It seems my colleague Stephen Grenville is somewhat sceptical of quantitative easing (QE). He says 'QE might have been an admirable second-best policy, but it was still "beggar-thy-neighbour".'
I agree that QE (where the Federal Reserve purchased long term government bonds along with securities
The growing geographic spread of ISIS has lately been part of the news chatter in tabloids and respected papers alike.
We know ISIS has tried to spread its propaganda to Pakistan and Afghanistan since late 2014 and proclaimed its leadership of that region in early January, with members of the
To everyone's surprise, it was announced on Monday that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop intends to travel to Tehran in April 2015. The visit isn't about the nuclear negotiations with Iran. After all, while Australia would rather not see Iran go nuclear, it isn't exactly a foreign policy
2015 has been heralded as the year when Papua New Guinea (PNG) will enjoy the highest GDP growth rate in the world, on the back of its first full year of liquefied natural gas production.
Confidence in the anticipated revenue from the ExxonMobil-led project has encouraged the O'Neill Government
Leon Berkelmans is in good company in defending the policy actions which have come to be described as 'currency wars'.
Ben Bernanke gave the same defence of the US Fed's actions while he was Chairman: while low interest rates and 'quantitative easing' (QE) may give the domestic economy an extra
When the video of the murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh was released, the King of Jordan was in Washington. This brutal act led directly to discussions about the need to resolve delays to existing US arms deliveries to Jordan.
King Abdullah of Jordan attends the funeral of Jordanian
A recent report by PwC, The World in 2050, suggests that Australia could slip from 19th largest economy in the world in 2014 to 28th in 2050.
The report comes from the UK and contains economic growth projections to 2050 for the 32 largest economies. Not surprisingly, the main interest in the
The European Central Bank has finally begun to engage in quantitative easing. The euro depreciated on the news, which is good for the Europeans but bad for the rest of the world, right? It's another currency war – a zero sum game leading to, at best, nothing but debased currencies . At least that'
The press is making much of the academic qualifications of Greece's new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. His specialisation is economic game theory, which in this case might be described as 'the art of bargaining'. Good bargaining skills are, indeed, important. But there are also some basic
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of a Royal Commission to consider Australia's, and specifically South Australia's, possible future role in nuclear energy.
He has invited comments on the terms of reference of the Commission, which are to be finalised in March
Should the West arm Ukraine against Russian-backed rebels? That's a question guaranteed to generate earnest debate among armchair foreign policy pundits. But it also found its way into the just-concluded 51st Munich Security Conference.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Munich Security Conference, 8
It is witty these days to observe that the Chinese Politburo's required reading list, apparently recommended by the daunting anti-graft chief Wang Qishan, includes The Old Regime and the Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville.
This French noble is well known for his admiring perspective on Democracy
Is this a silly question to ask, given the reported low taxes paid by Google, Apple, Yahoo, Starbucks and others? The G20 and OECD think there is a major problem and have launched an Action Plan to combat 'base erosion and profit shifting' (BEPS).
But many of the submissions to the Australian
The 2008 financial crisis left no doubt that ill-considered debt can cause major damage not just to an individual country, but to the global economy.
You might think that by now, six years later, balance sheet repair would have taken debt below pre-crisis levels. However, debt burdens are
Despite China's long-standing diplomatic principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, Beijing cannot completely control its citizens' involvement in terrorist activity abroad. Whether China likes it or not, it is being drawn into the conflict against ISIS.
The uprisings that swept across the Arab world from late 2010 are, to put it mildly, faltering.
Egypt has returned to authoritarianism. Syria is a bloodbath. It is getting harder to decipher what is actually going on in Libya and Yemen. We cling to Tunisia as a glimmer of hope, but the outcomes for
When King Salman bin Abdulaziz succeeded King Abdullah last month, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia edged one step closer towards a succession crisis.
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Omanu Sultan Qaboos bin Said, May 2013. (Flickr/US State Dept.)
There remain two more sons in the house of
The plunge in the global oil price is a hot topic. Between June 2014 and January 2015, the price of crude has dropped by 57%. Most of the attention has been on the boon for consumers, with a litre of petrol in some parts of Australia now counted in cents, not dollars.
But while Australia is
By Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow Mike Callaghan and G20 Research Fellow Tristram Sainsbury
When it comes to IMF quota reform, the words of Yogi Berra come to mind: 'It's like deja vu all over again'.
IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton and Managing Director Christine Lagarde,
The Australian parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will soon review the proposed treaty between Australia and India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, signed by Prime Ministers Abbott and Modi in New Delhi on 5 September 2014.
A 1984 cartoon on Australia's
On 21 December 2014, Tunisians elected a president by universal suffrage for the first time in their history.
The election marked the success of a democratic transition initiated when a popular uprising sparked by the death of a young street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in Sidi Bouzid (central
In the decades leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, international trade typically grew much faster than GDP.
This reflected increasing global economic integration: tariff barriers were coming down, trade groups (eg. the eurozone, NAFTA, ASEAN) facilitated trade through regulatory simplification
In the last week, digital graphic designers such as Isaku Ogura have suddenly found themselves in strong demand for media commentary on the plight of two fellow Japanese taken hostage by ISIS. Broadcast media have given exhaustive attention to doubts over the authenticity of several disturbing
I am embarrassed to say that I made a mistake in the analysis below (I should have realised the results were too clear to be true!). In fact, the relative price of investment goods follows the pattern in the graph below.
This mistake was discovered by Guonan Ma and staff at the RBA, who tried to
When the IMF produced its last World Economic Outlook in October, one of the risks it forecast was a possible oil price increase. A US$25 per barrel increase, the IMF said, would take at least 0.5% off global economic growth.
Now, even with the change in oil price twice as large and in the opposite
The Wall Street Journal:
China's economic growth slowed to 7.4% in 2014, downshifting to a level not seen in a quarter century and firmly marking the end of a high-growth heyday that buoyed global demand for everything from iron ore to designer handbags. The slipping momentum in China, which
The UN is the go-to organisation for virtually every forgotten international crisis.
While the West has struggled on in Afghanistan and Iraq, the UN and its peacekeeping missions have been deployed to just about everywhere else: Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur, Mali, Liberia
On 24 December 2014, two decades of campaigning and several years of negotiations culminated in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entering into force as an internationally legally binding instrument, having been ratified by 50 countries.
The ATT aims to provide a minimum international benchmark for
One of Australia's last acts on the UN Security Council was to vote against a resolution being brought by the Palestinian Authority.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel and John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, 2009
Washington regarded this piece of paper as so one-sided against Israel
The fall in the world oil price has created the opportunity to eliminate petroleum subsidies in a number of Southeast Asian countries. These subsidies have been the long-standing bane of economic reformers everywhere, but until now reducing them involved the deeply unpopular task of raising petrol
Headlines blaming the IMF for the Ebola crisis are something you may expect in the tabloid press. However, a robust debate on the role of the IMF in the spread of Ebola was started by an article in The Lancet, a leading health journal.
Four British professors claimed that the fiscal austerity
The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is a parable for unanticipated risk: the possibility of 'unknown unknown' events that no-one sees coming.
In a new essay, The Calm Before the Storm, Taleb further posits that perceptions of risk are distorted by 'fragile stability.' Some countries (eg.
What is happening with Cambodia's Lower Se San 2 dam?
Elliot Brennan's citation of a Bangkok Post report of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's speech at the opening of the Stung Russey Chrum Krom hydroelectric dam in Koh Kong province in Tuesday's Southeast Asia links is interesting for a number
More than three million people took to the streets of French cities last weekend in a unprecedented public response to an act of politically motivated violence.
It made me think back to the massive worldwide public outrage to the abduction of over 200 school-age girls in Chibok, a town in
January should be called pundit accountability month. On websites such as this, we make all sorts of predictions and forecasts, or we identify structural trends or leadership changes as critical, and so on. The temptation to choose our ideologically-preferred independent variables, or to otherwise
Last month I spent time in a tank thinking about think tanks. Admittedly it was a very architecturally interesting tank at The Graduate Institute Geneva, which this year hosted the Global Think Tank Summit with the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Chinese urbanisation will be a globally consequential trend in the 21st century. The path policymakers follow is of profound importance.
A noisy debate about city planning has been ongoing for years, essentially between laissez-faire advocates of 'mega-cities' and those arguing for more
What does the fall in the price of oil do for global economic growth?
If the price of oil had swiftly risen by 50%, economic commentators would be calling this an economic disaster. In fact the price has fallen by 50% since June last year, yet this ray of good news hasn't pierced through the
As haggard negotiators left the UN climate change conference in Lima in the early hours of Sunday morning, many observers noted the contrast between the political acrimony that characterised the final days of these tortured discussions and the sense of optimism that many felt going into the talks
One of the most striking aspects of the final report from the Australian Financial System Inquiry (AFSI), chaired by David Murray, is the proposal that the future capital requirements for Australian banks should be linked to international developments rather than domestic circumstances.
Australia had a prime chance to demonstrate its adult status in chairing the G20 Summit this year. What did it do with the opportunity?
It showcased some of the characteristic behaviours of an adolescent country, my term for Australia in a new Lowy Institute Paper. Tantalisingly, it also showed
Overnight, the European Central Bank once again opted for timidity, with interest rates remaining unchanged. The scale of the deflationary threat Europe faces is awesome. However, with no appetite to engage in quantitative easing, I fear that the bank is not willing to do 'whatever it takes' to save
The IMF, OECD and the Russians themselves have substantially downgraded their Russian economic growth forecasts for 2015. The fall in the oil price is partly responsible. However, heightened 'geopolitical risk' was also mentioned as a drag on activity, along with the effect of sanctions. But just
Two years ago, I wrote that the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) was gradually being recognised as a large, increasingly powerful and influential organisation that, in a more civilianised form, was likely to become a key instrument of state control under the hybrid civilian-military Government inaugurated
The G20 party may have ended in Brisbane, but the show rolls on. The leaders' forum will head to Turkey in 2015 and, in his final act as G20 chair for 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed 2016 will see leaders heading to China.
I've just co-written a paper on what the first ever
Financial stability was not the most headline-grabbing topic discussed at the Brisbane G20 meeting, but judging from the official communique word-count (a full 175-word paragraph in the three-page document, plus four substantial items in the annexes), a fair bit must have happened.
In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Hugh Jorgensen and Dr Daniela Strube examine China’s approach to global economic governance. The paper argues that China will seek a greater role in governance processes, but will pursue a combination of approaches involving both existing Bretton Woods
Tom Allard recently reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia and East Timor are ready to restart talks on the maritime boundary between the two countries, with all its complications of petroleum revenues and history. The tradition is to keep these talks under wraps, but Allard's article
This morning it was announced that the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5-1 have been extended for another seven months; or to be specific, another four months to reach a political agreement and another three months beyond that to finalise technical details.
That the talks did not end