Category: Political Economy

Trump is just a conventional politician who uses over-the-top bluster, NAFTA edition

Trump is just a conventional politician who uses over-the-top bluster, NAFTA edition

This morning, the Trump Administration called the leaders of Canada and Mexico to tell them that he “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time,” showing, yet again, that Donald Trump is much less audacious a President than some expected. The question is why. About two months ago, I surmised that despite all his hot rhetoric, Trump’s bark was worse […]

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Canada’s soft lumber and dairy are easy targets for Trump’s ‘America First’ strategy

Canada’s soft lumber and dairy are easy targets for Trump’s ‘America First’ strategy

Donald Trump is a very media-centric public figure. And because the chatter in DC now is of Trump as a legislative failure during his first hundred days in office, Trump needs a win – and Canada is an easy target. Here’s why.

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Why Macron is a risky bet for France and for Europe

Why Macron is a risky bet for France and for Europe

About two months ago I wrote about Emmanuel Macron as a risk, rather than a saviour. Today, following his 1st round presidential victory in France, I feel even more that he represents a risk that is unappreciated. Here’s why.

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Some thoughts on water and climate change

If water becomes a contentious issue, it will have geopolitical and military implications. And we would need to solve the water issue to prevent those implications from leading to nationalism and military confrontation.

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Brexit is more important politically than it is economically

Brexit is more important politically than it is economically

Today’s news coverage is non-stop Brexit. And this is a big event. But it is the political implications which matter; the economic impact will be more muted.

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Did the Greek bailout money go to ‘liquor and women’?

Did the Greek bailout money go to ‘liquor and women’?

It is tragic that this ‘liquor and women’ quote is the discussion dominating headlines as the EU celebrates the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

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Some thoughts on Dijsselbloem’s ‘liquor and women’ intervention

Last week, I wrote how the Labour Party in the Netherlands suffered a historic defeat in parliamentary elections because voters questioned their priorities – and how this is emblematic of Western social democratic parties everywhere. And as if to prove my point, Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem has produced an analogy on fiscal spending about ‘liquor and women’ that has outraged many. Let me put his comments in the proper context here to make a wider point about the European Union.

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Will Brexit’s trigger, now set for 29 March, mean recession?

Will Brexit’s trigger, now set for 29 March, mean recession?

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger her country’s exit from the EU on 29 March, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister has confirmed. Afterwards, the clock will be ticking, as the UK will have two years to wind up any negotiations for exit before the country’s membership ends on 29 March 2019 after 46 years. The biggest questions are what this means for the UK economy, the EU economy and whether it is a precedent others will want to follow. Some thoughts below

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Some thoughts on systematic central bank policy errors

A recent post by Matthew Klein on central banks over at FT Alphaville that dovetails with some of the themes I have been writing about here at Credit Writedowns for the past decades is what preciputated this post. Let me summarize my thesis and tell you why it matters. Here are the bullet points – focused here mostly on the US.

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Great risk to Turkey as relations with Germany sour

Turkey is in the middle of a major political row with Germany. In the wake of the attempted coup d’tat last year, Turkish President Erdogan wants to change its constitution to give the President more power. And because the likely vote will be close and so many Turks live in Germany and the Netherlands, Erdogan’s allies want to campaign in those countries.

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The US trade deficit is at a five-year high

This morning data from the US Commerce Department showed the US trade deficit in January at its highest level since March 2012. The numbers were not unexpected as the $48.5 billion deficit was bang on economist estimates.

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Underconsumption and the end of excess demand

Yesterday’s post on the failure of Japan’s monetary policy experiment drew some favourable commentary from a prominent macroeconomist that I want to run by you. The gist of his insight is that we have long been living in an age of an excess supply which is only now being made plain. Let me run the tenor of his comments by you and make some additional ones of my own.

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