Monthly Archives: May 2014

Need for Chinese Antitrust Reform (and IP and Price-Related Concerns) Spotlighted at ABA Beijing Conference

Truth on the Market

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) “Antitrust in Asia:  China” Conference, held in Beijing May 21-23 (with Chinese Government and academic support), cast a spotlight on the growing economic importance of China’s six-year old Anti-Monopoly Law (AML).  The Conference brought together 250 antitrust practitioners and government officials to discuss AML enforcement policy.  These included the leaders (Directors General) of the three Chinese competition agencies (those agencies are units within the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), the Ministry of Foreign Commerce (MOFCOM), and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)), plus senior competition officials from Europe, Asia, and the United States.  This was noteworthy in itself, in that the three Chinese antitrust enforcers seldom appear jointly, let alone with potential foreign critics.  The Chinese agencies conceded that Chinese competition law enforcement is not problem free and that substantial improvements in the implementation of the AML are warranted.

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The far right vote in the European elections: It’s not the economy, stupid

“But the fact that the strongest far right parties stem from countries that are doing relatively well economically (in the upper left corner) is quite significant.”
ーーhow about income gap?
Immigration and law and order.
“They appeal to people who have something that they donnot want to lose, rather than two people who have lost everything”

Alexandre Afonso

Graph

In the European elections yesterday, the far right has done extremely well in the UK, in France, Austria and Denmark (four fairly affluent Northern countries) while – Greece set aside – it has stayed non-existent in the countries most severely hit by the crisis, Portugal and Spain. Golden Dawn in Greece is the exception, but it is nowhere near UKIP, the Front National or the Danish People’s party. The idea that crisis and unemployment feed the far right is appealing, but it does not seem to be supported by facts.

I have made a quick scatterplot plotting together the share of votes for the biggest far right party in each country that took part in the EP elections 2014 yesterday (on the y axis, from Euractiv) and the harmonised unemployment rate (on the X axis, from Eurostat) (datafile here). Any mistake in the coding of far-right parties…

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研究ノートー自由化の政治経済学

Lagged Trade Liberalization: the case of FTA Negotiations with ASEAN

*nearwy#gmal.com

It explores the differences between Japan and China, on the case of FTA (Free Trade Agreement) negotiations with ASEAN. It tells why a multilateral trade liberalization proposal failed, but left lagged, bilateral trade liberalizations, AC-FTA (ASEAN-China-FTA) and AJ-CEP (ASEAN-Japan-Common Effective Preferential Tariff).

Tokyo and Beijing have been standing differently in the rationale, decision-making process and strategy in the regional economic cooperation and trade liberalization.

      I.         The rationale of promoting FTA negotiations varies between China and Japan.

Compared to Japan, mainly driven by market demands, China is more complicated. China actively promotes the regional economic integration in Asia, not only primarily by economic concerns, but also aims to improve relationships with its neighbors for depriving the mistrust from “China threats”. More importantly, it is Beijing’s counterbalance to the growing American economic influence in Asia, and a strategic response to Obama administration’s “returning to Asia” agenda[1].

    II.         The decision making processes plays an important role in multilateral negotiations.

Tokyo started FTA negotiation with ASEAN in the early 2000s, took steady and moderate steps, sector by sector. Despite a latecomer, Beijing is an active, fast and efficient negotiator. After fully opening its banking sector to foreign investors in 2007, Beijing took a comprehensive, coherent response to different countries’ needs. Furthermore, at the very moment of Beijing’s round talks with ASEAN between 2008 and 2010, Tokyo was busily engaged in political regime transitions, of which the opposition party DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) took the power. Unfortunately, the DPJ did not manage the government as it was expected. This policy diffusion to some extent caused the lagged liberalization between Japan’s negotiations with ASEAN[2].

  III.         Industrial structures, mainly determine foreign trade strategies.

As an export oriented, agriculture protected, and manufactures predominated market, but a raw materials scarce country, Japan stands distinct from China, thus owned marginal spaces during negotiation processes. Moreover, on the Sensitive List (SL) and High Sensitive List (HSL), Beijing also has fewer concerns compared to Tokyo[3]. On the other side, “made in China” products, cheap labor costs and SOEs dominated markets, contain more comparative advantages when facing ASEAN markets.

In conclusion, the difference between China and Japan on the trade bargaining context, domestic actors, and industrial structures in all, shaped the regional economic cooperation, thus left lagged trade liberations in Asia.

[1]Guoyou Song & Wen Jin Yuan.2012. China’s Free Trade Agreement Strategies. The Washington Quarterly. Issue 35, No.4, pp107-119.

[2]Simmon, Beth & Zachary Elkins. 2004. The Globalization of Liberalization: Policy Diffusion in the International Political Economy. American Political Science Review. Issue 98, No.1, pp.171-189.

[3]福地亜希[ ASEAN と中國のFTA(ACFTA)と経済関係の深化].Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BTMU ASEAN TOPICS. No.2010/7. pp.1-6.http://www.bk.mufg.jp/report/ecosta2010/ASEANTOPICS-20101216.pdf

FT takes on Piketty’s book

 

ft takes on Piketty’s book

Thomas Piketty’s book, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, has been the publishing sensation of the year. Its thesis of rising inequality tapped into the zeitgeist and electrified the post-financial crisis public policy debate.

But, according to a Financial Times investigation, the rock-star French economist appears to have got his sums wrong.

The data underpinning Professor Piketty’s 577-page tome, which has dominated best-seller lists in recent weeks, contain a series of errors that skew his findings. The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets, similar to those which last year undermined the work on public debt and growth of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.

The central theme of Prof Piketty’s work is thatwealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war. The investigation undercuts this claim, indicating there is little evidence in Prof Piketty’s original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few.

Prof Piketty, 43, provides detailed sourcing for his estimates of wealth inequality in Europe and the US over the past 200 years. In his spreadsheets, however, there are transcription errors from the original sources and incorrect formulas. It also appears that some of the data are cherry-picked or constructed without an original source.

 

Hereditary politicians to lose in Inida?

 

India’s next Prime Minister, not from the Nehru-Gandhi

The Economist on Indian politics.

 

But largely Mr Modi told the truth: the BJP’s manifesto and Mr Modi’s speeches emphasised economic and development matters. The victory he achieved is more the result of his talk of strong government and improvements to the material lives of voters than anything else. That is encouraging. It suggests that he will now seek to govern in a way that encourages economic growth, job creation and better infrastructure, along with further reductions in poverty and inflation. Mr Modi has been dropping strong hints that he hopes to remain in power not only for the current five-year term, but to win re-election and reshape India’s economy and political landscape. In other words, he is considering his long-term prospects by keeping in mind the rise of a powerful new constituency that will only gather more influence as the years pass: the young, urban, educated and impatient set of voters who aspire for material gains to their lives. We argued before that such voters, for whom there is only “one God, that is GDP”, will increasingly decide the outcome of Indian elections. Mr Modi and the BJP look set to corner their support.

 

capital in the 21st century-Thomas Piketty

 

Capital in the 21st century

* Thomas Piketty 

(you may find figures and data at the above URL)

Conclusions

  • The history of income and wealth inequality is always political, chaotic and unpredictable; it involves national identities and sharp reversals; nobody can predict the reversals of the future

  • Marx: with g=0, β↑∞, r→0 : revolution, war

  • My conclusions are less apocalyptic: with g>0, at least we have a

    steady-state β=s/g

  • But with g>0 & small, this steady-state can be rather gloomy: it can involve a very large capital-income ratio β and capital share α, as well as extreme wealth concentration due to high r-g

  • This has nothing to do with a market imperfection: the more perfect the capital market, the higher r-g

  • The ideal solution: progressive wealth tax at the global scale, based upon automatic exchange of bank information

  • Other solutions involve authoritarian political & capital controls (China, Russia..), or perpetual population growth (US), or inflation, or some mixture of all 

 

you may find some comments made by Prof. Tang Shiping of Fuda University

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_744a73490101sar5.html

 

論文ー政党研究理論

Exceptionalism political science and the comparative analysis of political parties. 

*Alan Ware

University of Oxford

Happy to see other scholars look into the same problem as I pointed out in my paper… But obviously he did a better job than me.

 In Europe a way of thinking about parties has developed that, while not truly ‘excetpionalist’, is certainly ‘regionalist’ in that it focuses on party change largely with respect to the operation of parties within just the European content.  Neither side- Americanist nor Europeanist- believes that it has that much to learn from the other. 

Conclusion

Despite some developments noted earlier, the study of party organizations remains largely ‘regionalized’. One of the adverse consequences over the last four decades of this ‘regionalization‘ of research on organizational change has been that it has been tended to lead to regional differences in organizational responses by parties being exaggerated or misconceived. For example, it is sometimes said European parties are ‘team sport’ whereas American parties are an ‘individual sport’, as if we were thereby dealing with very different kinds of entity. Some analytic frameworks, such as ‘ambition theory’, had specifically emphasized this aspect of American party politics, of course. Two points may be made about this. First, American party politics, like party politics elsewhere, is ”team sport’, and one cannot make sense of American politics over the last two decades if one sees it purely as a conflict involving individuals. … Secondly, the real point about team sport is that the individual players, and correspondingly limit the ability of a coach or manager to dictate precisely what happens in play.The utility of returning to the kind of comparative framework Epstein, following Duverger, was developing four decades ago is that it enables us to look at how parties operating under different rules of the game respond to changes in their environments that are common to all of them. This is not to argue against the continuation of ‘regionalist’ studies, fort they will surely remain an important source of our knowledge of party organizations. Rather, it is to argue for supplementing such work by the development of analytic frameworks that recognize the significance of all factors that shape how all parties go about organizing their business in democratic. It is time to weaken the grip that ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘regionalism’ have had on research into the party structure.   

* Government and Opposition, Vol.46, No.4, pp.411-435, 2011.