Dec 11, 2016 at 23:44 o\clock

The churn in economic policy thinking

Policy economists are going back to the drawing board. The anaemic global recovery more than eight years after the North Atlantic financial crisis has led macroeconomists to either seek new prescriptions or revive old ones to get economies back on track. The political backlash in many parts of the world against inequality within nationseven as inequality at the global level has reduced because of the progress in China and Indiahas forced new discussions on development policy.

Exhibit A: The December issue of the Finance and Development quarterly published by the International Monetary Fund has several discussions about the distributional consequences of free trade. One underlying theme in these essays is that world trade has increased global welfare at the aggregate level but there has been no structured attempt to compensate the losers in order to ensure that nobody is worse offthe classic Pareto principle of welfare economics. This comes even as the multilateral lender has altered its position on a range of other issues such as the efficacy of fiscal spending or capital account convertibility. Japan has even been asked to toy with an incomes policy to deal with its weak consumer demand, a policy option that was last seriously considered way back in the 1970s.

Exhibit B: Thirteen of the best development economists in the world have this month released a statement in Stockholm outlining the new contours of development policy. This group includes four former chief economists of the World Bank, and three IndiansKaushik Basu, Ravi Kanbur and Ashwini Deshpande. They begin by arguing that rapid economic growth is needed to spread opportunity as well as generate resources to fund social objectives. The Stockholm statement by these development economists stresses the need for programmes to address inequality, climate change and inclusive growth. One of the most interesting recommendations is to focus on social norms to build the sort of trust that is found in successful economies.

These are two of the most recent examples of fundamental rethinking about the goals of economic policy. It is important to recognize the risk of maverick politicians across the world throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For example, rising protectionist sentiment in many rich countries could threaten the open global trading system that has been the bedrock of economic progress. Similarly, it is hard to see how the poor can benefit when there is no macroeconomic stability because of reckless fiscal and monetary policies.

The problem in recent years has been one of overreach. Free trade agreements have been replaced by more ambitious attempts to harmonize regulations, protect the rights of investors and guarantee intellectual propertynot the sort of issues that traditional free trade advocates would have argued for. In international macroeconomics, the Bretton Woods goal of current account convertibility was replaced by a push towards capital account convertibility to benefit the financial sector.

The new intellectual initiatives are undoubtedly welcome. Economic policy thinking has to keep up with the times. It has to develop new ways to deal with old problems. However, it is also important to get the basics right. There is irrefutable evidence that the biggest gains against global poverty have been made when markets allocate resources, trade barriers are low, taxes are stable, private property is protected, rules are more important than discretion and there is macroeconomic stability. What needs to be done is more explicit focus on issues such as inequality, climate change and skills.

The global system is now at an interesting juncture. This system was put in place after the terrible episodes of protectionism, macro instability and economic stagnation led to the slaughter in a world war. The Bretton Woods system of international cooperation segued the second wave of globalization after 1990, as the Soviet Union collapsed and countries such as China and India joined the world economy. There have been several flaws in this system that were exposed after 2008, but the economic progress as well as the improvement in social indicators during this period cannot be ignored either.

The backlash against globalization in many rich countries presents a profound challenge to the framework of global institutions. It is now imperative that countries such as China and India step up to the podium to protect the global system that has helped them make such dramatic progress over the past 25 yearsand at the same time take a more active part in the ongoing intellectual churna modern samudra manthanthat should hopefully lead to a new policy consensus.

Where did the Bretton Woods consensus go wrong? Tell us at views@livemint.com

First Published: Mon, Dec 12 2016. 01 04 AM IST

Sep 13, 2016 at 12:02 o\clock

Bill Clinton: Hillary Is Doing Fine, Got Dehydrated After Working Like A Demon

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintonis doing fine afterher abrupt departure from a memorial event last weekend, former President Bill Clinton assured journalist Charlie Rose on Monday.

Shes doing fine, she was even better last night before she went to sleep, Clinton told Rose during an interview that aired on PBS late Monday. She had a good nights sleep, shes doing fine ... She just got dehydrated yesterday.

The Clinton camp has been scrambling to address the incident at a September 11 memorial ceremony in New York City. Video footage taken at the event appears to show the candidate wobbling on her feat and being helped into a van, her feet dragging. Her doctors later announced she had been diagnosed with pneumonialast week, which Clinton did not publicly disclose.

Rose pressed her husbands claims that she was only dehydrated, asking if there were any signs of something more serious.

Well if it is, its a mystery to me and all of her doctors, Bill Clinton replied, before noting that frequently well not frequently, rarely but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing happened to her when she got severely dehydrated.

The former president assured Rose that his wife wouldnt be gone for weeks ahead of the campaign trail, adding that she had been working like a demon and had two-and-a-half hard days before the day she got dizzy.

He noted after Sundays incident that hed be lucky to hold [his wife] back another day after she cancelled a campaign trip meant to see her in Californiathis week.

The former secretary of state has already come under fire for keeping her illness private from her media detail and all but her closest staffers.

I just didnt think it was going to be that big a deal, she told CNNs Anderson Cooper.

Both Clintons pointed to the unequal levels of scrutiny between the two leading candidates, notingDonald Trump had yet to release his tax returns and only provided cursory details about his health.

The Republican candidatepromised on Monday to release some of his health recordsin the coming days.

Jun 20, 2016 at 04:54 o\clock

Donald Trump Still Hasn't Started His General Election Campaign - Huffington Post

More than six weeks after he became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trumpis continuing to postpone his general election campaign until the party's convention in July.

"We start pretty much after the convention,"he told NBC in an interview on Saturday.

Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent,Hillary Clinton, began pivoting toward the general election even before she officially reached the number of delegates to win the nomination, and on Thursday began airingads in eight battleground states. Trump, who secured his party's nomination a month before Clinton did, has yet to air any general election ads.

Trump's delay is yet another sign of his unorthodox and disorganized campaign. Usually, by June, presidential candidates are well on their way to shoring up their campaign infrastructure and fundraising to meet the demands of the general election.

But Trump has yet to mobilize GOP donors, which could put him at a large financial disadvantage.Trump claimed on Saturday if he couldn't raise enough funds, "I would just put up my own money," like he did for his primary campaign, but his financial disclosures indicate that he does not have sufficient funds to run a general election campaign.

Trumphas about $160 million in pretax income, The Wall Street Journal estimates. In the2012 general election, Barack Obama spent $721 million and Mitt Romney spent $449 million.

Trump dismissed these concerns by insisting that he has "raised a lot of money for the party" and criticizing Clinton for taking campaign contributions from Wall Street.

"She's selling herself to Wall Street, and the Wall Street fat cats are putting up a lot of money for her," he said. "I don't want that kind of money. I don't need that money."

However, Clinton's campaign has far outpaced Trump's in terms of organization. According to her latest campaign finance reports, she has spent more than triple the amount of money that Trump has. In addition, her campaign employs about 10 times more staffers.

Trump has thrown out traditional political techniques at every turn. During the primaries, he faced criticism for running an amateur campaign, even from people within the campaignitself. So far he hasn't done much to assuage those concerns, continuing to invest little in grassroots campaigning andquestioning the importance of using data analytics --areas where Democrats have had a significant advantage over Republicans in recent elections.

His reliance on free media, in the form of wall-to-wall network television coverage of his raucous campaign rallies,may not work for a general election campaign. His message will have to be targeted toward specific swing states and constituencies, which so far he has not done. Instead, in the month since he officially won the nomination, he has made several campaign stops in traditionally Republican statesand has doubled down on brash and divisive rhetoric, sinking his already abysmal favorability ratings.

Behind the scenes, his campaign has shown little evidence of organization and strategy. Trump fired national political director Rick Wileyafter only a few weeks on the job, even though Wiley was brought in specifically to coordinate with party officials and help shift the campaign toward the general election.

Trump's campaign structure remains scant. Despite being a national-level campaign, it lacks basic elements such as a communications team and a rapid response director.When an adviser told Trump to hire a rapid response director, the mogul reportedly said: "I am the rapid response person."

When Trump launched racist attacks against a federal judge, prompting many Republicans--including some of his prominent supporters--to distance themselves, he and his staff completely miscommunicated their strategy. Trump's staff instructed campaign surrogates to divert attention from the story, while Trump wanted to escalate the attacks and ordered them to ignore his staff's advice.

And Trump's latest controversy, theresponse to the Orlando mass shootingthat congratulated himself and reiterated his proposal to bar Muslim immigrants, is causing further hand-wringing and disunity among GOP leaders.

On Saturday, Trump was unfazed, arguing that he doesn't need the party to unite behind him in order to win.

"I think I can win either way," he told NBC. "I do believe we can win either way, but it would be nice if we stuck together."

Editors note:Donald Trump regularlyincites political violenceand is aserial liar,rampant xenophobe,racist,misogynistandbirtherwho has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims 1.6 billion members of an entire religion from entering the U.S.

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Apr 6, 2016 at 00:45 o\clock

Panama Papers: Iceland's Prime Minister David Gunlaugsson Resigns

REYKJAVIK Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson became the first major casualty of the Panama Papers revelations, stepping down on Tuesday after leaked files showed his wife owned an offshore firm with big claims on the country's collapsed banks.

RELATED: Why Are the 'Panama Papers' Important?

The ruling Progressive Party's deputy leader Sigurdur Ingi Johansson, who holds the fisheries and agriculture portfolio, told reporters after a party meeting that the party planned to name him as the new leader.

Gunnlaugsson stepped down ahead of a planned vote of no-confidence, hours after asking President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to dissolve parliament.

Image: Iceland's Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson arrives at Iceland president Image: Iceland's Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson arrives at Iceland president Iceland's PM arrives at the official resident of the Iceland President in Reykjavik Tuesday. SIGTRYGGUR JOHANNSSON / Reuters

The president had said he would talk with the main parties before making a decision. Dissolving parliament would almost certainly lead to a new election.

On Monday, the opposition filed a motion of no-confidence and thousands of Icelanders gathered in front of parliament, hurling eggs and bananas and demanding the departure of the leader of the center-right coalition government, in power since 2013.

Gunnlaugsson is the first casualty of the so-called "Panama Papers" millions of leaked documents revealing financial arrangements of politicians and public figures from around the world from a Panama law firm that specializes in setting up offshore companies.

RELATED: How the Panama Papers Link Notorious Events in History

The prime minister has said his wife's overseas assets were taxed in Iceland.

But his opponents say he should have been open about the overseas assets and the company, and that he had a conflict of interest because the government is involved in striking deals with claimants against the bankrupt banks.

A government spokesman has said the claims against Iceland's collapsed banks held by the firm owned by the prime minister's wife - in which he also temporarily held a stake totaled more than 500 million Icelandic crowns ($4.1 million).

RELATED: What Do the 'Panama Papers' Mean for Putin?

Iceland's main commercial banks collapsed as the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and many Icelanders have blamed the North Atlantic island nation's politicians for not reigning in the banks' debt-fueled binge and averting a deep recession.

A new election could see victory for the anti-establishment Pirate Party, according to polls the most popular political force in Iceland, which espouses grassroots democracy and transparency.

Jan 24, 2016 at 16:41 o\clock

HVAC Getting You Down? These Tips Will Help

Facilities Maintenance Companies will help you. The HVAC system in your home is a component to having a nice living space. Or you having no air blowing at all, the only thing that follows is misery, if it's too hot or cold. You know how expensive it is to fix, so it is vital that you prevent these things from occurring. Below there are many good tips to help you keep up with proper HVAC maintenance.

Although most people are thinking of their heating systems during the winter months, air conditioning is also important. When installing a new furnace or heating system, make sure the air ducts are also set up to work with your air condition system. Using the ducts for both heating and cooling is the most economical choice.

When a contractor gives you a list of references, be sure to make use of it. According to the promised timeline, call the people on the list and ask about the quality of the work, how closely they came to their quote and whether or not the work was completed.

Look for discounts wherever possible. HVAC systems can be rather costly, so you'll want to seek out whatever discounts and deals that may be out there. When shopping around, ask about any current specials running, and look for discounts that are related to ENERGY STAR compliance. Both can save you a lot of cash.

Let others know if you do have a good experience with a HVAC product or contractor. Go online and post a review so that people can easily find out who and what brands to trust. At the same time, you can check reviews online to learn more yourself about what's available.

Before the summer you should clean out your condenser fan's blades and coils. The power to the unit should be removed before you begin any maintenance, even cleaning. The outside condenser unit should be kept free of leaves and other debris.

Be sure to check your evaporator coil drains frequently when your air conditioner is running. You can find water damage to your walls, ceilings and floors, if this tube backs up. If you end up with mold just use a solution of bleach and water to clean out the tube.

Spend some time on researching for reliable HVAC companies to ensure that they have a good reputation. Look at review check and sites with the BBB. This will help you to choose a contractor that is of high quality.

Service your HVAC yearly. This inspection will ensure that your unit is working efficiently, including a freon level and motor check, and oiling moving parts. Those things are going to help your system at peak performance.

Shut off the air conditioning if nobody is home. When it's off the house will get hot, but only by a certain amount. Leaving it on increases your electric bill and tear and wear on the system, however.

Air conditioners sometimes ice up. The drain line might also freeze over. Change the setting on your thermostat to the fan setting and this will disable the compressor if this is something that's happening to you. This problem will need to be handled by a professional, even though the fan will probably help with the ice situation.

While price should be one of the considerations you make when you are hiring an HVAC contractor, do not allow it to cloud your judgement. In order to make a sound decision, there are other factors that need to be considered. Experience level, work ethic and positive reviews are a few things that should be considered as well.

Try to stay away from HVAC contractors that ask for upfront payments before they are willing to get started on the work they were hired to do. In many cases, this means that they are more concerned about getting paid than they are about making sure the job is done well.

When you engage a contractor, request references. You want to make sure that the contractor has satisfied previous customers. If you check references carefully, you can avoid being scammed.

Think about installing a digital programmable thermostat to keep your cooling and heating bills low. These digital thermostats have timers that allow you to completely control your HVAC use. You can set the heat and cooling to only turn on when you are home and to turn off when you are at work.

If anything is inside it, when your unit is clicking, immediately go out and look to see. Many times it could be debris hitting the cooling system fans. Removing the debris solves the issue. Look carefully at it before you call up a service technician.

Try looking at some reviews online for local HVAC companies. There are many websites and directories online that should include these services that are in your area. This can help you comparison shop. You need to look at many aspects. Pay special attention to licensing, how many years they've been around, any issues, and how they were resolved.

While it is common practice to negotiate a rate quoted by a contractor, you should not offer an amount that the contractor will find offensive. They have to pay for things like insurance and overhead costs. Keep this in mind when you are trying to haggle with them for a better rate.

Call in a contractor to find out if you can install an air conditioner on your current forced-air system without having to install new duct work. This can save you a ton of money and time, plus it takes up less space in your walls and rooms to boot.

Never hire anyone to work on your HVAC system unless they are bonded and licensed. This industry is one where mistakes happen often and you want to make sure that you are protected. You do not want to be stuck paying for medical bills that are more expensive than the work you were having done.

As stated in the introduction, it is your home's HVAC system that lets you enjoy a consistent indoor temperature range all year long. Regardless of the season, your properly maintained home heating, air and ventilation conditioning means you rest comfortably inside. Use the advice from this article to make sure that your home stays the temperature you want.

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