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  • Author: Albert Keidel
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In Washington, politicians and pundits have settled on a single magical solution for the country's economic ills: getting China to revalue its currency, the RMB. By any reasonable economic measure, however, the RMB is not undervalued. China does have a trade surplus with the United States, but it has a trade deficit with the rest of the world. And China's accumulation of dollar reserves is not the result of trade surpluses, but of large investment inflows caused in part by speculators' betting that China will yield to U.S. pressure. Focusing on China's currency is a distraction. If the United States wants to improve its economy for the long haul, it had best look elsewhere beginning with raising the productivity of American workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), an important component of the Bush administration's policy of promoting Middle East reform, is falling short. MEPI should be relaunched as a private foundation funded by the government, akin to the Asia Foundation or the Eurasia Foundation. Such a relaunch would permit MEPI to develop greater expertise in the region, use more flexible, effective aid methods, and gain some independence from other U.S. programs and policies that serve conflicting ends. The restructuring of MEPI should be part of a broader set of measures to establish a more visible, coherent institutional policy structure to pursue the critical goal of fundamental political and economic change in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China recently announced that it is adopting a basket of currencies as the peg for its exchange rate instead of the US dollar. This announcement raises questions of how such a system works, whether other East Asian countries would be advised to follow China in adopting a basket numeraire, and whether it would be advantageous to these countries if they were all to adopt the same basket. This brief answers these questions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The average forecast for 2005 U.S. growth is 3.5 percent, with some prognosticators hoping for 4 percent. This forecast is predicated upon the assumption that the economy is on a sustainable expansion path, where consumption will be supported by steady growth of employment and household incomes. The 3.5 percent growth forecast for 2005 is identical to the mean growth rate of the U.S. economy since 1947. However, there is good reason to believe that the consensus forecast is too high. This possibility has important consequences because U.S. growth must be sustained at least at average levels to avoid a sharp drop in global growth. There are no signs of higher growth in Europe and Asia. Growth in Japan is looking weaker, while Chinese growth is moderating.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Ceremonial gift-giving is an integral part of doing business in China. The value lies not so much in the gift (whose packaging is often more elaborate), but in the possibility of cementing a mutually beneficial relationship. And so it was a few weeks ago with the headline-grabbing announcement that China would revalue the yuan against the U.S. dollar. The modest gesture may make more possible a comprehensive economic dialogue between China and the United States in the interest of both nations. The announcement on July 21 by the People's Bank of China that it would revalue the yuan, abandoning the eleven-year-old peg of 8.28 yuan per U.S. dollar, caught financial markets by surprise. The jolt led market participants to gauge effects of current (and perhaps future) revaluations on currency values and interest rates. And, some U.S. political leaders claimed a victory in the campaign to blame Chinese “market manipulation” for external imbalances facing the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Phillip L. Swagel
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: If China decides to adopt a flexible exchange rate, as many U.S. policymakers have urged, gains in U.S. exports and national savings in the long term will be offset by higher prices on Chinese goods and higher interest rates in the short term.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: James R. Lilley
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Nationalistic competition between Japan and China could undermine progress on economic and security concerns in east Asia. U.S. diplomacy has an important role in preventing that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since its disastrous showing in the 2003 Duma elections, Russia's badly splintered and quarrelling democratic opposition has been trying to find ways to forge a common platform that would unite and energize its sizeable but apathetic and disillusioned constituency. The stakes are very high. The liberal (that is, in Russian political parlance, right-of-center, pro-market, pro-reform, and pro-Western) forces view the Putin Kremlin's turn to recentralization of national politics and the economy as a dead-end street, leading to creeping authoritarianism, rampant corruption, political crises, economic slowdown, and even disintegration. In this perspective, forging a united opposition strong enough to contest the Kremlin's control over the Duma in 2007 and the presidency in 2008 acquires particular urgency.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In its pursuit of an authoritarian recentralization of Russian politics and a greater state presence in the economy, the Putin government is increasingly steering Russia away from the liberalizing course that has characterized the previous decade and a half.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Western and Russian observers alike have watched with mounting concern for slightly more than a year as President Vladimir Putin has tried to consolidate the Kremlin's control over Russia's politics and economy. From the campaign against the YUKOS oil company to the elimination of regional elections, Putin—a growing chorus of critics argues—is leading the country toward authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Robert Kapp
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Peter Bottelier, the principal presenter of this topic, opened by noting that much discussion now surrounds the evolving “new line” embodied in China's economic plans for the next five years. The three agricultural questions, self-innovation, regional adjustment, opening up of a win-win “harmonious society,” and economizing on energy use: what do these and other much-discussed new terms really mean?
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas Rawski
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Beginning with the start of reform in the late 1970s, China's industry has recorded impressive growth of output, labor productivity, and exports as well as dramatic upgrading of the quality and variety of output. These gains have occurred in spite of difficulties arising from lethargic state enterprises, inadequate corporate governance, excessive official intervention, corruption, and weak financial institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Kenneth Lieberthal
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This article seeks to examine two key issues that will be major drivers of consumption in China over the coming five years: urbanization and environmental amelioration. Whether the issues identified will be the largest factors over this time frame remains unclear, but each of these two areas warrants considerable attention as a very significant contributor to the future of consumer demand in China.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arthur R. Kroeber
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: China's impressive economic growth of the past quarter century (9.4 percent average annual real GDP growth between 1980 and 2004, by official figures) is not miraculous; on the contrary, it can largely be explained by conventional models of economic development.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Joseph Fewsmith
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: China has now sustained two and a half decades of high-speed growth. This growth has been even faster with regard to exports and China's role in international trade. Domestically, a capitalist tendency seems to be everywhere, while internationally the rise of China, whether peaceful or not, seems – at least to some – to threaten Western jobs, prosperity, and the international order. The focus of this paper, however, is not this question of whether or how China poses a threat to the West but rather an old (but new) question of how this “capitalist” conversion is compatible with the continued rule of a communist party. This is a question of considerable practical import, as people contemplate what the continued growth of the Chinese economy might mean for the political stability of that country, but it is also a question of considerable theoretical import: Leninist parties that sought to “include” external interests, it was argued, are on the way to collapse. It is only a matter of time. The time frame for China has lasted longer than theoreticians had supposed, though they might yet prove to be right – perhaps the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has lasted longer than people imagined but it might still be on the road to collapse. This point of view would find supporters, both in the West and in China, but even if they prove right, it is important to inquire more deeply about what is going on in China, whether institutions are being created, and if so whether they might provide a foundation for a post-communist China or whether they suggest a more chaotic future.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ilan Noy
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The banking crises that swept through East Asia in 1997– 1998 set off dramatic recessions in the affected countries and imposed heavy costs on the domestic taxpayers. Fear of further crises prompted searches causes and early warning signs. It soon became apparent that liberalization the domestic financial sectors of the countries in crises contributed to genesis of these crises, but policymakers, regulators, and economists disagree about the reason for this. Initial scrutiny fell on unregulated international capital flows, but a comprehensive study suggests that liberalization can to financial instability either because of insufficient regulation of the financial sector or because of erosion of previously granted monopolies of existing banks. These possibilities suggest varying policy implications for the current state domestic financial systems in East Asia, including the challenges inherent opening up ChinaÂ's banking system to foreign competition as mandated in China–World Trade Organization accession agreement.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: M. Taylor Fravel, Richard J. Samuels
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: The long history of U.S. foreign policy is punctuated by axiomatic truths that have bordered on conceit—e.g., the virtues of isolation, America's manifest destiny, and our benign, democratizing presence in world affairs. Strategists have lurched from truth to truth across the centuries, often without sufficient reflection and learning. Today the United States is operating with an axiomatic idea about its place in and of Asia. U.S. foreign policymakers—and U.S. foreign policy wonks—intone the mantra: “The United States is an Asian power.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China is the world's sixth largest economy and its most populous country, home to 1.3 billion people or 21% of the Earth's total population. But it faces a major challenge in providing its people with food – China has only 10% of the world's arable land and only one quarter of the average world water resources per person.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's economic reforms over the past two decades have brought remarkable growth, the development of a vibrant private sector and significant reform of the state-owned sector. Private businesses now represent some 57% of GDP, and productivity in the state-owned sector has improved significantly. However, a number of problems threaten to undermine prospects for sustainable growth. These notably include social tensions, partly due to increasing inequality within society and massive migration to the cities, but also linked to corruption, insufficient public services and rising unemployment as millions of workers have been laid off in the reform of the state-owned sector, while agriculture still displays huge structural under-employment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's economic growth has averaged 9½% per cent over the past two decades. The rapid pace of economic change is likely to be sustained for some time. These gains have contributed not only to higher personal incomes, but also to a significant reduction in poverty. At the same time, the economy has become substantially integrated with the world economy. A large part of these gains have come through profound shifts in government policies. Reforms have allowed market prices and private investors to play a significant role in production and trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Nick Hordern
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: India's exploding demand for energy is confronting New Delhi with two important dilemmas, one internal and one external. India's internal dilemma is that to satisfy its energy needs, India must not only expand but also renovate its energy sector, a huge task. Moreover, New Delhi must balance accelerating the necessary reform of this sector with the need to avoid alienating important domestic constituencies. The external dilemma derives from the fact that India will only be able to meet part of its increased energy demand from its own domestic resources, and therefore will be increasingly forced to rely on energy imports. India is trying to secure its energy supplies in a hostile geo-political climate, since New Delhi's parlous relations with its neighbours make energy cooperation difficult. The resultant fears regarding the vulnerability of India's external sources of energy chime with a core principle of New Delhi's political culture, swadeshi (self-sufficiency), whose influence, while waning, retains its potency. Concerns regarding energy security are particularly prevalent in the case of oil, where India's dependence on imports is becoming acute. The proximity of the Persian Gulf to India's industrialised northwest makes it the main source of growing oil imports. But this in turn increases India's reliance on the unstable Gulf. In order to reduce this risk New Delhi will seek out oil from new energy provinces in the Atlantic Basin, Sudan, Russia and South East Asia. It will also turn to a new energy source - gas - and more imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be one result. India's energy needs have implications for Australia. India's growing demand for energy will see coal continue to dominate the energy mix, and as a result India's demand for imported coking coal, including from Australia, is also set to grow. At the same time, India's quest for diversity of supply means that at least some of India's increased LNG imports are likely to be Australian.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Sudan, India, Asia, New Delhi, Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mark P Thirlwell
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: This Issues Brief suggests that a key theme over the past year has been the management of external imbalances in a world economy that is not only increasingly integrated but which is simultaneously undergoing a sustained geographic shift in the distribution of economic weight towards Asia. Using this theme as an organising principle, it reviews several major economic developments including US current account adjustment, international exchange rate adjustment in response to that process, growing Sino-US trade tensions, the increasing focus on international outsourcing and the stresses facing the current multilateral trading round. The Brief concludes by arguing that many of these same themes will influence international economic prospects over the coming year.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy, Morris Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Rarely has the outlook for the Chinese economy been so contested. The financial press widely quotes three alternative perspectives on the short-and medium-term outlook. One school argues that the Chinese government's recent efforts to rein in overly rapid growth are working and that the economy is now on a glide path to what is referred to as a soft landing. While “soft landing” is usually not fully defined, its chief feature in this case is that Chinese economic growth slows modestly from its current pace of 9 to 10 percent to around 8 percent and that the rate of job creation does not slow enough to constitute a major political challenge for the regime. At the other end of the spectrum is the hard landing school, which argues that the authorities to date have not tightened sufficiently, that loan and investment growth remain excessive, and that the authorities soon will be forced to take more drastic action that will trigger a sharp correction. Finally, the no landing school argues that China's efforts to slow growth modestly are misguided since the economy was not overheating in 2003 and early 2004. In this view, China is in the early stages of a secular boom that has several additional years to run.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Say's Law, named after French economist Jean- Baptiste Say (1767–1832), was promulgated at the time of the Industrial Revolution when some feared that purchasing power would be insufficient to absorb the ever-growing output of the newly mechanized economy. It states simply and reassuringly that supply creates its own demand. More specifically, the production of output tends to generate purchasing power equal to the value of that output.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America, Asia
  • Author: Claude Barfield
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush offer distinct visions of how free trade would operate for the next four years. Senator Kerry has staked out a more unilateralist position with promises to review all trade agreements to strengthen labor and environmental sanctions, while President Bush reinstated trade promotion authority and expanded free trade agreements. The next president will face challenges regarding the WTO Doha Round and markets in Latin America and Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Scott Wallsten
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although success stories do exist, most high-technology cluster-development projects do little to enhance regional economic growth. The taxpayer costs for a wide array of tax incentives offered by politicians to corporations and research institutes as inducements to move facilities into their districts are rarely recouped, and often only wealthy organizations and developers benefit from the projects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Russia, whose birth rates have declined and whose mortality rates have dramatically increased in the last several decades, faces a demographic crisis. Thus far, Russian political leaders have focused on trying to increase birth rates, but a greater sense of urgency must be applied to diminish mortality rates and to respond to health threats, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Overlooked in the victory of the pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, in the Duma election last December and President Vladimir Putin's overwhelming victory in the presidential election three months later was a milestone in Russia's post-Soviet political history: the precipitous decline of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). The single largest faction in the Duma between 1995 and 2003, the KPRF was reduced to 12 percent of the party-list vote in the Duma poll while the Communist candidate for the presidency, who received 40 percent in the 1996 election and 24 percent in 2000, ended up with 14 percent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Perhaps more than any other structural market reform unfolding today in Russia, pension privatization epitomizes both the enormous progress achieved over the past decade and the equally huge obstacles still ahead on the road to "civilized" liberal capitalism. The reform highlights and tests the quality of key institutions and instruments central to such a system: transparency and liquidity of banks and mutual funds, probity and competence of state regulatory agencies, and stability of equity and bond markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Revolution had, indeed, two distinct phases: one in which the sole aim of the French nation seemed to be to make a clean sweep of the past; and a second, in which attempts were made to salvage fragments from the wreckage of the old order. For many of the laws and administrative methods which were suppressed in 1789 reappeared a few years later, much as some rivers after going underground re-emerge at another point, in new surroundings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, France
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The December 7, 2003, election to the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has been portrayed in the U.S. media as mostly a product of the Kremlin's machinations. Its "administrative resources"--most importantly, its control of national television channels--are said to be almost entirely responsible for the winning performance of the "party of power," United Russia, which garnered 37 percent of the party-list vote among twenty-three parties and blocs on the ballot.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Korea has been one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD area over the past five years, with an annual growth rate of about 6 per cent. Such rapid growth, which has lifted per capita income to two-thirds of the OECD average, reflects Korea's underlying dynamism and its progress in implementing a wide-ranging reform programme in the wake of the 1997 crisis. However, the recession in 2003 – which was due in part to structural problems in the labour market and in the corporate and financial sectors – indicates that the reform agenda is unfinished. Sustaining rapid growth over the medium term as the contribution from inputs of labour and capital slows requires further progress in structural reform, particularly in the labour market and in the corporate and financial sectors, accompanied by appropriate macroeconomic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The Afghan people have been promised a lot in the last two years. New rules for a new world would be written in their country. Regime change would deliver Afghans, finally, from oppression and violence, while a Marshall Plan would give them a chance to rebuild their lives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Mark P Thirlwell
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: There are strong parallels between today's US-China tensions over trade and US-Japan economic relations in the 1980s.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Allan H. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While Alan Greenspan and most analysts continue to discuss the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs since the Bush administration took office, the Labor Department Household Survey shows such claims to be either wrong or greatly exaggerated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the early morning of October 25, 2003, masked agents of the Russian security agency, the FSB, stormed the plane of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, CEO and principal owner of Russia's largest private oil company, YUKOS; arrested him; and conveyed him to a Moscow prison. He was charged with tax evasion, fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Richard L. Lawson, John R. Lyman, Donald L. Guertin, Tarun Das, Shinji Fukukawa, Yang Jike
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For China and India, rapid economic growth is imperative to alleviate poverty, raise income levels and improve their citizens' quality of life. In 2000, China and India's combined populations of 2.3 billion represented over 38 percent of the world's population. With both countries determined to grow their economies rapidly, there will be an associated rapid rise in energy demand. One of the most significant problems facing the two countries is the existing and increasing level of air pollution that will accompany growing energy consumption. This report focuses on the challenge of developing economic, energy, and environmental policies that will complement existing policies designed to reconcile the drive for economic growth with the need for greater environmental protection of air quality.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: John Ravenhill
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Western Pacific Rim states have been slow to participate in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In the past four years, however, more than 40 PTAs involving these economies have been proposed or are being implemented. For the first time, Japan and China have either signed or are negotiating bilateral or plurilateral agreements. The new interest in PTAs reflects the perception that they have been successful in other parts of the world, and is reinforced by dissatisfaction with the region's existing trade groupings. Although arguments can be made in favor of PTAs, they amplify political considerations in trade agreements, may adversely affect the political balance in participating countries, impose costs on nonparticipants, and deplete scarce negotiating resources. Nevertheless, the number of western Pacific Rim states participating in PTAs continues to climb. Northeast Asian countries have been following Europe in exploiting loopholes in WTO rules on PTAs to protect their noncompetitive sectors, thereby strengthening their political positions, which will likely make global liberalization more difficult.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Robert Litan, Michael Pomerleano, V. Sundararajan
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers and analysts are still sifting through the wreckage of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the subsequent crises in Russia, Turkey, and Argentina to discern key lessons so that similar crises will not recur. Some lessons are by now well understood. Pegged exchange rates can encourage excessive borrowing and expose countries to financial collapse when foreign exchange reserves run dry. Inadequate disclosures by both private companies and public bodies can lead to similar dangers. Although many factors undoubtedly contributed to these crises, it is now widely recognized that each suffered from a failure in “governance,” and in particular a failure in governance in their financial sectors. Accordingly, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Brookings Institution devoted their fourth annual Financial Markets and Development Conference, held in New York from April 17-19, 2002, to the subject of financial sector governance in emerging markets. This conference report summarizes some of the highlights of the conference, whose full proceedings will be published as a Brookings book in the fall of 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, New York, Turkey, Asia, Argentina
  • Author: Michael Mussa
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The global economic recovery is continuing but at a somewhat slower pace than was anticipated six months ago. Specifically, using the country weights from the IMF's World Economic Outlook, the forecast for real GDP growth in the world economy during 2002 (i.e., on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis) is cut by about half a percentage point to 3 percent—a pace that is slightly below my estimate of the potential growth rate for world GDP. This downward revision reflects primarily slower growth than earlier expected during the first half of 2002 in most industrial countries and the expectation that growth will remain somewhat more sluggish than earlier expected at least through year-end. For 2003, the forecast for global economic growth is also cut by about half a percentage point—to 4 percent—reflecting both general factors suggesting slightly weaker performance in many industrial and developing countries and the particular economic risks arising from possible military action against Iraq and from potential credit events affecting key developing countries. Despite these downward revisions, however, there is little doubt that the world economy will see significant improvement this year from the 1 percent growth recorded in 2001, and it is still reasonable to expect further improvement to a growth rate modestly above global potential during 2003.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Israel, Asia, South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The most interesting phenomenon on Russia's literary scene today is the popularity of the Erast Fandorin mysteries by Grigoriy Shalvovich Chkhartishvili, who writes as Boris Akunin.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Stephen M. Massey
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Today, fewer than one in three Russian newborns is healthy, disease rates among Russian children are surging, and shrinking access to quality family planning and prenatal care has worsened the state of women's reproductive health across Russia. The health of Russia's infants and children is especially significant given the country's shrinking population and the mounting problems of infectious disease, rural poverty, illegal narcotics, and alcohol abuse – all contributing factors to poor birth outcomes. The long-term economic impact of unhealthy children born in the past decade is already a serious limiting factor to Russia's emergence as a strong economic partner and international actor. Many infant deaths and childhood illnesses could be prevented with expanded investments in infrastructure and education, improved access to quality care, and reform of Russia's healthcare sector – each of which is too costly for Russia to finance on its own. Untapped opportunities also exist for collaboration between Russian, European, and American civic groups, healthcare experts, scientists, and policy leaders that would have a positive impact on maternal and child health in Russia and beyond.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Robert Orttung
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Instability in Russia's southern regions poses a threat to the continuation of the country's overall political and economic reform, and to regional stability in Central Eurasia. These regions, which already possess Russia's most fragile local economics, face a variety of problems emanating from the weak and failing states to their immediate south. Most visibly, there is the threat of terrorism, an increasing flow of illegal narcotics from producers in Afghanistan, an influx of contraband goods that wipe out Russian jobs, and illegal immigration. With few resources and extensive corruption among key officials, Russia's southern regions are poorly equipped to deal with these problems. Developing mutually beneficial trade links between Russia's southern regions and its neighbors in Central Asia, China, and Mongolia can mitigate instability and economic stagnation in this region, help to rebuild regional economies, generate income, and better enable governments to provide security and basic human services to their people. The West can support these developments as well as help combat organized crime, target corruption, and improve border security.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Mongolia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Former IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer expressed support for regional currency arrangements in a speech at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on May 21. East Asian nations continue to discuss swap arrangements and other forms of cooperation in the hope of defending local currencies. Fischer endorsed the swap plans while throwing critical light on currency 'management' schemes. Such schemes could result in perverse consequences for regional economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Shang-Jin Wei
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: At least since the Asian financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has, from time to time, included transparency and anti-corruption measures as part of the conditions for countries to borrow its funds. Because of this, it has been criticized as having overstepped its mandate, or even having made crises worse in countries the IMF is supposed to help.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Third World
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: For almost two centuries—since Alexander Pushkin's masterpieces laid the foundation—Russian literature has persisted in addressing the core issues and dilemmas of human existence, taking humanity's measure, and explaining Russia and Russians to themselves and the world. Even during the Soviet era, when virtually all of Russia's finest writers and poets were exiled, killed, imprisoned, savagely censored, or forbidden to publish, the tradition lived in underground samizdat, manuscripts smuggled abroad, and in the state-run literary magazines of the “liberal” persuasion, especially during political thaws.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Berlin Wall fell eleven years ago, and nine years have passed since Boris Yeltsin launched the Russian economic revolution by abolishing state control over prices. Although minuscule in historic terms, the time elapsed still furnishes a wealth of data for a provisional analysis of the key factors that shaped the political, economic, and social character of post-Communist nations. The same structural variables may help gauge the future—at least in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Berlin
  • Author: Mandavi Mehta, Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The South Asia program has recently concluded a year-long study entitled “Rising India and U.S. Policy Options in Asia” with a final conference that was held on October 15, 2001. The “Rising India” project seeks to analyze aspects of the U.S.-Indian relationship, examine the effectiveness of U.S. diplomatic tools in the context of different growth trends in India, and put U.S. policy toward India within a broader Asian context. This summary reflects the project study, amplified by presentations made at the conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Pacific Rim leaders on October 21 signed an accord to re-invigorate progress towards free trade and investment in the region. The Shanghai Accord marks the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum's effort to stimulate a flagging liberalisation agenda and to show leadership in promoting regional recovery. However, the accord may exacerbate the risk of further fracturing the diverse grouping. It will be difficult for APEC to move forward on trade liberalisation given that the organisation's own formulation of consensual, unbound liberalisation has proved unsuccessful in periods of economic crisis. The pathfinder initiative may re-energise the process but at the risk of APEC's fragmentation and without addressing the problems of some members' hesitation and lack of political will for domestic structural reform.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Shanghai, Asia
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: India and Iran have proposed the construction of a natural gas pipeline connection. While the project would be a major engineering achievement, the principal challenge will be gaining Islamabad's consent for it to traverse Pakistani territory. Pakistan's parlous relations with Tehran and Delhi, the latter little improved by last weekend's summit, will make this difficult.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, economic data has produced conflicting signals about the strength of domestic demand within the US economy. A majority within the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) believes that growth will decelerate and that only a small tightening of monetary policy will be necessary in the short term. However, the Federal Reserve has consistently underestimated domestic demand, and there are signs that the economy is still buoyant. Moreover, with improving economic prospects in Europe and Asia, the external forces encouraging lower US interest rates are likely to be reversed. The combination of these factors could put pressure on the Fed to tighten further.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The devaluation of the Russian ruble this year was predictable, especially considering Russia's poor monetary history. State-manipulated money has been a Russian hallmark since the time of Peter the Great and shows that the country's money problems are endemic and do not depend on who controls the central bank. Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet governments have used the central bank printing press to finance deficit spending, resulting in high inflation, confiscation of savings, capital controls, or a combination of the three.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund are undemocratic institutions unaccountable for their actions. Their current functions have little to do with their original missions. The ESF is used by the executive branch to circumvent Congress in the provision of foreign aid. Its foreign exchange interventions have, in any event, always been wasteful and ineffective at controlling the relative price of the U.S. dollar. The IMF has also been used to provide massive bailouts in the cases of Mexico in 1995 and of Asian countries since 1997. Defenders of the IMF as an international lender of last resort are misinformed since the IMF does not and cannot serve that purpose. Both institutions should be abolished, not reformed, because they are not needed to resolve currency crises and they preclude superior solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Mexico