The EU’s failed financial tax: good and bad news
Negotiations on a proposed tax on financial transactions in the European Union have stalled. The so-called “Tobin tax” is unlikely to come about in any meaningful form across the bloc. But its defeat also demonstrated the failure of the EU’s “enhanced cooperation” procedure, which could have provided a useful model for less centralized policymaking.
India’s push for land reform needs people power
Poor property records have proven a major obstacle to economic development in India. Their slipshod quality leads to property disputes, corruption and social problems. Numerous Indian government initiatives to digitize these records have had mixed results. But authorities will have to look beyond IT solutions – empowering citizens and eliminating high transaction costs will be necessary.
Saudi Arabia’s economic reform
Saudi Arabia has come up with a new strategy to diversify its oil-dependent economy. It would be easy to dismiss the McKinsey-endorsed plan as another paper scheme that will soon be forgotten. But with climate change and demography working against them, this time the Saudis may be serious.
Getting inequality wrong
Thomas Piketty captured something essential in the post-Lehman mood with his study of income and wealth differentials in the developed world. More’s the pity that his policy recommendations are misguided, in part because he missed the worst kind of inequality. During periods of economic crisis and slow growth, concerns ab...
Productivity is no free lunch
Europe is worried about low and declining productivity growth. Most politicians and experts have a simple solution: more high-tech investments and more education, especially for young people. But it is questionable whether this proposed fix is realistic or will bring about the desired outcome. The educational visions that...
Politics and oil bring uncertainty to Uganda’s future
After three decades in power, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda won a fifth consecutive term in February 2016. Uganda has seen significant development under his rule, but the irregularities that accompanied his election have added fuel to political tensions. Whether Ugandan politics follows a path of stability or instability may also depend on the fate of the cou...
Argentina’s new government makes an ambitious start
President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, who was elected last October, has quickly set out to show how much his administration differs from that of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Much of the attention has focused on its determination to end the country’s complex set of price controls, subsidies and exchange rate restrictions. But his most significan...
Europe weighs its options to deal with troubled banks
European banks are in bad shape, and shareholders and bondholders are feeling the heat. With governments and regulators still groping for a solution, various options have bubbled to the surface. Summary <i>Three main responses have been proposed to Europe’s banking crisis: 1) more stringent regulation and ...