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The Vaccine, the Economy, and Governance

Uri Dadush | Posted : December 30, 2020

According to this month’s OECD economic outlook, global GDP --- which took a huge hit from the pandemic and is still 3% below its level of a year ago – will not recover its pre-pandemic level until the end of 2021. In a downside scenario, the return could take almost a year longer. The OECD predictions, which imply high and protracted unemployment, are in line with the view of many other official and private organizations. The arrival of effective vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech was widely expected and is already reflected – at least to some degree – in these assessments. Given the massive demand for vaccines around the world, regulatory barriers, logistics difficulties, and the impossibility of ramping up production quickly, the caution is understandable.

Swinging the Pendulum: American Foreign Policy at the Apex of Political Polarization

Salma Daoudi | Posted : December 25, 2020

The maxim that in adversity we find unity has never truly materialized following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Despite fighting a common enemy, individual societies have turned inwards, moved by a self-preservation instinct that prioritizes individual over collective well-being. Outbursts and demonstrations of solidarity have punctuated national and international responses to COVID-19, but the virus has also often exacerbated structural inequalities, reopening old sores and profound political wounds. Factors such as age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status have coalesced to determine physical as well as socioeconomic vulnerability to the disease, fueling a vicious circle of poverty and poor health. Health inequality has always been a topic of concern, with certain populations bearing the brunt of epidemics, but its impact on polarizing and disenfranchising populations has come into sharper focus during the coronavirus outbreak.

Happy New Year?

Uri Dadush | Posted : December 23, 2020

This article was originally published on Bruegel 

A recovery from the COVID-19 recession is underway though the suffering is far from over, especially for the most vulnerable. Inequality is both a consequence of the pandemic and a cause of its severity. Many countries need comprehensive policy change to address its worst effects.

Why a Weaker Dollar Might Be Good for Emerging Markets?

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : December 22, 2020

After reaching a peak against other currencies in March this year, the dollar fell by almost 15% until the beginning of December. According to Bloomberg, asset portfolio managers have been assuming "short" positions against the dollar, that is, betting on its fall ahead. The dollar is expected to devalue against the euro, the yen, and the Chinese RMB in 2021.

They Did Not Want Compromise and Consensus. They Wanted War

Helmut Sorge | Posted : December 22, 2020

“When I got home late that night, the house was dark and Michelle was already asleep. After taking a shower and going through a stack of mail, I slipped under the covers and began drifting off. In that luminal space between wakefulness and sleep, I imagined myself stepping toward a portal of some sort, a bright and cold and airless place, uninhabited and severed from the world. And behind me, out of the darkness, I heard a voice, sharp and clear, as if someone were right next to me, uttering the same word again and again. No. No. No. I jolted out of bed, my heart racing, and went downstairs to pour myself a drink. I sat alone in the dark, sipping vodka, my nerves jangled, my brain in sudden overdrive. My deepest fear, it turned out, was no longer of irrelevance, or being stuck in the Senate, or even losing a presidential race. The fear came from the realization that I could win” , noted Barack Obama in his biography “ A Promised Land.”

L’Union européenne approuve son budget face à la crise : « Eppur si mouve »

Iván Martín | Posted : December 18, 2020

Avec du suspense jusqu’à la dernière minute, comme l’Union européenne (UE) aime le faire, le 10 décembre 2020 le Conseil européen a finalement donné son accord pour le budget de l’Union 2021-2027 (1,8 milliards d’euros[1]) et du Fonds de récupération et de relance pour faire face aux conséquences économiques et sociales de la Covid-19 dans les pays de l’UE. Le Fonds répartira entre les États membres 750 milliards d’euros entre 2021 et 2023 (sous le nom de « EU Next Generation »), 360 milliards sous forme de subventions et le reliquat sous forme de crédits remboursables. Ainsi, pour un pays comme l’Espagne, qui recevra 140 milliards d’euros, le montant total sera de 1.000 euros par habitant et par an pour les trois prochaines années. Les Chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont ainsi sauvé l’accord auquel ils étaient parvenus le 21 juillet 2020 à l’aube, après une réunion de cinq jours (et leurs nuits), mais qui était par la suite bloqué par la Hongrie et la Pologne, qui n’apprécient pas la « conditionnalité démocratique » attachée au Fonds de récupération et de relance, une clause permettant aux institutions communautaires d’entamer une procédure de suspension des fonds si elles détectent des dérives dans l’état de droit dans un de ses États membres (la clause a été maintenue, même si elle tardera à  être appliquée). Le 17 décembre, le Parlement européen a approuvé définitivement le nouveau paquet financier (par une grande majorité de 548 sur 695 voix dans l’Europe politiquement polarisée).

The Peaceful Transfer of Power: An Instantaneous Hereditary Principle Steeped in Necessity and Tradition

Yahya Drissi-Daoudi | Posted : December 16, 2020

During the last few weeks, the United States has seen unfold one of its most contentious elections to date, which also registered a record turnout. While the results trickled in after November 3, each camp reassured its base regarding its confidence in a win, President Trump going as far as calling the election in his favor on Twitter. The following weekend, news outlets began calling the Presidency in favor of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who served under President Obama for two terms.

Middle-Income Countries Should not be Rushed to Graduate

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : December 14, 2020

This article has originally been published on OECD Development matter platform

Many donor countries seem eager to see middle-income countries (MICs) “master out” and graduate to a non-client status in multilateral development institutions before fully achieving their development potential. We argue that such institutions can still significantly contribute to the sustainable development of MICs, while also seizing many benefits from this relationship (Middle income countries and multilateral development banks: traps on the way to graduation).  

The End of the Human Race?

Helmut Sorge | Posted : December 09, 2020

Poker is a game for real men, cowboys, for example, ocean divers, stunt men, gambling away their meager pay. Poker is America, as oversized as its trucks, egos and steaks. Poker made its way from quaint southern New Orleans to the rough west, where gold diggers gambled away fortunes, and settlers risked their wagons and horses for a game of cards. Decades ago I met Johnny Moss, a descendent of this wild bunch in Las Vegas. He is the greatest poker player of our time, as his biographer Don Jenkins wrote in his Champion of Champions (1981). Moss was as pale as a hospital bed sheet because most of his time he worked under neon lights. He had a room upstairs in Binion’s Horseshoe Saloon, which Moss only ever left when he was challenged to a golf game—$50,000 or $100,000 for one hole.

The Pandemic Will Reshape Globalization

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : December 07, 2020

The pandemic is accelerating history, in the sense that it is leading to the speeding up of some recent trends. In the case of globalization, the pandemic will not reverse it, but it will reshape it. Here we take a bird’s eye view of global trade during the pandemic, relate it to previous trends, and guess how global value chain managers and government trade policymakers are likely to react.