It is not just because I am from Venezuela that I see Sri Lanka with admiration and envy. The island has made more progress in human development than any other in South Asia. It has reduced poverty in a pretty dramatic way. It has many reasons to be proud of its achievements. But anything that is worth doing, is worth doing better. The Center for International Development at Harvard University is collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka to work on a strategy to make progress faster, more sustainable and more inclusive.
CAMBRIDGE – In the summer of 2015, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper looked set to win his fourth consecutive election, scheduled for that October. Instead, his Conservative Party won just 99 of the House of Commons’ 338 seats. The party did not win a single constituency in Toronto or the entire Atlantic seaboard. Instead, the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, ended up obtaining the second-largest parliamentary majority in its history – 184 seats – despite having started the electoral campaign in third place.… Read more about Refugees as Weapons of Mass Destruction
¿Cuánto tardaría Venezuela en recuperarse de la debacle económica de estos años? Es una pregunta frecuente en las conversaciones cotidianas, en los salones de clases y en los foros de discusión dentro y fuera del país. Es también una pregunta sencilla, relativamente intuitiva, cuya respuesta es compleja por diferentes razones. En primer lugar, la pregunta supone que el país corrige el rumbo a partir de cierto punto, mediante una transición política de la que hoy en día nadie sabe a ciencia cierta cómo ni cuándo puede ocurrir. En segundo lugar, no todos entendemos lo mismo por recuperación. ¿Es detener la recesión? ¿Es recuperar el nivel de algún punto reciente? ¿Es volver a nuestro mejor momento? ¿Es alcanzar el nivel o las tasas de algún país que nos sirva de referencia? ¿Cuál es la base de referencia en la que piensan quienes se hacen esta pregunta? Es importante encontrar una definición de éxito que balancee nuestras ambiciones y posibilidades. Por último, aun suponiendo que sabemos a dónde queremos llegar y que ocurre un cambio político capaz de enrumbar al país en esa dirección, está el hecho de cuan factible es una recuperación acelerada.
José Ramón Morales, Douglas Barrios - Caracas Chronicles
Social policy planners in Venezuela today are like field doctors in a war zone: if they actually stopped to register emotionally the devastation all around them, they’d never be able to get any work done. Today, Venezuela is undergoing the most brutally painful economic and social calamities probably since the Federal War. Sitting around feeling horrible about it, though, is not a luxury policy planners can afford.
Ricardo Hausmann & Mark Walker - Project Syndicate
CAMBRIDGE – As the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank begin in Washington, DC, one member country is conspicuously absent: Venezuela. Yet there is much to be discussed about the country’s finances. Indeed, a sovereign-debt crisis is inevitable.
All major sovereign-debt crises of the past – including in Mexico and Greece – have generated changes in the rules, jurisprudence, or strategies adopted by debtors, creditors, and international financial institutions. Most recently,… Read more about Restructuring Debt in the Dark
Venezuela’s problems are self-inflicted and the country will only recover if it mends its ways. However, there is much that the rest of the world could do to help Venezuela out of its current crisis.
How did we get here? Unfortunately the former president Hugo Chávez did not use the massive oil price boom between 2004 and 2013 to put money aside for a rainy day but instead, over-spent and quintupled the public foreign debt. This left the country in a vulnerable position because when the price of oil declined in 2014 the country was… Read more about Venezuela Needs International Assistance to Recover
As Argentina’s protracted and litigious restructuring saga comes to an end, it is natural to ask what lessons the world can draw from this contentious process. While a close look reveals that Argentina’s ordeal has been fairly idiosyncratic, and hence less influential than most people think, the 15-year-long script yields important, albeit unexpected, lessons. Here’s a list.
How can we improve the state of the world? How can we make countries more competitive, growth more sustainable and inclusive, and genders more equal?
One way is to have a correct theory of the relationship between actions and outcomes and then to implement actions that achieve our goals. But, in most of the situations we face, we lack such a theory, or if we have one, we are not sure that it is correct. So what can we do? Should we postpone action until we learn about what works? But how will we learn if we do not act? And if we act, how can we learn whether we did the right thing?… Read more about Learning without Theory
With inflation ticking up and strikes on the horizon, critics of Argentina's President Mauricio Macri are sharpening their attacks on his economic policies. The truth is, however, that the new president came into office with few good -- much less easy -- choices, and is so far making the best of them.
When Macri delivers his much-anticipated speech to launch the 2016 session of Congress on March 1, you can expect to hear a lot about "legacy"-- a buzzword that, in the Argentinean context, refers to the economic mess bequeathed to him by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The Kirchner legacy is indeed complex, encompassing important long-term factors such as a run-down infrastructure, a fat and ineffective public sector and lagging public education. But its short-term policy implications could be reduced to a simple trilemma: Correct the exchange rate, reduce inflation, and grow.
COLOMBO – Think about it: You can call, email, and even watch your counterparty on FaceTime, Skype, or GoToMeeting. So why do companies fork out more than $1.2 trillion a year – a full 1.5% of the world’s GDP – for international business travel?