Vox’s Global Crisis Debate

The Editors 28 January 2009



Today VoxEU.org is launching a new initiative – the Global Crisis Debate.

We are partnering with the UK government to collect the views of economists from around the world on how to fix the global economy. The analysis and proposals that appear on Vox's "Global Crisis Debate" page will feed directly into the UK's preparation for the April summit of world leaders in London. This debate will be featured on the UK government's own web site, LondonSummit.gov.uk, which also goes live today.

Our ambition is twofold:

1) To broaden the discussion into a truly global debate.

The crisis debate has, to date, been largely dominated by a narrow range of economists from a fairly limited set of nations. The Global Crisis Debate will allow economists from around the world to share their analysis, views, and perspectives via the “Commentary” feature.

We have two main filters to avoid the ‘comment clutter’ typically seen on fully open forums. First, only professional economists can post Commentaries, and they must include their real name and professional affiliation in each Commentary. (First time writers must have their bona fides verified, but we hope to turn these around in less than 24 hours.) Second, each Commentary must be substantial, i.e. 200-1000 words.

2) To make the Global Crisis Debate the dominant intellectual forum on the crisis and ways to redress it.

The plan is to use the connection to the UK’s preparation of the April Summit to leverage Vox’s intellectual and reputational capital. Apart from feeding directly into the UK’s preparation of the April summit agenda, the UK website that will surely be read by decision makers from around the globe in the run-up to the April meeting. The Global Crisis Debate will continue well beyond the April summit.

Moderators and themes

The Global Crisis Debate has 5 themes:

·     Development (Moderator: Dani Rodrik)

·     Macro (Moderator: Philip Lane)

·     Regulation (Moderator: Luigi Zingales)

·     Institutional reform (Moderator: Francesco Giavazzi)

·     Open markets (Moderator: Richard Baldwin)

The Scientific Committee consists of Hadi Soesastro (Jakarta) and Barry Eichengreen (Berkeley).

Help us make this the global debate on the global crisis

The Editors invite all professional economists to write 200-1000 word Commentaries on the crisis. These need not be original (for example you might cut-and-paste-and-update a recent column posted or published elsewhere); our aim is to agglomerate all the best thinking in one place to better foster dialog and exchange.



Topics:  Global governance

Tags:  global crisis debate


On the Questions for the Vox Debate.


Are three immediate questions how to sustain:
- final demand given that the surplus countries cannot maintain their surpluses?
- broad money supply given the apparent change in its relation to narrow money supply?
- credit worthiness among borrowers?

Is the fundamental question where should we be heading? How should we describe our medium term objective?

Institutional Reform

Are the three immediate questions how do we coordinate:
- stimulus to demand?
- monetary policy?
- openness of markets to trade?

Is the fundamental question how far should we move towards treating the planet as a single, closed economy?

Financial Rescue and Regulation

If the principal medium term issue is systematic financial risk, is it sufficient to consider just three sources of systematic risk:

- over-valuation, and therefore exaggerated credit worthiness of an asset class?
- new markets in risk, and new interactions between markets?
- error or misbehaviour by a regulatory authority?

Open Markets

Are the immediate priorities to avert worsening of the problem through:
- restrictions on international trade in goods and services,
- reducing international movement of labour,
- reducing international transfers of funds for productive investment?

Is one strategic question are there circumstances, and/or periods, in which restrictions on trade and/or finance between regions of a closed planetary economy be expected to deliver lasting benefits to inhabitants of one or more of the regions concerned? If so, how do we accommodate them in a framework designed to maximise total aggregate benefits?

Is the second strategic question how do we share the costs (and benefits) of externalities common to the whole planet?