Growth, recessions, fiscal policy, monetary policy, currencies and global business deals. GIS experts provide forecasts and potential scenarios for all of the economic trends that shape geopolitics.
The U.S. and China: The trade war and the broader confrontation
As the “trade war” between the U.S. and China looks set to last, it is time to ask if the confrontation is more about “war” than “trade.” In fact, China is simply carrying on the ideological battle initiated by the Soviet Union in the 20th century. This time, however, with its hybrid totalitarian-capitalist system, Beijing is a more formidable foe. For now, the pragmatic Chinese may back down for strategic reasons, but in the long term, the showdown is likely to intensify.
Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa faces political, social and economic crises
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has a daunting task ahead. He has indicated he wants to engage with the West, encourage investment and open up the country’s politics. But elements inside his own party are holding him back. The military wing of the ZANU-PF, led by Vice President Constantin Chiwenga, seems intent on continuing repression and backward economic policies. Until President Mnangagwa gains control of his party, he will be unable to implement any real reforms.
GIS Dossier: How Turkey scored big in the gas pipeline game
Sitting at the intersection of important energy transfer routes, Turkey is an active participant in the high-stakes pipeline game between the European Union, Russia and the Caspian region energy producers. Ankara has increased its geopolitical heft and secured earnings from gas transit fees but at the price of making Turkey more dependent on Russia. This has important implications for Europe.
The Italian challenge
Italy’s public finance troubles are making waves again, but the new government’s budget proposal does not spell disaster, nor should debt servicing create a big problem, considering today’s low interest rates. But Italy’s leaders have decided to transform their conflict with the European Union into a casus belli. Will the conflict end in an Italian crisis or a new EU architecture?
The benefits of global tax games
The growth of global trade and rise of more sophisticated financial products from the late 1970s has encouraged in tax arbitrage by multinational firms and tax competition between governments. This phenomenon has become a fixation of global governance do-gooders and bureaucrats. Their seemingly innocuous push for international tax coordination and transparency, however, will have costs that are hard to measure.
Opinion: The slow death of Germany’s political center
Recent elections in Bavaria were the latest to show the weakness of Germany’s centrist parties, the SPD and the CDU/CSU. These traditional mainstays of German politics have seen their bases move toward more radical movements of the right and left and parties that espouse more “modern” values. But the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats have delivered great economic prosperity – why are voters punishing them? The answer can be found in immigration and high incomes. The result could be a less internationally active Germany.
Japan needs woman power
Gender equality is not one of Japan’s greatest strengths, but the rapid shrinking and aging of the population have started to exert pressure on a society whose culture is drawn from the samurai era. These values practically exclude young mothers from the workforce and set a very low glass ceiling for professional women.
No easy way back for U.S. manufacturing
President Donald Trump declared on October 1 that the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico signifies the return of the United States as a “manufacturing powerhouse.” U.S. manufacturing has indeed changed dramatically since 1992, when the three countries signed their original trade pact. But the complex and varied factors that have reshaped factory production in the U.S. cannot be summarily reversed.
The future of China-Taiwan relations
Is Taiwan so economically tied to China that unification is imminent? Or has its new identity become so ingrained that de jure independence is only a matter of time? These questions are playing out in Taiwanese politics ahead of some crucial nationwide elections. A sudden move by China (military attack) or Taiwan (declaration of independence) remains unlikely, partly because of the crucial role the U.S. plays in maintaining the status quo.
Brexit and trade
Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom were supposed to be concluded at the EU summit on October 17. But the deadline passed with no breakthrough, and no plans for a new meeting. With the clock to a “hard Brexit” ticking down, this could be the salutary shock needed to pave the way for a compromise — or point to a future in which the UK’s diminished weight in international trade encourages a drift toward protectionism.