A new attitude toward China is rapidly taking shape across the U.S. political spectrum. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) echoes President Donald Trump’s talking points, decrying the transfer of “our” technology to China and condemning investment there. Fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is lining up with former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon calling for an “aggressive” policy. Establishment Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are endorsing Trump’s trade war with China. Free-trade stalwarts like the Wall Street Journal editorial board and establishment bodies like the Council on Foreign Relations are finding common ground with protectionist unions like the United Steelworkers and trade critics like Global Trade Watch. While there are still significant differences of policy and strategy, seemingly everyone agrees that the Chinese are conducting trade in a predatory manner that hurts American business and workers, and that the time for confrontation has arrived.
Tag Archives: Economy
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The impulse behind the latest “big” progressive idea of offering job guarantees is entirely valid. Studies show that those without jobs are much more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives, to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, and to be abusive within their family than even those working at low wages they find inadequate. On this point, the US economy is falling short of its potential. The fraction of the adult population aged 25 to 54 that is working or seeking work has declined over the past 20 years. Despite the US’s vaunted labour market flexibility, the chance that a man, aged between 25 and 54 years old, is out of work is much greater than it is in France and not very different than what it is in Italy. In sharp contrast to the rest of the world, the percentage of adult women working in the US has been declining since the 1990s.
Victor Hugo once remarked: “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” Today, in the United States, a job guarantee seems just such an idea. Progressives of all shades – from Cory Booker to Bernie Sanders – have embraced policies that to varying degrees say the state should seek to do away with involuntary unemployment. This is a welcome return to a politics of work, which has been missing for too long from advanced economies. It is also heartening that polls suggest the job guarantee is popular, with half of voters backing it. This seems starkly at odds with America’s apparently low unemployment figures. The reality is that the unemployment rate only counts those who are actively seeking employment, missing out the millions not seeking work altogether. When those people are included too, it turns out that about one in seven working-age men in the US are actually jobless. The cumulative effect on communities is a layering of despair. A job guarantee offers hope in what for many are desolate times.
In het noorden van Madagaskar ligt Antalaha, een kleine stad met wijde, met palmbomen omzoomde lanen en luxe huizen met grote veranda’s langs een hagelwit strand. Het voormalige vissersdorp heeft een kalme en uitgesproken koloniale uitstraling. Antalaha ligt in de Sava-regio, een gebied zo groot als Noord-Brabant waar tachtig procent van alle pure vanille in de wereld wordt geteeld. De voorspoed van Antalaha is erop gebouwd.
Maar dat heeft een keerzijde. ‘Als je hier vanillezaken wilt doen, dan mag je je doodskist alvast wel bestellen’, zegt Dasy Ibrahim, een vriendelijke vijftiger, met een bittere grijns. Die waarschuwing lijkt maar moeilijk met de rustige, mooie omgeving te rijmen. Maar Ibrahim verzekert ons: ‘Er zitten een hoop criminelen in de business.’ En de angst is niet alleen voorbehouden aan ambitieuze handelaars. ‘Het is erger dan cocaïne’, zegt Ibrahim, ‘iedereen is bang.’
ATHENS – No policy is as self-defeating during recessionary times as the pursuit of a budget surplus for the purpose of containing public debt – austerity, for short. So, as the world approaches the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it is appropriate to ask why austerity proved so popular with Western political elites following the financial sector’s implosion in 2008.
‘America first does not mean America alone,” President Trump declared last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This sudden burst of pragmatism from an avowed nationalist showed what a difference a year can make. Denouncing the “false song of globalism” during his presidential campaign, Trump, on his third full day in office, canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade deal with Japan and 10 other countries. He then denounced Canada, Germany and South Korea for exporting more to the United States than they import. He promised to renegotiate trade pacts with Europe, Canada and Mexico and get a better deal for American workers. In Davos, however, he reached out with conciliatory words to the very free-trading and globalizing elites he has consistently maligned.
A cross section of Africa’s most powerful people gathered in Kigali this week to sell a dream – and sell it hard.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who revelled in his role as host of this extraordinary African Union (AU) summit, described this dream as “among the most consequential actions that this Assembly has ever taken”. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said that anyone who did not support it was a “criminal”. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa invoked not one but three liberation heroes to underscore the significance of the moment:
“This is probably just as important as the formation of Organisation of African Unity (OAU). This is what Kwame Nkrumah dreamt of, what Julius Nyerere wanted to see, what Nelson Mandela wanted to see realised. It’s truly a new dawn for Africa,” he said.
The presidents were speaking, of course, about the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a landmark trade deal that would create a single market from the Cape to Cairo, and from Djibouti to Dakar.
Er is iets vreemds aan de hand met de lichting jong volwassenen die geboren is tussen grofweg 1980 en 2000. Het is de meest intensief opgeleide generatie ooit. Niet eerder in de geschiedenis heeft een geboortecohort zoveel onderwijs genoten en zoveel diploma’s gehaald. Volgens de logica van de kenniseconomie zou zich dat moeten uitbetalen. In hogere salarissen, bijvoorbeeld, in robuuste banen en groeiende welvaart. Maar gelegd langs die meetlat zijn ze slechter af dan hun ouders en grootouders. ‘Iedere autoriteit, van moeders tot presidenten, heeft millennials op het hart gedrukt zo veel mogelijk menselijk kapitaal te verzamelen’, schrijft Malcolm Harris in zijn zojuist verschenen Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials. ‘En dat hebben we gedaan. Maar de markt heeft zich niet aan zijn kant van de afspraak gehouden. Wat is er gebeurd?’
Inderdaad, wat is er gebeurd? Hoe kan het dat, ook in Nederland, de arbeidsproductiviteit nog altijd een stijgende lijn vertoont, maar dat de gemiddelde beloning per werknemer is gestagneerd? De miljoenenvraag is, letterlijk, wie hier de extra winst opstrijkt. ‘Het aantal vaste arbeidscontracten neemt af ten gunste van andere baansoorten’, zo luidt de verklaring van het cbs bij deze
DAVOS – I’ve been attending the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland – where the so-called global elite convenes to discuss the world’s problems – since 1995. Never have I come away more dispirited than I have this year.
Not so long ago, the argument over globalisation was seen as done and dusted—by parties of the left as much as of the right.
Tony Blair’s 2005 Labour conference speech gives a flavour of the time. “I hear people say we have to stop and debate globalisation,” Blair told his party. “You might as well debate whether autumn should follow summer.” There would be disruptions and some might be left behind, but no matter: people needed to get on with it. Our “changing world” was, Blair continued, “replete with opportunities, but they only go to those swift to adapt” and “slow to complain.”
No competent politician today would be likely to urge their voters not to grumble in this way. The Davos set, the Blairs and the Clintons are all scratching their heads, asking themselves how on Earth a process they insisted was inexorable has spun into reverse. Trade has stopped growing in relation to output, cross-border financial flows have still not bounced back from the global crisis of a decade ago, and after long years of stasis in world trade talks, an American nationalist has ridden a populist wave to the White House, where he disavows all efforts at multilateralism. Those that were cheerleaders of hyper-globalisation at the turn of the century stand no chance of understanding where it has gone wrong without realising how little they understood the process they were championing.
Back in 2005, in that same Blair conference speech, there was scope for doubt, and “no mystery about what works: an open, liberal economy, prepared constantly to change to remain competitive.” What of social solidarity? Would globalisation sweep it away? Blair insisted it could survive, but only if it were repurposed. Communities could not be allowed to “resist the force of globalisation”; the role of progressive politics was merely to enable them “to prepare for it.” Globalisation was the foregone conclusion; the only question was whether society could adjust to the global competition.