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Lessons Learned, Challenges Ahead
The global financial crisis is largely behind us, but the challenges it poses to the future stability of the world's economic system affects everyone from American families to Main Street businesses to Wall Street financial powerhouses. It has provoked controversy over the best way to reduce the risk of a repeat of what proved to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. To describe those challenges and the lessons learned the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings turned to frontline policymakers and some of their most prominent critics. Central Banking after the Great Recession contains the resulting research, leading off with a telling interview between Ben Bernanke, then in his final weeks as Federal Reserve chairman, and Liaquat Ahamed, author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning Lords of Finance. Insightful chapters by John Williams of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, Paul Tucker of Harvard University, and Donald Kohn of Brookings discuss unconventional monetary policy, financial regulation, the impact of the crisis on the independence of the Federal Reserve. Each chapter is followed by a lively debate.
A New Type of Superpower
The rapid pace and grand scale of China's rise have produced a heady mixture of wonder and consternation in the West. Is China on track to become a superpower? What would that mean for the rest of the world? Economist Hu Angang approaches these questions through analysis of three major dimensions of China's rise: its overall economic and social development; advances in education, science, and technology (including alternative energy); and the likely complications posed by resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and climate change.
After three decades of unprecedented economic growth, China is now home to the world's second-largest economy. It is the world's largest exporter and its second-largest consumer of energy (as well as number one in carbon emissions). Extrapolating from these seismic changes, Hu forecasts that by 2020 China will become a "mature, responsible, and attractive superpower" that will contribute, alongside the European Union, to the "end of the unipolar era dominated by the United States."
China in 2020 presents a native Chinese perspective on the challenges and opportunities that Beijing will face as its global footprint expands. Through a meticulous examination of China's development trajectory, Hu Angang explains how his nation as the world's largest emerging market will impact global economic growth, foreign direct investment flows, energy consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions. He proposes a comprehensive strategic framework to guide the next stage of China's rise, seeking to maximize the country's positive impact on the world and minimize the negative externalities of its meteoric development.
Speeches of Zheng Bijian 1997-2005
While in the past other emerging powers have used territorial expansion or other forms of aggression in order to insert themselves into the international arena, China is taking a different road. In this timely collection of speeches, Zheng Bijian, one of China's leading thinkers on ideological questions, examines "China's peaceful rise," addressing some of the most complex issues China faces as it emerges into a rapidly changing world order. These speeches reflect Zheng's firm sense that the lessons of history demand that China pursue a stable, peaceful international environment as a first priority. Such a strategy will not only help smooth China's rise it will also translate China's successes into benefits for other countries as well. These speeches are worth reading not only for the strength of their ideas, but also for a greater understanding of the political and policy constraints and opportunities in relations with China. They help us begin to answer the crucial question that informs all these speeches: How should we think about China?
Chinese and American Perspectives
China's path to political reform over the last three decades has been slow, but discourse among Chinese political scientists continues to be vigorous and forward thinking. China's Political Development offers a unique look into the country's evolving political process by combining chapters authored by twelve prominent Chinese political scientists with an extensive commentary on each chapter by an American scholar of the Chinese political system. Each chapter focuses on a major aspect of the development of the Chinese Party-state, encompassing the changing relations among its constituent parts as well as its evolving approaches toward economic gorwth, civil society, grassroots elections, and the intertwined problems of supervision and corruption.
Together, these analyses highlight the history, strategy, policies, and implementation of governance reforms since 1978 and the authors' recommendations for future changes. This extensive work provides the deep background necessary to understand the sociopolitical context and intellectual currents. behind the reform agenda announced at the landmark Third Plenum in 2013. Shedding light through contrasting perspectives, the book provides an overview of the efforts China has directed toward developing good governance, the challenges it faces, and its future direction.
Emerging Policy and Market Opportunities
The global climate change problem has finally entered the world's consciousness. While efforts to find a solution have increased momentum, international attention has focused primarily on the industrial and energy sectors. The forest, and land-use sector, however, remains one of the most significant untapped opportunities for carbon mitigation. The expiration of the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period in 2012 presents an opportunity for the international community to put this sector back on the agenda.
In this timely, wide-ranging volume, an international team of experts explain the links between climate change and forests, highlighting the potential utility of this sector within emerging climate policy frameworks and carbon markets. After framing forestry activities within the larger context of climate-change policy, the contributors analyze the operation and efficacy of market-based mechanisms for forest conservation and climate change. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the authors present concrete recommendations for policymakers, project developers, and market participants. They discuss sequestration rights in Chile, carbon offset programs in Australia and New Zealand, and emerging policy incentives at all levels of the U.S. government. The book also explores the different voluntary schemes for carbon crediting, provides an overview of best practices in carbon accounting, and presents tools for use in future sequestration and offset programs. It concludes with consideration of various incentive options for slowing deforestation and protecting the world's remaining forests.
Climate Change and Forests provides a realistic view of the role that the forest and land-use sector can play in a post-Kyoto regime. It will serve as a practical reference manual for anyone concerned about climate policy, including the negotiators working to define a robust and enduring international framework for addressing climate change.
Politics and Ideology in American Universities
Contrary to popular belief, the problem with U.S. higher education is not too much politics but too little. Far from being bastions of liberal bias, American universities have largely withdrawn from the world of politics. So conclude Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy Mayer, and Lee Fritschler in this illuminating book. C losed Minds? d draws on data from interviews, focus groups, and a new national survey by the authors, as well as their decades of experience in higher education to paint the most comprehensive picture to date of campus political attitudes. It finds that while liberals outnumber conservatives within faculty ranks, even most conservatives believe that ideology has little impact on hiring and promotion. Today's students are somewhat more conservative than their professors, but few complain of political bias in the classroom. Similarly, a Pennsylvania legislative inquiry, which the authors explore as a case study of conservative activism in higher education, found that political bias was "rare" in the state's public colleges and universities. Yet this ideological peace on campus has been purchased at a high price. American universities are rarely hospitable to lively discussions of issues of public importance. They largely shun serious political debate, all but ignore what used to be called civics, and take little interest in educating students to be effective citizens. Smith, Mayer, and Fritschler contrast the current climate of disengagement with the original civic mission of American colleges and universities. In concluding, they suggest how universities can reclaim and strengthen their place in the nation's political and civic life.
How Much Can Later Retirement Help?
As the average age of the population continues to rise in industrialized nations, the fiscal impacts of aging demand ever-closer attention. Closing the Deficit examines one oft-discussed approach to the issue encouraging people to work longer than they now do.
Workers would spend more years paying taxes and fewer years drawing pension and health benefits. But how much difference to spending and revenues would longer working lives make? What steps could be taken to make longer working lives attractive? And what would happen to older Americans not in a position to prolong their work lives? Leading scholars examine these issues in Closing the Deficit, edited by Brookings economists Gary Burtless and Henry Aaron.
U.S. Telecommunications since the 1996 Telecom Act
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was an attempt to increase competition among telecommunications providers in the United States by reducing regulatory barriers to market entry. This competition was expected to drive innovation in the telecommunications sector and reap economic benefits for both American consumers and telecommunications providers. The legislation, however, had a markedly different impact. While many of the more aggressive providers enjoyed sharp short-term rises in stock market values, they soon faced sudden collapse, leaving consumers with little or no long-term benefit.
In Competition and Chaos, Robert W. Crandall analyzes the impact of the 1996 act on economic welfare in the United States and how the act and its antecedents affected the major telecommunications providers. He argues that the act was far too stringent, inviting the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators to micromanage competitive entry into local telecommunications markets. Combined with the bursting of the dot.com and telecom stock market bubbles, this aggressive policy invited new and existing firms to invest billions of dollars unwisely, leading to the 200102 collapse of equity values throughout the sector. New entrants into the market invested more than $50 billion in unproductive assets that were quickly wiped out through massive failures. The 1996 act allowed the independent long-distance companies, such as MCI and AT& T, to live a few years longer. But today they are a threatened species, caught in a downward spiral of declining prices and substantial losses. The industry is preparing for an intense battle for market share among three sets of carriers: the wireless companies, the local telephone carriers, and the cable television businesses. Each has its own particular advantage in one of the three major segments of the market voice, data, and video but none is assured a clear path to dominance. Although the telecom stock market collapse is now history and the survivors are investing once again, Crandall concludes that the regulators have failed to adapt to the chaos to which they contributed.
Weak States and U.S. National Security
Former Brookings Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice spearheads an investigation of the connections between poverty and fragile states and the implications for American security. Coedited by Rice and former Brookings colleagues Corinne Graff and Carlos Pascual, Confronting Poverty is a timely reminder that alleviating global poverty and shoring up weak states are not only humanitarian and economic imperatives, but key components of a more balanced and sustainable U.S. national security strategy.
Rice elucidates the relationship between poverty, state weakness, and transnational security threats, and Graff and Pascual offer policy recommendations. The book's overarching conclusions highlight the need to invest in poverty alleviation and capacity building in weak states in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, fragility, and transnational threats.
Confronting Poverty grows out of a project on global poverty and U.S. national security that Rice directed at Brookings from 2002 through January 2009, before she became U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Back in the 1960s tackling poverty "in place" meant focusing resources in the inner city and in rural areas. The suburbs were seen as home to middle- and upper-class families affluent commuters and homeowners looking for good schools and safe communities in which to raise their kids. But today's America is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem, but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America.
After decades in which suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, the 2000s marked a tipping point. Suburbia is now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country and more than half of the metropolitan poor. However, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. As Kneebone and Berube cogently demonstrate, the solution no longer fits the problem.
The spread of suburban poverty has many causes, including shifts in affordable housing and jobs, population dynamics, immigration, and a struggling economy. The phenomenon raises several daunting challenges, such as the need for more (and better) transportation options, services, and financial resources. But necessity also produces opportunity in this case, the opportunity to rethink and modernize services, structures, and procedures so that they work in more scaled, cross-cutting, and resource-efficient ways to address widespread need. This book embraces that opportunity.
Kneebone and Berube paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America offers a series of workable recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect residents with economic opportunity. The authors highlight efforts in metro areas where local leaders are learning how to do more with less and adjusting their approaches to address the metropolitan scale of poverty for example, integrating services and service delivery, collaborating across sectors and jurisdictions, and using data-driven and flexible funding strategies.
"We believe the goal of public policy must be to provide all families with access to communities, whether in cities or suburbs, that offer a high quality of life and solid platform for upward mobility over time. Understanding the new reality of poverty in metropolitan America is a critical step toward realizing that goal." from Chapter One