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  • Author: Fouad Ajami
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Throughout 2011, a rhythmic chant echoed across the Arab lands: "The people want to topple the regime." It skipped borders with ease, carried in newspapers and magazines, on Twitter and Facebook, on the airwaves of al Jazeera and al Arabiya. Arab nationalism had been written off, but here, in full bloom, was what certainly looked like a pan-Arab awakening. Young people in search of political freedom and economic opportunity, weary of waking up to the same tedium day after day, rose up against their sclerotic masters.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The euro's naysayers have it all wrong. True, the continent's powerhouses have yet to agree on a clear plan to save the common currency, as each one is seeking to secure the best deal for itself. But they all also know that the collapse of the eurozone would be a political and economic disaster, so they will ultimately pay whatever price is necessary to keep it together.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Adam Tooze
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the euro in crisis, Germany has come to seem like a lone island of fiscal stability in Europe. Its debt levels are modest, its government bonds are safe havens for investors around the world, and it has avoided the kinds of private credit booms and housing bubbles that have destabilized the rest of the continent. The German economy, fueled by record exports, has grown steadily, expanding by a quarter over the last decade. But beneath the glowing headlines lies a darker story: Germany's economic position is simply unsustainable. For starters, much of its trade surplus has been earned at the expense of the corresponding current account deficits of the European countries in crisis. At the same time, this outsized surplus goes hand in hand with major imbalances within Germany's domestic economy. German businesses have invested their profits abroad, helping finance foreign imports. Meanwhile, as German money has flowed out of the country, domestic investment has languished at unprecedentedly low levels. Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Timur Kuran
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A new book by Ian Morris tracks the development of the East and the West over the millennia. But methodological problems lead him to miss the crucial differences between modern and premodern life -- and understate what is really keeping the West ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Spence
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Jobs growth was slow in May, renewing pessimism about the U.S. economy. Spence, a Nobel Prize-winning economist writes that economic growth and employment in the United States have started to diverge, increasing income inequality and reducing jobs for less-educated workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty, Labor Issues
  • Author: George Packer
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Like an odorless gas, economic inequality pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of its democracy. Over the past three decades, Washington has consistently favored the rich -- and the more wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, the more influence and favor the rich acquire, making it easier for them and their political allies to cast off restraint without paying a social price.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Baghdad
  • Author: Hugo Nixon
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. Euro-enthusiasts see the single currency as the first steppingstone toward a broader economic union, which is their dream. Euroskeptics do, too, but they see that endgame as hell -- and would prefer the single currency to be dismantled. The euro crisis has, for many observers, validated these notions. Both camps argue that the eurozone countries' lopsided efforts to construct a monetary union without a fiscal counterpart explain why the union has become such a mess. Many of the enthusiasts say that the way forward is for the 17 eurozone countries to issue euro bonds, which they would all guarantee (one of several variations on the fiscal-union theme). Even the German government, which is reluctant to bail out economies weaker than its own, thinks that some sort of pooling of budgets may be needed once the current debt problems have been solved. A fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies (led by Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands) to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). Moreover, once the crisis is solved, the enthusiasm for a fiscal union may wane. Even if Germany is still prepared to pool some budgetary functions, it will insist on imposing strict discipline on what other countries can spend and borrow. The weaker countries, meanwhile, may not wish to submit to a Teutonic straitjacket once the immediate fear of going bust has passed.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia