The world economic situation is more favourable for developing countries than at any time since the early 1970s (see box in article). But a safe correction to the increasing imbalances would be much easier with more appropriate global exchange-rate arrangements, the just published Trade & Development Report (TDR; see reference) of the UN Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) argues. WDEV summarises the report.
Arbitrary exchange-rate shifts should be managed just as tariffs and export subsidies are, and in the absence of such controls regional cooperation may provide developing countries with some security against abrupt corrections. The authors of the TDR say that in recent years there have been several cases – for example in Germany, Japan and Switzerland – where current-account surpluses have been accompanied by a real depreciation of the exchange rate, rather than an appreciation, as conventional theory would predict. Such movements in the "wrong" direction tend to increase rather than reduce the underlying imbalances ...
At first glance, everyday life seems not to have changed in Istanbul. The streets are congested; people hurry to the ferry or the bus. For weeks, there has been no terror attack. Nevertheless, there are some visible changes. There are much more policemen in the streets. In some days, the Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping street on the European side, seems to be under a state of siege. At every street corner, there is police van with the blue light switched on.
Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The new United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017), is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Trump government signals unequivocally the end of international US hegemony. An international hegemon is able to define rules that find relatively broad acceptance internationally and plays a role in safeguarding international economic stability. The Trump government announced measures that go against the present economic rules while not proposing new ones.
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Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.