China stocks Johannes Eisele | Getty Images

Plan B for the Global Economy

There is growing awareness among policymakers of the risks to the global economy posed by deflation and intensifying financial instability. In mitigating these risks, avoiding a hard landing in China is a necessary but insufficient condition for global recovery.

HONG KONG – In March, meetings of the G-20, the Chinese National People’s Congress, and multiple think tanks all reflected a growing awareness of the risks to the global economy posed by deflation and intensifying financial instability. In mitigating these risks, the path that China takes will be particularly important. But avoiding a hard landing in China is a necessary but insufficient condition for global recovery.

Contrary to the advice of many Chinese economists, the country’s policymakers have opted not to follow the conventional Western approach of using flexible exchange rates as the main shock absorber for volatile capital flows and thereby freeing monetary policy to provide liquidity for domestic structural adjustments. This satisfied both Western economists and global financial markets, which breathed a collective sigh of relief when Chinese leaders reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining a stable renminbi.

The fear was that, if China sought a weaker exchange rate to escape deflation, the result would be another round of global competitive devaluations and even more deflation. Fortunately, China’s leaders recognize that, if the world remains mired in a balance-sheet recession, the lack of aggregate demand, by continuing to weaken trade, will drag down their own country’s growth.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.

    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?

    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now