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While the United States is distracted by its election, the rest of the world is planning the Great Reset. Keep your eye on the ball!
Introducing the 'Great Reset,' world leaders' radical plan to transform the economy
BY JUSTIN HASKINS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 06/25/20 11:00 AM EDT 270 THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL
© Getty For decades, progressives have attempted to use climate change to justify liberal policy changes. But their latest attempt – a new proposal called the “Great Reset” – is the most ambitious and radical plan the world has seen in more than a generation.
At a virtual meeting earlier in June hosted by the World Economic Forum, some of the planet’s most powerful business leaders, government officials and activists announced a proposal to “reset” the global economy. Instead of traditional capitalism, the high-profile group said the world should adopt more socialistic policies, such as wealth taxes, additional regulations and massive Green New Deal-like government programs.
“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed,” wrote Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in an article published on WEF’s website. “In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”
Schwab also said that “all aspects of our societies and economies” must be “revamped,” “from education to social contracts and working conditions.”
Joining Schwab at the WEF event was Prince Charles, one of the primary proponents of the Great Reset; Gina Gopinath, the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund; António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations; and CEOs and presidents of major international corporations, such as Microsoft and BP.
Activists from groups such as Greenpeace International and a variety of academics also attended the event or have expressed their support for the Great Reset.
Although many details about the Great Reset won’t be rolled out until the World Economic Forum meets in Davos in January 2021, the general principles of the plan are clear: The world needs massive new government programs and far-reaching policies comparable to those offered by American socialists such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in their Green New Deal plan.
Or, put another way, we need a form of socialism — a word the World Economic Forum has deliberately avoided using, all while calling for countless socialist and progressive plans.
“We need to design policies to align with investment in people and the environment,” said the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow. “But above all, the longer-term perspective is about rebalancing economies.”
One of the main themes of the June meeting was that the coronavirus pandemic has created an important “opportunity” for many of the World Economic Forum’s members to enact their radical transformation of capitalism, which they acknowledged would likely not have been made possible without the pandemic.
“We have a golden opportunity to seize something good from this crisis — its unprecedented shockwaves may well make people more receptive to big visions of change,” said Prince Charles at the meeting, adding later, “It is an opportunity we have never had before and may never have again.”
You might be wondering how these leaders plan to convince the world to completely alter its economy over the long run, since the COVID-19 pandemic most assuredly won’t remain a crisis forever. The answer is that they’ve already identified another “crisis” that will require expansive government intervention: Climate change.
“The threat of climate change has been more gradual [than COVID-19]—but its devastating reality for many people and their livelihoods around the world, and its ever greater potential to disrupt, surpasses even that of Covid-19,” Prince Charles said.
Of course, these government officials, activists and influencers can’t impose a systemic change of this size on their own. Which is why they have already started to activate vast networks of left-wing activists from around the world, who will throughout 2021 demand changes in line with the Great Reset.
According to the World Economic Forum, its 2021 Davos summit will include thousands of members of the Global Shapers Community, youth activists located in 400 cities across the planet.
The Global Shapers program was involved in the widespread “climate strikes” of 2019, and more than 1,300 have already been trained by the Climate Reality Project, the highly influential, well-funded climate activist organization run by former Vice President Al Gore, who serves on the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees.
For those of us who support free markets, the Great Reset is nothing short of terrifying. Our current crony capitalist system has many flaws, to be sure, but granting more power to the government agents who created that crony system and eroding property rights is not the best way forward. America is the world’s most powerful, prosperous nation precisely because of the very market principles the Great Reset supporters loathe, not in spite of them.
Making matters worse, the left has already proven throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that it can radically transform political realities in the midst of a crisis, so it’s not hard to see how the Great Reset could eventually come to fruition.
Progressive House Democrats to host health care strategy session Bolton: Republican leaders need to explain to voters that Trump lost Can you imagine George W. Bush or Bill Clinton printing trillions of dollars and mailing it to millions of people who didn’t lose their jobs? This would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago. Today, this policy garners bipartisan support.
Prince Charles was right: The present pandemic is a “golden opportunity” for radical change. And if Al Gore, Prince Charles and the rest of the World Economic Forum can convince enough people that attempting to stop climate change is also worth dramatically pushing humanity toward greater government control, then radical – and catastrophic – change is exactly what we’re going to get.
Analysis .. The world is approaching the fourth wave of debt
February 09, 2020 03:07 PM
Mubasher - Ahmed Shawky : Amidst the World Bank warning of a massive wave of debt escalating all over the world, it is not clear who will be affected the most.
But if the countries most vulnerable to the brunt of the debt wave, from the UK to India, do not act soon, they may face severe economic damage, according to Kyushik Paseo, a former World Bank economist, through an analysis published by Project Syndicate.
Over the past decade, the global economy has seen a steady accumulation of debt, now reaching 230 percent of global GDP, with the fact that the last three debt waves have caused a major economic recession around the world.
The catastrophic past of debt
The first debt wave was in the early 1980s, after 10 years of low borrowing costs that enabled governments to expand their balance sheets considerably, interest rates began to rise, making debt service increasingly unsustainable.
Mexico was the first victim, as the US government and the International Monetary Fund were informed in 1982 that they could no longer pay their debts.
This had a domino effect, as 16 Latin American countries and 11 least developed countries outside the region eventually rescheduled their debt.
In the 1990s, interest rates were again low, raising global debt again.
The crash came in 1997, when the fast-growing but financially vulnerable East Asian economies - including Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand - experienced a sharp slowdown in growth and their currency rates plunged, thus extending effects to all parts of the world.
But emerging economies are not alone vulnerable to such meltdowns, as demonstrated by the 2008 US mortgage crisis.
By the time everyone discovered what the mortgage crisis meant, American investment bank Lehman Brothers had collapsed, causing the worst crises and recessions since the Great Depression.
The fourth wave of debt
The World Bank recently warned that the fourth debt wave may exceed in its first three waves, as emerging economies whose debt-to-GDP ratio reached a record low of 170 percent are particularly vulnerable.
As in previous cases, the debt crisis increases due to lower interest rates, while anxiety will start as soon as interest starts to rise.
The reality is that the mechanisms of such crises are not well understood, but research conducted by "Stephen Morris" and "Mortar Song Shin" in 1998 about the mysterious origins of currency crises, and how they are transmitted to other economies, shows that a "financial tsunami" can make the situation go beyond a source the crisis.
How the source of the financial crisis could fade has been illustrated in the delightful short story "Ranam Kurtva" by the famous Indian writer, Shibram Chakraborti.
In this story, the desperate Chipram asks an old school friend, Harsha, to lend him 500 rupees ($ 7) on Wednesday with a promise to pay the deposit the following Saturday.
But Chibram is wasting money, so when he comes on Saturday, he has no choice but to ask another school friend, Jopar, for a loan of 500 rupees, to pay it back next Wednesday.
Chipram uses the money to pay off his debts to Harsha, but when he comes on Wednesday he has no way to pay off Jopar’s debt, so he reminds Harsha that he paid off his debts on time and therefore borrowed from him again.
This becomes customary as Shibram repeatedly borrows from a friend to pay off his debts to the other, and Shibram then clashes with Harsha and Jobar one day.
After a moment of anxiety, Chipram proposes an idea that every Wednesday Harsha should give “Jopar” 500 rupees, and every Saturday the latter must give the same amount to the first.
Shepram assures his former friends at school that this will save him a lot of time and change nothing for them, and he will disappear in the crowds of the city "Kolkata" in India.
The UK and India are a model of the crisis
So who are the potential "Harsha" and "Jobar" in today's debt spree? According to the World Bank, they could be any country with domestic vulnerabilities, a large fiscal balance sheet, and a heavily indebted population.
There are many countries that fit this description and run the risk of becoming the channel that carries the fourth debt wave of the global economy.
Among the advanced economies, the UK is a clear candidate, and in 2019 Britain barely avoided recession, recording the weakest pace of growth in any period not seen since the 1945 recession.
Britain's conservatives have also promised big increases in commercial investment, and this is unlikely, but instead it will be a debt wave.
Among emerging economies, India is particularly vulnerable, as in the 1980s the Indian economy was somewhat protected, and consequently the debt wave had little impact at that time.
At the time of the East Asia crisis in 1997, India had just begun to open up and thus experienced some slowdown in growth.
By the time of the debt wave in 2008, the country had become globally integrated and severely affected, but its economy was strong and growing at almost 10 percent annually, and recovered within a year.
But India’s economy today faces one of the deepest crises of the past 30 years, with growth slowing sharply and unemployment at the highest level in 45 years, almost no export growth over the past six years, and per capita consumption in the agricultural sector over the past five years.
Add to this a highly polarized political environment, and therefore it is no wonder that investor confidence is rapidly declining.
It is not too late for countries to build "walls" to protect against the debt tsunami, while while India's political problems will take time to resolve, the new budget may be an opportunity to take precautionary action.
The fiscal deficit must be controlled in the medium term, but the government will be prudent in adopting an expansionary fiscal policy now, with funds directed to support infrastructure and investment, and if managed properly, could boost demand without increasing inflationary pressures and strengthening the economy in order to cope with the debt wave.
By George Hayduke
By Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Fourth Arab Fiscal Forum, Dubai
February 9, 2019
Good morning—Sabah Al-Khair! I am delighted to be back in Dubai, this city of tomorrow, where you—its economic leaders—are dedicated to realizing the vision of a better tomorrow.
This vision is predicated on prosperity that is shared by all, benefiting the poor and the middle class, citizens and immigrants alike; and opportunities that are open to all, including women. It is a vision of fairness over cronyism and partiality, and of trust that government policy is oriented toward the common good.
This is a big vision. But as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once said “The bigger your vision, the bigger your achievement will be…we cannot let fear keep us small. We have to be brave to be big."
As you know so well, fiscal policy plays a vital role in creating and nurturing this vision of sustainable and inclusive growth—especially as encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. This is because we need fiscal space for spending on health, education, social protection, and public investment—all key priorities in this region.
This is why I wanted to come back to the Arab Fiscal Forum—my fourth time now. In past years, I talked in detail about fiscal policy—the spending and revenue measures needed to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. This year, I want to go one level deeper—into the foundations of fiscal policy and good fiscal management.
Because without a stable foundation, even the best policies can flounder. Without a stable foundation, fiscal policy will lack credibility. In this vein, I will address two key pillars of good fiscal management: (i) strong fiscal frameworks; and (ii) good governance and transparency.
Prelude: Global and regional context
Before I do this, let me say a few words about the broader economic context bearing on fiscal policy in the region. Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade. Among oil importers, growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels. Fiscal deficits remain high, and public debt has risen rapidly—from 64 percent of GDP in 2008 to 85 percent of GDP a decade later. Public debt now exceeds 90 percent of GDP in nearly half of these countries.
The oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014. Modest growth continues, but the outlook is highly uncertain—reflecting in part the need for countries to shift rapidly toward renewable energy over the new few decades, in line with the Paris Agreement. With revenues down, fiscal deficits are only slowly declining—despite significant reforms on both the spending and revenue sides, including the introduction of VAT and excise taxes. This has led to a sharp increase in public debt—from 13 percent of GDP in 2013 to 33 percent in 2018.
At this juncture, the global expansion is weakening, and risks are rising. Just a few weeks ago, we released our revised forecasts. We now think that the global economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year, 0.2 percentage points below what we expected in October. And risks are up, given escalating trade tensions and tightening financial conditions. Unsurprisingly, a weaker global environment has knock-on effects on the region through a variety of channels—trade, remittances, capital flows, commodity prices, and financing conditions.
The bottom line: the economic path ahead for the region is challenging. This makes the task of fiscal policy that much harder, which in turn makes it even more important to build strong foundations to anchor fiscal policy.
1. Fiscal Frameworks
The first building block of this foundation is a good fiscal framework. By this I mean the set of laws, institutional arrangements, and procedures needed to achieve a country’s fiscal policy objectives. Such a framework allows governments to map out budgets over the medium term in a way that reflects clear, consistent, and credible goals.
There is scope to improve fiscal frameworks in this region. Some of the weaknesses are short-termism and insufficient credibility.
On short-termism: given that inclusive and sustainable growth is an inherently medium-term goal, fiscal policy needs a medium-term orientation. Focusing on the immediate horizon makes it harder to implement critical but longer-term reforms in such areas as tackling high public wage bills, designing effective social protection systems, and getting rid of harmful fuel subsidies. Short-termism implies that fiscal policy amplifies rather than tames the waves of booms and busts—making it more difficult to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.
Turning to fiscal credibility: I am referring to such factors as large amounts of spending kept off-budget and poor risk management. Across the region, it is common for sovereign wealth funds to directly finance projects, bypassing the normal budget process. And state-owned enterprises in some countries have high levels of borrowing—again, outside of the budget. Addressing these fiscal risks would not only enhance budget credibility and transparency but would help keep a lid on corruption. Budgetary credibility also calls for better risk management, with a more comprehensive budget based on realistic forecasts.
The good news is that numerous countries are already strengthening their fiscal frameworks—many with IMF assistance. Just to give some examples:
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Sudan, Qatar, and Lebanon have all set up macro-fiscal units—a useful first step in strengthening the fiscal framework. Algeria has recently adopted a new budget law with a strong medium-term orientation, and Bahrain has introduced a fiscal program designed to achieve balance over the medium term. Mauritania, Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon are making great progress with medium-term public investment planning and execution. Egypt now publishes a fiscal risk statement with its budget and produces an internal in-year budget risk assessment. The UAE too is rolling out a fiscal risk management project—with the IMF’s help—and will produce its first fiscal stress test this year. There is scope for further improvement. Perhaps the oil exporters could follow the example of other resource-rich countries such as Chile and Norway in using fiscal rules to protect key priorities such as social spending from commodity price volatility.
Strong fiscal frameworks have other important benefits. They form the basis for sound debt management. They also allow for better coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, so that the two arms of macroeconomic management work together, not at cross purposes.
2. Good Governance and Transparency
Let me now turn to the second pillar of good fiscal management—good governance and transparency. In this context, governance refers to the institutional frameworks and practices of the public sector. Strong institutions are crucial for legitimacy, for fostering a clearer understanding of policy objectives among citizens, enhancing their voice, and generating buy-in for fiscal policy.
On the other hand, as many of you have said, weak institutions imply a weak policy foundation that could crack and crumble—because there is inadequate legitimacy and public accountability. Even worse, these cracks could also let corruption creep in. And you know so well, this is social poison—it feeds discord, disengagement, and disillusionment, especially among the young. The word corruption, after all, comes from Latin root for rotting, breaking apart—disintegration. And the word in Arabic, fasad, also connotes this idea of rotting or coming undone.
Corruption is the great disruptor of fiscal policy. Without trust in the fairness of the tax system, it becomes harder to raise the revenue needed for critical spending on health, education, and social protection. And governments might be tempted to favor white elephant projects instead of investments in people and productive potential. Add this up, and we have a recipe for unsustainable fiscal policy combined with social discord.
This a global issue—relevant for large and small countries, advanced and low-income economies, and the public and private sectors. Given this, it is no surprise that IMF research found that weak governance and corruption are associated with significantly lower growth, investment, FDI, and tax revenues—and higher inequality and exclusion.
Specifically, we found that improving on an index of corruption and governance by moving from the bottom quarter to the mean is associated with an increase in the investment-to-GDP ratio of 1.5–2 percentage points and a bump up in annual GDP per capita growth by half a percentage point or more.  We will have more analysis in the upcoming Fiscal Monitor, which will be devoted to the topic of the fiscal costs of corruption and the role of fiscal institutions.
What is the solution to weak governance and corruption? In the fiscal domain, it calls for heightened fiscal transparency—shining a light on all aspects of the budget and the public accounts. This would provide a more accurate picture of the fiscal position and prospects, the long-term costs and benefits of any policy changes, and the potential fiscal risks that might throw them off course. This region has some room for improvement here.
We know that these kinds of reforms pay off. Take the case of Georgia, for example. Until 2003, it was seen as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But after that, it reformed its institutions and cracked down on corruption. This, along with tax reform, led to immediate improvements. Tax revenues increased from 12 percent of GDP in 2003 to 25 percent of GDP in 2008, as taxpayers had greater faith in the fairness of the system.
I should note that the IMF has been stepping up its engagement in the area of governance and corruption. Last year, we put in place a new framework predicated on a more systematic, evenhanded, effective, and candid engagement on these issues with member countries. We will be reaching out to leaders in this region to discuss how we can work together to implement this framework.
With better governance, we can replace the “disintegration” of corruption with the “integration” of all into the productive economy. We can replace fasad with islah—reforms to set things right, to reconcile people with one another.
Let me wrap up. I have argued this morning that good fiscal policy requires good institutional foundations. And solid foundations in areas such as fiscal frameworks and governance give citizens confidence that fiscal policy serves the good of all, not just the wealthy or the well-connected.
Let me end with some wise words attributed to the great Ibn Khaldun, “He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, even if the trail has to be found again by others; and he who walks far ahead of his contemporaries is a leader.”
You are the pathfinders, the leaders, the visionaries. We hope that we can give useful guidance, but we look to you to find the right path to make this vision a reality.
 More specifically, those gains are associated with moving from the 25thpercentile to the 50th percentile in an index on corruption and governance.
IMF Laying the foundations
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Daniel Nolan in Budapest
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