EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Asia

  • East Asia Forum

    Australia lacks the inside support for outward integration

    Author: Annmarie Elijah, Hazel Moir and Andrew Willcocks, ANU Australian federal government policymakers need to have broader and more robust consultations with business, consumers and state governments when it comes to trade treaties. As an open economy that is heavily dependent on trade for its wellbeing, it is important for Australia to get trade and economic integration right.  Modern trade treaties go far beyond negotiations about actual trade. ‘Economic partnership’ or ‘comprehensive trade’ agreements deal as much in regulatory politics as in tariffs and quotas. Negotiators must better identify the national interest, which fully accounts for Australia’s domestic situation. But Australian trade negotiators have enjoyed a period of substantial autonomy o...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Slow but steady for the ASEAN Economic Community

    Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS As the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) December 2015 deadline approaches, most observers feel that the initiative’s deliverables — an integrated production space with free movement of goods, services, and skilled labour — will not be achieved. This may be true. But the AEC should be seen as a work in progress. To simply say it will miss its deadline is to ignore other crucial facts about the AEC’s role and circumstances. While lessons have been derived from the European Union, the AEC was not developed on the basis of this model. Since ASEAN’s inception, the sovereignty of nation-states and non-interference in domestic matters were key principles guiding the organisation. Economic cooperation was sought in areas where it wa...more

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  • China Matters

    The Runaway Slave’s Lament

    [Correction: As a commentator at Unz pointed out, Old Kentucky Home is the lament of a slave sold down the river to the Deep South, not a runaway slave's lament.] Perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of the United States’ two-hundred year participation in legalized slavery and its continual tango with racism is the minstrel show.The minstrel show, a highly ritualized and formatted performance of songs, dance, acting, and doggerel delivered first by white actors in blackface, then black actors…in blackface…and white actors in blackface in separate troupes, was the most popular entertainment in urban America from the 1840s to the 1880s.In other words, it bridged the antebellum period, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age.  It only surrendere...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Best to get the TPP done right, not done fast

    Author: Richard Katz, Oriental Economist Report Unless the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks are concluded soon, they risk dragging on interminably. If that happens, the United States’ capacity to function as a benign world hegemon will be diminished. To avoid this, the White House is determined to get the pact signed and ratified by the end of 2015. This means persuading the US Congress to approve the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in June and its TPP negotiating partners to sign a deal just few weeks later. The negotiating partners won’t conclude the negotiations without TPA approval. They have no reason to present their best offers if they fear that the US Congress will treat their concessions as a floor not a ceiling. US TPP proponents condemn oppone...more

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  • China Matters

    US Rolls Out the Escalation Product in the South China Sea

    I have a piece up at Asia Times, The Salami Slices Back!, on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.  Spoiler: the threat to FoN is the linchpin justification for US meddling in the SCS, but it's pretty much BS.Rather timely, isn’t it?  Since the US started flying military patrol aircraft around PRC-held islands in the South China Sea yesterday to uphold “freedom of navigation”.  And the PRC responded by flying some bomber around international airspace, apparently inside Japan’s ADIZ, occasioning an intercept.Something I’d like to point out to people who get mil-boners from the idea of the US armed forces finally coming into direct confrontation with the PRC and forcing the arrogant Chinese dragon to its scaly knees:  The PRC grits i...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Ministry of Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy

    Government bureaucrats can hardly be accused of being the sharpest knives in the drawer. I have met many of them and have been uniformly underwhelmed by their understanding of the subject that they are charged with governing. Here’s an example. Most of us get by with using the words “power” and “energy” interchangeably in everyday speech. But I have met poorly educated engineers (around 80 percent of Indian engineers) who couldn’t precisely distinguish the two. They are anything but interchangeable. Although I cannot be sure, I am willing to bet that the bureaucrats and politicians in the ministry that deals with energy — one of the most critically important inputs in any economy — don’t know the distinction between ...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Prefer a Functioning Economy

    I would rather be the average person who lives in a functioning economy, than be the average person who lives in a “democracy” ruled by perhaps well-meaning but certainly intellectually challenged morons who make it impossible for people to adequately feed and educate their children. From “Was Nehru a Dictator?” ...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Political Discrimination is Socially Harmful

    Justice as Individual Fairness Any conception of justice is about the relationship between the members of a society living in cooperative arrangements for the benefit of all members. For any society that is presumed to consist of free and equal persons, the necessary conditions for ensuring justice are equal personal and political liberties, and equal opportunities. Equality before the law is fair. That is, justice is about fairness, as the great political theorist John Rawls argued. He conceives of society “as a fair system of cooperation over time, from one generation to the next.” Fairness is a concept that operates at the level of the individual and can only be meaningfully applied to the interaction between a particular individual and other individuals...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    RBI solves the two-factor authentication problem. NOT.

    22 August 2014: RBI blocked the neat payment mechanism invented by Uber. In two days, we figured this was a mistake. 15 September 2014: After thinking about this for 24 days, Raghuram Rajan said: If there is a rule on the book, we don't allow it to be violated simply because the innovation is cool. We pointed out that this was wrong. 14 May 2015: RBI showed that 18000 people in 265 days could have as much CPU power as two people in two days. However this policy change is not adequate! You can do these transactions upto Rs.2000 for a very specialised kind of card: an NFC card and NFC acceptance. Almost nobody in India at present has this. Hence, in effect, the problem has not yet been solved. Internationally, Uber is synonymous with the cashless experience...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Voluntary participation in the National Pension System: What does the evidence show?

    by Renuka Sane. Long-term saving is challenging in most parts of the world. Individuals are impatient, and old age is too far away. Rising life expectancy and potential poverty in old age have led countries to set up state funded pension programs or mandate contributions through the employer. Both these are difficult to implement in India. For example, the EPFO covers only about 8-10 percent of the workforce. This makes the voluntary build-up of savings important. Informal sector workers often do not have access to formal finance, and are unable to save large sums of money in one transaction. Poor people may also find it difficult to forgo current consumption and get invested in illiquid pension assets. There is a case for the State to facilitate a formal savings mech...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    The problems of financing and the elusive recovery in the Indian business cycle

    The pre-crisis credit boom and its consequences in the post-crisis period is a key feature of understanding what ails the economy today. The pre-crisis credit boom In Y. V. Reddy's period as governor (6/Sep/2003 to 5/Sep/2008), there was vigorous pursuit of exchange rate policy. In an attempt to defend the dollar, RBI purchased a lot of foreign assets and paid for this using rupees. These rupees distorted domestic monetary policy. At a time of the biggest ever business cycle expansion in India's history, RBI engaged in loose monetary policy. This gave the biggest ever bank credit boom: Year-on-year growth of bank credit ("non food credit") Central banks are supposed to take away the punch bowl when the party gets going. Instead, RBI laced the punch bowl when t...more

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  • China Matters

    Hey Everybody! Saudi Arabia & Turkey Just Made Us Another Sh*t Sandwich in the Middle East!

    The big news today is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are clubbing together to overthrow the Assad regime.Actually, this is old news.  What happened today is that the news embargo was lifted and the AP’s Desmond Butler got to print the scoop.It was apparent for a couple weeks that something along these lines was going to drop.As I put it on Twitter on April 28, “Something is cooking in the kitchen”.Let me explain, because it’s an interesting illustration of how the “open source” parsing thingamajig works, in kind of a backward way.All of a sudden, starting around April 20, there were flurries of declarations from pundits and journos that Assad was going down.Problem was, many of these pundits and journos were not the sort of people one would expect to hav...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    New Satellite Control Center

    On May 4, 2015, Rodong Sinmun reported that Kim Jong-un visited the “Newly-built General Satellite Control Centre”. Imagery release on KCTV helped me identify the facility on commercial satellite imagery: This is one of several large construction projects in Pyongyang that I have had my eye on for some time (I thought it was a new theater or stadium). The new satellite control center is located in the Pothonggang District of Pyongyang. The size of the mission control room is approximately 570 square meters. Other facilities in the building, according to the DPRK media, include a revolutionary history room, auxiliary display and control room, and optical observation room, E-library, lounge, conference room, offices, dining room and bedrooms. Based on commercial ...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Construction of new Wonsan Airport continued through winter

    New Google Earth imagery shows continued development of the new civilian airport in Wonsan. The airport is presumably intended to support the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone. 2015-3-26 (Google Earth) 2015-2-10 (Google Earth) 2014-12-25 (Google Earth) ...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Healthcare Service Providers Rush To China … But Should They? (Forbes)

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Tier 2 Chinese hospitals: Is there a point?

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    ‘High-temperature air-combustion technology’ developed

    Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) At the Third Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) held on April 9, Premier Pak Pong Ju of the DPRK Cabinet delivered a progress report on the Cabinet’s performance for the previous year and goals for this year. He said, “High-temperature air-combustion technology and other technologies that do not require the use of heavy oil should be introduced into various fields of the national economy.” As North Korea is a non-oil producing country, such technology would be beneficial. But whether this technology is possible requires careful consideration. According to various state media reports, “high-temperature air-combustion technology” maintains the internal temperature of the furnace by combusting gas or li...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Are These the Meaningful Changes at the CFDA We’ve Been Waiting For? (WiCON)

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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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Aaron Menenberg is Foreign Policy and Energy analyst, and a Future Leader with Foreign Policy Initiative. He also co-hosts Podlitical Risk (@podliticalrisk). He is a graduate student in international relations at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Previously he has worked at Praescient Analytics, The Hudson Institute, for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and at the IBM Corporation. The views expressed are his own, and you can follow him on Twitter @AaronMenenberg. He welcomes questions and comments at menenbergaaron@gmail.com.