Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Emerging Economies need Domestic Reforms

In June this year, I concluded that the USA and EU were heading towards a lost decade, because their political systems had kept them dealing fully with the financial crises (web site).  The social-political developments in Italy and the US since then have raised the risks of a double dip.  Given this background can the Emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, Russia et al) maintain the growth differential? My answer is, 'Yes, if they take urgent steps to remove domestic constraint to growth and to stimulate domestic drivers of growth.' For China this means re-orienting its economy towards lower party-State controlled profits, higher wages and private consumption, greater public expenditures on social services (as against manufacturing investment) and slower export growth-appreciated exchange rate.  For India it means a faster reduction of the fiscal deficit, and a step-up of the pace of policy-regulatory reforms. In particular four broad reform areas have the potential of both accelerating growth and reducing inequality: (1) Urban planning, land use and urban infrastructure(water, sewage, public transport, parking), (2) Food supply chain modernization (FDI in retail trade). (3) Oil-energy policy and regulation (price distorting to direct  subsidies, regulated benchmark competition in electricity). (4) Skill development founded on high quality basic education (3 R s).  Similarly, if  Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and other large EMs can put their domestic house in order, they can collectively survive the growth slowdown and heightened risk emanating from the USA and Europe    

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