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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Sagging Global Growth Requires Us to Act"

Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer are worried about the prospects for world economic growth:

Sagging global growth requires us to act, by Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer, Commentary, Financial Times: It looks as if the global economy is heading for a serious slowdown this year. ... The most realistic scenario for global growth is painful, even if we avoid a double dip. ...

Politically, this second global slowdown could not have come at a more difficult time. In the US, Democrats and Republicans will soon retreat to their corners to prepare for November’s mid-term elections. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama must again persuade America’s taxpayers that a new surge in government spending is needed to protect a fragile recovery – and at a moment when voters are telling pollsters that America’s debt is as great a threat as terrorism.

So the president must also tell voters that the longer-term solution to America’s economic insecurity involves both austerity and sacrifice. But abroad he faces an even larger problem. Mr Obama has limited leverage ... to persuade European governments to shrug off fiscal worries. These countries seem unlikely to shift from their view that events of the past year in Greece, Spain and elsewhere – and fears of further crises to come – demand that the continent must learn to live within its means. Nor should we expect much from the next G20 meeting in Seoul in November. ...

Yet ... words matter. Plans to boost government spending in the near term, and to embrace austerity in the longer term, will only become more difficult if the president fails to explain the need for them. For their part, America’s Republicans need to accept that the path to a global recovery begins at home, with extended unemployment insurance and help for state and local governments.
Countries that save too much must also do their part for global demand. In particular, the Chinese leadership should recognize that failure to allow a more substantive revaluation of its currency will have serious consequences at home. ...
The eurozone needs fiscal austerity, but it also needs a level of growth best provided by an easing of monetary policy from the European Central Bank. Early debt-restructuring of insolvent members should also be on the agenda. Germany should postpone its fiscal consolidation for a couple of years to boost disposable income and consumption. Outside Europe, Japan must accelerate economic reforms.
These steps will take time. Even if all are undertaken properly, global growth will recover only slowly. But if they are not undertaken at all, the risk of a global double dip, and a new financial crisis, will grow sharply. Policymakers cannot keep kicking the can down the road for much longer.

    Posted by on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Fiscal Policy, Monetary Policy | Permalink  Comments (14)


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