Catalonia, one year later
A year after Catalonia’s botched declaration of independence, pro-independence parties still cling to power in the regional government but find themselves increasingly at odds with each other. Political gridlock has taken its toll on the Catalan economy, while urban dwellers are tilting toward the anti-independence camp. The choice appears to be between continued stalemate or an accommodation with Madrid, which would require a political realignment of pro-independence moderates with unionists.
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.
Is the U.S. going back to the Western Balkans?
The United States is increasing its engagement with the Western Balkans on issues including security, energy and good governance. The administration is trying to reduce instability in the region, improve economic development and counter outside influence from countries like Russia and China. If these efforts are successful, U.S. capital investment will increase and the Balkans will move closer toward NATO membership.
Opinion: The United States should rein in the global tax bureaucrats
President Donald Trump was right to disrupt the G7’s efforts to promote “fair, progressive, effective and efficient tax systems.” The goal may seem innocuous, but it is quite the opposite – favoring large, intrusive governments at the expense of individual economic freedom. One of the most damaging proposals to create a global tax bureaucracy is the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project – a pet scheme of the OECD.
Global competition for upstream oil and gas investment
The international energy community is usually divided on oil prices, since consumers like prices low and producers prefer them high. But one thing everyone agrees on is that the current environment of low oil prices is not encouraging investment, which could trigger an energy crisis down the road. This reasoning is logical, but overly simplistic.
Debate: What China’s new Silk Road means for Europe
In a debate last month in Warsaw, politicians, bankers and businessmen considered the implications for Europe of China's Belt and Road Initiative – likely to be Eurasia's largest infrastructure project in this century. It is both an economic opportunity and a portent of growing Chinese preeminence on the continent.
Olympic spending and democratic accountability
Rich, Western nations are less and less eager to host the Olympics. Dictatorships and countries with weak democracies are more than willing to take them on, however. That is because democratic societies have become aware of the costs, and their representatives are more accountable. Leaders in countries where freedoms are restricted see a chance to buff their image, and do not have to answer to the people.
A new Euro-Atlantic strategy for the Western Balkans
The European Union and the United States are again paying attention to the Western Balkans, trying to keep the region firmly within the EU and NATO orbit. But Angela Merkel’s ambitious plans for economic development will hinge on overcoming traditional animosities – especially the conflict between Serbia and Albania over Kosovo and Greek-Macedonian tensions – which have allowed Russia to reassert its influence.
Opinion: Trumponomics is worth a second look
President Donald Trump’s economic program is perceived by many as a recipe for disaster. But its most questionable, protectionist elements – such as the border adjustment tax – are unlikely to be implemented or could bring completely unexpected benefits. And the new administration’s plans for infrastructure and deregulation should bring positive effects.