The globalisation backlash
THE verdict of history is that the trade war that's now raging between the United States and China will lead to no good - with consequences that could go well beyond trade and threaten the world's geopolitical and economic stability.
Social responsibility won't save corporate America
WE'VE been here before: one of those portentous moments when corporate America promises to be more socially "responsible". These episodes are, it seems, a permanent feature of modern capitalism.
Is the economy turning against Trump?
TO HAVE a recession or not - that is the question.
China no longer meets criteria for yuan manipulation
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump sold himself to the American public as an expert deal-maker. At the top of his list was a promised trade bargain with China that would boost US exports and remedy some of the more egregious examples of discrimination against American firms.
The Fed's jobs machine - will it do its job?
FEDERAL Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has not been shy about saying what he's trying to do: prolong the economy's expansion so that it creates more jobs for those who, in the past, have often felt left out. The Fed increasingly sees itself as a social agency dedicated to job creation. That -...
Will the global debt bomb explode again in an era of low interest rates?
DEBT is the crux of the matter. If you want to understand what makes the world vulnerable to a global recession or, possibly, something much worse, you've got to come to grips with the worldwide debt buildup. It's not the only candidate for calamity, but it ranks first among the possibilities....
America's cycle of disappointment
THE late Alice Rivlin, a longtime scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, enjoyed an unusually constructive career.
Is Putin right that liberalism is obsolete?
IT LOOKS as if Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to be recalled as something besides being an aggressive autocrat. He yearns, it seems, to be seen as a leading political thinker, respected for his analysis as well as feared for his actions.
Trump's endless war on regulation
THE most obscure part of US President Donald Trump's economic agenda is deregulation. This is not because anyone is deliberately hiding it. The real reason is more mundane: Deregulation is obscure, because it is genuinely complicated and confusing.
Democratic field is ambitious, but falls short of presidential
WHAT struck me about the first debates among 20 candidates for the Democratic nomination for president was how much they resembled a gaggle of graduate students. All seemed articulate and intelligent. All had a good grasp of the classroom material - in this case, the programmes they were...
Can Trump beat the economy? It's all murky in the crystal ball
WE ARE now passing a significant milestone. The current economic expansion has become the longest in US history. Previously, the record was the decade from March 1991 to March 2001 (120 months). When the present recovery enters July, it will mark the 121st month of expansion. Just how much...
Tear up the economics textbooks - and start again
HARVARD professor N Gregory Mankiw is one of the most influential economists in the United States. But the 61-year-old's authority does not stem from advancing an arcane scholarly finding. Nor has he coined some catchy phrase that captured the popular imagination (see, for example, "The Affluent...
Japan shows the future - and the picture isn't pretty
IF you want a peek at the future, try looking at Japan. It's a sobering exercise. Here's how economist Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, describes the country's outlook:
US is prima facie losing the trade war
THE Trump administration is going about its trade war with China all wrong. Its strategy and tactics are muddled. If Donald Trump were a general watching the battle unfold, what he'd see is his troops getting slaughtered, while the enemy, though suffering casualties, was holding most of its...
Mind economists' ignorance gap
THE most intriguing and indisputable thing we have learned about economists in recent decades is that they don't know nearly as much as they think they do.
Latest worry: Inflation not rising fast enough
THERE are times when it seems we're worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about. A good example these days is inflation. Amazingly, the complaint is that it's not rising fast enough. In March, the consumer price index, or CPI, had increased 1.9 per cent over the past year. The gain of...
Who's afraid of robots - and why
AN unsettling spectre haunts the world economy: a future of ubiquitous robots that destroy millions of jobs. Sometimes this is called "artificial intelligence"; sometimes it is not. Either way, it threatens the social stability of the United States and other advanced countries, which depend on...
How long until we're all happy? let's keep perspective
WE have met a few times over the years while covering the same events. I'm a big fan.
What really caused the financial crisis?
IT is astonishing that, even though the global financial crisis occurred a decade ago, we do not yet have a clear and convincing explanation of its basic cause. To be sure, theories abound.
Is trade deficit good news for America?
IF nothing else, the latest US trade deficit - US$621 billion in 2018 for goods and services - should give President Donald Trump a lesson in the economics of trade. Mr Trump has insisted that a successful policy requires a trade surplus (good) and the absence of a deficit (bad). That's...
Corporate America, critics spar over share buybacks
THE latest pitched battle between Corporate America and its critics involves stock buybacks - large companies' purchases of their own shares on the stock market. The aim is to raise share prices and satisfy investors. But the practice has triggered outrage from critics, who argue that the...
Will a big bust follow the current US big boom?
WRITING in The Wall Street Journal, Princeton economist Alan Blinder calls it "The Obama-Trump Economic Boom". This may be the best bad label for what may soon become the longest economic expansion in American history as Mr Blinder's turn of phrase has the virtue of spreading the...
The Affluent Society revisited
I AM re-reading The Affluent Society with pleasure and profit.
Is the worldwide credit boom in danger of going bust?
WE are in the midst of a worldwide credit boom that may be without precedent. The debt explosion suggests that the global economy - all the national economies combined - is being driven heavily by massive government and private borrowing.
What Sears' and GE's decline teaches us about capitalism
GENERAL Electric and Sears have fallen on hard times, and that tells us a lot about US capitalism. Both were once great enterprises, symbols of American ingenuity and imagination. The temptation will be to blame their troubles on mismanagement. The real lesson is starker. It is that no business...