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WSJ: The US must match its rhethoric with action in the Asia-Pacific. Forbes: Political instability comes knocking on Europe's door. IHT: Hope remains that change will come to North Korea.
Don’t focus on exports to drive economic growth
Alan Beattie writes in the Financial Times that the United States and Europe are increasingly focused on the exporting of goods to emerging market nations as a way to boost their economic growth. He argues that this emphasis on exports is unwise as manufacturing lobbyists could have too much influence on policy making.
QUOTE: It risks an inefficient, subsidized and sometimes ethically suspect export-industrial complex distorting the national economy. Encouraging the idea that exports create jobs while imports destroy them might turn protectionism, a minor irritant in recent years, into a serious problem.
The US must show it’s serious about the Asia-Pacific region
Michael Auslin, director of Japan studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Obama administration must match its tough rhetoric regarding China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea with action. He argues that America’s allies in Southeast Asia worry that the Obama administration might not follow through on its claims.
QUOTE: Secretary Clinton's words may represent a new realism in US policy, not only toward China, but toward America's responsibilities to uphold stability, promote security and help shape a more democratic future for the Asia-Pacific region. Her words are a good beginning. Breathing life into them will be the difficult next step.
Political instability comes knocking on Europe’s door
Michael Moran, vice president, executive editor and senior geostrategy analyst at Roubini Global Economics (and a GlobalPost contributor), writes in Forbes that Europe’s five most important countries – Germany, Britain, Italy, France and Spain – will face political uncertainty as citizens express their frustration with austerity measures, high unemployment, government debt and scandals.
QUOTE: These five economies represent nearly three-fourths of the GDP of the European Union. Put another way, combined they generate as much economic activity every year as the US did in 2004. Crushing national debts aside, this degree of political instability in economies this large has to make you wonder about the future of "The West."
Hong Kong should maintain its own system while integrating with China
Mark Michelson, chairman of the IMA Asia CEO Forum in Hong Kong, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Hong Kong should welcome greater economic integration with mainland China, but it should preserve its separateness.
QUOTE: The importance of maintaining the rule of law, access to information, low level of corruption and the other attributes that make Hong Kong more than just "another big city in China" should be more explicitly emphasized with specifics regarding how they are to be reinforced and strengthened as integration proceeds.
Action by the Federal Reserve alone cannot save the US economy
An editorial in the New York Times argues that the US Federal Reserve cannot on its own save the American economy from a double dip recession. The country needs employers to begin rehiring and banks to resume making loans.
QUOTE: A way out of that bind is stimulative fiscal policy, but Congress is gridlocked … They have yet to provide new incentives for small business lending, let alone to support or even seriously debate bold ideas to create jobs, like a federally supported agency to help finance the repair and rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure.
Hope remains that North Korea will see change
Philip Bowring writes in the International Herald Tribune that there is still hope for radical change in North Korea. If Kim Jong-il dies, it could take years before his son is able to consolidate power, and a new regime might decide to shift the nation’s focus to economic growth like China.
QUOTE: The odds on reunification in the foreseeable future remain long. But chances for radical change in the North are less so. Although hopes have for so long been dashed, there is no reason to believe that things will never change.
There’s no need to choose austerity or stimulus
Olivier Blanchard and Carlo Cottarelli, chief economist and head of fiscal affairs at the IMF, write in the Financial Times that governments do not need to choose between austerity and stimulus measures. They argue that there is not as large a gap between the two economic policies as people make it seem.
QUOTE: The divisions between fiscal tightening advocates and their opponents are often more apparent than real. The former are usually really talking about tightening in the 2011 budget cycle; from a fiscal standpoint, 2010 is already behind us. The latter are not always opposed to lower deficits in 2011, given the scale of the current stimulus that is now being withdrawn as planned.
Australian voters, political pundits are utterly confused ahead of election
Alan Goodall, former Tokyo bureau chief for The Australian newspaper, writes in the Japan Times that Australia is seeing the most bizarre election in its history. This is the first time Australian voters are so divided over who should run the country. He argues that the election might come down to upset voters in two mining regions.
QUOTE:Political media pundits are pontificating on which of the two look-alike parties will govern. They are as confused as the public.
India’s conservative financial system survives the crisis
Shashi Tharoor, a former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, writes on Project Syndicate that despite the global financial crisis and the Mumbai attacks, India managed to remain the second fastest growing economy in the world. He argues that India is less dependent on global flows of trade and capital and has a large internal market and a conservative financial system.
QUOTE: Its banks and financial institutions were not tempted to buy the mortgage-supported securities and credit-default swaps that ruined several Western financial institutions. Among the drivers of growth, domestic capital formation retained much of its momentum from preceding years.
Obama needs Hillary Clinton to win in 2012
National affairs correspondent Tunku Varadarajan writes in the Daily Beast that President Obama needs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his running mate to win reelection in 2012. He argues that she has been “magnificent” in her current position and will hold the Democratic Party together.
QUOTE: Hillary—sensible, maternal, cerebral, professional, reassuring—will be a magnet for crossover voting by independents, women in particular.