The Great Debate UK

Don’t scapegoat the Germans for crisis

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paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

A revisionist theory on the causes of the global financial crisis blames surplus countries like China, Japan and Germany as much as highly-leveraged, deregulated finance in the United States and Britain.

Making Germany a scapegoat may be tempting, especially in Britain, where memories of sterling’s humiliating exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 still rankle, but it is unfair and dishonest.

The revisionists contend that the meltdown was due not just to the Americans and British who borrowed, traded and lived beyond their means but also to the Chinese, Japanese and Germans who sold them the goods and lent them the money.

from The Great Debate:

Don’t rush the Chinese to become big spenders

wei_gu_debate Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

As the financial crisis forces American consumers to curb their shopping binges, the world starts to realize that China's high savings level has some upsides, marking Chinese consumption as the most resilient in the world.

Beijing has to, however, be careful in how far it goes to encourage domestic spending to help the economy ride the global downturn. Credit-driven booms and consequent busts from the United States to South Korea are pointers to the need for caution.

from The Great Debate:

World stuck with the dollar, more’s the pity

jimsaftcolumn5-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The dollar is, and will remain, the U.S.'s currency and its own and everyone else's problem.

The idea of creating a global currency, as espoused by China earlier this week, is interesting, has a certain amount of merit and is simply not going to happen any time soon.

from The Great Debate:

Myths around China’s revitalization plan

wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

China investors should care about three major numbers this year: 8 percent economic growth, its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package, and the 10 industries revitalization plan.

The first is the government's economic growth target and the second is a spending plan to shield the economy from the global financial crisis.

from The Great Debate:

Economic stimulus Beijing-style: I treat, you pay

wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. --

Beijing may criticize American consumers for spending money they do not have, but the truth is Chinese leaders do the same, they just make sure it doesn't end up on their account.

In its $585 billion economic stimulus package, the central government is contributing just a quarter of the funds needed, leaving the rest of the tab to banks, local governments and the private sector.

from The Great Debate:

Advancing global Internet freedom

Leslie Harris -- Leslie Harris is the president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC. The views expressed are her own. --

In the wake of troubling reports as recently as last year that Western companies were assisting China with Internet censorship and the unmasking of cyber-dissidents, governments around the world seemed poised to regulate the conduct of Internet companies. Lawmakers appear to have stepped back from those efforts, but the challenges of advancing global Internet freedom remain.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: Obama’s foreign policy challenges

Willis Sparks-- Willis Sparks is a Global Macro analyst at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group. The views expressed are his own. --

Few things in life amused my dad more than a good karate movie. I once asked what he found so funny about Bruce Lee’s jaw-dropping display of poise and power. “Nice of the bad guys to attack him one at a time,” he said. In the real world, threats don’t arrive single-file, like jets lining up for takeoff.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa?

Far from being all bad news for Africa, the global financial crisis is a chance to break a dependence on development aid that has kept it in poverty, argues Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, who has just published a new book “Dead Aid”.

Moyo’s book, her first, comes out at a time when Western campaigners, financial institutions and some African governments have been warning of the danger posed to Africa by the crisis and calling for more money from developed countries as a result. The former World Bank and Goldman Sachs economist spoke to Reuters in London.

from Davos Notebook:

The shift in power from West to East

One news theme I've asked our journalists to be alert to this year is the shift in power and emphasis from est to East.

The rise of China's economic power during 30 years of reform and opening to the world is just one manifestation of this; the knowledge and service powerhouse that India has come in a globalised world is another. At Davos this year I'm moderating a panel on Asian innovation that will surely highlight software advances in Japan, Korea and Thailand as well.

from The Great Debate:

China Inc. takes stock after overseas buying spree

wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Abundant liquidity, government support and a strong yuan fueled Chinese companies' overseas buying spree.

But since they went out at the peak of the market and did not have a clear strategy for acquisitions, it should come as no surprise that most of those deals have turned sour. Once bitten, twice shy.

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