Monday, June 4, 2018

Breaking from the Cage: Italy’s Not-So-Secret Plan For Leaving the Euro

Paolo Savona
The Trojan War was caused by Prince Paris’s brutal kidnapping of Helen, wife of the King of Troy, said to be the most beautiful woman in the world.  Last week, the greatest crisis in Italian democracy since 1945 was triggered by the nomination of an 81-year-old semi-retired academic economist, Paolo Savona, as Finance Minister in the new Italian populist government. Savona has advocated that Italy quit the euro currency. For a couple of days, Italy was on the brink of the peacetime equivalent of the Trojan War, a dispute between an unelected president and an elected Parliament. The populist parties that won the election attacked Italian President Mattarella for frustrating the right of the election victors to name a government of their choosing. The president countered that Italy could not leave the euro without a referendum. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Free-Trade Economists Begin To See the Light on Trade and Globalization



The great economist John Maynard Keynes once observed that people who think themselves practical and realistic are often slaves of “some defunct economist.” One long-dead economist who is poised to become very defunct is old David Ricardo. His free trade views have dominated thinking on international trade for decades. But the tide is beginning to turn among economists, as some highly respected academic economists move away from their doctrinaire position that all free trade is always good everywhere and begin to acknowledge that free trade and large trade deficits have inflicted substantial harm to the US economy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Top Ten Cases of Chinese IP Theft

Industrial espionage has been going on for centuries, but experts agree China’s espionage campaign is on a different scale from anything we’ve seen in history. It has been going on at least since the 1990s and there is no sign it is letting up. Targets include an incredibly broad range of US companies, embracing civilian as well as military technology, with a special focus on the telecom and Internet sector. In 2009, National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander called Chinese IP theft “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” He put the value of cyber-theft of US trade secrets and intellectual property (IP) at a stunning $250 billion a year and called it “our future disappearing in front of us.” 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The China Endgame: Let’s Build USA 2025

President Trump has just made what could be the biggest gamble of his presidency: he’s betting that he can make a significant difference in the US economy by taking action against Chinese mercantilism. As usual, the hordes of commentators in the liberal media, conservative establishment, and the economics profession have misunderstood his goals and objectives.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

US Notches Dismal Productivity Performance in 2017

The productivity figures for the US economy in 2017, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last month, show the US economy continuing to underperform on productivity growth, one of the most important metrics for the long-term health of the economy. The labor productivity of our non-farm business economy rose just 1.2% in 2017, a pathetically low figure considering GDP growth last year was respectable, and should have put a tailwind behind productivity growth. Yet the productivity performance for 2016 was even worse. In that year, productivity actually fell by 0.1%. Over the five years 2013-2017, labor productivity growth averaged just 0.76% a year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How Facebook Can Help Rebuild US Manufacturing

In a highly polarized nation, Facebook has accomplished the amazing achievement of getting itself intensely disliked by both right and left. The right detests it because its newsfeed has demonstrated a distinctly progressive bias, reflecting the worldview of the majority of its 25,000 youthful employees, while the left resents it because it is seen as the prime social media tool by which the Russians attempted to influence American voters to favor Trump.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Solar Industry Gears Up For More US Production As Tariffs Take Effect

Safeguard tariffs imposed by President Trump on imported solar cells and panels have been in effect for just over a week, but already we’re seeing moves to boost US solar production in response. No fewer than nine solar manufacturing companies are planning to launch or expand solar manufacturing in the US, according to our latest information. This is great news for the US solar industry, because it shows that tariffs can produce the intended effect of boosting a US industry, and with it jobs and research and development. It further suggests the US has the opportunity to regain its leadership position in this critical industry.