Posts Tagged

economy

As the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, the most severe casualties of “The Great Lockdown” are resource-dependent economies with limited institutional capacity to respond to the crisis. Their supply chains have been cut off, their markets are disrupted, and their investors are crowding out. Many of these countries have high external debt and an obligation to repay it in the medium term or they will face the trilemma of registering a double-digit growth, accruing further debt, or defaulting. Come 2021, Mongolia, a superlatively resource-dependent economy, will be at the center of this trilemma. The immediate cause of Mongolia’s current state is its inconsistent fiscal expenditure and its undiversified mining economy. Over the years, fiscal mismanagement of the previous …

Newly confirmed as US Secretary of State, John Kerry delivered his first policy speech last week, making the case for a renewed and proactive American diplomacy. Directing his remarks to the US Congress – and to Beijing’s leaders – more than to his actual audience at the University of Virginia, his message was urgent: “This is a time to continue to engage for the sake of the safety and the economic health of our country. This is not optional. It is a necessity.” Given the looming March 1 deadline for across-the-board sequestration which would reduce State Department operations by $850 million and foreign assistance by $1.7 billion, the US’ chief diplomat used his speech to defend the foreign policy budget against spending cuts, portraying foreign affairs as the guarantor of American economic prosperity.

In 1955 G.A. Campbell wrote ‘[s]o long as officials obtained the whole or part of their income from fees, the total cost of the Service remained hidden. Parliament needed to provide no money at all for salaries in some departments, and where revenue did not balance expenditure it voted only for the difference. Under the new arrangements [after 1837] Parliament saw for the first time the wages bill of the public administration. The cost seemed to members of both Houses to be enormous. […]  There has never since been a time when Parliament has not thought the Civil Service to be too costly and sought, more or less urgently, for economies in administration.’ (The Civil Service in Britain, Penguin, p. …

Much to Angela Merkel’s chagrin, international political momentum seems to have swung rather decidedly from ‘austerity’ to ‘growth’. The transformation had been underway for some time – playing out in debates across the economics blogosphere – but the elections in France and Greece clearly accelerated this evolution. The recent G8 summit communiqué – which leads with the phrase “Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs” – epitomizes the shift. In terms of our collective understanding of economics and how to fight recessions, I think there’s actually a lot less here than meets the eye, and indeed a lot of rather meaningless talk. To begin with, as Tyler Cowen has pointed out, ‘austerity’ means many different things to different people, and …

On Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, the Oxford European Studies Centre hosted two esteemed guests: Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the European Greens in the European Parliament and renowned activist of the French left; and Edouard Gaudot, researcher for the European Greens and member of the Spinelli Group. The event offered a lively discussion regarding the ramifications of the European crisis, particularly in light of recent events regarding the Greek debt. Mr. Cohn-Bendit began the debate by characterizing the current climate as “a turning point in European history, because the European Union is confronted with one of its most serious crises, caused by the financial crisis”. In reference to its efforts to grapple with economic catastrophe, he contended that the EU is …

 Rosemary Foot is a Professor of International Relations and John Swire Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She has been a celebrated China scholar since completing her doctorate at the London School of Economics on Sino-Soviet relations and West Asia. Here, Professor Foot takes a moment to speak with Politics in Spires regarding her most recent book. Congratulations, your latest book, China, the United States, and Global Order has been praised by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the 23 Essential Readings of 2011. Could we begin with you telling us a bit about the efforts behind this work? The book was a collaborative effort.* My co-author [Andrew Walter] is a specialist in international political economy, and I …

Dr. Sophie Heine is a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford Department of Politics and International Relations, a Research Fellow at the Universtité Libre de Bruxelles and FNRS and a Wiener-Anspach Foundation Scholar; her research engages with identity politics and ideology in contemporary Europe. Here, she takes a moment to speak with Politics in Spires regarding the Occupy protests of 2011, and offers a preview of her forthcoming book. I. Your recent work, Oser penser à gauche (“Dare to think to the left”), argues that contemporary progressive politics must redefine its underpinning ideology and articulate a coherent, emancipatory platform for change. This analysis proves particularly relevant to the waves of “Occupy” protests that began in New York in October …

When westerners think about China, the concept that springs more and more to mind is modernity.  This seems surprising when one looks at the statistics – after all, the developing middle class, an indicator of a more urban and modernizing society, is still a minority (perhaps 300 million of China’s 1.3 billion population), albeit a fast-growing one, and China remains a very poor country in terms of per capita GDP, as well as substantially rural.  Yet in other areas, it’s clear that China is placing itself at the forefront of our understanding of what it means to be a modern state.  One iconic area in this regard is space technology: the Chinese Shenzhou programme of space exploration seems particularly daring …