The financial markets have been through some wild and crazy times over the last two weeks, although it appears that they have finally stabilized. The net effect of all the gyrations is that a serious bubble in China's market seems to have been at least partially deflated. After hugely overreacting to this correction, most other markets have largely recovered. Prices are down from recent peaks, but in nearly all cases well above year-ago levels. But the stock market is really a sideshow; after all, back in 1987 the U.S. market fell by almost 25 percent for no obvious reason, with little noticeable effect on the U.S. economy. The more serious question is what is happening with the underlying economy, and there are some real issues here.
The lack of enforcement of the U.S.-Peru free trade agreement has allowed the illegal timber trade to flourish and has put our environment, climate, businesses and consumer rights at risk. And now the United States is negotiating a new free trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that includes the U.S., Peru, and ten other countries.
The critical reason that Congress should take a pass on this much-too-late effort to address currency manipulation is that it would likely abort our chance for a really beneficial free-trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations, which would bring us must better access to many growing markets. If there were a good time to do this, it was many years ago.
GENEVA -- The Security Council must be enlarged, and developing countries should be given greater voting rights in the Bretton Woods institutions: the IMF and the World Bank. In exchange, the world's newest powers must begin to take on a greater share of responsibility for the global order upon which their success depends. They can no longer stand on the sidelines, denouncing the injustices of the past. Instead, they must join their peers in building the future.
The key to breaking the climate and energy policy logjam in Washington, D.C., Naomi Klein contends in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, is the building of a powerful social movement. Citizens can then put leaders into office who are willing to take decisive action to protect the climate.
The latest reports from Europe indicate that the continent is slipping back into recession. The U.S. is doing only slightly better, with positive economic growth but scant progress on the jobs front, and no growth in the earnings of the vast majority of Americans. Meanwhile, global climate change continues to worsen, producing unprecedented policy conundrums of how to reconcile the very survival of the planet with improved living standards for the world's impoverished billions and for most Americans, whose real incomes have declined since the year 2000. Amid all of these serious challenges, what common strategies are top U.S. and European leaders pursuing? Why, a new trade and investment deal modeled on NAFTA, to make it harder for governments to regulate capitalism.
America is no longer the world's most connected economy--those laurels go to Germany. Germany ranks first, and the U.S. third, with two smaller economies--Hong Kong and Singapore--coming in second and fourth. The index shows that the trade intensity of the U.S.--the value of flows relative to the size of its economy--is only one-third the intensity of Germany and half that of China.