Imagine how a typical factory today operates in many advanced economies. There are no longer many workers lined up along assembly belts. Instead, there are only a few of them—mostly likely engineers—looking at screens of highly sophisticated equipment that does the assembly once done by humans. With technological advancement constantly driving down the cost of capital, firms are increasingly replacing workers with machines.
Productivity drives our living standards. In our April 2017 Fiscal Monitor, we show that countries can raise productivity by improving the design of their tax system, which includes both policies and administration. This would allow business reasons, not tax ones, to drive firms’ investment and employment decisions.
Economic growth appears to be strengthening across the large economies, but that does not mean financial-sector regulation can now be relaxed. On the contrary, it remains more necessary than ever, as does international cooperation to ensure the safety and resilience of global capital markets. That is why the Group of Twenty (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors reiterated their support for continuing financial-sector reform at their meeting in Baden-Baden last week. Continue reading “Why International Financial Cooperation Remains Essential” »
Baden-Baden, the German spa town built on ancient thermal springs, is a fitting venue to discuss the health of the global economy during this week’s meeting of the Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors.
Policymakers will likely share a sense of growing optimism, because the recent strengthening of activity suggests that the world economy may finally snap out of its multi-year convalescence. Continue reading “Maintaining the Positive Momentum of the Global Economy” »
Deep unease about rising inequality and stagnating living standards in advanced economies was at the heart of the 2016 political upheaval. Globalization and trade have been blamed, but entrenched slow growth—what economists call secular stagnation—may be the real culprit. Parents who took for granted that their children would enjoy a brighter future had their dreams dashed by the global financial crisis of 2008. Nine years later, rising populism and a return to nationalist, inward-looking policies threaten to unravel the postwar economic order. Continue reading “What to Do about Growth” »
“If we’re fighting each other because we can’t design a system that actually works for everybody, then working people will again continue to mistrust our institutions, and the threat to democracy is very real; you see it.” – Sharan Burrow
Burrow is General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, and in this podcast she says collective action is needed to help better distribute the benefits of growth. Continue reading “Trade, Labor, and Trust” »
By Rabah Arezki
Agriculture and food markets are plagued with inefficiencies that have dramatic consequences for the welfare of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Globally, farm subsidies amount to over $560 billion a year—equivalent to nearly four times the aid given to developing countries by richer ones. Major emerging-market nations have increased subsidies rapidly, even as rich nations cut theirs drastically. Meanwhile, tariffs on farm products remain a major point of contention in global trade talks.
One third of global food production goes to waste, while food insecurity is still rampant in developing countries. Even with the explosion of agricultural productivity since the middle of the 20th century, food security remains a challenge for much of the developing world. Food-calorie production will have to expand by 70 percent by 2050 to keep up with a global population that’s forecast to grow to 9.7 billion from last year’s 7.3 billion. Food insecurity can lead to violence and conflicts that can spill over well beyond borders. Continue reading “Helping Feed the World’s Fast-Growing Population” »
Four years ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the dangers of rising inequality, a topic that has now risen to the very top of the global policy agenda.
While the IMF’s work on inequality has attracted the most attention, it is one of several new areas into which the institution has branched out in recent years. A unifying framework for all this work can be summarized in two words: Inclusive growth. Continue reading “Inclusive Growth and the IMF” »
New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman says our lives are being transformed in so many realms at once—it’s dizzying.
“We’re in the middle of 3 accelerations; the market, mother nature, and Moore’s law. Moore’s law says the power of microchips will double every 24 months, mother nature is climate change, biodiversity loss and population, and the market is digital globalization.” Continue reading “The Dizzy Pace of Change: Thomas Friedman Has a Recipe to Thrive” »
What a year it has been. 12 months with big implications for the global economy.
In 2016 our readers’ curiosity focused on a wide range of hot topics in the world of economic and financial policy: the economic impact of migration, China’s economic transition, the prospects for negative interest rates, the way forward for Greece, the future of commodity prices, and the outlook for Latin America, to name a few. We compiled this top ten list for the past year based on readership. Continue reading “The Top Ten Blogs of 2016” »