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The Potential Belt and Road Debt Bubble: Are We Asking the Right Questions?

During the recent IMF and World Bank meetings, all eyes were on China. As the US administration contemplates scaling back its global economic engagement, China is doing the exact opposite. But there is increasing attention being paid to risks associated with Chinese financing on two fronts.

If the Trump Administration Abandons Climate, Will China Take Global Leadership?

President Elect Donald Trump committed his first major personnel act on climate Wednesday, picking Scott Pruitt—Oklahoma Attorney General, climate change denier, and oil industry ally—to head the Environmental Protection Agency. If Pruitt is confirmed to the position, he will be responsible for looking out for not just for narrow oil interests, but all Americans. Maybe he’ll be persuaded to take a more forward-looking stance on climate by the Americans already suffering from sea level rise in AlaskaFlorida, and Louisiana. But if that doesn’t concern him, perhaps the United States losing international goodwill and influence to an ascendant China will.

How the United States Can Lose Influence in Asia in 4 Easy Steps

Step One

Unilaterally seek to push Asia’s largest economy out of the Asian Development Bank’s club of borrowers. Never mind that China’s “graduation” from the ADB would weaken the institution financially and sever an important channel of influence and dialogue with Chinese officials.

Apple in China: CSR as a Marketing Tool?

Having analyzed the debate over globalization and labor standards for some years now, I was not in the least surprised by the recent revelations about dangerous and unfair labor practices at Apple’s supplier factories in China. Like many other brand-name companies, Apple has a code of conduct for its suppliers and it responded to the allegations of abuses by stepping up audits of factories in its supply chain.  But does this really do anything to fundamentally change the conditions in the factories?

To Be or Not To Be? That Is the Question for the Doha Round Now

How many readers were even aware that a meeting of trade minsters is happening in Geneva later this week? How many care? Two years ago, I wrote a blog post about the 2009 ministerial meeting headlined “to blog or not to blog…” because nothing was expected to happen, and nothing did. This year, I’m reverting to the original expression because it is (past) time for a decision on what to do with the Doha Round—finish it or bury it and move on.

Aid Alert: China Officially Joins the Donor Club

Several thousands gathered in the port city of Busan in Korea (the fifth largest port in the world) this past week at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (#HLF4 on twitter). More than 100 ministers (mostly of development cooperation) attended.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Lee of Korea, President Kagame of Rwanda and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the opening plenary. Clinton is the first U.S. secretary of state to attend an aid forum.

Will Donors Hide behind China?

This post was originally featured on Owen Barder’s Owen Abroad: Thoughts on Development and Beyond blog.

Will the largest aid donors hide behind China to excuse their inability to make substantial improvements in foreign aid? How can Busan balance the desire to be more universal with the pressing need for real changes in the way aid is given?

Lagarde and the Dragon: The IMF’s New Head Confronts a Rapidly Changing World

Judging from her first public speech since taking office last July, Christine Lagarde is all that her many supporters say she is: tough-minded, articulate, charming.  In a talk hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington’s Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, she deftly laid out key challenges facing the global economy: “an anemic and bumpy recovery with unacceptably high unemployment” in the high-income countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and mounting public debt in the United States.

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