EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Asia

  • East Asia Forum

    A new era for India–Sri Lanka relations?

    Authors: Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani, Observer Research Foundation After tense ties during the Rajapaksa administration, newly elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to visit India on his first overseas trip signifies a renewal in the India–Sri Lanka relationship. Sirisena and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed four significant agreements, all of which are expected to play an important role in further strengthening India–Sri Lankan relations. Most importantly, the two countries promised to cooperate on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Since 2010 the Sri Lankan government has intended to use nuclear energy for medical and agricultural purposes. The recent agreement focuses on knowledge and resource sharing, training in th...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Siemens’s Latest Troubles Are Pathetic

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  • East Asia Forum

    China and Myanmar: When neighbours become good friends

    Author: Dai Yonghong, Sichuan University China wants to keep its good relationship with Myanmar. But, because the major powers are also taking interest, China must work to make a strong relationship even stronger. Myanmar is China’s security barrier and strategic buffer. China’s top security concern is to keep Myanmar from joining the US ‘encirclement of China’ policy. Myanmar’s strategic geographical location means it is an ideal place from which to pose a threat to China. The United States and Japan seem to be planning to use Myanmar as a wedge between China and India in order to provoke a struggle for profit between the two countries. The United States has also stepped up its efforts to build a ‘c-shaped ring of encirclement’ around China. China ne...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Japan’s energy conundrum

    Author: Llewelyn Hughes, ANU Japanese politics was dominated by energy in the wake of the disaster of 11 March, 2011. The decision to shut-down all the remaining 48 nuclear units introduced real concerns of brownouts, previously unthinkable in Japan’s gold-plated power system. The parliament commissioned the first independent inquiry in Japan’s postwar history, and gave it the task of finding out what happened, and how a similar event can be avoided. In the recent election for Japan’s House of Representatives — which returned the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power with a thumping majority — energy was relegated to a secondary issue. This is despite the fact that polling suggests a large segment of the Japanese population don’t trust the Abe g...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Maternity Tourism Raids & the IVF Surrogacy Business Fallout

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    An Informed Citizenry is the Bulwark of a Democracy

    Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826), one of the Founding Fathers of the US and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence is believed to have written that “an informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy.” Bulwark — a defensive wall — is against something or someone. I don’t know the context in which Jefferson wrote that (or even if he did write it at all) but I’d like to think what he meant was that an informed citizenry protects democracy from the possible tyranny of the government. Ideally, a democratic government is not an enemy of the people but all real governments tend to degenerate over time because of two factors. First, governments have the power to coerce. And second, the government is comprised not of sa...more

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  • China Matters

    President Obama Tastes the Bitter Fruit of Appeasement…of Israel, not Iran

    Jeffrey Goldberg opined on his twitter feed that the Netanyahu-Obama grudge has its roots in Obama not letting Netanyahu bomb Iran.That’s BS, I think.I suspect that if Netanyahu really wanted to bomb Iran’s hardened and dispersed nuclear facilities--and enrage its population and a good chunk of the Muslim world and virtually guarantee that Iran would actually build an atomic weapon--instead of simply engaging in polarizing posturing, President Obama would simply be one in a long line of US and Israeli military and security poohbahs seeking to restrain Israel’s bellicose PM, if not put him in a straitjacket and remove him from office.No, Netanyahu will never forgive Obama for challenging the security narrative that is so important to Israel’s position in the Mid...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Problems and Solutions

    There are problems. That implies solutions. Whether or not you can find a solution to any specific problem cannot be granted. It cannot be also be granted that you know the solution or are even capable of finding a solution. The solution may exist but you aren’t given the capacity or the means to solve it. Then it is not a problem that you should concern yourself with. Live with it. Quite often a situation is defined as a problem. It may not be. It may be that that’s just the way things are. Being able to distinguish between situations that you can do something about or not is important. It’s not a problem if no one can do anything about it. Get used to it. Many so called problems are actually cut out of whole cloth. Why manufacture problems? Because ...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    China’s Telemedicine Industry Gets Ready to Roar

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Monetary Policy Framework Agreement: The first clarification of what RBI is to do

    Our flawed inheritance The Chamberlain Commission (1914) and the Hilton-Young Commission (1926) led to the drafting of the RBI Act. This was introduced in January 1927 and enacted in March 1934. The RBI Act does not state what the objective of RBI is. The authors of this Act were quite honest about what they were doing: PREAMBLE An Act to constitute a Reserve Bank of India. Whereas it is expedient to constitute a Reserve Bank for India to regulate the issue of Bank notes and the keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability in [India] and generally to operate the currency any credit system of the country to its advantage; And whereas in the present disorganisation of the monetary systems of the world it is not possible to determine what will be s...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    People I Admire – Part Doh

    After I wrote that post on “People I Admire“, I began thinking that I should start listing my heroes. So let’s make this a series. Here’s part 2 of the series. I will mention two people. One of them used to be my neighbor at the Convent. Did you know that I spent one year at the Convent? Yes I did, although it was naturally not a functioning convent when I lived there. The other person is someone I haven’t met but I would dearly like to meet. He works (and I guess, lives) in the SF Bay area, and therefore I can claim that he’s a distant neighbor. They share one thing in common: they are both black — or to use the more politically correct term, they are African-American. OK, so let’s start with my year of living in the Con...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Interpreting the BJP's 2015 budget

    The BJP, armed with a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, with the desire to break with Nehruvian socialism, was expected to unveil a game plan for structural changes from here till 2019. In large part, Budget 2015 does not rise to the challenge. It has some good elements, and with good execution, they will make an important difference. But an array of important and pressing problems have been left unsolved. The challenges faced in this 2015-16 budget This was an unusual budget making exercise for three reasons: This was the first full year budget of the new BJP government, and they were expected to show a strategy for the coming 4.3 years. This is the first majority in the Lok Sabha in 30 years, and the campaign was fought on the platform of jobs and not dol...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Become a public policy thinker in three easy steps

    Step 1: What's the market failure? Each of us tends to get unhappy at some feature of the world or the other. As an example, I don't like rap music. But value judgements of this nature do not justify the use of State power - either to ban rap music or to encourage classical music. Such coercion by the State is just abuse of power. When should the State intervene? The technically sound answer is: When you are certain there is a market failure, and when you are confident you know how to setup the correct State capacity for the intervention. Market failures come in four kinds: 1. Asymmetric information,   2. Externalities,   3. Market power and 4. Public goods. These are technical terms in microeconomics and each needs to be carefully understood. ...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Kim Jong-un’s speech on animal husbandry

    North Korean media reports that on January 28, 2015, Kim jong-un delivered a speech to senior officials of the party and state economic agencies titled, “Let Us Expedite the Construction of the Livestock Farming Base in the Sepho Area and Bring about a New Turn in Developing Animal Husbandry”. The western media that reported on the speech primarily latched onto a phrase used a the beginning where Kim Jong-un admitted to problems sleeping at night when he thinks about his people: Whenever I am reminded of my failure to provide a rich life to these laudable people, who, in spite of their difficult living conditions, have firmly trusted and followed only our Party and remained faithful to their pure sense of moral obligation to the great Comrades Kim Il Sun...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    When do we decide that Europe must restructure much of its debt?

    It is hard to watch the Greek drama unfold without a sense of foreboding. If it is possible for the Greek economy partially to revive in spite of its tremendous debt burden, with a lot of hard work and even more good luck we can posit scenarios that don’t involve a painful social and political breakdown, but I am pretty convinced that the Greek balance sheet itself makes growth all but impossible for many more years. The history is, to me pretty convincing. Countries with this level of debt and this level of uncertainty associated with the resolution of the debt are never able too grow out of their debt burdens, no matter how determined and how forcefully they implement the “correct” set of orthodox reforms, until the debt is resolved and the costs assigned. Greec...more

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  • China Matters

    Passport-Gate: Turkey’s Brewing Uyghur Passport Scandal

    Yesterday I speculatedthat the plethora of fraudulent Turkish passports showing up in the hands of Uyghur refugees could be attributed to the connivance of Turkish government elements.  The passports, after all, are smart-chipped biometric documents (in order to satisfy EU requirements as part of the Turkish admission campaign), and seem virtually impossible to forge without the participation of some quasi-official actor.I should also add that Malaysia, the primary channel for Uyghur refugees traveling to Turkey on faked documents, is also the world’s pioneer in biometric passports, having instituted the system in 1998.  It is also a primary channel for Uyghurs seeking refuge in Turkey.  It would seem unlikely that human trafficking of Uyghurs would re...more

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  • China Matters

    Curtain Coming Down on Erdogan’s Excellent Uyghur Adventure?

    To demonstrate that it’s possible, for me anyway, to acquire a lot of useful information in a short period of time via Twitter, I offer for your consideration this series of exchanges (with multipart tweets stitched together for continuity and clarity):Tweets From Aleppo ‏@halabtweets The whole northern countryside of #Aleppo is crawling with mercenaries/terrorists from Caucasus, Central Asia, and Chinese Ugyur. #Turkeychinahand (me)hmm. wonder if this tweeter knows stuff or just says stuff. Interesting to explore if any of Uyghurs given haven by Turkey have gone on to Syria with any kind of Turkish govt encouragement or knowledge.Christoph Germann ‏@newgreatgame  Chechens living in Turkey have been forced to go to Syria http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    May 30 Measures (5.30 Measures) [UPDATED]

    UPDATE 7 (2015-2-24): The Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) has published a report on the “Socialist Enterprise Management System”: “Socialist Enterprise Management System” under Full Implementation According to the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, North Korea began to strengthen its economic reform measures by enhancing autonomy in industries from August 15, 2013. The article entitled, “A Look to the Bright Prospects of Building a Powerful Economic Nation” was introduced. It covered a research forum held on February 11 in Japan in commemoration of the Day of the Shining Star. The article quoted Professor Jae-Hoon Park of Choson University in Japan: “The new economic management method that was adopted into the industrial and a...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    DPRK and Russia set up business and exchange council

    According to the Moscow Times (2015-2-4): Russia and North Korea will establish a business council to facilitate trade, news agency TASS reported Wednesday, following a slew of measures last year that saw the two countries boost economic ties. “This is certainly a new stage in business cooperation between Russian and North Korea, and it will certainly strengthen our economic and trade ties,” said Vladimir Strashko, vice president of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, TASS reported. The new council will assist Russian companies and organizations find North Korean partners to engage in joint ventures. The council’s creation follows in the wake of last year’s meeting of the Russia-North Korea intergovernmental c...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Syriza and the French indemnity of 1871-73

    European nationalists have successfully convinced us, against all logic, that the European crisis is a conflict among nations, and not among economic sectors. Today’s Financial Times has an article discussing the travails of Greece’s new Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis as he takes on Germany: In a small but telling sign of the frosty relations between Berlin and the new Greek government, the German finance ministry last week criticised Mr Varoufakis for failing to follow through with a customary courtesy call following his appointment. Mr Schäuble, meanwhile, has warned Greece not to attempt to “blackmail” Berlin with demands for debt relief. This is absurd. The European debt crisis is not a conflict among nations. All economic systems— and certainly an e...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Can monetary policy turn Argentina into Japan?

    Monetary policy is as much about politics as it is economics. It affects the ways in which wealth is created, allocated, and retained and it determines the balance of power between providers of capital and users of capital. In January one of my readers kindly passed on to me a link to an interesting report published two years ago by Bain and Company called “A World awash in Money: Capital trends through 2020”. According to the authors: Our analysis leads us to conclude that for the balance of the decade, markets will generally continue to grapple with an environment of capital superabundance. Even with moderating financial growth in developed markets, the fundamental forces that inflated the global balance sheet since the 1980s—financial innovation, high-speed co...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Peter Hessler’s China Daily “article”: how low can they go?

    Now this is chutzpah: China Daily asked author Peter Hessler to participate in a Q & A with his friend and translator Li Xueshun comparing aspects of Egypt and China (both countries where Hessler has worked as a New Yorker correspondent). China Daily then had the nerve to take Hessler’s replies and shape them into what looks to the reader like a bylined article by Hessler. Li’s replies were totally removed. From Hessler’s Facebook page: [I]t omitted crucial parts, including the most important point: that I believe it’s harder to make a political change in China, where the system is deeper rooted than in Egypt, and thus the flaws are also more deeply rooted. I said that this is the reason why the current anti-corruption campaign will be a failure...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Is it a police state?

    The best post I ever wrote (and I realize that’s not saying very much) is this one. Its simple point is that underneath a veneer of happiness, prosperity and optimism there can lurk a much darker and more dangerous side. People can be content and appreciate their government while being oblivious — willfully or not — to what it is going on beneath the surface. There have been a rash of articles in recent months of a severe crackdown in China on civil rights lawyers, professors, journalists and activists. A story from yesterday drove this home: As the year came to a close, at least seven prominent Chinese human rights lawyers rang in the New Year from a jail cell. Under President Xi Jinping, 2014 was one of the worst years in recent memory for China’s ...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Shaun Rein wants your help marketing The End of Copycat China

    The End of Copycat China is the name of Shaun Rein’s new book that will be available come October 20. I am flattered that Shaun has included me on the mailing list he uses to blast information to his friends and colleagues, and I wanted to draw attention to how he wants his fans to do the marketing for his new book for him. Over the last three months Shaun has sent out two lengthy email blasts and I find their content to be intriguing, and to confirm some of my own thoughts about Mr. Rein. Perhaps most revealing was this paragraph: If you or a friend are looking for a keynote speaker, consider me. If organizations buy 1000 copies of my book to give to attendees between October and December, I will waive my standard speaking rates at my speaker’s bureau (my...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Foxconn Moving Direct to Consumer

    I remember having conversations years ago about what Foxconn would do going forward, and whether or not they would be happy as the manufacturer to brands.   The WSJ article, Amid Margin Squeeze, Foxconn Designs Its Own Fate, puts this question to rest. Recently, the $130-billion-a-year in revenue company has ventured into handset accessories under its own brand, and sales and distribution of mobile phones. It also plans to offer telecommunications services in Taiwan. For me, this has always been a bit of a no brainer.  Foxconn has an amazing amount of talent in the firm that is not just managing the supply chain and assembling gadgets for their customer, but have for years also been bringing designs to the brands that they feel would sell well in the market. Partner ...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Bites of China. Finally a Show Worth Watching!

    A couple of weeks back, while riding the G train back from Nanjing, something caught my eye.  An advertisement by CCTV for what I believe could be one of the best produced shows China has put together.  At first, I had no idea what the advertisement for, but what was clear was that it was celebrating the various food flavors of China, and those who are tilling the fields and preparing the dishes. The show is called Bite of China, and I cannot recommend it enough. Sure, China is known for its fair share of food failures, including recycled oil, but watching this show has restored a bit of my love for the flavors here.  Flavors that were actually the basis for one of my earliest posts, and have provided a never ending hunt for me and my wife as we look to try new thin...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Do China’s Millennials Want ?

    For a number of years, I had it pretty good.  I had a number of teams that were under me, were stable, and were producing.  It was at a time when a lot of questions were being asked about the post 80s generation in China, but for whatever reason I was immune. But, those days are over, and just yesterday I had another millennial go AWOL on me.  So, it was perhaps interesting timing that CNBC put up the article Millennials may be more like boomers than we realize highlighting how several studies point to a generation that is looking for meaning in their job, in their company, and for balance: A new study from Deloitte also found differences in workplace attitudes between millennials and older generations, saying that the former “want to work for organizations tha...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcards from the National People's Congress

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Twins!

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  • ChinaBizGov

    China's Green Car Sales in 2012

    Just a few years ago, pretty much everyone (except Chinese auto industry insiders whom I interviewed) thought China was about to take ownership of the global green car market. (Here's just one example from the excitable Tom Friedman of the New York Times.)In 2009 China's industrial planners announced plans to have 500,000 green cars ("New Energy Vehicles" or "新能源汽车" -- a combination of electrics and hybrids) on Chinese roads by the end of 2011. That obviously didn't happen, so last year, that same target of 500,000 was pushed out to 2015.So how did green car sales fare in 2012? Overall, hybrids plus electrics grew a respectable 52 percent.So while sales grew pretty well in percentage terms, it is clear that overall numbers are still inconsequential when you co...more

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    What Causes Revolutions?

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Enter the New Year

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    China, school violence and official reaction

    I wrote yesterday about growing questions in China about the differences between the U.S. reaction to the tragedy in Newtown and that of the tragedy in Henan Province, where, on the same say as the shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed and slashed 23 students at a primary school. (All survived in Henan, where the weapon was a knife, not an AR-15.) As a commentary piece in the state-controlled Global Times noted: “The Chinese public has focused on the slow official response and the level of social reflection. Many are furious that while the Americans have started mourning nationwide, the Chinese appear insensitive to the Henan case.” Another story today, carried by China Daily, caught my attention. It describes an example of how profoundly off-key propaganda can ...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcard from a snowy Beijing

    The smell of roasting sweet potatoes in a city covered with snow put me in the mood to take a detour on my walk to work today  ...

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  • ChinaBizGov

    Comparing Corruption in China and the US

    Today's WSJ China Realtime reports on a study by a George Mason University economist who attempts to compare corruption in the US and China.  His conclusion is that corruption in America's Gilded Age (1877-1893)* was worse than corruption in China today.Perhaps the conclusion is correct, but the methodology used by this professor is flawed.  US corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US newspapers 1870-1930.  China corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US (not Chinese!) newspapers 1990-2011.So he is measuring corruption in two countries by the number of times the newspapers of only one of the countries mentions the word.  Even if the researcher had used Chinese newspapers, the study still would have been flawed due to Commun...more

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  • ChinaBizGov

    GM and SAIC: Trouble in Paradise?

    General Motors (GM) and Shanghai Auto (SAIC) announced in December of 2009 that they were deepening their partnership beyond their joint venture in China.  Together they created a 50:50 joint venture, registered in Hong Kong, for expansion outside of China.  Now that partnership appears to be coming apart.Initially, the plan for the HK JV was for the two sides to work together in India and possibly elsewhere in the future.  (For further insight into this particular deal, please see Chapter 4 of Designated Drivers.) As for the India venture, GM would contribute two existing factories in India, along with its Chevrolet brand, and SAIC would contribute cash -- something that GM had been seriously lacking as it had emerged from bankruptcy earlier that same ye...more

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Richard Wood Richard Wood

Richard has published papers on wages policy, the taxation of financial arrangements and macroeconomic issues in Pacific island countries. Views expressed in these articles are his own and may not be shared by his employing agency. He is the author of How to Solve the European Economic Crisis: Challenging orthodoxy and creating new policy paradigms