Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mapping the Market

Jeffrey Frankel

Are currency wars inevitable, given the dollar’s decline? Can today’s booming emerging markets effectively save for a rainy day – or are they already saving too much? What should governments do when world markets threaten their citizens’ living standards? What can small countries teach big countries?

The combined output of emerging-market economies now accounts for more than half of world GDP and energy consumption. The emerging countries also hold 70% of the world’s foreign-exchange reserves. As a result, rich countries no longer dominate either the global economy or the global economic-policy agenda. Emerging countries’ global integration, demand for resources, and huge capital inflows now determine rich countries’ economic performance – their inflation rates, employment levels, borrowing costs, and wages and profits.

Faster growth that lifts the living standards of hundreds of millions of people in poor countries boosts global demand and reins in inflation., Both should be a cause for celebration. Instead, many in the rich world are protesting as output and jobs shift to low-wage economies in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. And many in the developing world complain that rich countries’ trade barriers, agricultural subsidies, and monetary policies are blocking their progress.

Clearly, then, the shift in the balance of global economic power will give rise to a radical re-thinking of economic policy in both rich and emerging countries. Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a member of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton,is a leading catalyst – and subtle interpreter – of the coming changes.

One of the most original thinkers in economics today, Jeffrey Frankel also directs the Program in International Finance and Macroeconomics at the US National Bureau of Economic Research. Every month in Mapping the Market, written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Jeffrey Frankel navigates the contest of ideas that is reshaping global economic policy, and shows which ones are winning – and why.

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