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Monday press brief

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

Give Globalization a Hand, asks Ernesto Zedillo in Forbes Magazine. The former  President of Mexico says globalization works but it is not inexhaustible.


Here's a fact worth reiterating: despite the severe shocks and imbalances that have hit it off and on during the early years of this century, the world economy continues to grow, with low inflation. Of course, performance varies across countries and continents, but there are two generalizations you can make: The already rich countries keep enjoying expanding economies, and in the rest of the world millions of people overcome poverty every year, thanks to economic growth. Is there a force underlying this benign evolution that transcends national borders? Yes. That force is international economic integration--or globalization, if you wish.


Globalization has, in short, been an incredible force for good in the world. But is this force inexhaustible? Unfortunately, no. Modern globalization has so far proved stronger than the forces and events arrayed against it, but there's no guarantee this will always be the case.



Joseph Nye writes in India Today about India’s growth and increasing soft power, praising its democratic system which gives the country an advantage over China. (via Factiva)


This is where India has an advantage. China has grown more rapidly and done more to reduce poverty over the past two decades, but it has not yet come to terms with the problem of increased political participation. India was fortunate to be born with a democratic constitution and political structure. This means it has passed a test that China still faces, and that makes India a source of attraction. Of course, India still faces challenges of poverty with 260 million people surviving on less than one dollar a day, inequality tied to a caste system, and corruption and inefficiency in the provision of public services. But India is also changing and adapting within a broad democratic set-up, and many foreigners find that attractive. Despite its problems, it is a safe bet that India's hard and soft powers are likely to rise in the coming times. If India can combine the two successfully, it will be a "smart power".


Paul Wolfowitz and Rodrigo de Rato on getting back to business on Doha (via Pienso)



Vietnam is dubbed new “Asian tiger” in a report on Vietnam's future economic development, released by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). In the report, entitled "Vietnam: Going for the next level", the bank assesses that Vietnam's growth over the past decade has been impressive, averaging 7.2 per cent annually, while the share of the population below the poverty level (US$1 per day) has fallen from 51 per cent in 1990 to 8 per cent. (Thai News Service, Sept 25/ Factiva)


Senior officials from the ASEAN + 3 countries are meeting in Beijing this week to discuss regional poverty reduction policies. Director General of ADB's East Asia Department, H. Satish Rao reviewed tremendous progress in poverty reduction efforts in Asia, but noted that "the job is far from completed." (ACN Newswire, Sep 25 / Factiva)


"Income poverty reduction has been impressive but performance on the non-income poverty front still requires improvement," Mr. Rao said. "Areas of concern include primary education, child and infant mortality, maternal mortality, prevalence of tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS, and severe environmental problems." Mr. Rao's remarks, read on behalf of ADB Vice-President C. Lawrence Greenwood Jr., pointed to key lessons learned from regional experience. Among these is the need to sustain and broaden growth, which has been a critical engine for past poverty reduction in ASEAN+3 countries and the Asia and Pacific region as a whole. Growth processes must also be inclusive and participatory, ensuring progress in areas such as social development and environmental protection. Mr. Rao stressed that "there is no one-size-fits-all solution to poverty," noting that country-specific approaches are needed to address key local constraints.


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