Britain's path of denial
The flatlining of private demand in Britain, combined with deep budget cuts, could be causing the stagnation. (Getty Images)
October 25th, 2011
02:53 PM ET

Britain's path of denial

Editor's Note: Andrés Velasco, a former finance minister of Chile, is a visiting professor at Columbia University.  For more from Velasco, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate

Visit London nowadays and you will notice something strange going on: the worse the British economy tanks, the more fervently Prime Minister David Cameron’s ministers and Tory economists insist that draconian spending cuts are good for economic growth.

Some observers see this as an act of faith (presumably in the virtues of the unfettered market). Others, such as the economist Paul Krugman, see it as an act of bad faith: the Tories just want smaller government, regardless of the consequences for growth.

The question remains whether there is a non-faith-based argument for cutting back spending to stimulate an economy. The answer is yes. In fact, there are two. Academic research has shown them at work in the past – for example, in Ireland and Denmark during the 1980’s. Unfortunately for the Tories, neither case for stimulative spending cuts fits Britain’s predicament today. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • United Kingdom
May 18th, 2011
02:04 PM ET

Latin America’s glossed decade

Editor's Note: Andrés Velasco is a former Minister of Finance of Chile. For more from Velasco, visit Project Syndicateor check it out on Facebook and Twitter.

By Andrés Velasco, Former Finance Minister of Chile

SANTIAGO – The Inter-American Development Bank declared last July that this would be “Latin America’s Decade.” A couple of months later, The Economist endorsed that idea, which has since been repeated by countless apologists and experts.

There is nothing like a little economic growth to get pundits’ juices flowing. And Latin America is growing, by 6% last year and an estimated 4.75% in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Compared with the region’s mostly sluggish performance over the last three decades, this looks like takeoff velocity. And, compared to the dismal recent record in North America and Europe, it looks positively supersonic.

FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Latin America
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