April 27, 2003

A Loud Cry from Martin Wolf

It's unconscionable that so much time passes by without my reading the columns of the sharp-witted pull-no-punches guy who is Martin Wolf. I have my online Financial Times subscription. What is it that is stopping me?


Martin Wolf: ...The mixture of global security risks, post-bubble adjustment and unbalanced growth in demand puts into perspective the euphoria at the end of the war. While the world economy could, in principle, enjoy a strong and durable recovery, it is unlikely to do so without vigorous policy action. The outlines of these actions are well known. That does not make them less important.

The US must inject a larger fiscal stimulus, without endangering longer run fiscal solvency. The big eurozone members must take reform seriously, while the ECB should recognise its responsibilities as a central bank in charge of an economic superpower. Japan must, at last, both restructure its banks and halt deflation.

Beyond this, the Doha round must be accelerated. It is grotesque that in trade, where the European Union is already a superpower, it is unable to offer radical liberalisation of its indefensible farm policies. Yet nobody looks good. The US has spent as much on its war in Iraq in a month as official development assistance from all donors in a year. All this shows up the commitment in the G7 communiqué to "address the challenge of global poverty" for the hypocrisy it is...

Nicely said, all of it. But I don't read it often enough. The problem is that my machine, for some reason, doesn't automatically log in to the Financial Times. So it takes an extra 30 seconds, and a feat of memory by me to recall my userid and password, to read anything behind its protective screen. In addition, things that the FT charges for aren't indexed in Google, and aren't often referred to by the network of observers and webloggers who now function as my first-level news filtering screen.

The Economist and the Wall Street Journal don't impose the 30 second penalty on access, and I find myself referring to them much, much more often...

Posted by DeLong at April 27, 2003 01:42 PM | TrackBack

Comments

The FT's website is a horror to navigate. I wonder how many folks, like me, keep their "dead tree" subscriptions for only that reason?

Posted by: George Zachar on April 27, 2003 01:59 PM

The failure of Europe, Japan, and America to agree to change the structure of agriculture subsidies to spur exports from developing countries is an important problem to address in the near future. I do not write of ending farm subsidies, for that seems impossible at present, so I suggest structuring them so they are lesss of a barrier to trade.

Southern Africa is especially in need of economic attention as the HIV/AIDS problem continues to take a fearful toll. There is so much to be gained by looking to development issues in Africa. Among the gains will be regional security.

Posted by: anne on April 27, 2003 03:14 PM

"The US must inject a larger fiscal stimulus, without endangering longer run fiscal solvency. "

How about a one time payment to the states to cover unfunded mandates during the recession? This is one way money could be spent rapidly and productively. The states already have plans for the money but don't have enough revenue and are therefore cutting spending. A revenue sharing would decrease cuts in state spending. State cutbacks are contributing to the downward spiral.

Posted by: bakho on April 27, 2003 08:24 PM

I know he's only a journalist, but this little piece by Martin Wolf is big on diagnosis and short on cures. Each of the things he said is as plain as a pikestaff, but getting people to sign up to a course of action is the hard bit.

If only the US President was bright enough to understand these simple things and hadn't just thrown away all his diplomatic capital on an unnecessary war ....

Posted by: derrida derider on April 27, 2003 10:16 PM

It's a problem with the FT website Brad, not your computer. I did complain but htey said only that they were trying to fix it.

Posted by: Matthew on April 28, 2003 09:40 AM

Big fan of Dead Tree Eff Tee myself, but their website blows goats (to put it mildly).

Posted by: Tom on April 28, 2003 12:18 PM

"The US must inject a larger fiscal stimulus, without endangering longer run fiscal solvency. The big eurozone members must take reform seriously, while the ECB should recognise its responsibilities as a central bank in charge of an economic superpower. Japan must, at last, both restructure its banks and halt deflation. "

And if, as the situationists once said, the beach was there for the having just beneath the paving stones.

I have a real problem with paragraphs like this. It all seems so obvious, which it obviously isn't. I mean it can't just be politics that's the problem, since acroos these countries there is a broad spread of government opinion. So if it were all so easy, why isn't any of it happening, anywhere. I think we need to dig a bit deeper.

In fact many of these wished for solutions are just not compatible. I mean restructure in Japan AND halt deflation at the same time, now come on!

Posted by: Edward Hugh on April 28, 2003 11:38 PM

May I join this private party? First, thanks, Brad. Second, sorry about the difficulty in logging into the FT. Third, some of these critical messages are a tad unrealistic. My columns are just 1,100 words. They cannot possibly explore every policy option. I have dealt with all the queries in other columns. The only way any columnist can work is by dealing with bits of the various problems in each piece and, occasionally, as in this column, pulling them together in a short overview.

Martin Wolf

Posted by: Martin Wolf on April 29, 2003 03:17 AM
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