Economics and Business Articles

Strategic Horizons: U.S. Military Must Prepare for China’s Rise—and Fall

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

For now, Russia’s revived aggression is dominating the news in the United States. Once the furor subsides, al-Qaida will likely regain most of the attention. But in the long term, these issues pale in importance to the challenge of China’s rising power and the danger that may come with a Chinese slow-down. For the U.S., the priority is maintaining maximum flexibility in case a declining China lashes out. more

Despite China’s Protests, U.S. Remains Adamant About Taiwan’s Defense

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Three decades after the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States continues to augment Taiwan’s military capabilities—recent discussions have raised the possibility of the U.S. helping Taiwan to acquire U.S.-made frigates and a new indigenous type of diesel submarines. But China’s rising military capabilities place the island in an increasingly vulnerable position. more

Beating Expectations, China Moves Ahead With Substantive Economic Reforms

By Iain Mills
, on , Briefing

China’s leadership has long vowed to clean up the country’s bureaucracy and break up government monopolies. But the state apparatus has seemed unwilling or unable to push through substantive implementation measures—until now. Xi Jinping is undertaking the most sustained and well-strategized attack on vested interests in at least 15 years, in a campaign that may yield substantive progress on critical issues. more

World Citizen: In India Election, Both Gandhi, Modi Weighed Down by Past

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

The sheer magnitude of the elections taking place in India make them historic and worthy of international attention. But even if the contest had more familiar proportions it would still constitute a major event in world affairs. The choice of India’s next leader is sending nervous chills down some people’s spines. The next government in New Delhi will have the power to shake up the world’s largest democracy. more

Strategic Horizons: In Ukraine, Russia Reveals Its Mastery of Unrestricted Warfare

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine. Moscow’s complex, multidimensional offensive uses intimidation, misinformation and any organization or group that can serve its interests. For a beleaguered Ukraine, pressure is coming in many ways and from many directions. And that is exactly what Vladimir Putin intends. Moscow has adopted, even mastered, a form of unrestricted warfare. more

Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip

By Roxane Horton
, on , Briefing

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to power in 2013 declaring that Australia was “open for business” and promising to fast-track stalled free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China. Abbott pulled off an impressive feat in Asia last week as he embarked on a three-nation tour of those countries, forging free trade agreements and announcing closer security relations on each stop along the way. more

Pressure Mounts as Deadline for EU-Africa Trade Talks Looms

By Stephen R. Hurt
, on , Briefing

The first EU-Africa summit since 2010 was held in Brussels this month. Much of the media focus leading up to the summit was on Robert Mugabe’s failed bid to instigate a boycott of the meeting by African leaders. Beyond these headlines, however, trade relations between the two parties continue to be one of pressing importance, with negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements one of the most divisive issues. more

Global Insider: Iran-Pakistan Border a Major Concern in Bilateral Relationship

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. more

The Realist Prism: West’s Tactical Blunders on Ukraine Go Unquestioned

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

A Communist Party deputy who was attacked earlier this week as he addressed Ukraine’s parliament raised some uncomfortable points that Western policymakers need to consider about their response to the crisis in Ukraine. By driving Ukraine’s elected president out of office, protesters created the conditions for other aggrieved parties in Ukraine—and Russia—to use similar tactics to advance their own interests. more

NSA Leaks Fallout Will Fade Faster Than Hit to U.S. Pride

By James Andrew Lewis
, on , Briefing

Americans are having a hard time coming to terms with the effect of Snowden’s leaks and the damage they have done to America’s status in the world. In part, U.S. leaders do not want to admit that the leaks were merely the final straw for the growing discontent with American global leadership that predated Snowden and has many causes. The unipolar moment was never popular—the leaks confirm that it is over. more

Hungary Risks Putinization, Isolation After Orban Re-Election

By Andrew MacDowall
, on , Briefing

“The outcome of the elections is an obvious, unambiguous mandate for us to continue what we have begun.” So said Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban after his Fidesz party trounced the left-liberal opposition in an April poll that also saw the vote share of the far right top 20 percent. The continuation might entail more of Orban’s centralizing and nationalist policies, as well a tilt toward Russia. more

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Chooses Democracy Over China Trade Pact

By Joel Atkinson
, on , Briefing

On March 19, students occupied Taiwan’s legislature to protest the KMT government’s handling of a services trade agreement with China. The movement ultimately won support for a compromise that would see the services pact, and any future agreements with China, undergo more thorough—and public—scrutiny. The dramatic events are forcing a rethink about the very nature of the China-Taiwan relationship. more

Women's Work: The Impact of Trade on Gender Equality

By Marzia Fontana
, on , Feature

Since the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, many governments and international development institutions have expressed their commitment toward gender equality goals. Most development actors and policymakers, however, remain focused on a narrow interpretation of women’s empowerment as a means to achieve poverty reduction and GDP growth. Less attention is paid to the ways in which economic development can be planned to help women. more

Political Economy: Conditioning Markets to Reduce Income Inequality

By Nathan Kelly
, on , Feature

Although income inequality cannot be completely controlled, policymakers have a variety of tools at their disposal to produce changes in how the economic pie is divided. Those that most readily come to mind fall into the category of explicit redistribution, which can be controversial. But a second set of tools, rather than explicitly redistributing income within a society, focuses on creating an economic context in which growth can occur and in which that growth can be distributed more equally. more

Cultivating Equality: Land Reform's Potential and Challenges

By Klaus Deininger
, on , Feature

The original rationale for redistributive land reform is that, at low levels of capital intensity, large farms operated by wage labor will be less efficient than small owner-operated ones. Colonial powers had often tried to restrict access to land to ensure a supply of cheap labor, despite the associated economic cost. Land reform is an effort to rectify this historical injustice and reverse the pattern whereby high inequality of land is associated with low agricultural productivity and overall economic growth. more

Attacks on Rwanda’s Exiles Reveal Deeper Troubles for Kagame

By Jon Rosen
, on , Briefing

Twenty years after Rwanda’s genocide, the killing in South Africa of one opponent of President Paul Kagame and a break-in at the South Africa residence of another fit a pattern of attacks against Rwandan exiles and have exposed a sense of unease within Kagame’s government. It’s possible that cracks in his inner circle could foment more broad-based opposition and threaten the country’s post-genocide rebirth. more

South Korea Buy a Bright Spot for Troubled F-35 Program

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

South Korea recently announced that it will purchase the F-35 fighter jet as part of an ambitious plan to modernize its air defenses. Japan also plans to purchase the F-35, meaning that the two countries most central to the Obama administration’s Asia rebalance will be using the same platform. This is good news for a fighter that has become the most expensive defense acquisition program in history. more

EU Takes Critical Next Step in Banking Union

By Milton Ezrati
, on , Briefing

The EU has at last proposed what it calls the “second pillar” of its banking union. The first pillar includes banking reform proposals aimed at reducing risk in the financial system. This next step proposes a mechanism should the authorities have to deal with bank failures. Matters on either proposal are far from settled. But there is no denying that Europe has taken significant steps toward financial security. more

Cuba’s New Foreign Investment Law Is a Bet on the Future

By William M. LeoGrande
, on , Briefing

The new foreign investment law Cuba’s National Assembly passed unanimously last Saturday is a key component of President Raul Castro’s program to “update” the economy. The law offers better terms to foreign investors, with the aim of boosting direct foreign investment in Cuba’s chronically capital-poor economy. But important aspects of Cuba’s FDI landscape—including the U.S. embargo—have not changed. more

Strategic Horizons: Saving America’s Strategic Visionaries

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Everyone knows that the U.S. needs to shrink its defense budget; the challenge is doing so intelligently. Without attention to the long-term effects of the downsizing, the rush to cut could stifle creativity and fail to cultivate strategic visionaries. The net effect would be pawning America’s future security to make today’s budget. Yet there are many signs that such short-sighted cuts are already underway. more