ATHENS -- The IMF and Greece's other creditors have assumed that massive fiscal contraction has only a temporary effect on economic activity, employment and taxes, and that slashing wages, pensions and public jobs has a magical effect on growth. This has proved false. Indeed, Greece's post-2010 adjustment led to economic disaster -- and the IMF's worst predictive failure ever.
The status of negotiations between Greece and its official creditors -- the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF -- dominated headlines last week. At the core of the negotiations is a simple question: How much of an adjustment has to be made by Greece, how much has to be made by its official creditors?
SHANGHAI -- From China's perspective, sustained domestic economic growth seems unlikely within the existing global system -- a challenge that Japan and the other East Asian economies did not encounter during their economic rise. Indeed, the only country that has encountered it is the U.S., when it replaced the U.K. as the world's dominant economic and financial power before World War II; fortunately, that precedent is one of accommodation and a peaceful transition.
BERLIN -- Tsipras squandered Greece's opportunity, because he and other Syriza leaders were unable to see beyond the horizon of their party's origins in radical opposition activism. They did not understand the difference between campaigning and governing. Realpolitik, in their view, was a sellout. Of course, it is precisely the acceptance of necessity that marks the difference between government and opposition.
Economic growth dynamics vary across the region, broadly along North-South lines. While spring may be in the air for Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean, the economic climate remains decidedly chilly in much of South America. What is behind these divergent prospects, and how can a sunnier outlook be restored to the entire region?
Additional policy measures -- beyond monetary policies -- are vital to make a durable exit from the global financial crisis and to safeguard financial stability. Crisis legacies need to be addressed. The traction of monetary policies must be increased with complementary reforms and financial excesses need to be contained.
Behind the numbers lies an unusually complex set of forces shaping the world economy. Some, such as the decline in the price of oil and the evolution of exchange rates, are highly visible. Some, from crisis legacies to lower potential growth, play more of behind-the-scenes role but are important nevertheless. Let me briefly review them.
NEW YORK -- When he was chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke mistakenly described the problem as a "global saving glut." But in a world with such huge infrastructure needs, the problem is not a surplus of savings or a deficiency of good investment opportunities. The problem is a financial system that has excelled at enabling market manipulation, speculation, and insider trading, but has failed at its core task: intermediating savings and investment on a global scale. That is why the AIIB could bring a small but badly needed boost to global aggregate demand.
Jamaica has become a terrible example of what can happen when creditors, led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are able to impose harsh austerity on a trapped nation in an attempt to collect on an uncollectable debt. Since the U.S. Treasury Department decides what the IMF does in the Western Hemisphere, Obama himself can claim responsibility for this failure.
BEIJING -- The Obama administration clearly understands the urgency for the U.S. to be more active in creating, shaping and reforming the international system and international mechanisms. But a strong domestic consensus in still not in place, and because of obstacles in its political system, America just cannot act in an efficient way.