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This week’s editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Paul Krugman forecasts dark days

A year after his first conversation with Big Think, Paul Krugman sat down with us again recently to look at the state of the US economy. Twelve months hence, things have not improved. Krugman described the economic fragility during his first conversation last December as a "near recession," an observation that is now a forgone conclusion. Krugman's sober critique of the market has won him wide respect among economic thinkers, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in October for his work dating back to the 90s. A congratulatory White House dinner followed during which Krugman said "everyone was on their best behavior." Krugman is famously critical of the Bush administration's economic policy and deregulation in general. The next administration is reportedly reaching out to Krugman for his macro-economic acumen, and there's even been speculation over Krugman is being tapped for a post under Obama, but, as Krugman put it to us, bureaucracy is not his strong suit. In a recent New York Times column, Krugman instructs Americans that the next bubble--housing, dot com or some other incarnation--is not coming anytime soon, and they should instead prepare for as much as a year of "economic hell." He struck a similar chord when he broke down depression economics in his second interview with us.

The dangerous politics of market radicalism

The crisis of 2008 is a consequence of the pervasive impact of market-driven ideology and policy on political, economic and social life across the globe. The profound consequences - being felt severely in countries such as Hungary - demand a wholesale rethinking of the role of the state in modern societies, says George Schöpflin.

Good green short-termism

The short term economic crisis offers an opportunity to set the world on the right track for addressing climate change. Governments should seize this chance to promote pro-environment fiscal stimuli and to embrace future pollution taxes to pay for them.

The poor and the G20

Five crises: poverty, climate, resources, debt and the fourth estate. Can the World Social Forum point to a systemic solution?

Policy's missing ingredient: public service

The economy needs far-reaching institutional reform and a return to an ethos of public service.

G20 Communique - group read & comment

The G20 communique from their November 15th Washington meeting is reproduced below. Join me in doing a group read/comment of the text. Is it what we need from our leaders? Are the principles right? What is missing? What does it mean?

To join in, follow these steps: 1) get a diigo account 2) join the oD-G20-communique group 3) start using diigo to add notes and comments to any part of the text below. I recommend you do this either through the diigolet functionality, or, my preferred option, through installing the diigo toolbar.

Lame-goose Japan

Despite a lame-duck US, Japan is no longer strongest goose at G20

A world in the balance

The summits of the elite world must begin to address the insecurity and inequality that afflict the majority of the earth's inhabitants, or pay a great price in the years to come.

The global financial crisis: opportunities for change

The world's severe economic downturn must be addressed alongside and not to the exclusion of other problems - global governance, climate change, the energy revolution, and the rise of a multipolar order, says Andre Wilkens.

(This article was first published on 10 November 2008)

International contagion under national leadership

Monetary policy needs profitable banks. Do not expect the G20 meeting to solve credit-creation soon.

Crises reveal the underlying architecture of the system. Grahame Thompson sees in the financial crisis the truth of socialised money, the truth of a merely inter-national system of economic governance, and the truth of a media hoked on globalisation.

Could the Soviet economy be re-established in Russia?

Recently created state corporations are now starting to play a major role in the Russian economy. Russia's economic system is becoming increasingly dependent on civil servants and the political leadership, rather than the market and competition. But Dmitri Travin believes it is premature to forecast a return to the administrative economy of the Soviet period.

Amid the financial storm: redirecting climate change

What impact will the global economic downturn have on arguments about climate change? The way to an answer lies through ourselves as much as the weather, says Mike Hulme.

(This article was first published on 30 October 2008)

Crisis as prelude to a new Golden Age

The financial crisis is not just a result of mis-aligned incentives and bad regulation. A neo-Schumpeterian view suggests that this epochal shift is the start of a re-shaping of institutions and power distribution to fit the world of information technology and clean energy. It will need guiding, argues Mary Kaldor.

The core crisis: standing with the poor

The importance of the project to end global poverty is accentuated not diminished by the world's financial troubles, says Anita Sharma.

Beyond the triple crisis: a green new deal

An imaginative and radical set of policies is needed to address the triple crunch of debt, peak oil and climate change, says Ann Pettifor.

(This article was first published on 27 October 2008)

A crisis-opportunity moment

The response of political elites to the global financial shock should take account of two previous chances to create a fairer world economy.

(This article was first published on 23 October 2008)

A politics of crisis: low-energy cosmopolitanism

The global financial turmoil is opening new fissures in the world's political crust. All the more need to make a cool assessment of the prospects for left and right, say Andrew Dobson & David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 22 October 2008)

The China fix

Western liberal capitalism made the global financial mess. China's authoritarian variety can't be expected to clear it up, says Will Hutton.

A world in flux: crisis to agency

The world's financial convulsions are a rare opportunity to reform global governance in ways that address the systemic inequalities of the neo-liberal age.

(This article was first published on 16 October 2008) 

The choice: leadership or collapse

A coordinated strategy to contain the world's financial pandemic is essential, says Will Hutton.


Europe’s financial crisis: the integration lesson

The global financial turmoil is causing political tensions in Europe. But it may impel the continent's leaders towards closer coordination, says Avinash Persaud.

Welcome to the Suicide Club. Notes on the Moscow property market

The whole world is in the grip of an economic crisis.  Most countries have been through similar extremely difficult periods at some point in their history, but Russia has only encountered concepts such as the mortgage and violent  stock market fluctuations in the last 17 years.  Natalya Spitsyna gives a detailed overview of the way the Moscow property market has been affected.

Wanted: a fairer capitalism

A systemic financial crisis is the culmination of three decades of neo-liberal dogma. Its lesson is the urgent need to rebuild the world's economic foundations, says Will Hutton.

The financial crisis: unorthodox thoughts

The scale and character of the problems afflicting the finance sector need to be clarified if regulation  is to work. This in turn makes posssible a more nuanced understanding of the "financial-crisis cycle", argues Grahame Thompson.

Unprincipled madness

If the anti-bail-out-ers are``principled but mad'', what are the principles at stake? The centre of American politics is being emptied from all sides.

The revenge of ideas: Karl Polanyi and Susan Strange

The crisis of the finance sector is vindication of the neglected work of an economic historian of "great transformation" and an anatomist of "casino capitalism", says Fred Halliday.  

A debt in the life

The bursting of the credit boom is a lesson in the human as well as the financial cost of debt, says Mark Vernon. 

The new new deal

In the wake of the Wall Street meltdown, the United States government plans to dedicate at least $700 billion to underwriting the country's financial system. The money should instead be used to rebuild the real economy and break the boom-bust cycle, says Saskia Sassen.

The week that changed everything

The United States-centred financial crisis will damage the lives and futures of savers, employees, businesses and consumers across the world. All the more reason to address the systemic failures that led to it, says Ann Pettifor.

The end of American capitalism (as we knew it)

The United States government takeover of the insurance giant AIG signals a revolution in global finance, says Willem Buiter. "From financialisation of the economy to the socialisation of finance. A small step for the lawyers, a huge step for mankind."

(This article was first published on 17 September 2008)

The Russian Economy and the Georgian War

Trading on the Russian stock market has been suspended for two days. In this penetrating article Dmitri Travin examines some of the reasons for the current panic and the effect the war with Georgia has had on the Russian economy.

America’s financial meltdown: lessons and prospects

The international debt crisis symbolised by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the forced sale of Merrill Lynch exposes the failure of the world's financial architecture. Ann Pettifor, whose openDemocracy article predicted the crisis in 2003, explains and looks ahead.

(This article was first published on 16 September 2008)

How to build a strong world economy

Kemal Dervis heads the UNDP - the United Nations Development Programme. He asks us to look at the world economy not from the perspective of immediate financial woes, but three to five years in the future. The longer term prospects for the world economy are really very good, he argues. But realising the potential will require legitimate and functioning international institutions.

Responsible recessions

The subprime crisis shows the need for new regulation but for a re-politicisation of economic and monetary policy, says Tony Curzon Price.
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