Opinion

The Great Debate

Less social dialogue and more social change

stern_official_5x5a- Andy Stern is the president of the Service Employees International Union. His views are his own -

We are living through the third economic revolution. The first was the agricultural revolution, and it took nearly 3,000 years. The second was the industrial revolution, which took about 300 years. This revolution is going to take 30 years. As we move from an industrial economy based in factories to a knowledge and finance economy that lives on the Internet, no generation of people has ever witnessed so much change in a single lifetime.

And this revolution is televised, it’s Googlized, it’s digitized, it’s in your face, on your screen, 24/7. It is relentless and it’s unending and it’s far from over.

The problem is this revolution is not working for the vast majority of the world’s citizens.

Despite the exponential increases in productivity and profits that have resulted from the globalization of our markets and economies, nearly half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day. The richest 20 percent of the world’s people earn 86 percent of the income, consume 80 percent of the resources, and create 83 percent of the waste.

A stimulating energy policy

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- Robert Engle is the Michael Armellino Professor of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business and a Nobel Laureate. His views are his own. -

We have faced energy crises before. The last energy crisis was about running out of oil. This one is about the fear that we might not. The future health of our planet is jeopardized by the greenhouse gases emitted by our industrial society. But can we afford an expensive energy policy in this time of economic distress?

The simplest and best solution to reducing emissions is thought by most economists to be a comprehensive tax on the emission of greenhouse gases. Only in this way will individuals and businesses that avoid the tax be doing what is socially desirable. Only in this way will it become profitable to find substitute energy sources; no longer would it be necessary to subsidize alternatives. The price of oil will rise naturally when we begin to run out, but in this proposal, the price would rise before we reach the bitter end. It is only a matter of timing.

Global crisis politics – A Davos debate with Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer

As governments grapple with the global crisis, politics has taken on central importance in determining the course of the world economy — and political risk is more significant than ever.

Two leading experts on the financial crisis and its political dimensions — Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer — gave exclusive answers this week to Reuters questions on the key risks for 2009 and beyond, and the countries to watch.

Roubini is professor at the Stern School, New York University and chairman of economic forecasting consultancy RGE Monitor. He is widely credited as one of the few leading economists to forecast the onset of the crisis and its implications. Bremmer is president of political risk consultancy Eurasia group, and co-author of the forthcoming book “”The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing”

Turning the tables: Can you help Davos leaders?

Klaus SchwabDavos is a well-rehearsed event and everyone knows the part they should play. Business and political leaders gather each year to tackle the major challenges of a global economy while the rest of the world, or those of its citizens who are interested, look on from afar. But this year, for obvious reasons, things are different. The notion of leadership has been coupled in the public mind with that of responsibility. The tone here is a little more humble and the attitude more open-minded. There’s a recognition that new thinking is required.  A suitable time, perhaps, to turn the tables on convention and have Davos delegates ask the questions they can’t answer and for global citizens to offer solutions.

Gamefully opening the discourse is Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum. YouTube Preview Image

If you’ve got suggestions for Klaus then use the comments section below.

Davos debate: How to fix finance?

The credit crunch has left little of the globe unaffected and few sectors of the world economy untouched. The interlinkages between economics and finance are at the core of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Reuters News asked delegates for their analysis of the roots of the problem and prescriptions for recovery.

Davos debate: What can be done for the global economy?

wefpic2With business and consumer confidence fading, the prospects for the global economy appear the worst for a generation. Amid the gathering gloom, are things really that bad? And can nothing be done to give the global growth engine a kick-start?

Reuters asked delegates at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos for their views.

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