|Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford
|On Planning for Development:
on crippled capitalism from Project Syndicate
From Project Syndicate
Sep 14, 2012
Four years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global economy remains
mired in low growth and high unemployment. As the income gap between top earners
– including bankers, brokers, and corporate leaders – and the middle class
widens, many are beginning to question whether modern capitalism is sustainable,
or even desirable.
& Finance JUL 20, 2012
Role for the State?
The financial crisis of 2008 has spurred a global debate on how much government regulation of markets – and what kind – is appropriate.
In the United States, it is a key theme in the upcoming presidential election, and it is shaping politics
in Europe and emerging markets as well.
For starters, China’s impressive growth performance over the last three decades has given the
world an economically successful example of what many call “state capitalism.”
Brazil’s development policies have also accorded a strong role to the state.
& Finance JUL 19, 2012
How much inequality is
acceptable? Judging by pre-recession standards, a great deal of it,
especially in the United States and Britain. New Labour's Peter Mandelson
voiced the spirit of the past 30 years when he remarked that he felt
intensely “relaxed” about people getting “filthy” rich. Getting
rich was what the “new economy” was all about. And the newly rich kept
an increasing part of what they got, as taxes were slashed to encourage
them to get still richer, and efforts to divide up the pie more fairly
The results were predictable. In 1970,
the pre-tax pay of a top American CEO was about 30 times higher than that
of the average worker; today it is 263 times higher. In Britain, the basic
pay (without bonuses) of a top CEO was 47 times the average worker’s in
1970; in 2010, it was 81 times more. Since the late 1970s, the post-tax
income of the richest fifth has increased five times as fast as the
poorest fifth in the US, and four times as fast in the UK. Even more
important has been the growing gap between average (mean) and median
income: that is, the proportion of the population living on half or less
of the average income in the US and Britain has been growing
Economics MAY 9, 2012
the Well-Performing State Its Due
The triumph of democracy and market-based economics – the “End of History,” as the American
political philosopher Francis Fukuyama famously called it – which was proclaimed to be inevitable
with the fall of the Berlin Wall, soon proved to be little more than a mirage. However, following
China’s intellectual pirouette to maintain one-party rule while embracing the capitalist credo,
history’s interpreters shifted their focus to the economy: not everybody would be free and elect
their government, but capitalist prosperity would hold sway worldwide.
Now, however, the economic tumult shaking Europe, the erosion of the middle class in the West,
and the growing social inequalities worldwide are undermining capitalism’s claim to universal
triumph. Hard questions are being asked: Is capitalism as we know it doomed? Is the marke
t no longer able to generate prosperity? Is China’s brand of state capitalism an alternative
and potentially victorious paradigm?
& Finance APR 30, 2012
J. Bradford DeLong
On my desk right now are reporter Timothy Noah’s new book The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It
and Milton and Rose Director Friedman’s classic Free to Choose: A Personal Statement.
Considering them together, my overwhelming thought is that the Friedmans would find their
task of justifying and advocating small-government libertarianism much harder today than they did in 1979.
Back then, the Friedmans made three powerful factual claims about how the world works – claims that
seemed true or maybe true or at least arguably true at the time, but that now seem to be pretty clearly false.
Their case for small-government libertarianism rested largely on those claims, and has now largely crumbled,
because the world, it turned out, disagreed with them about how it works.
& Technology JAN 31, 2012
Capitalism for Corporatism
Ammous & Edmund
The future of capitalism is again a question. Will it survive the ongoing crisis in its current form?
If not, will it transform itself or will government take the lead?
The term “capitalism” used to mean an economic system in which capital was privately owned and traded;
owners of capital got to judge how best to use it, and could draw on the foresight and creative ideas
of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers. This system of individual freedom and individual
responsibility gave little scope for government to influence economic decision-making: success
meant profits; failure meant losses. Corporations could exist only as long as free individuals
willingly purchased their goods – and would go out of business quickly otherwise.
Capitalism became a world-beater in the 1800’s, when it developed capabilities for endemic innovation.
Societies that adopted the capitalist system gained unrivaled prosperity, enjoyed widespread job
satisfaction, obtained productivity growth that was the marvel of the world and ended mass privation.
Now the capitalist system has been corrupted. The managerial state has assumed responsibility for
looking after everything from the incomes of the middle class to the profitability of large
corporations to industrial advancement. This system, however, is not capitalism, but rather an
economic order that harks back to Bismarck in the late nineteenth century and Mussolini in the
Affairs JAN 4, 2012
The protracted financial and economic crisis discredited first the American model of capitalism, and
then the European version. Now it looks as if the Asian approach may take some knocks, too.
Coming after the failure of state socialism, does this mean that there is no correct way of organizing an economy?
In the aftermath of the subprime crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, fingers were pointed at the
United States as an example of how badly things could go wrong. The American model had supposedly failed,
its reputation weakened first by the Iraq invasion, and then by the financial crisis. Anyone who dreamed
of the American way of life now looked stupid.
Immediately after Lehman Brothers’ collapse, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück put this
diagnosis as a challenge not only to the US, but also to other countries – notably the United
Kingdom – that had “Americanized” their financial system. The problem, Steinbrück argued, lay
in over-reliance on highly complex financial instruments, propagated by globalized American
institutions: “The financial crisis is above all an American problem. The other G-7 financial
ministers in continental Europe share this opinion.”
& Finance DEC 2, 2011
Modern Capitalism Sustainable?
I am often asked if the recent global financial crisis marks the beginning of the end of modern capitalism.
It is a curious question, because it seems to presume that there is a viable replacement waiting in
the wings. The truth of the matter is that, for now at least, the only serious alternatives to today’s
dominant Anglo-American paradigm are other forms of capitalism.
Continental European capitalism, which combines generous health and social benefits with reasonable
working hours, long vacation periods, early retirement, and relatively equal income distributions,
would seem to have everything to recommend it – except sustainability. China’s Darwinian capitalism,
with its fierce competition among export firms, a weak social-safety net, and widespread government
intervention, is widely touted as the inevitable heir to Western capitalism, if only because of China’s
huge size and consistent outsize growth rate. Yet China’s economic system is continually evolving.
Indeed, it is far from clear how far China’s political, economic, and financial structures will
continue to transform themselves, and whether China will eventually morph into capitalism’s new
exemplar. In any case, China is still encumbered by the usual social, economic, and financial
vulnerabilities of a rapidly growing lower-income country.
Affairs AUG 15, 2011
The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets
signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial
and economic crisis caused by too much private-sector debt and leverage led to a massive re-leveraging
of the public sector in order to prevent Great Depression 2.0. But the subsequent recovery has
been anemic and sub-par in most advanced economies given painful deleveraging.
Now a combination of high oil and commodity prices, turmoil in the Middle East, Japan’s earthquake
and tsunami, eurozone debt crises, and America’s fiscal problems (and now its rating downgrade)
have led to a massive increase in risk aversion. Economically, the United States, the eurozone,
the United Kingdom, and Japan are all idling. Even fast-growing emerging markets (China, emerging
Asia, and Latin America), and export-oriented economies that rely on these markets (Germany and
resource-rich Australia), are experiencing sharp slowdowns.
Until last year, policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to reflate asset
prices and trigger economic recovery. Fiscal stimulus, near-zero interest rates, two rounds of
“quantitative easing,” ring-fencing of bad debt, and trillions of dollars in bailouts and
liquidity provision for banks and financial institutions: officials tried them all. Now they have run out of rabbits.
Affairs JUL 6, 2011
The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism
Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology – the belief in free and unfettered markets – brought the
world to the brink of ruin. Even in its hey-day, from the early 1980’s until 2007, American-style
deregulated capitalism brought greater material well-being only to the very richest in the
richest country of the world. Indeed, over the course of this ideology’s 30-year ascendance,
most Americans saw their incomes decline or stagnate year after year.
Moreover, output growth in the United States was not economically sustainable. With so much
of US national income going to so few, growth could continue only through consumption
financed by a mounting pile of debt.
I was among those who hoped that, somehow, the financial crisis would teach Americans (and others)
a lesson about the need for greater equality, stronger regulation, and a better balance between
the market and government. Alas, that has not been the case. On the contrary, a resurgence
of right-wing economics, driven, as always, by ideology and special interests, once again
threatens the global economy – or at least the economies of Europe and America, where these
ideas continue to flourish.
Handbook of Statistics Online
The goal is to provide the statistical data
essential for the analysis of the world trade, investment, international
financial flows and development. This database provides the opportunity to
disseminate the economic, demographic and social series which serve as a
fundamental support for UNCTAD´s research tasks, intergovernmental
dialogue, and technical assistance.
Statistics of the Human
access statistical data from the Human Development Report (HDR) and
resources to help you better understand this data. You will also find
helpful information about the human development index (HDI) and other
indices, links to other background materials, data resources and
on-going debates and discussions on human development statistics
Explore the world through animations and various online tools
that transform the data behind the concept of Human Development into
intuitive visual presentations. HDI calculators, animated graphs and a
statistical tables building application are available
Social Watch Annual Reports:
poverty eradication and gender justice
SWR 2012 - The Right to a Future
Growing inequalities and unregulated finances are
expropiating people everywhere from their fair share in the benefits of global
2003 - The Poor and the Market
Can the market provide the essential services needed
by the poor? The faith in privatizations as the way to reach the goals of access
to safe water, basic education and health for all is not echoed by the Social
Watch coalitions from around the world in their 2003 report on "The Poor
and the Market".