EconoMonitor

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    Emerging Markets

  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    PJ O’Rourke: Every government is a parliament of whores

    From PJ O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores: “Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” And a bonus quote: “No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, w...more

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  • Zambian Economist

    Zambia credit downgrade

    Editor's note : The ratings agency Standard and Poor has downgraded Zambia's long term credit rating because of deteriorating fiscal situation. It has kept the short term rating the same. S&P has become the first of three agencies to downgrade Zambia. It notes that public sector debt is on course to be more 50% of GDP if Alexander Chikwanda's new Eurobond debt plans succeed.   Fitch recently signaled the possibility of a downgrade in August unless the economic situation improves. Worsening credit rating may impact on the cost of borrowing and compound the current depreciation of the Kwacha. KEY POINTSIn our opinion, Zambia's fiscal position is markedly and negatively deviating from our previous expectations. We believe the government's policy response will be c...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    TED video: Chip Kidd on Designing Book Covers

    Once in a while, among the hundreds of TED videos, I come across a delightful gem. Chip Kidd is entertaining. Though the delivery is that of a fine stand-up comedian, his message is serious and insightful. I learned a lot from this one. ...more

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  • Private Sector Development - News and views on a competitive private sector and a resilient financial sector

    'Model Law for Best Practice in Financial Consumer Protection': An important driver for Universal Financial Access

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  • iMFdirect - The IMF Blog

    “To Lean or Not to Lean?” That is the Question

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Herbert Simon — Information consumes attention

    Herbert Simon (1971) “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. ...more

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  • Private Sector Development - News and views on a competitive private sector and a resilient financial sector

    World Bank launches survey to assess the impact of de-risking on remittances

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    New moves in regulating warehouses

    by Anirudh Burman and Iravati Damle. Warehousing is an important aspect of supply chains. Good warehousing has direct advantages in terms of storage of value, facilitating pledge financing, reduction in wastage, and reducing price shocks by allowing market participants to anticipate future demand and plan for the same. Warehousing has to be trustworthy for these benefits to accrue. Market participants have to be confident that the information provided in warehouse receipts (proof of deposit of a commodity) is accurate at all times. The warehousing sector in India does not reflect these attributes at present. Government regulation can correct some of these inefficiencies. The warehousing sector in India is unorganised and fragmented (link). The organised segment is do...more

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  • Zambian Economist

    Zambia's Fiscal Deterioration

    Ratings agencies have been weighing in on Zambia's current fiscal woes. Here is Fitch's rating latest assessment, which seems to point towards a credit downgrade in August if the external position worsens :The increasingly large budget gap in Zambia may prove costly to finance, Fitch Ratings says. Domestic financing conditions are constrained, and new external financing could push government debt toward 40% of GDP by end-2015. The fiscal deficit could now jump to 7.7% (on a cash basis), according to IMF projections released earlier this month. The government expects the outturn to be lower, but has indicated that it expects the fiscal deficit to come in significantly above the 4.6% target announced in the 2015 budget. Mining revenue has come under pressure from low...more

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  • Zambian Economist

    Judicial Reforms in the Justice System in Zambia

    Editor's report: We have been sitting on this report of the Parliamentary Committe on Legal Affairs that was published last year on the judicial reforms that are in needed in the Zambian justice system. Minor edits have been made for ease of reading.In any democratic society, the Judiciary, as one of the three Arms of the State, is at the centre of ensuring that the rule of law, constitutionalism and protection of human rights prevail by providing checks and balances to the exercise of power by the other two Arms of State (the Legislature and the Executive). It was, therefore, critical for the Judiciary to remain independent in the context of the separation of powers if it was to effectively discharge its functions.In the recent past, there had been growing calls for t...more

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  • Private Sector Development - News and views on a competitive private sector and a resilient financial sector

    'Business unusual' can still work

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Lessons from the Indian currency defence of 2013

    In 2013, the Indian government mounted a big defence of the rupee. The authorities appeared to throw everything that they could at the problem: enhanced capital controls on outflows, relaxed capital controls on inflows, exchange rate intervention, restrictive actions which damaged currency market liquidity to make it easier to manipulate the market by trading on the market, and monetary policy tightening. See this article for a narrative from that period, and a set of links to contemporaneous thinking. It's important to look back at this period and ask: Did the currency defence deliver on its objectives? Can we identify costs and benefits? As with all episodes of currency defence, we do not observe the counterfactual: What would have happened if the authoriti...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Concerns about RBI's `Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme'

    I have a column in the Indian Express today on this.

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  • iMFdirect - The IMF Blog

    U.S. Monetary Policy: Avoiding Dark Corners

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  • iMFdirect - The IMF Blog

    Inequality’s Toll on Growth

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  • The Peking Duck

    The June 4th Incident

    Allow me to emerge from my self-imposed hibernation to comment briefly, as I have done nearly every year in this blog’s 13-year history, on what happened in the streets around Tiananmen Square and in other Chinese cities on June 4th, 1989. I had just moved to Phoenix in the Spring of 1989 for a new job, and for the first time I could afford cable television. CNN’s coverage of the demonstrations in China transfixed me as I watched the entire drama unfold. I remember watching amazed as the students carried out the “Goddess of Democracy,” and as thousands of others — not only students but working people, even police officers — joined the demonstrating masses. I had no particular interest in China at the time, but was riveted to my TV set...more

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  • The Gulf blog

    Saudi Arabia and its Challenges

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  • The Gulf blog

    Breaking the Saudi Rules of Succession

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  • The Gulf blog

    Palmyra and the logic of loss

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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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  • 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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  • Frontier Nations

    ANC seen pushing market-friendly economic policy

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  • Frontier Nations

    Ethiopia builds on economic momentum

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  • Frontier Nations

    North Africa walks job creation tightrope

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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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  • 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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  • 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 Policies of Scale

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.