Project Syndicate
PS. Explain This: A Bitcoin Bubble?
December 15th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized crypto-currency, has become the newest darling of financial markets. But it’s clearly a risky asset. PS Associate Editor Whitney Arana explains.

Robert Barro’s Tax-Reform Advocacy: A Response
December 15th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Robert Barro is a serious and careful economist, but he makes errors in modeling the actual provisions of the Republican tax plan, and he chooses parameters that distort his conclusions substantially upward. Instead of using his insights to defend and promote the GOP tax legislation, Barro should have helped to shape a much better bill.

Inequality in the Twenty-First Century
December 15th, 2017, 03:32 PM

As inequality continues to deepen worldwide, we do not have the luxury of sticking to the status quo. Unless we confront the inequality challenge head on – as we have just begun to do with another existential threat, climate change – social cohesion, and especially democracy, will come under growing threat.

The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

Surveying the Damage of Low Interest Rates
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Few would disagree that it was necessary to slash interest rates in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. But after a decade of ultra-loose monetary policies across advanced economies, growth remains tepid, financial risks have proliferated, and middle-class savers have lost out.

Complacency Will Be Tested in 2018
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Despite seemingly robust indicators, the world economy may not be nearly as resilient to shocks and systemic challenges as the consensus view seems to believe. In particular, the absence of a classic vigorous rebound from the Great Recession means that the global economy never recouped the growth lost in the worst downturn of modern times.

Africa’s Must-Do Decade
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

In recent decades, some developing countries – mainly in Asia – have managed to industrialize. For African countries to achieve sustainable development, they, too, will have to increase substantially the share of industry – especially manufacturing – in their national investment, output, and trade.

PS. In Theory: Trickle-Down Economics
December 14th, 2017, 03:32 PM

The US Republican Party is overhauling the American tax system, with the expectation that massive tax cuts for corporations will stimulate economic growth. It’s trickle-down economics 3.0. But will it work? PS Associate Editor Whitney Arana explains.

Trump’s Jerusalem Rationale and its Consequences
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

The US administration seems to believe that Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments are so concerned with the perceived Iranian threat that they will put aside their long-standing hostility toward Israel. The problem is that the new Saudi crown prince's highest priority – to consolidate his power – may lead him to reject a peacemaking role.

Goodbye, Johnny
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

The beguiling feature of the funeral of French music icon Johnny Hallyday was his ability to stage-manage his destiny, right up to the final hour, and the star power that his being retained even in death. There he was – and there was France.

Can Europe Sustain the Macron Moment?
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

The European Union's political and economic outlook improved dramatically in 2017, following a year in which the bloc reeled from the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum and Donald Trump's election in the United States. But European leaders must not become complacent in 2018, or the EU could be thrown into crisis yet again the following year.

How US Corporate-Tax Reform Will Boost Growth
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Now that the Republican-led US House of Representatives and Senate have each passed bills to overhaul the tax system, we can start to see what effect the coming changes will have on the US economy. By reducing the costs of investments and cutting the tax rate on corporate profits, the final plan that emerges will likely boost growth substantially.

Financial Investors’ Wish List for 2018
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Given how well investors have been doing lately, many are probably hoping for more of the same in the coming year. But what they should really be wishing for is that economic and policy fundamentals improve to the point that they validate existing asset prices, while laying a foundation for greater gains.

Reinforcing Fiscal Governance in the Eurozone
December 13th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Euro members face two challenges, says economist Niels Thygesen: building stronger fiscal buffers to combat future economic crises, and designing a mandate for joint action in Europe's Economic and Monetary Union to complement national fiscal policies. 

Coming Clean in 2018
December 12th, 2017, 03:32 PM

US President Richard Nixon and many of his aides learned during the Watergate scandal that the cover-up makes the original mistake ten times worse. In 2018, the Trump administration – and companies like Uber and 21st Century Fox – will ignore that lesson at their peril.

The Myth of a Fossil Fuel Phase-Out
December 12th, 2017, 03:32 PM

How we use energy is a hot topic for a warming world, and fears of pollution and resource strain have produced an arms race of energy efficiency solutions. But despite fears of shortages or threats from pollution, the planet has actually entered an era of fossil fuel abundance that shows no sign of abating.

Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan
December 12th, 2017, 03:32 PM

Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

Two Myths About Automation
December 12th, 2017, 03:32 PM

While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

The Man Who Didn’t Save the World
December 12th, 2017, 03:32 PM

A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.