May 23, 2016
Op-Ed, Project Syndicate
By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University
On May 26-27, the heads of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries will gather in Japan to discuss common security and economic problems. A major common problem that deserves their attention is the unsustainable increase in the major developed countries’ national debt. Failure to address the explosion of government borrowing will have adverse effects on the global economy and on debt-burdened countries themselves.
The problem is bad and getting worse almost everywhere. In the United States, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government debt doubled over the past decade, from 36% of GDP to 74% of GDP. It also predicts that, under favorable economic assumptions and with no new programs to increase spending or reduce revenue, the debt ratio ten years from now will be 86% of GDP. Even more worrying, the annual deficit ratio will double in the next decade to 4.9% of GDP, putting the debt on track to exceed 100% of GDP.
December 6, 2015
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Harvard Gazette
By Doug Gavel, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Former Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
"The role of market mechanisms for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and the relationship between climate change policy and international trade were the topics of a side-event panel discussion on Friday at the Conference of the Parties (COP21), the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The panel discussion, which was co-sponsored by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, addressed a variety of issues related to the emissions-reduction targets that countries are putting forward as part of a new agreement to be concluded in Paris."
October 8, 2015
Op-Ed, Project Syndicate
By Jeffrey Frankel, James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth
Agreement among negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a triumph over long odds. Tremendous political obstacles, both domestic and international, had to be overcome to conclude the deal. And now critics of the TPP’s ratification, particularly in the United States, should read the agreement with an open mind.
September 22, 2015
Op-Ed, Toronto Star
By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
"Over decades, Canadian governments have emasculated or killed institutions that gave independent advice on science and technology so that they are now among the weakest in the G7. Federal and provincial governments increasingly demand that research funding be tied to matching money from industry, so work that threatens industry's interests does not get funded. It's a good idea to tie some applied work in engineering to industrial interests, but this requirement must not apply to policy analysis."
July 9, 2015
Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal
By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow
With Congress granting trade-promotion authority to the Obama administration last month, negotiations for the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement should be completed soon. The 12-country Asia-Pacific talks offer an unprecedented opportunity to transform ocean and fisheries conservation.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 90% of marine fisheries in every region of the world are now significantly depleted or recovering. Chinese fleets, for example, are devastating West African fisheries because countries such as Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Guinea have weak enforcement capabilities.
June 25, 2015
Op-Ed, Foreign Policy
Congress at last appears set to give President Barack Obama the “fast-track” authority he needs to finish negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But the protracted and sharp debate over the U.S. president’s trade agenda underscores growing skepticism in Washington about the value of further market integration and pessimism about the prospects for a robust global economy. The unstated question: Can America and its neighbors compete?
June 25, 2015
In The Next Great Emerging Market? Capitalizing on North America’s Four Interlocking Revolutions, Gen. (Ret.) David H. Petraeus and Paras D. Bhayani explain why North American market integration and leadership in energy, manufacturing, life sciences, and information technology could drive substantial economic growth. But they warn that Washington must turn today’s policy headwinds into policy tailwinds to capitalize fully on these trends.
June 14, 2015
Op-Ed, Foreign Affairs
By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor
The Senate’s rejection of President Wo odrow Wilson’s commitment of the United States to the League of Nations was the greatest setback to U.S. global leadership of the last century. While not remotely as consequential, the votes in the House last week that, unless revisited, would doom the Trans-Pacific Partnership send the same kind of negative signal regarding the willingness of the United States to take responsibility for the global system at a critical time.
The repudiation of the TPP would neuter the U.S. presidency for the next 19 months. It would reinforce global concerns that the vicissitudes of domestic politics are increasingly rendering the United States a less reliable ally. Coming on top of the American failure to either stop or join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, it would signal a lack of U.S. commitment to Asia at a time when China is flexing its muscles. It would leave the grand strategy of rebalancing U.S. foreign policy toward Asia with no meaningful nonmilitary component. And it would strengthen the hands of companies overseas at the expense of U.S. firms. Ultimately, having a world in which U.S. companies systematically lose ground to foreign rivals would not work out to the advantage of American workers.
Both the House and Senate have now delivered majorities for the trade promotion authority necessary to complete the TPP. The problem is with the complementary trade assistance measures that most Republicans do not support and that Democrats are opposing in order to bring down the TPP. It is to be fervently hoped that a way through will be found to avoid a catastrophe for U.S. economic leadership. Perhaps success can be achieved if the TPP’s advocates can acknowledge that rather than being a model for future trade agreements, this debate should lead to careful reflection on the role of trade agreements in America’s international economic strategy.
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
By Cristine Russell, Senior Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program
From the endangered Arctic to the nation’s capital, the challenges posed by human-caused climate change have been front and center at the Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP).
ENRP sponsored a delegation of 12 HKS students and Belfer Center research fellows to attend the 2014 Arctic Circle Assembly, held in Reykjavik, Iceland from October 29 to November 2. The Assembly convened delegations from 40 nations as well as senior industry and NGO leaders to discuss national security and energy as well as environmental issues facing the region.
February 24, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Leonardo Maugeri, Senior Fellow, Geopolitics of Energy Project
The dramatic fall of oil prices is set to jeopardize both the U.S. ambition to become a big gas exporter by the end of this decade and the long-awaited development of a global gas market.