Opinion

The Import of Exports

November 26, 2015

CAMBRIDGE – Should a country’s development strategy pay special attention to exports? After all, exports have nothing to do with satisfying their people’s basic needs, such as education, health care, housing, power, water, telecoms, security, the rule of law, and recreation. So why give precedence to satisfying the needs of distant foreign consumers?

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Does Capitalism Cause Poverty?

August 21, 2015

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Capitalism gets blamed for many things nowadays: poverty, inequality, unemployment, even global warming. As Pope Francis said in a recent speech in Bolivia: “This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.”

But are the problems that upset Francis the consequence of what he called “unbridled capitalism”? Or...

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Back to Fundamentals in Emerging Markets

August 13, 2015

Dani Rodrik - Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Following 15 years of hype, a new conventional wisdom has taken hold: emerging markets are in deep trouble. Many analysts had extrapolated rapid growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and India into the indefinite future, calling them the new engines of the world economy. Now growth is down in almost all of them, and investors are pulling their money out – prompted in part by the expectation that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September. Their currencies have tumbled, while corruption scandals and other political difficulties have overwhelmed the economic narrative in places like Brazil and Turkey.... Read more about Back to Fundamentals in Emerging Markets

The Diaspora Goldmine

June 25, 2015

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Many countries have substantial diasporas, but not many are proud of it. After all, people tend not to leave a country when it is doing well, so the diaspora is often a reminder of a country’s darker moments.

El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba, to cite three examples, had more than 10% of their native population living abroad in 2010. And this figure does not take...

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Secular Stagnation for Free

March 27, 2015

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Something is definitely rotten in the state of capitalism. Despite unprecedentedly low interest rates, investment in most advanced countries is significantly below where it was in the years prior to the 2008 crisis, while employment rates remain stubbornly low. And even investment in the pre-crisis period was unimpressive, given low prevailing interest rates.

For...

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The Education Myth

May 31, 2015

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

TIRANA – In an era characterized by political polarization and policy paralysis, we should celebrate broad agreement on economic strategy wherever we find it. One such area of agreement is the idea that the key to inclusive growth is, as then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair put in his 2001 reelection campaign, “education, education, education.” If we broaden access to schools and improve their quality, economic growth will be both...

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Should Venezuela Default?

Should Venezuela Default?

September 5, 2014

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Will Venezuela default on its foreign bonds? Markets fear that it might. That is why Venezuelan bonds pay over 11 percentage points more than US Treasuries, which is 12 times more than Mexico, four times more than Nigeria, and double what Bolivia pays. Last May, when Venezuela made a $5 billion private placement of ten-year bonds with a 6% coupon, it effectively had to give a 40% discount, leaving it with barely $3 billion. The extra $2 billion that it will have to pay in ten years is the compensation that investors demand for the likelihood of default, in excess of the already hefty coupon.... Read more about Should Venezuela Default?

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