Too often, a spirit of international cooperation evaporates just when it is most needed and most promising. And then, lack of cooperation leads to crisis; crisis belatedly forces cooperation; but that cooperation must begin with picking up the pieces.
By David Lipton
There were a lot of dramatic headlines over the weekend suggesting that Brexit signals the beginning of the end of globalization. Surely, it is too soon to understand all the ramifications of the British referendum. But at the same time, today is surely a good day to make the case for multilateralism. While there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the future, I will argue that globalization still has promise. But to achieve that promise, we will need a fresh look at multilateralism and the role the international financial institutions can play.
By David Lipton
One of the first things most students of economics learn is the diamond and water paradox. How can it be that water is free even though life cannot exist without it, while diamonds are expensive although no one dies for lack of diamonds?
The answer is that water can be free if its supply is abundant relative to demand. Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that worldwide, the demand for water outpaces supply. This imbalance is the clearest sign that water is underpriced. Yet, many governments are reluctant to price water like other goods.
By David Lipton
Why have businesses in advanced economies not been investing more in machinery, equipment and plants? Business investment is the largest component of private investment, and its weakness has puzzled many of us.
Some believe that the key to more business investment is less uncertainty about fiscal policy, regulation, and structural reforms. Some believe that it is providing better financing, including for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
What a difference 25 years can make. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a day that changed world history and transformed Europe.
Central and Eastern Europe embarked on a historic transition from communism to capitalism and democracy. We thought this landmark anniversary was a good time to look back at the achievements and also forward to the future, as we do in a new IMF report on 25 Years of Transition. The IMF's First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton also gave a recent speech in Warsaw, Poland on this important chapter in history.
Beyond our current economic and financial problems, there are long-term issues that we all know about, but that get too little attention in an era when policymakers are so fully engaged in slogging away at more immediate problems. Unfortunately, long-term issues unaddressed today will become crises tomorrow.
If there is one fact I think sums up the problems of the Middle East and North Africa, it is that the non-oil exports of the whole region, are $365 billion, about the same as the exports of Belgium, a country of 11 million people, compared with the 400 million people who make up the Arab world. This is a crucial indicator of the nature and size of the structural adjustment problem the Arab countries in transition face.
The debate on austerity vs. growth has gained in intensity, as countries in Europe and elsewhere struggle with low growth, high debt, and rising unemployment. In essence, policymakers are being asked to tackle a continuation of the worst crisis since the Great Depression. This would be no easy task under any circumstances. But it is made considerably harder by the fact that a number of countries need to engage in fiscal consolidation simultaneously. Complicating the picture further is the fact that monetary policy in most advanced economies is approaching the limits of what it technically can do to stimulate activity, while global growth remains weak.