longer denied. Instead, the debate is now over why?Having advocated ‘shock therapy’, a ‘big bang’, ‘sudden’ or rapid post-Soviet transition, Jeffrey Sachs and others have claimed that the sudden collapse in Russian adult male life expectancy was due to a sudden increase in alcohol consumption, playing into popular foreign images of vodka-binging Russian men.
A new United Nations report warns that the potential benefits to developing countries of digital technologies are likely to be lost to a small number of successful first movers who have established digital monopolies.
Infrastructure investment is necessary, but hardly sufficient to enable developing countries to transform their economies to achieve sustainable prosperity, according to this year’s UNCTAD Trade and Development Report: Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion
(TDR 2018), released in late September.
The world economy remains tepid and unstable a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, while growing trade conflicts are symptoms of deeper economic malaise, according to a new United Nations publication.
Trade liberalization, a key dimension of recent globalization, has failed to promote broad structural transformation in developing countries and has instead contributed to increased worldwide inequality, a new United Nations report shows.
George Soros, Bill Gates and other pundits have been predicting another financial crisis. In their recent book, Revolution Required: The Ticking Bombs of the G7 Model
, Peter Dittus and Herve Hamoun, former senior officials of the Bank of International Settlements, warned of ‘ticking time bombs’ in the global financial system waiting to explode, mainly due to the policies of major developed countries.
In 2009, the world economy contracted by -2.2%. Growth in all developing countries declined from around 8% in 2007 to 2.6% in 2009 as the developed world contracted by -3.8% in 2009. The collapse of the Lehmann Brothers investment bank in September 2008 symbolized the US financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Several arguments have been advanced to justify privatization since the 1980s. Privatization has been advocated as an easy means to: 1. Reduce the government’s financial and administrative burden, particularly by undertaking and maintaining services and infrastructure; 2. Promote competition, improve efficiency and increase productivity in providing public services; 3. Stimulate private entrepreneurship and investment to accelerate economic growth; 4. Help reduce the public sector’s presence and size, with its monopolistic tendencies and bureaucratic support.
Protracted economic stagnation in rich countries continues to threaten the development prospects of poorer countries. Globalization and economic liberalization over the last few decades have integrated developing countries into the world economy, but now that very integration is becoming a threat as developing countries are shackled by the knock-on effects of the rich world’s troubles.
Historically, the private sector has been unable or unwilling to affordably provide needed services. Hence, meeting such needs could not be left to the market or private interests. Thus, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) emerged, often under colonial rule, due to such ‘market failure’ as the private sector could not meet the needs of colonial capitalist expansion.
Ten years ago, deteriorating confidence in the value of US sub-prime mortgages threatened a liquidity crisis. The US Federal Reserve injected considerable capital into the market, but could not prevent the 2008-2009 global financial crisis (GFC).The 2008 meltdown exposed the extent of finance-led international economic integration, with countries more vulnerable to financial contagion and related policy ‘spillovers’ exacerbating real economic volatility. It also revealed some vulnerabilities of the post-Second World War (WW2) US-centred international financial ‘architecture’ – the Bretton Woods system – modified after its breakdown in the early 1970s.
Economic divergence among countries and regions was never pre-ordained. According to the late cliometrician Angus Madison and other economic historians, the great divergence between the global North and South, between developed and developing countries, began around five centuries ago, from the beginning of the European, particularly Iberian colonial conquests.
The United States has had the world’s largest trade deficit for almost half a century. In 2017, the US trade deficit in goods and services was $566 billion; without services, the merchandise account deficit was $810 billion.