Andy Xie, India and China

Andy Xie is a rare beast, he’s a talented, creative economist. His recent departure from Morgan Stanley, and by implication from the Global Economic Forum, is now being widely commented on in the press (and here).

Andy was really one of the first global economists to start drawing attention to the important impact the rise of the Chinese economy was going to have (you can find a selection of some of his posts on my page here, and my early China Economy Watch blog – now defunct – was full of citations from Andy, basically he was getting it right when almost everyone else was getting it wrong).

There are two memorable arguments that Xie has advanced over the years that still bear thinking about.

1) Throw away the text books. This wasn’t meant, I don’t think, to be taken literally, what he was getting at was that we are facing new phenomena, and we need to think on our feet. Intuitive economics. Two recent posts of mine (and comments) on the Indian Economy Blog reflect this legacy (and here).

2). It’s time to start conceptualising the global economy as *one* single developing economy (with a lot of market imperfections) rather than as the sum total of a lot of discrete individual economies. I still think that this idea hasn’t attracted the attention it deserves as a methodological proposal.

Ostensibly Andy left as a result of remarks he made about Singapore (if you believe the rumour mill):
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Privatisation and Market Imperfection

Today I’m posting a link to my Singapore friend and colleague, Eddie Lee. The story behind this link is a strange one – almost surreal – and more or less directly related to my ‘friendster’ post last Saturday. I met Eddie back in February while I was Googling the net looking for some material to blog. I was looking for something on the Italian economy, and I found a link to an article in Singapore’s Straits Times, which, apart from touching on Italy, seemed also to talk about my favourite topic – ageing – to boot. Now I have the unfortunate habit of scan-reading a lot of material quickly, and as I scanned I found an argument I really liked. I’m going to post this I thought to myself.
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Back to the Future in Cancun

I’ve been trying to understand exactly what happened at the WTO ministerial conference in Cancun. That they’ve come apart is pretty clear, but there is a certain amount of ambiguity about why and who is to blame. The crux of the matter appears to be the “Singapore issues”, for which you can find a more detailed discussion at Crooked Timber.

What are the “Singapore issues”? In most of the world, national governments get to write the laws regulating investment and taxing economic activity, and usually government contracts are, at least to some degree, offered preferentially to locally controlled or operated businesses. It seems that some combination of countries – the US, the EU and Japan – want to extend the WTO’s mandate to globalising investment and procurement rules. Apparently, the whole business first came up at the WTO ministers’ meeting in Singapore after the death of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in 1998 – a treaty intended to address exactly these questions of government procurement and investment security.
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