US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross: ”We are far less protectionist than Europe. We are far less protectionist than Japan. We are far less protectionist than China.”  Photograph:  AFP Photo

Wilbur Ross shows one can be a billionaire and not understand how the economy works

The rapid growth of indebtedness and the size of China’s financial system represent a threat to global stability. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

The country needs to rebalance its economy before opening up capital flows

Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis. Brexiters will discover that all trade deals impose constraints on national autonomy, and the more market-opening the deal, the tighter the constraints

If a deal is to be reached with the EU, the UK will need to make concessions

Trump may declare “America first”. The Chinese leadership may focus on the welfare of its own citizens. But neither will be able to deliver what they want without paying attention to the interests and views of others

We are hoping a Chinese communist can persuade Trump of the merits of liberal trade

The move from bilateral to multilateral balancing nearly 70 years ago was a starting point for the explosion in trade that has driven global growth. Photograph: Getty Images

Economic nationalism and protectionism didn’t work in the 1930s – it won’t work now

Martin Wolf: The UK government must set the right objectives, appreciate its position and adopt an effective approach.

Britain will leave the EU and the only question is on what and whose terms?

Am Indian woman in a potato field. The UN forecasts India’s population might be 1.7bn by 2050

India has some major obstacles to overcome to become global economic power

An anti-corruption protest in India.  Prime Minister  Narendra Modi has demonitised  500 and 1,000 rupee notes as part of a  fight against the black economy and corruption

What Modi has done makes everything Trumps has done so far look trivial

Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May: “Our economy should work for everyone, but if your pay has stagnated for several years in a row and fixed items of spending keep going up, it doesn’t feel like it’s working for you.”

Stagnating wages and a return to inflation measn the less well off willl be hit the hardest

Martin Wolf: The UK has committed itself to becoming “global Britain”. Getting there successfully will be a big challenge.

Brexit will be nasty, brutish and long. There are five key challenges ahead.

 The share of jobs in manufacturing in the US has fallen from  30 per cent of total employment in the  1950s to just over 8 per cent.

The president’s policies are likely to impose large costs on unprotected sectors

Protectionism was the policy of choice during the Great Depression

Free trade is defended by communist China and the US is on the verge of becoming a rogue state

“For much of human history, war was seen as the natural relationship between societies.”

Co-operating with foreigners for mutual benefit disturbs the cultural matrix of tribal loyalty

Donald Trump and Barack Obama: the Obama administration has rescued the US economy and bequeathed a sound foundation for its successor to build on

Obama erred in not going all out to punish those whose irresponsibility blew up the US financial system and economy

Increasing friction between China and the US is a worry for 2017.

War, inflation and financial crisis are the three horsemen of the apocalypse

  Xi Jinping: his solutions “seem to be more Leninism and more markets, yet this is a  problematic combination”. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

One-party Leninist rule allied with endemic corruption does not bode well for future

A branch of troubled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Rome. The inability to resolve the banking crisis in ways that meet the constraints of Italian politics and European rules is now a canker in Italy’s politics.

Interactions between economic events and political stresses are unpredictable

There are limits to how far China might replace the US in world trade – China’s share of global gross domestic product at market prices was  15 per cent in 2016.

Political struggle is over who benefits from know-how developed by western companies

Construction workers in the US. Donald Trump plans to increase infrastructure spending. Photograph; Getty Images

Rich stand to gain, manufacturing will be hit and cost of living will rise

A shuttered steel mill in Pennsylvania, US. The rate of creation of new jobs has slowed markedly, as have rates of internal migration. Photograph: Getty

Mediocre growth, high inequality and low job creation are problems facing new administration

Mumbai in India. If global trade it is revived it will probably be by the Asian giants China and India

The days of western leadership on trade would seem to be over

“Inflation targeting can cause problems – notably if the impact of monetary policy on finance is ignored.”

Governments should examine reforms that could help central banks deliver growth

UK prime minister Theresa May: speeches at the Tory party conference make a hard Brexit “by far the most probable outcome”. Photograph: PA Wire

British PM’s loose talk over UK’s EU exit has heightened possibility of economic crisis

“In an effort to retain high profitability, Deutsche Bank is highly leveraged. About half of its €1.8 trillion in assets are linked to its trading activities.” Photograph:  Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Banking will remain an accident waiting to happen until proper safeguards are in place

“Brexit means Brexit”: the three-word sentence tells us much about UK prime minister Theresa May’s style.

Halfway houses between EU membership and hard exit from EU are uninhabitable

The Luas cross city construction works at O’Connell Bridge in  Dublin. The time is right for major public infrasructure investment. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

In the face of low interest rates, a rescue by ‘helicopter money’ might be needed

An analysis from the Peterson Institute for International Economics argues that ratios of world trade to output have been flat since 2008, making this the longest period of such stagnation since the second World War. Photograph: Getty Images

The dominant philosophy of our age has plateaued and in some areas is in reverse

Oswald Mosley,  leader of the British Union of Fascists, being saluted at a fascist parade.  The 1930s saw the rise of authoritarianism as citizens lost faith in liberal democracy.

The symbiotic relationship is under strain, last seen during rise of fascism in the 1930s

Signs supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are held during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Stagnating incomes will not be solved by a dose of populist protectionism

We are neither in the middle of an era of unprecedented economic advance nor on the brink of an era of exceptional job destruction.

We must put an end to our facile optimism, we live in harsh times

The EU is unlikely to gain the legitimacy that comes from democratic accountability but making the euro zone a prosperous place for its citizens  is indispensable. Brexit is a nuisance. The priority is a practical plan for widely shared economic growth.

If citizens see the practical benefits of membership, then the union will thrive

Nothing happening here. Britain should paly for time, argues Martin Wolf.

Britain should refrain from a hasty withdrawal until it has a better sense of what’s at stake

Martin Wolf: It is, for me, among the saddest of hours.

It is a revolt of the provinces against a prosperous and globalised London

“The very fact that the UK is able to hold this referendum demonstrates that it remains sovereign.” Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

The democratic EU of today owes immeasurably to British politics, values and courage

The consequences of Brexit are unlikely to be limited to the UK. The direct impact of British economic instability on the world might not be large, though the euro zone is not in a good position to cope with negative shocks.

Leaving the EU might be a big economic shock and not just for the UK

Tourists watch the march of the Presidential Guard (Evzoni) in front of the parliament building in Athens. The most disturbing aspect of the Greek macroeconomic situation is its external position, not the fiscal one

The IMF now acknowledges that the programme agreed in 2010 was wildly unrealistic

Alchemy lies at the heart of the financial system; moreover, banking was, like alchemy, a medieval idea, but one we have not as yet discarded.

A system built on making promises it cannot keep is bound to crash, and crash again

Donald Trump supporters gather for a ralyy.Trump is the pied piper of the enraged and the resentful, says Martin Wolf.

Democracy is in trouble, big trouble, and weak and self-interested leadership is to blame

Germany’s ideas and interests are of huge importance to the euro zone. But they should not determine everything.

Europe’s heavyweight needs to understand that its part of a club

Westminster, London. States exist to serve the interests of their citizens. They can achieve that objective only through co-operation with other states.

Referendum is not about sovereignty. It is about how best to exercise the country’s power. And that is best done in the EU

If the euro zone broke up in a disorderly fashion, the damage to its closest partners might be substantial. Yet the EU will remain the UK’s biggest trading partner indefinitely.

Those in favour of leaving offer fantasies of damage done by staying and of opportunity opened by departure

The UK is not the great power of the past. But its actions still have consequences. It is not – and must not wish to be – a European Singapore. Only the west’s enemies would welcome such a folly.

Barack Obama needs to tell the British, nicely but firmly, that they have to stay in the EU

The opening up of China’s financial system to the world must be regarded as a matter of global concern

The country is systemically important and suffers high and rising corporate indebtedness

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne speaking in the House of Commons.

Steady reduction in corporation tax suggests government is trying to turn UK into Ireland

On balance, the opportunities afforded by the application of information technologies to our financial system seem large.

However, such disruption must be beneficial and ordered as the sector is too important for a chaotic transition

Donald Trump speaks during the Republican US presidential candidates debate.

Donald Trump is a ‘promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe and an ignoramus’

Can the world escape from the chronic demand weakness? Absolutely, yes. Will it? That demands greater boldness. When one has exhausted the just about possible, what remains, however improbable, must be the answer.

It is time for Plan C, which could mean central banks giving every adult citizen a lump of money to spend

David Cameron: In all, he has laboured to produce a mouse. Photograph: EPA

UK needs a voice in Europe and the bloc would benefit too

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters on a plane en route to New Hampshire in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, 2016. Sanders and Hillary Clinton were locked in an intensely tight race in the Iowa caucuses. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

‘There is a growing sense that those at the top are corrupt, complacent and incompetent’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Republican ideologues complain, is not a true conservative; indeed, he is a populist. Photograph: Gretchen Ertl/Reuters

Elites have become detached from domestic concerns, forming a global super-elite

Beijing and economic policy: Observers are calling upon the authorities to be more transparent. Photograph: Reuters

Credit-fuelled investment must slow while household incomes and consumption accelerate

A stock investor checks prices in a brokerage house in Fuyang in central China’s Anhui province: Market turmoil has reduced confidence in the competence of the country’s leadership but its problems are not amenable to any quick technocratic fixes. Photograph: An Ming/EPA

Turbulence in emerging economies such as China will be felt around the world

The rise of “Trumpism” would be a potential cause of geopolitical upheaval and conflict. Photograph: Reuters/Brian Snyder

There are three things to worry about: wars, inflation shocks and financial crises

Costumed activists demonstrate near the Eiffel Tower, in Paris,  during the COP21  United Nations Climate Change Conference. Participating nations agreed to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

COP21 accord goes further than expected a year ago but not as far as it needs to

The US Federal Reserve is unlikely to deliver desired fiscal cheer by leaving short term rates alone. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

US years ahead of EU in recovery and so at a different stage of monetary policy cycle

Members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union  protest in front of the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Pre-tax inequality in South Africa is as high as it was 20 years ago – and it is the world’s highest. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Martin Wolf: The legacy of injustice has shaped the country. Now it needs growth, of the right kind

Pedestrians are reflected on a share prices board in Tokyo. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Is it time for higher taxes on retained earnings? Behaviour raises big policy questions

The change in gross domestic product of crisis-hit countries is now almost universally positive, but GDP remains far below what might have been expected from pre-crisis trends. Photograph: Getty Images

It may be hard to avoid crises but it is vital to make them both small and rare

French president Francois Hollande walks on the Solheimajokull glacier, where the ice has receded by more than 1km, during an official visit to Iceland earlier this month. Photograph: Thibault Camus/EPA

Goals of eliminating mass poverty and tackling global warming are complementary

This is barefaced cheek and such behaviour must not succeed

Immigration has economic pros and cons for the European Union

Migrants gaze out of a train window in Coratia. In deciding what to do, the EU must draw a distinction between refugees and immigrants. Countries have legal and moral obligations to refugees. They do not have such obligations to other immigrants. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

From the refugee crisis to the Ukraine to Greece and Brexit, the EU’s is beset by problems

Paper tiger money: there is a plausible, if not universally accepted, understanding that China’s growth is overstated by official statistics and may be as low as 4 per cent.  Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

If it were to happen, a decision by the Fed to tighten now would look downright foolish

The US Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC.  Photograph: Getty

After nearly seven years of zero interest rates, the inflation of which critics warned is invisible

Beijing has spent $200 billion on a failed attempt to prop up the stock market and that foreign exchange reserves fell by $315 billion in the year to July 2015. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Big question is whether a market-driven economy is compatible with the growing concentration of political power

Greece is in the “last chance saloon”. The logic of where it is now is definitely towards the exit. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

If Greece left it would guarantee default and generate permanent instability for euro zone

Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister: Syriza has failed to put forward a credible programme of reform that might solve the problems of the Greek economy. It has made populist gestures. It is a dreadful government produced by desperate times. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

Which is best for Greece: further austerity or sovereign default and monetary sovereignty?

Incentives and innovation could be the best way to ensure carbon-free technologies are competitive with fossil fuels. Photograph: Reuters

Improved technology might end our dependence on the burning of fossil fuels

Neither Greeks nor their partners should imagine a clean break if it leaves the euro

World leaders at the G7 summit in Germany: we should be sceptical of their commitments to climate action as we have heard them for nearly a quarter ofa century. Photograph: Markus Schreibe/AP

Environmental challenge is a problem of insuring against the chance of catastrophe

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has accused bailout monitors of making “absurd” demands. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

To fail now would be to pile a new mountain of error on the old ones

‘It is possible to have too much finance. More importantly, significant economies are in this position, among them Japan and the US.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What is needed is not more finance, but better finance

Yields on government bonds of the big advanced economies peaked in the early 1980s: Japan’s peak was near 10 per cent, Germany’s 11 per cent, and those of the US and UK 15 per cent and 16 per cent.

If the ECB succeeds with its endeavours and so the recovery continues to gain pace, then bond yields should rise a great deal

Protesters, many against the so-called fast track trade authority of the TTP trade agreement, rally outside a hotel where US President Barack Obama held a meeting in Portland, Oregon last week. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Since the failure of the “Doha round”, the focus has shifted to exclusive agreements

In what condition does the coalition government leave the UK economy? Photograph: Reuters/Luke Macgregor/Files

Osborne’s claim UK might be most prosperous major economy by 2030 is fantasy

Greek myths: A sixth myth is that if Greece defaults, it would have to create a new currency and so leave the eurozone.

No American bank was so heavily exposed to Detroit as to be made insolvent by its default

A shopper is seen through large lantern decorations at a shopping mall in Beijing. Capital growth is falling after a huge investment boom in the 2000s, particularly in China. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Decline in potential growth leads to debate about savings glut and secular stagnation

A street vendor selling Greek shadow-puppet theatre figures  in Athens: Greece remains internationally uncompetitive, as shown by the sluggishness of its exports. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Reuters

An accidental exit from the eurozone is quite likely – not because Greece or its partners want it

‘In early 2011, the European Central Bank raised its intervention rate from 1 to 1.5 per cent. This was wildly inappropriate, and in the end it had to cut rates again and embark on QE.’ Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

Those betting on inflation jumps and a bond-market rout will be disappointed

Shoppers walk through Mangaldas Market in Mumbai. Speculation that prime minister Narendra Modi’s policies will boost economic growth has propelled India’s Sensex to the world’s third-biggest gain among major markets during the past 12 months. Photograph: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Martin Wolf: Government making sensible reforms

The primary driver of the rise in global output is expected to be a 75 per cent jump in global average real output per head, as the prosperity of emerging economies catches up with that of high-income countries

Agreement to implement tax on carbon would mean a more efficient energy future

China saw a rise of 70 percentage points in the ratio of corporate and household debt to GDP between 2007 and last year. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty

When the world economy depends on fragile balance sheets, expect more crises

At the very least US spenders will, once again, have to pull not only their own economy, but much of the rest of the world. Photograph: Michael McCloskey

The global economy is an integrated system, ignoring that reality is futile

An elderly woman reacts as her acquaintances board a bus to flee due to a military conflict in Debaltseve, Ukraine. The IMF is seeking to negotiate a new multiyear extended fund facility with the troubled country. Photograph: Sergey Polezhaka /Reuters

A deomcratic and law-governed Ukraine would shake the Russian kleptocracy

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister (left), with George Osborne, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, in London on Monday. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Pool/Bloomberg

Most observers believe Greece could find the €4.3bn it needs to pay the IMF next month

Presidential guards parade before newly appointed ministers and deputy ministers at a swearing in ceremony outside the presidential palace in Athens on January 27th, 2015. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

Creating euro zone is members’ second-worst monetary idea, a break-up is the worst

The SNB has embraced the risk of deflation from which the ECB wishes to escape. Photograph: Reuters

An ECB stimulus must happen despite Berlin fears – the euro zone economy is at stake

Political leaders walking in solidarity after the attacks in  Paris. Photograph: EPA

Martin Wolf: Fanatic a familiar character in history

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable,” – John Kenneth Galbraith

Martin Wolf: If the European Central Bank pulled out all the stops, the rise in confidence might surprise

Many believe dysfunctional behaviour in finance is due solely to distorted incentives

German Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann: argued “it is fanciful to believe that monetary policy tools can sustainably lift the growth potential of an economy”. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Opinion: Germany must think big and broaden its outlook

The decline in oil prices should be helpful to the world economy, albeit with caveats. Photograph: Getty/iStockphoto

The decline in the value of cude should help the world’s economy . . . to an extent

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Demand deficiency syndrome has afflicted Japan since the early 1990s and the US, euro zone and UK since 2008 at the latest. Photograph: Getty Images/Flickr RM

Opinion: policymakers need to eliminate dependence on unsustainable credit

A man walks past a restaurant in the Dotonbori amusement district of Osaka,  Japan, yesterday. The difficulties caused by fiscal austerity have become particularly evident in Japan and the euro zone. Photograph: Reuters

Feeble economic performance has occurred despite the most aggressive monetary policies in history

‘Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are at levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. In addition, human-caused emissions of such gases have risen consistently.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Opinion: Republican wins in US midterms have implications for humanity

Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan, points to a sign as he speaks during a news conference at the central bank’s headquarters in Tokyo yesterday.  Photograph: Bloomberg

Monetary Policy Committee divided over quantitative easing policy

Following the stress tests, the European Central Bank concluded that 25 institutions, nine of them Italian, would need to add a total of €25 billion in capital. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Tests are not a complete fix for banking sector, still less for economy’s wider problems

Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann. With conventional monetary policy at its limits, the choice is between unconventional monetary policy or expansionary fiscal policy. Germany is extremely uncomfortable with both. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Opinion: zone needs to reach deal between more reform and more demand

The People’s Bank of China headquarters in Beijing. Photograph: Petar Kujundzic/Reuters

Opinion: we need to escape from this apparently relentless cycle

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