Connect to share and comment

Europe: No thanks to tea parties

WashPost: The age of austerity could trigger another crisis. Daily Star: Beware of China’s split personality. Project Syndicate: Europe needs a new sense of purpose.

Apply multilateral pressure on China over its currency policy

Columnist Clive Crook writes in the Financial Times that it would be morally understandable for the United States to engage in a trade war with China over its currency manipulation, but it should take action cautiously. The United States and other powers should multilaterally pressure China to allow its currency to appreciate.

QUOTE: Through the IMF and the WTO, the US and Europe can aim to gratify China’s desire for a bigger leadership role, while binding all countries to firmer rules on currencies and other policies with international spillovers.

Obama never tried big government spending initiatives

Columnist Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times that people have been denouncing the Obama administration for its big spending and inability to create jobs. However, Krugman argues that there has not been a significant expansion of government spending.

QUOTE: The stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending.

Questions remain after North Korea’s apparent announcement

Rüdiger Frank, professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna and deputy head of the Department of East Asian Studies, writes in Foreign Policy that the Workers’ Party conference in North Korea appeared to answer questions about the nation’s transition of power, but it left many more questions hanging.

QUOTE: [North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il] has now shown his abilities by resolving a tricky puzzle: He paved the way for a new leadership without turning himself into a lame duck. He did so by not leaving any important posts to somebody else -- though, at the same time, he did not monopolize those positions.

The age of austerity could trigger another crisis

Columnist Robert Samuelson writes in the Washington Post that deep austerity measures being taken by rich countries in Europe could trigger another financial downturn.

QUOTE: Without unpopular spending cuts and tax increases, unmanageable deficits may choke their economies. But those same spending cuts and tax increases also threaten economic growth.

Why Europe doesn’t hold tea parties

Daniel Hannan, a British Conservative member of the European Parliament, writes in the Wall Street Journal that Europeans may support low taxes but their political institutions have created a culture in which there is little support for American-style Tea Parties. Americans choose candidates based on public opinion, whereas most European leaders and their party choose the candidates.  

QUOTE: Open primaries ensure that legislatures remain diverse, independent of the executive, and responsive to public opinion. They make a spontaneous anti-tax campaign possible.

Beware of China’s split personality

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of The Journal of Asian Studies, writes in Beirut’s The Daily Star that China has a split personality, and its weak, insecure side can pose the biggest threats to its neighbors.

QUOTE: The Communist Party is in a vulnerable position – and knows it. That is no excuse for paranoia and repression, but just because the party has outlasted predictions of its demise does not mean that it has no Achilles heel. Most notably, the anger in China over corruption and nepotism that fueled the Tiananmen protests has never gone away.

Don’t raise interest rates yet

Columnist Wolfgang Münchau writes in the Financial Times that European central bankers have been in a tightening mode recently, perhaps as a response to a better recovery than expected. But he argues that now is not the time to raise interest rates.

QUOTE: No matter whether you look at monetary policy on the basis of a model, a financial risk management perspective, or from the perspective of international policy co-ordination, you come to the same conclusion. The time to raise the interest rates may come one day. But not yet.

Japanese society suffers after decades of low growth

Shinji Fukukawa, former vice minister of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and president of Dentsu Research Institute, writes in the Japan Times that Japanese society has suffered greatly as a result of the nation’s low growth and loss of influence. The youth have become insular, the government is in a state of confusion, enterprises have stopped innovating, and society lacks dynamism.

QUOTE: I believe that if Japanese people restore their dynamic "Japanability" and make strenuous efforts to strengthen their capacity without relying on the helping hands of politics, they will surely overcome the prevailing Japanese disease.

Americans’ view of Obama worsens

Columnist Mark Halperin writes in TIME that there is a growing sense in the United States that President Obama is not competent and perceptive enough to be a strong leader and turn the country around.

QUOTE: Republicans are almost certainly going to demonstrate that you can beat something with nothing, especially when Americans seem to think that the Obama Administration hasn't much to offer either, except more of the same that isn't working.

Europe needs a new sense of purpose

Giles Merritt, editor of Europe's World, writes in Project Syndicate that Europe’s reputation has significantly fallen since its decades of being a respected global force. He argues that Europe now needs a sense of purpose and a clear moral guide.

QUOTE: Europe’s leadership on climate change and on development aid could, if well handled, be the basis for a new moral authority.