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We’ll Always Need Paris

LONDON – President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is deeply regrettable and based on flawed economic analysis. But unstoppable technological progress, plus determined action by other countries, companies across the world, and American cities and states, will ensure that Trump does not derail progress toward a low-carbon economy. Trump claimed that the Paris accord would cut US GDP by $3 trillion by 2040. But the...

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The Underside of Uber

LONDON – The car-hailing app Uber’s board members and investors have received an outpouring of praise in recent days for forcing CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. They don’t deserve it. On the contrary, while Kalanick did indeed need to go, the move was long overdue – and it was delayed for all the wrong reasons. Founded in 2009 as “UberCab” in San Francisco, Uber has grown from an innovative startup to a $68 billion global behemoth at an astonishing rate. With the help of...

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Revisiting the Global Order

MADRID – As many analysts have observed, the Pax Americana of recent decades is on life support. After the first 150 days of Donald Trump’s “America First” – or, more accurately, “America Alone” – presidency, it seems that America’s traditional stabilizing role can no longer be viewed as a given. As the primacy of the US in the international arena – and, thus, America’s status as the world’s “indispensable nation” – erodes, other states and even non-state actors are...

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Economics in Transition

Andrew Lo, Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought, Princeton University PressRichard Bookstaber, The End of Theory: Financial Crises, the Failure of Economics, and the Sweep of Human Interaction, Princeton University PressRoderick Floud, Santhi Hejeebu, and David Mitch, eds., Humanism Challenges Materialism in Economics and Economic History, University of Chicago PressMANCHESTER – There seems to be no end to the tide of books criticizing...

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Trump’s Sugar Swamp

CAMBRIDGE – As the United States, Mexico, and Canada prepare to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, as US President Donald Trump’s administration has demanded, much attention is being devoted to one item in particular: sugar. The negotiations will probably produce a sweet deal for the US sugar industry, highlighting the emptiness of Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” of special-interest influence over policymaking. Sugar producers’ political clout is...

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Donald Trump’s Trade-Knowledge Deficit

PARIS – As a longtime champion of liberty and free trade, it is not surprising that the United States enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. But unless its policymakers act soon, the US could find itself in the same unhappy condition as my own country, France. Ever since François Mitterrand was elected to the French presidency in 1981, France has steadily raised taxes, increased public expenditures, and imposed additional layers of regulation. Even...

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Trump’s Unraveling Korea Policy

ATLANTA – With every tweet or meeting with a foreign leader that US President Donald Trump completes, American officials find themselves struggling to reassure allies that the United States remains committed to their security. Nowhere is this truer than in Asia, where longstanding US strategic engagement, backed up by the world’s most advanced military, has maintained the balance of power for decades. Trump’s signature Asia policy – his pledge to stop North Korea’s...

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Trump’s Trade Illogic

LONDON – With all the public attention in the United States focused on health care, immigration, and Russia, the Trump administration’s trade policies have flown largely under the radar. But the underlying logic of President Donald Trump’s approach to trade is about to receive prime-time scrutiny, because the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will come up for renegotiation later this summer. When it does, three fundamental flaws in Trump’s thinking...

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Reinventing the French People

PARIS – “It is accomplished…” In the years when I listened to music nonstop, the passage marked by those words was for me one of the most intriguing in Bach’s St. John Passion. In a plaintive soprano accompanied by a cello’s lament, lingering between song and silence, the memory came back to me on Monday morning, the day after the second round of France’s parliamentary election. The event that has been accomplished, of course, is President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to...

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The Retreat of the Renminbi

NEW YORK – “The globalization of the yuan seems remorseless and unstoppable,” pronounced The Economist in April 2014. Indeed, use of the Chinese yuan, or renminbi (RMB), in global payments would double between then and August 2015, to 2.8% of the total, making China’s currency the fourth most used in the world. Since then, however, this growth has been almost entirely reversed. The RMB’s share in global payments has fallen to 1.6%, knocking it down to number seven. Its...

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