Author:
Brill and Glassman: The G-20 Needs Better Admissions Standards
| June 19, 2012 | 9:42 am | James Glassman | No comments

Published for Wall Street Journal, June 19th, 2012

The G-20 heads of state gather this week in Los Cabos, Mexico, for what may be their most important meeting since their first summit in November 2008. The Group of 20 set three objectives at that meeting: restore global growth, strengthen the international financial system, and reform financial institutions.

That work is far from complete. Another recession has begun in Europe, and the U.S. economy remains sluggish. Developing economies are weakening. And the problem of what to do about too-big-to-fail financial institutions is still unresolved.

The G-20 is well situated to help meet some of these challenges. Free of the stultifying bureaucracy and pomposity of many multilaterals, the group has the advantage of flexibility and informality.

Yet now it’s facing a crisis of legitimacy. When the G-20 was established in 1999, membership was decided without any definitive, objective standards. It was based loosely on country size, but politics were clearly a factor too. The arbitrary selection process has been a sore point for nations that weren’t anointed. Many observers have noted that the lack of membership criteria has diminished international trust in the G-20′s decisions and activities.

The G-20 needs clear admission standards, and in a study sponsored by the National Taxpayers Union, we propose a set of seven criteria that correspond to the group’s stated policy objectives. These criteria measure: 1) a nation’s economic size and global economic importance, 2) its adherence to the rule of law and other principles consistent with market-based economics, and 3) the scope of its financial interconnectedness with other nations.

Full post here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman: Auction the Spectrum, Grow the Economy
| February 14, 2012 | 4:53 pm | James Glassman | No comments

Published for www.forbes.com, February 14, 2012

It seems like a century, but just 16 years have passed since President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The law was the product of a bipartisanship that now seems quaint. At a time when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the bill passed the Senate, 91-5, and the House, 414-16.

Even more than the vote itself, the contents seem anachronistic. The law conjures up a bygone era concerned mainly with such matters as which companies could offer both long-distance and local telephone service.

The world has changed. In 1996, one in seven Americans had a wireless connection. Today, there are more wireless subscribers in the U.S. than there are Americans, and nearly one-third of households are wireless-only. Text messages didn’t exist in 1996; now, Americans send two trillion a year. AT&T reports that its customers in Lucas Oil Stadium sent and received 772,000 text messages on Super Bowl Sunday.

In 1996, people watched television shows on TV screens, not on iPads, and you couldn’t download a movie from Netflix to your Smartphone. Google, Twitter, and Facebook didn’t exist. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old.

But, in some respects, the law was far-sighted and principled. It stated, “The Internet and other interactive computer services have flourished, to the benefit of all Americans, with a minimum of government regulation.” And, as a result, “It is the policy of the United States…to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

Full post here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman: Five myths about the Dow
| August 12, 2011 | 9:50 am | James Glassman | No comments

Published for The Washington Post, August 12th, 2011:

Down 600 points one day, up 400 points the next, down another 500 points a day later, then up another 400 points the day after that — yes, the Dow Jones industrial average is back in the news. Charles Dowdevised the index in 1896 to give investors a snapshot of the performance of big manufacturing stocks (and of the U.S. economy) each day. The Dow still has an antique feel to it, but as a metaphor for the stock market, it remains unsurpassed: endlessly cited, parsed, followed, predicted — and misunderstood.

1. The Dow is an index of very large industrial companies.

Not anymore. The Dow’s components change every few years in an effort to reflect the breadth of the U.S. economy and to drop troubled companies. The 30 companies it currently comprises include four financial firms, two giant retailers, one restaurant chain, five consumer-products makers, two telecommunications firms, three drug companies, five high-tech firms and an entertainment conglomerate. There are only five traditional manufacturers— Caterpillar, Alcoa, United Technologies, 3M and the highly diversified General Electric — plus a couple of energy companies.

Nor is the Dow a collection of the largest U.S. firms. Among those missing are Apple — which lately has been trading places with Exxon Mobil as the biggest company in America — and Google, which has a larger market capitalization (the number of shares outstanding multiplied by price) than Wal-Mart, a Dow component. While Apple had a market cap of $347 billion, as of Tuesday, Alcoa had a cap of just $13 billion.

Full article here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
VIDEO: Glassman on MSNBC- Bush breaks his silence
| November 9, 2010 | 4:08 pm | James Glassman | No comments

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman: Venezuela on the Brink
| September 13, 2010 | 9:58 am | James Glassman | No comments

Published for commentarymagazine.com, September 13th, 2010:

Venezuela goes to the polls on Sept. 26 in a parliamentary election that opponents of President Hugo Chavez see as “a chance to turn the tide,” as Reuters news service puts it. Chavez may be taking on more authoritarian powers, but he also has to defend what the latest data show is the worst economy in the world. And you thought the Democrats had problems!

The Economist magazine provides statistics weekly on 57 nations, from the United States to Estonia. Its most recent report forecasts that gross domestic product in Venezuela will declineby 5.5 percent in 2010. Next worst is Greece, with a 3.9 percent decline. Greece, of course, came close to defaulting on its debt earlier this year, and analysts at Morgan Stanley worry that Venezuela is moving in the same direction.

“Our new baseline of at least three years of economic contraction suggests the risks to Venezuela’s ability to honor its international financial commitments may be on the rise,” wrote Daniel Volberg and Giuliana Pardelli in a June report, at the same time predicting that GDP will fall by 6.2 percent in 2010. “While most of Latin America, in line with the globe, has been in recovery mode since last year, Venezuela has seen an intensifying downturn in activity,” they added.

So that’s GDP, the single best measure of economic health. When it comes to inflation, no one is close to Venezuela. Consumer prices are already up 31 percent for 2010 and are expected to rise more by year-end. Only two of the remaining 56 nations monitored by theEconomist are suffering double-digit inflation: India and Egypt, both with 11 percent price increases.

Venezuela’s stagflation is all the more remarkable because, as the No. 8 oil-producing nation in the world, the country should be benefiting handsomely from high oil prices.

Full article here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman: The Failure of the Liberal Economic Experiment?
| August 26, 2010 | 10:45 am | James Glassman | No comments

Published for Commentary Magazine, September 2010:

The plunge in the U.S. economy in 2008 and 2009 became an irresistible opportunity to pronounce the failure of the form of capitalism that emerged at the end of the 20th century. “One had expected competition and abundance for everyone, but instead one got scarcity, the triumph of profit-oriented thinking, speculation and dumping,” said Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France. The current crisis, he noted with a certain pleasure, signaled the end of the “illusion of public impotence” and the “return of the state.”

There was ample reason for such grave-dancing. Between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, total U.S. economic output, adjusted for inflation, dropped at an annual rate of 3.8 percent—the worst 12-month decline since 1946. The unemployment rate, which started 2008 at 5 percent, had doubled by the fall of 2010. The number of jobs fell for 21 months in a row, and by May 2010 the median unemployed worker had been out of work for 23 weeks—compared with 10 weeks in the depths of the 1973-75 recession.

The quarter-century that began shortly after Ronald Reagan’s election had been widely viewed as a period in which a free-market approach had proved its superiority to state direction of economies. In the United States, cutting top income tax rates in half, reducing regulatory burdens, and spreading free trade seemed to have produced significant prosperity and remarkable stability. Between 1983 and 2008, gross domestic product grew at an average of 3.2 percent annually. Only once did output fall in a calendar year, and that was by just two-tenths of a percentage point. Inflation, interest rates, and unemployment were tame.

Then, suddenly, an asset bubble in real estate exploded, the growth and stability vanished, and the United States suffered its worst economic misery in (take your pick) 34, 53, or 71 years. So you would expect that the American public, following President Sarkozy, would see the recession as a severe setback—or even a death blow—to conservative economic policies that were aimed at limiting the power of government and liberating the private sector.

Full article here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman: Subsidy As a Way of Life
| August 16, 2010 | 2:02 pm | James Glassman | No comments

Published for The Wall Street Journal, August 16th, 2010:

In the U.S. it’s ‘work, work, work.’ A rock drummer in France gets a state stipend.

It’s tough enough in the best of times, but right now, with a sovereign-debt crisis affecting Greece and threatening Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, trying to make the case for the superiority of Europe’s economic system is an exceptionally difficult task. Perhaps for that reason, Tom Geoghegan, who describes himself as a “union-side labor lawyer” and paints himself in this book as a vagabond in search of an alternative to the American way of life, makes only a half-hearted attempt.

Instead of rigorous argument, “Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?” offers a meandering stream of consciousness in which Mr. Geoghegan, an admitted nonexpert who spent a couple of months recently in Berlin, details various boring conversations he had with anonymous Germans and Frenchmen he bumped into, drops a few statistics, cites some books and comes to the conclusion that we Americans would lead richer lives if only we adopted European social and economic policy—especially the part about high taxes, lovely benefits and tight restrictions on the decisions that businesses are allowed to make concerning the people who work for them.

Early on, for example, he talks about an American expatriate living in Paris with her French boyfriend, a drummer in a band: “I wondered: If she went back to America, what would she do? First, she’d have to get a job. We don’t subsidize the arts [the drummer gets state support]. It might be as a cashier. She’d have a no vacation. . . . No health insurance. Second, what if she had a kid? No paid maternity leave. No cornucopia of subsidies. Third, she’d have to pay for school. Unless she threw the child into the public schools. Fourth, no child care. No one to help her. Fifth, her rocker husband would have to work.”

Full article here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Glassman & Doran: The Soft Power Solution in Iran
| January 29, 2010 | 10:45 am | James Glassman | No comments

As published for The Wall Street Journal on January 21st, 2010:

Here’s what a serious plan to undermine the regime in Tehran would look like.

By JAMES K. GLASSMAN AND MICHAEL DORAN

Al Qaeda bombers on U.S. airliners need prompt attention, but it is Iran, a supporter of terrorism now developing the capacity to fire nuclear-tipped missiles, that may pose the greatest threat to global stability and American security.

That threat can be diminished three ways: by military action, by compromise by Iran’s regime, or by a new, less bellicose government taking power in Tehran. The first two appear unlikely, but the third, at least since protests broke out last June after the presidential election, seems more and more realistic. Yet so far the United States and its allies have shrunk from seriously encouraging that third way.

Immediately after the post-election Green Revolution protests began in Iran, some policy makers argued that overt U.S. support would allow the regime to claim that those in the opposition were somehow our agents. Even with no evidence, the regime did that anyway—to little effect.

So how can the U.S. support the opposition? The key is strategic communications that integrate words and deeds to achieve a major political goal—in this case, changing the character of the Iranian leadership. Everything that we do, everything that we say—and everything that we don’t do and don’t say—should be coordinated to meet this goal.

Such a policy would have four separate tasks:

• Provide moral and educational support for the Green Revolution. Here third parties, rather than the U.S. government, should play the main role. Dissidents should be reminded that others have succeeded on the same path they are travelling.

We should, for instance, publicize reports on what worked in Ukraine or Georgia, spread testimony by leaders like the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel, and distribute, in Farsi, guides to nonviolent change like Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy” and Peter Ackerman’s “A Force More Powerful.” It’s time to dub into Farsi documentaries on the fall of Ceausescu, Milosevic and Pinochet; the transitions in South Africa and Poland; and the achievements of the U.S. civil-rights movement.

Read the full article here

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)