Dec 14, 2011

2012: the year of muddling

Nowadays there is no shortage of pundits, economic or otherwise, warning of impending disaster. If right, they are hailed as seers; if wrong, chances are that no one will remember. So here’s a forecast: There will be no shortage of predictions that 2012 is ...

Aug 18, 2011

What can take the dollar's place?

For more than a half-century, the dollar has been not only America’s currency, but the world’s as well. It has been the dominant unit used in cross-border transactions and the principal asset held as reserves by central banks and governments. But, already before the ...

Jul 20, 2011

A Greek Marshall Plan makes sense

It should now be clear to even the most blinkered observer that the Greek economy is in desperate need of help. Unemployment is 16 percent and rising. Even after a year of excruciating spending cuts, the budget deficit still exceeds 10 percent of GDP. ...

Jun 15, 2011

The U.S. Federal Reserve is playing with fire

The dollar has had its ups and downs, but the downs have clearly dominated of late. The greenback has lost more than a quarter of its value against other currencies, adjusted for inflation, over the last decade. It is down by nearly 5 percent ...

Apr 15, 2011

Safer alternative bears on dollar

BERKELEY, Calif. — This is the season for international monetary conferences. In March, national leaders assembled in Nanjing, China, to speechify on exchange and interest rates. And, in early April, leading thinkers and former policymakers met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the birthplace in ...

Mar 13, 2011

Is the world ready for a China slowdown?

BERKELEY, Calif. — With the world’s rich countries still hung over from the financial crisis, the global economy has come to depend on emerging markets to drive growth. Increasingly, machinery exporters, energy suppliers and raw-materials producers alike look to China and other fast-growing developing ...

Feb 12, 2011

Egypt should worry China

BERKELEY, Calif. — A strictly economic interpretation of events in Tunisia and Egypt would be too simplistic — however tempting such an exercise is for an economist. That said, there is no question that the upheavals in both countries — and elsewhere in the ...

Dec 15, 2010

Preventing a currency war

BERKELEY — Three years into the financial crisis, one might think that the world could put Great Depression analogies behind it. But they are back, and with more force than ever. Now the fear is that currency warfare, leading to tariffs and retaliation, could ...

Nov 13, 2010

Is America succumbing to the 'British disease'?

BERKELEY, Calif. — In the United States, the scent of decline is in the air. Imperial overreach, political polarization and a costly financial crisis are weighing on the economy. Some pundits now worry that America is about to succumb to the “British disease.” Doomed ...

Oct 15, 2010

How to prevent a disruptive currency war

BERKELEY, Calif. — Three years into the financial crisis, one might think that the world could put Great Depression analogies behind it. But they are back with more force than ever. Now the fear is that currency warfare, leading to tariffs and retaliation, could ...