Monthly Archives: June 2004

Al-Qaeda algebra

Bren­dan O’Neill casts plau­si­ble doubt on implau­si­ble num­bers bq. Claims of a big, bad, threat­en­ing al-Qae­­da are unques­tion­ing­ly accept­ed because they suit the agen­da of both sides. (“Spiked-online”:http://www.spiked-online.com/articles/0000000CA5A2.htm)

Closing the gap

The Econ­o­mist points to some intrigu­ing OECD mod­el­ing of options for clos­ing America’s $145bn (5% of GDP) cur­rent account deficit. bq. Amer­i­ca must beg­gar its neigh­bours with a com­pet­i­tive deval­u­a­tion of the dol­lar, or beg­gar itself with a mas­sive fis­cal contraction—or both (“Economist”:http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2784281)

Plants and Patents

In Gene­va this week, nego­tia­tors are try­ing to bridge some wide rifts on the sub­ject of agri­cul­tur­al mar­ket reforms before the nego­ti­a­tions effec­tive­ly pause for the US elec­tions until some­time in the first quar­ter of 2005. Offi­cials are work­ing on a ‘frame­work’ for an even­tu­al agree­ment on agri­cul­ture that focus­es on the big issues of […]

Stiglitz on Doha round

The Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tari­at has com­mis­sioned for­mer Clin­ton Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers mem­ber and World Bank Chief Econ­o­mist (and Nobel prize win­ner) Joe Stiglitz to review the devel­op­ment con­tent of the so-called “Doha Devel­op­ment Agen­da”. bq. Our report comes down sound­ly on the side of the devel­op­ing coun­tries. Recent nego­ti­a­tions have not only failed to push […]

China inflation watch

The real­i­ty, in Chi­na as every­where else, is that only the price of cred­it con­trols demand. bq. Annu­al infla­tion of 5 per cent would eat away steadi­ly at the real val­ue of gov­ern­ment debt and the bad debt moun­tain held by banks. The author­i­ties may be will­ing to take the risk that, in a high […]

EU Constitution draft adopted

It’s not so much a con­sti­tu­tion as a doc­u­ment that sub­sumes and clar­i­fies four old­er inter-gov­­ern­­men­­tal treaties that formed the Euro­pean Union’s ‘con­sti­tu­tion­al base’. bq. “…the ques­tion remains whether the con­sti­tu­tion can make an enlarged Europe work. A sec­ond ques­tion is whether it will ever come into force. The text has to be rat­i­fied in […]

Between the lines

The Finan­cial Times reports a feel-good mes­sage from the UNCTAD meet­ing in São Paulo. It seems that the pro­pos­al to agree—by July—on a ‘frame­work’ agree­ment for the com­ple­tion of the WTO nego­ti­a­tions remains alive. bq. Nego­tia­tors hope that recent­ly renewed polit­i­cal momen­tum will allow them to make progress on the tough inter-relat­ed farm trade issues. […]