Dog days for Australia after the boom

Ross Garnaut speaks at launch of his new book - Dog Days, Australia after the Boom - with Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Press Club in Canberra, 15 November, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

Australia is enjoying its 22nd year of economic growth without recession — an experience that is unprecedented in any other developed country. For the first decade of expansion, growth was based on extraordinary increases in productivity, attributable to productivity-raising reforms from 1983. In the early years of this century, reform and productivity growth slowed sharply and then stopped. Read more…

Five years after the global crisis, the world is no safer

A man looks at an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pradumna B. Rana, RSIS

The Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 led to calls for the reform of the international financial architecture. A large number of policies were proposed for crisis prevention and crisis resolution, but with the faster-than-expected recovery of the Asian countries, complacency set in and reforms were abandoned. Read more…

What happens when the US no longer has moral authority?

President Barack Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September 2013. Revelations about US spying abroad present the most damming evidence of the American moral collapse (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Van Ness, ANU

President Obama’s recent failure to attend the APEC meeting in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei was only symbolic of the US decline.

The reality is more profound. Over the past 30 years, the United States as the predominant power has provided a public good in East Asia, enjoyed by allies and adversaries alike — including China — by maintaining political stability in the region. Read more…

A new G20 strategy for development cooperation

Heads of the G20 leading economies posing for a family photo at the convention center in Los Cabos, Mexico on 18 June 2012. (Photo. AAP)

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

In late 2008 the policy failures of Western economies created a global problem which they could not fix by themselves.

The G7 was forced to bring other emerging economies to the table to help deal with the global financial crisis. The new grouping — the G20 — was able to agree quickly on policies that limited the potential damage of the crisis. Read more…

The ‘new normal’ of Chinese growth

The Shanghai Tower is under construction in the Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, 11 October 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Yiping Huang, Peking University and ANU

Growth of Chinese GDP decelerated to 7.8 per cent in the first half of 2012 from 9.6 per cent a year ago.

But the government has remained relatively calm, taking only measured steps to stabilise growth. Read more…

The Australian dollar: a safe haven asset?

Close-up of Australian one dollar coins photographed in Melbourne, Wednesday, 13 June, 2012. (PHOTO: AAP)

Author: Huw McKay, Westpac Bank

In the post-float era the Australian dollar has built a reputation as a volatile currency by developed country standards. It was prone to sharp bouts of depreciation when investor sentiment toward global growth was weak and commodity prices were low. But since the end of the Great Crash of 2008 the Australian dollar has become noticeably more resilient during phases of risk aversion and more responsive during risk seeking phases.

Read more…

Indonesian manufacturing and the middle-income trap

Indonesian workers at Astra Daihatsu Motor manufacturing company in Jakarta. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Vikram Nehru, Carnegie Endowment

Indonesia’s economic performance is deservedly attracting a lot of praise these days.

Its economic growth has been the highest in Southeast Asia, its inflation has been low, its fiscal policy has been prudently managed, the sovereign debt burden has declined, and its external payments have been broadly in balance. Read more…

Can Asia help power world recovery?

Shoppers walk through Nanjing Road, the main shopping thoroughfare in Shanghai, China on 16 December 2009. The international community, and particularly policy makers in the United States, put great expectations on the contribution that China should make to global economic recovery by rebalancing its economy, reducing its current account surplus through promoting consumption growth. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

When the global financial crisis hit the US and European economies in 2007–8, the emerging economies in Asia, with their high rates of growth, huge current account surpluses and export-oriented growth strategies, were an easy target for those in the industrial world who had difficulty coming to terms with the mess they had made of managing financial markets in an era of seemingly unlimited supplies of cheap international capital.

Read more…

New challenges for the global economy, new uncertainties for the G20

G20 Summit logos at the Main Press Room hotel in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico on 15 June 2012. The Los Cabos G20 Summit is expected to be dominated by discussions on resolving the euro zone's crippling debt crisis and restoring global growth. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Kemal Derviş and Homi Kharas, Brookings Institution 

As G20 leaders prepare for their seventh meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, strengthened hopes are struggling against renewed fears in the world economy.

The stronger hopes are due primarily to the more rapid output and employment growth in the US economy that have come in better than expected in late 2011. Read more…

Asia and fixing financial regulation

Sixty-three year-old Ta Sim, a Cambodian money dealer, counts his profit on a quiet day in the main money bazaar of Phnom Penh. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Stephen Grenville, Lowy Institute

The 2008 global financial crisis revealed glaring deficiencies in the financial regulatory frameworks of a number of countries and regions, notably the US, the UK and Europe.

Four years later, much has changed. In the US, the regulatory framework has been reorganised and the 2000-plus pages of the Dodd-Frank legislation has been passed. Read more…

China: a reform-minded status-quo power?

The ceiling of the main hall inside the Great Hall of the People. The Great Hall of the People is the political hub of Beijing and home of the National People's Congress. Every year, the annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC) are held in this hall. (Photo: Flickr user hunxue-er)

Author: Ren Xiao, Fudan University

A reform-minded status-quo power sits somewhere between rigid and anti-status quo powers.

A status-quo state accepts the existing rules of the game and does not seek to change them because it is generally satisfied with the current situation. China has benefited from the existing international system, and has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy. Logically, it would not aspire to overthrow this system within which it is rising to new heights. In this sense, China is a status-quo power. Nevertheless, China is not simply looking to rigidly adhere to this existing system. Read more…

Concert or cacophony? BRICS and the foundations of a new international order

Heads of the BRICS countries (L to R) President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa wave prior to the BRICS summit in New Delhi on 29 March 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Brad Glosserman, CSIS, Peter Walkenhorst and Ting Xu, Bertelsmann Foundation

The most recent sign of the global order’s age and obsolescence was the BRICS summit held in New Delhi on 29 March 2012. Even though the group of countries that make up BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will not reorder global politics, their determination to articulate the grievances of emerging states should not be ignored.

Take, for example, their call for a new development bank to complement the World Bank by placing greater emphasis on the needs and priorities of developing economies as those nations themselves see them. Read more…

Australian finance in the Asian Century

President of the Business Council of Australia Tony Shepard, Finance Minister Penny Wong, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherhill, CEO of the Australian Industry Group Innes Willox and Deputy Chair of the Council of Small Business Australia Amanda Lynch address the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on 12 April 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andrew Sheng, Fung Global Institute

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was first attributed as likening his country to America’s deputy sheriff in Asia back in 1999.

This observation may have been true during the Cold War — when Australia was the Anglo-Saxon outpost near the Bamboo curtain — but with Australia’s trade and investment with Asia now outweighing that with America and Europe, the geopolitical landscape has changed profoundly. Read more…