The American blogosphere lit up this week with discussion of a report from the International Monetary Fund that, by some measures, the Chinese economy will be bigger than the U.S. economy by 2016.
Economic policy isn’t just a domestic issue anymore. That is the conclusion we should draw from the market volatility this week, including the shift by Standard & Poor’s to a negative outlook for U.S. government debt, and the meeting last weekend of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Global capitalism isn’t working for the American middle class. That isn’t a headline from the left-leaning Huffington Post, or a comment on Glenn Beck’s right-wing populist blackboard. It is, instead, the conclusion of a rigorous analysis bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. establishment: the paper’s lead author is Michael Spence, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences, and it was published by the Council on Foreign Relations.
What are the lessons the world’s dictators are drawing from the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East? The most obvious and the most depressing is to shoot first and ask questions later. As in Tiananmen in 1989, and Tehran in 2009, the lesson of Bahrain and Syria — at least so far — is that regimes that have the will and the political unity to crack down on protesters can stay in power. (That bitter conclusion, by the way, is one reason the battle in Libya is so important: if Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s brutal repression of his own people works, autocrats around the world will have more evidence of the efficacy of massacre.)
At 2:15 p.m. tomorrow, on Wednesday, April 6, Chrystia Freeland will interview World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Washington, D.C. In this video, Reuters Financial Blogger Felix Salmon and Reuters Editor-at-Large Chrystia Freeland discuss what they think the World Bank's role should be in the uprisings in the Middle East and in supporting countries run by dictatorships versus helping the poor in undeveloped countries.
Below are Mohamed El-Erian’s responses to questions asked by readers during the March 31 Reuters Newsmaker interview with Global Editor at Large Chrystia Freeland. An earlier set of questions and answers can be found here.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Internet is dumbing us down and making politics more partisan. Sound bites are more effective than substance. The punditocracy that shapes these truisms is, needless to say, pretty certain they apply most powerfully to people in the hinterland, especially those with a history of voting for the right.
Below are Mohamed El-Erian's responses to questions asked by readers during the March 31 Reuters Newsmaker interview with Global Editor at Large Chrystia Freeland.