Sunday, May 1, 2011

New and Noteworthy (China's Economy, the Fed, Education)

In today's edition, May's first:

* In Slate, Nouriel Roubini asks whether China's infrastructure-heavy macroeconomic policy, which helped it to blunt the effect of the global economic crisis, is not running out of steam. The article has its share of conventionalities, but the question is a valid one, and Roubini raises some very good points. (It is also a reminder that the reality of China's policies--far more reliant on government stimulus than the U.S.'s--makes the ridiculous, xenophobic commercial from "Citizens Against Government Waste" all the more ironic.)

* New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley was recently booed when he told an audience in Queens that inflation wasn't happening. Economists have long been whining about deflation when it's been the "I" word (and plenty of it) that ordinary people have confronted on a daily basis (not least at the grocery store, as the New York Times noted in a recent article on the concealment of rising food prices in shrinking package sizes), this happening, incidentally, as paychecks trend in the opposite direction, a connection too few seem to be making. Of course, rising prices for energy and food--already a source of crisis in significant parts of the world--as well as a weaker U.S. dollar--especially given the inflationary monetarism that has been the Fed's standard operating procedure and the persistent U.S. trade deficit--are trends that can only be expected to sharpen for the foreseeable future.

* An opinion piece from Walt Gardner (of Education Week's "Reality Check" blog) on the fate of public schoolteachers in the face of two trends: teaching scripts and the proliferation of computers with educational software. It's an old question all the more pressing with budget troubles at all levels of government and public-sector unions an increasingly easy target as American politics continues its rightward shift.

Review: The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order, by Parag Khanna
New and Noteworthy (Next Financial Crisis?, Tunisia, Artificial Leaf)
My Writings on the Recession

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