ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Robert H WadeSubscribe to Robert H Wade

Rethinking the Ukraine Crisis

A false narrative about the civil war in Ukraine prevails in the West — that this is a war between Ukraine and Russia. This hostile positioning of Russia is in line with the need to heighten tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia, a phenomenon that has its legacy in the Cold War.

Current Thinking about Global Trade Policy

Presentations and discussions among academic experts at a recent international conference on trade policy suggested that the global slump, far from provoking major rethinking of core free market ideas has, if anything, reinforced their power in western economies and international economic organisations.

China-Japan Island Dispute

In a civilised world both parties to the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute would agree to submit their claims to the International Court of Justice, but neither side is willing to consider such a move. There is no more dangerous (leading to irrationality) expression of a concern with reputation than the desire to revenge a humiliation - a desire abundantly shared on both sides of the China-Japan sea.

How May the Fund-Bank Adjust for the 'Rise of the South'?

Despite formal global models of governance, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have functioned like clubs. A 2010 voting realignment at the World Bank changed little in concrete terms and a similar attempt at the IMF could not get off the ground. In the face of functional and normative challenges, especially from under-voiced big developing countries, a more complex formula incorporating criteria for representation other than gross domestic product is needed.

The Politics behind World Bank Statistics

Statistics prepared by international agencies are valued because they are considered accurate and reliable. But are they? Two stories about World Bank statistics tell us how the data it compiles are vulnerable to manipulation by interested parties. National and international statistical offi ces always operate in the tension between professional standards of objectivity and political insistence on certain results. The political economy of statistics needs to become a serious fi eld of study.

Muddy Waters: Inside the World Bank as It Struggled with the Narmada Projects

When the World Bank cancelled its loan for the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada in 1993, it was the first time that the institution had terminated an agreement due to environment/rehabilitation reasons. The decision culminated nearly a decade of an intense tussle within the World Bank between the central and regional offices and between the India division and those in charge of resettlement; between the World Bank and transnational and national non-governmental organisations; between the World Bank and the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat; between the board and the management of the institution; and across many other areas of conflict. For the World Bank the Narmada issue was a defining moment in its relations with ngos. There were also two lasting outcomes - a greater disclosure of information and the establishment of the independent Inspection Panel. However, even as issues relating to rehabilitation and environment are now integral to World Bank appraisals, there remain doubts within the institution about the importance of such concerns.

The Great Slump: What Comes Next?

Given the half-hearted attempts at reform of the financial system in the past year and the new resolve of many west European governments and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in the United States to push through fiscal austerity, one can make two sets of forecasts of the global economy: (1) The next several years will see slow and erratic economic growth in the US, much of Europe, and Japan, and quite possibly a widespread "double dip" recession. (2) The next decade will see at least one major financial crisis affecting a large part of the world economy, because (a) the effort to re-regulate the financial system has largely failed; (b) income distribution will continue to become more polarised, with the top 1% lifting further from the median; (c) global payments imbalances will continue at levels where the associated capital flows keep the level of financial fragility dangerously high.
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