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Belt and Road Forum: A Global Vision with Chinese Characteristics

Asst. Prof. Mustafa Yağcı, İstinye University

September 2017

 


Dr. Caner Bakır

Co-director, Center for Globalisation, Peace and Democratic Governance

Associate Professor of International Political Economy

Department of International Relations, Koc University

July 2016

Britanya AB üyeliğinden çıkıyor: Bundan sonra ne olacak?

2004 yılında Avrupa Birliği (AB) ortalamalarının altındaki sosyo-ekonomik gelişmişlik düzeyine sahip ülkelerin yeni AB üyesi yapılmasının ve göçmen krizinin bedelini AB ödemeye devam ediyor. Avrupa’da yükselen ve içine AB karşıtlığı, ırkçılık, göçmen karşıtlığı ve İslam fobisinden alan popülizmden Britanya payına düşeni yüksek bir bedel ödeyerek aldı: 24 Haziranda yapılan referandumdan AB’den çıkma kararı çıktı. Bunun ardından geçtiğimiz Cuma günü Başbakan istifa etti, İngiliz poundu dolar karşısında 1985’den buyana gördüğü en düşük seviyeye geriledi ve borsa seansa %8’lik düşüşle başladı. Britanya’nın iki yıl içinde tamamlanması beklenen AB çıkış sürecinin sadece Britanya için değil hem AB hem de küresel ekonomi için politik ekonomik belirsizlikleri beraberinde getirdiği düşünülebilir.

Bu ortamda bütçe açığı ve milli gelirin %7’sinin üzerinde cari açık veren Britanya’ya yönelen sermaye akımlarının ve AB ile olan ticaretin olumsuz etkileneceği açık. Ekonominin durgunluğa girmesi kaçınılmaz gibi görünüyor. Özellikle milli gelirin %12’sini oluşturan, 2,2 milyon kişinin istihdam edildiği ve 66 milyar pound vergi veren ve New York’tan sonra dünya finans merkezi olarak kabul edilen Londra finansal hizmetler endüstrisi, yeni dönemde 500 milyonluk AB pazarına erişimde güçlüklerle karşılaşacak.Hem bu endüstride çalışanların bir kısmı islerini kaybedecek hem de bu sektörde faaliyet gösteren ve 2008 küresel kriz sonrası toparlanma çalışan Royal Bank of Scotland gibi bankalar olumsuz etkileyecek. Londra’nın ev sahipliğini yaptığı ve işlem hacmi trilyon dolarlara ulaşan Euro cinsinden alınıp satılan türev ürünler ve hisse senetleri gibi finansal ürünlerinde artık Frankfurt’a kaydırılabileceği yönünde Avrupa Merkez Bankası’nın girişimlerde bulunacağı da beklenmeli. Benzer şekilde başta çok uluslu bankalar olmak üzere Britanya’da üretip 500 milyonluk AB pazarına satan Nissan gibi çok uluslu şirketlerin üretimlerini Londra’dan AB ülkelerine kaydırmaları da gündeme gelecektir. Londra Menkul Kıymetler Borsası ile Alman Borsası’nın birleşmesi de zora girdi. AB dışına ihracatını yoğunlaştıran şirketler ise poundun değer kaybından olumlu etkilenen küçük bir kesimi oluşturuyor.

Yüksek belirsizlik ortamında yılsonunda ekonomik durgunluğa gireceğine kesin gözüyle bakılan Britanya ekonomisinde ekonomiyi canlandırmak için İngiliz Merkez Bankası’nın Mart 2009’dan buyana zaten çok düşük seviyedeki (%0,5) faiz oranlarını daha da düşürerek ekonomiyi canlandırması güç görünüyor. Milyarlarca poundluk parasal genişlemenin gelecek yıl gündeme gelmesi sürpriz olmayacaktır.

Referandumda İskoçya, Kuzey İrlanda ve başta Londra olmak üzere çoğunluğu gençlerden oluşan yaklaşık 16 milyon seçmen AB içinde kalma yönünde oy kullandı. İskoçya AB’de kalmak uğruna daha önce iki kez reddettiği Britanya’dan ayrılmayı referandumla halka soracağının işaretlerini verdi. Bu sefer İskoç referandum sonucu Britanya’dan ayrılmak şeklinde çıkacaktır. Benzer bir eğilim İrlanda’nın birleşmesi yönünde de görülebilir. Birleşik Krallık dağılma sürecine girecek mi zaman gösterecek.

Küresel ekonominin sadece %3,5’ini oluşturan Britanya’nın ekonomik durgunluğa girmesi kuşkusuz bölgesel ve küresel bir ekonomik krizi tek başına tetiklemeye yetmez. Ancak, AB’nin önünde de kurumsal çözülmeyi içinde barından bir belirsizliğin olduğu zor bir süreç var. Örneğin, Fransa ve Hollanda’daki ırkçı siyasetçiler kendileri için açılan fırsat penceresinin ardından referandum çağrılarına başladı. Benzer referandumların diğer AB ülkelerinde de yayılması AB projesinin önündeki en önemli risk olarak ortaya çıkıyor. AB’den çıkmanın maliyetinin ne kadar yüksek olacağını göstermek için AB’nin Britanya’ya çıkış müzakerelerinde katı bir tavır sergileyeceği beklenmeli. Mevcut konjonktürde Britanya’ya Norveç gibi davranılmayacaktır. Ancak, Euro’nun gelecegi üzerindeki belirsizliğin artacağı ve politika araçları daralmış bir Avrupa Merkez Bankası’nın işinin önümüzdeki dönemde de zor olacağı beklenmeli.

Amerikan seçimlerinde başkan adayı olan Donald Trump, AB referandumunun sonuçlarını ‘Britanya’yı büyük ve bağımsız’ yapma yolunda atılmış önemli bir adım olarak yorumladı. Trump’ın başkan seçilmesi durumunda Avrupa’daki popülist siyasetçilerle örtüşen söylemini hayata geçirmesi ise ekonomik boyutlarıyla sınırlı kalmayacak küresel demokrasi, barış ve insan hakları krizini de beraberinde getirecektir.

 


 

Alper H. Yağcı

Faculty, International Relations, Özyeğin University

Visiting Researcher, GLODEM, Koc University

June 2016

Genetically Modified Organisms, Market Dynamics, and Public Health: Exploring the Linkages and Designing Mechanisms of Impact

Note: A different version of this essay has first appeared on the Mittelungen bulletin of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

For various reasons the public seems to like to debate the genetically modified organisms (GMOs). However, baffled by complexity, most people fall back on one of the two simplistic storylines for or against the new technology in order to form opinions: that it is either a silver bullet capable of solving the world’s food production problems, or that it is a rare kind of evil that embodies various perils to humanity; sanitary, environmental and socio-economic. In fact, genetic engineering of crops is a platform technology that comes in various applications—different traits for different plants for different purposes, and it is difficult to pass a blanket verdict on all its impacts. Furthermore, the impact of technology is shaped by market institutions and public policies regulating them. It is those institutions and policies that define the conditions of property ownership and access, and determine who reaps most of the economic benefits from the cultivation of improved crops. Below I explain how institutions and policies that aim to tackle market-related challenges can also have public health consequences. Recognizing the connection may help if we intend to improve the regulatory policies in those countries where genetically modified (GM) crops are being cultivated. In Turkey, cultivation of GM crops remains completely prohibited as per the 2010 Biosafety Law. However, there is some demand from the agrifood industry for its legalization, and therefore issues explored below should be relevant for the GMO debates in Turkey, too.

Contrary to a widespread belief, GM crop seeds do not put biological barriers against the replanting of harvested seed by farmers. This is, however, precisely the reason why biotechnology companies marketing the seeds try to establish legal barriers, in the form of intellectual property protection instruments such as patents, that prevent farmers from replanting seeds without paying royalty fees to the patent-holding companies. Furthermore, patents relating to GM crop seeds are highly concentrated: a UN report found that of all those approved for commercial cultivation between 1992 and 2005 worldwide, more than half of the patents were owned by the US-based Monsanto alone. Hence intellectual property protection over GM seeds is an issue that brings farmers and biotechnology companies like Monsanto into conflict, even if those two interest groups occasionally ally against the GMO-skeptic public to advocate for the wider acceptance of this technology. Biotechnology companies want that farmers pay for the seeds, farmers don’t, or they argue that the fees demanded are exorbitant, and if standard economic theory of monopoly has any merit they might be right.

There are several public health-related consequences of these market dynamics. First, unchallenged by competition, established biotechnology companies prioritize research towards those genetic traits that are of particular commercial interest to them, instead of the ones that would have the most social impact. Currently most of the world’s GM crop seeds are not those with genes that increase their nutritional value or make them suitable to climate change, but those that are tolerant of a particular chemical herbicide (glyphosate) that was patented by Monsanto—the same company that developed the seeds. With glyphosate-tolerant seeds, farmers can abundantly use glyphosate to eliminate weeds without losing crops, which makes farm management easier and results in a boost for the sale of this chemical in the meanwhile. Upon lobbying by the biotechnology industry, the official approval of GM crop cultivation often comes with a change in rules relating to the glyphosate residue allowed in food—in Brazil the level was increased 50 times in a single decision, which is by definition an increase in risk even if the new level is still below levels scientifically regarded as unsafe. In Argentina, incidents of lethal cancer seem to have skyrocketed in periurban areas that are exposed to glyphosate spraying from nearby farms. Scientific evidence suggests that more than anything about the consumption of GM food per se, the liberal spraying of glyphosate is likely to present veritable public health problems. The issue illustrates well the complexity of the GMO debate: Glyphosate is used on all kinds of crops, but there is a market structure-induced affinity between it and GM crops, pointing to the need for public regulation of those precise mechanisms that increase the public’s exposure to this chemical, and for that purpose bans on GM crops will not do. Alas, such nuances are lost to hotheaded civil society activism around GMOs, which typically aims to capture public opinion with blanket for- or against- positions.

A second health-related consequence of the tightly concentrated market structure and associated intellectual property claims is the informal market practices that emerge to avoid them. In developing countries especially, farmers seek to access the agronomically superior GM seeds without proper contracts with the patent-holding transnational companies, and governments have been encouraging or tolerating these efforts. Fly-by-night local companies “cross” officially approved GM crop seeds with other varieties to develop new, illegal varieties of GM crops. The resulting seeds are cheaper but they release unregulated risks to the environment, making biosafety regulations meaningless. To address this problem, again, a ban on GM crops would be irrelevant; and market regulation policies should be considered instead. In India, for example, the introduction of mandatory ceilings for the price biotechnology companies can officially charge for GM seeds have resulted in a decrease in the farmers’ use of illegal varieties.

While the confounding of biosafety risks by problems of market structure may provide some with all the more reason to oppose the technology of genetically engineering crops; another conclusion is plausible. If monopolistic/oligopolistic control over genetic engineering has been hindering its potential to generate socially desirable outcomes, greater investment in research and development for this technology by public and private partners could tackle problems of market structure. To put it somewhat bluntly, even if biotechnology companies like Monsanto are reviled by critiques; more biotechnology companies, and not fewer, may be the solution. Currently, resource-consuming tests required for the approval of new genetically modified crop varieties function as a market entry barrier that protects the monopolistic-oligopolistic vanguard. Since big companies can staff scientists and lawyers around the world to monitor biosafety regulations in all the important markets and enjoy economies of scale, their products can survive these tests and still remain profitable for them. Small companies cannot do the same—the unpredictability of regulatory survival deters many from even trying. This does not mean that biosafety tests should be made less demanding, but governments in developing countries may take a bolder approach to subsidizing domestic biotechnology R&D capacity in compensation.

In terms of global governance the recognition of such complexity of the policy terrain does not lend itself easily to a to-do list, but it may make us better informed about what not to do. Efforts at establishing high-profile international biosafety regimes, as the GMO-skeptic countries tried to push with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the pro-GMO countries tried to realize through WTO settlements, may not be the most productive way of dealing with the policy challenges. In fact, the observations above suggest that some of the most needed interventions lay in domestic policy and in the realms of intellectual property and commercial practices rather than biosafety law. This is especially true for developing countries with large populations of vulnerable farmers. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), in place since 1995, and the Substantial Patent Law Treaty, whose drafts are in circulation, are relevant not only to pharmaceuticals but also to GMOs. Public health activists may want to engage with the negotiation of such treaties with this in mind.   

 

References

Sadashivappa, Prakash and Matin Qaim. Bt Cotton in India: Development of Benefits and the Role of Government Seed Price Interventions. AgBioForum, 12.2 (2009): 172-183.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretariat. Tracking The Trend Towards Market Concentration: The Case Of The Agricultural Input Industry. April, 2006.

Yagci, Alper H. Managing The Agricultural Biotechnology Revolution: Responses To Transgenic Seeds In Developing Countries. PhD dissertation submitted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2016.


 

Alper H. Yağcı

Faculty, International Relations, Özyeğin University

Visiting Researcher, GLODEM, Koc University

May 2016

The Global Recession, Inequality, and the Occupy Protests: Reconsidering the Linkages

Note: A slightly different version of this article was first published on the LSE’s British Politics and Policy Blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/impact-of-occupy-movement/

Although occasionally derided for their limited direct impact, Occupy protests are one of the major global political waves of our time. The movement emerged late in 2011, but ‘occupy’ was found to be the most commonly used English word on the Internet and in print that year.[1] The events started as a North American affair, when Occupy Wall Street protestors blamed the recession on the corrupting political influence of the wealthy “one per cent” and called citizens to action by occupying public spaces. Once this frame was out in circulation, grassroots activists replicated the protests in do-it-yourself fashion around the world, including in such unlikely places as Namibia, Yemen and Papua New Guinea as well as Turkey. Given their discursive target and their wide spread, the question that ensues is whether more Occupy protests happened in places with higher inequality and deeper recession.

In a recently published research article on Occupy protests around the world I find that this was indeed the case.[2] The study draws on data from the Occupation Directory, a listing of protests self-identified as “Occupy#” events, compiled initially by the British newspaper The Guardian and improved systematically by a group of Occupy activists. Examining 1428 events that took place during 2011-2012 in 88 countries (with a country population of 181), the multivariate study controls for various confounding factors: a country’s level of economic development or internet usage, democratic liberties, corruption, and whether a left-wing government was in power at the time of protests, to check whether the protests were partisan events directed at right-wing governments that may be more easily blamed for inequality. Controlling for these qualities, countries that suffered from lower economic growth over 2007-2011 witnessed more Occupy protests. In addition. the higher income inequality was in a country, the more numerous were these protest events.

At first glance the finding may seem only logical. After all, if there is a perceived gap between what people expect to get (or think they deserve) and what they actually get, grievance towards political authorities grows. Yet people’s perceptions may not always reflect objective economic conditions. People may view economic hardship as a fair outcome depending on their understanding of social justice. Social scientists have also grown increasingly skeptical of economic explanations of protest events: protests do not simply mushroom out of feelings of grievance; instead aggrieved people are mobilized into action by dedicated social movements, and for the success of mobilization efforts it may be things like leadership quality, political opportunities, and network dynamics that matter most.[3] So this finding about a relationship between economic hardship and the protest rate comes somewhat as a surprise to established scholarship. It may be that the widespread use of digital social media now make things like hierarchical movement leadership less important for mobilizing people for street action, if not for getting results.

But perhaps the findings are even a greater surprise to political commentary on Occupy protests, which tends to be dismissive. At the time of the outburst of these events even sympathetic observers criticized them for the lack of a programmatic statement.[4] The then-mayor of London, Boris Johnson called the Occupy protestors “crusties” and feared that Occupy encampments were “erupting like boils,” metaphors that bring to mind senseless, epiphenomenal, and inconsequential rabble-rousing. Current findings, however, show that these events had a well-grounded relationship to economic conditions in their respective settings. It may therefore be wiser to view them as the symptom of an underlying malaise and take their message—however vague it may be—more seriously. Economists have been documenting a steady erosion of the economic standing of the middle class in advanced industrial countries.[5] While rising inequality and persistently low growth threatens to deepen the erosion, it is difficult to believe that this can go on indefinitely with no political consequences.

In fact, Bernie Sanders’s surprisingly powerful bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidacy in the USA and Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to the leadership of the Labour Party in the UK, not to mention the emergence of a new kind of populist right on both sides of the Atlantic, suggest that somewhat radical political consequences are in the making. Journalists now describe these left- and right-wing populist politicians as addressing the “common grievances of the Occupy movement generation”.[6]

In other words, even though the immediate institutional impact of the Occupy protests was difficult to discern, the wider political change in which they take part is unmistakable, and the protests may be regarded as facilitating that change. When social movements erupt, they are often a response to contextual changes long underway. Their impact too should be located in a historical perspective that is broader than what immediate commentary has to offer.

 


[1] Global Language Monitor (2011), ‘Top Words of 2011’, Global Language Monitor, 6 December, www.languagemonitor.com/911/top-words-of-2011.

[2] Yagci, Alper H. (2016). “The Great Recession, Inequality, and Occupy Protests Around the World,” Government and Opposition (forthcoming, published online 23 March).

[3] For a statement see McAdam, Douglas Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly (2001). Dynamics of Contention. Cambridge University Press.

[4] See for example Gitlin, Todd. (2013). “Occupy's predicament: the moment and the prospects for the movement.” The British Journal of Sociology, 64(1): 3-25.

[5] For an authoritative account see Milanovic, Branko (2016). Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization. Harvard University Press.

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Mehmet Kerem Coban

PhD Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS

Visiting Researcher, GLODEM, Koc University

March 2016

Financial Consumer Protection in Turkey

The global financial crisis has triggered many fault lines on certain areas in banking regulation. Besides the default of too-big-to-fail institutions, which were commonly referred to in the media, the regulators, the sector, and consumers have become aware of particular areas that had been neglected in the past. Although we can name many areas ranging from politically manipulated rating scores, accounting and disclosure standards, low capital buffers, non-existence of prudent regulation, lack of credible consumer protection regimes, among other areas.

Financial consumer protection has come to the regulators’ and politicians’ attention with the global financial crisis of 2007-08.[i] The global trend reflects the increasing awareness among policymakers. To give a few examples, the United States established the Financial Consumer Protection Agency based on Warren’s (2007) proposal.[ii] The United Kingdom merged the Prudential Regulation Authority with the Bank of England and have a separate agency, Financial Conduct Authority that is specialised on supervision and regulation of the conduct in the banking and financial sector. The G-20 leaders came up with the High Principles in 2011,[iii] and the World Bank produced Good Practices in financial consumer protection.[iv]

In Turkey, the concept of financial consumer protection was noticed and spelled out in the 2003 Annual Report of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA). Then, the policymakers neglected the consumer protection aspect of banking services until 2012 when the BRSA has undergone an internal restructuring process that led to the establishment of a specialised department within the regulatory agency on relations with financial consumers. As the Table 1 indicates, complaints used to be around 1,000 in 2004, which has risen to more than 27,000 in 2014. While consumers have been consistently appealing to the BRSA, the banking sector has become more dependent on fees and commissions as its share has reached 15 percent of total income by December 2014 (see Table 1).[v]

Source: *: BRSA; **: BRSA Annual Reports

Interest rates, charges and commissions and the ratio of banking services and commissions to total income are in percentages.

While the consumers have been complaining and the banking sector has generated more income from fees and commissions, there was no regulation standardising fees and commissions the banks used to charge. As the data gathered during my field research, the Banks’ Association of Turkey did not work as required to standardise at least the chargeable items. Second, the banks used to charge the same item under different names, so the consumers were not able to compare price of a fee or commission. Third, the consumer groups, as a pressure group, consider that the contact had to be the Ministry of Customs and Trade rather than the BRSA, they had their voice heard by the Ministry which acted upon the issue by amending the Consumer Protection Law in 2013. The fourth clause of the new law gave a mandate to the BRSA to regulate fees and commissions.

The next year the BRSA followed up with the regulation which is not successful in addressing the problem because none of the actors (i.e. the Ministry, the BRSA, consumers, and the sector) are happy with the regulation. The BRSA is enlarging its mandate which does not involve consumer protection, and the agency has to grapple with thousands of consumer complaints while it has to supervise the health of the banking sector. The Ministry seems much happier because with a populist approach, they think they achieved their mandate to protect consumers’ welfare. Consumers are not content with the BRSA’s regulation because they think many items that were not legally written in a regulation are now chargeable. The sector is hit so badly that they have to pay back hundreds of millions of Turkish liras for which they paid income tax many years ago as the consumers have the right to request the fee or commission they paid 10 years ago. The bankers note that when the environment is changing with a slower economic growth rate that impedes asset growth and profitability, which in return reduce capital accumulation, paying back the income they generated 10 years ago is not a friendly solution.

The regulation on fees and commission seems to me an example of politically capable but technically incapable policy design. First of all, the realities in the banking sector are not well considered as the regulation was dictated by the Ministry. It serves political objectives to satisfy consumers’/voters’ needs. However, it cannot achieve a technically viable status because it is eroding the capital the banks have especially in a fragile and volatile local and international environment. The fees and commissions had to be regulated, but rather than paying back hundreds of millions back, the sector would be forbidden to charge certain items.

Second, the consumer arbitration system seems abused in a way that consumers are appealing fees that are chargeable in the regulation. Third, which is also linked to the consumer arbitration system is the design of the governance structure. The BRSA is the banking regulatory agency, however, it cannot fully lead in this area because the political actor, the Ministry, grabbed the scene with the new consumer protection law. As the bankers and the regulators note, the sector has to be regulated by a single authority that has sufficient knowledge about the realities and technicalities in the sector.

The fragmented governance structure what makes the regulation and its supervision more difficult. The “experts” working in the consumer arbitration panel operating under the auspices of the Ministry do not have sufficient knowledge because the individuals taking decision in these panels do not have banking practice or education as anecdotal information confirms. The decisions taken in these panels have a mandatory nature as opposed for instance the decisions of the Banks’ Association’s own arbitration panel. The consumers can submit their complaints to the Ministry and the BRSA. As a result, there are many channels for consumers to have their voice, but this makes governance of financial consumer protection more difficult. What is more important to note is that the new consumer protection law gave a mandate to the regulator for the regulation but it keeps the power for sanction with itself. As a result, the banking regulatory agency makes the regulation but cannot supervise. This fragmented governance structure is what I call politically capable but technically incapable governance design.

Finally, from my understanding, the governance model in the United Kingdom seems more appropriate in the Turkish case because if I am not misinterpreting the autonomy of the BRSA has eroded if compared to the years of its establishment, and the agency is adding an ad hoc item to its mandate which has the potential to overwhelm the agency. The banking regulation departments could be moved under the Central bank provided the Central bank can preserve its own autonomy, and the conduct part might be a separate body.

 


[i] The regulators around the world have established an information-sharing forum similar to the Basel Committee in 2013. The website is available at: http://www.finconet.org/, accessed on March 8, 2016.

[ii] Warren, Elizabeth. 2007. “Unsafe at Any Rate.” Democracy 5:8-19.

[iii] The text is available at: http://www.oecd.org/daf/fin/financial-markets/48892010.pdf, accessed on March 8, 2016.

[v] We should note here that fees and commissions do not only reflect individual consumers’ payments for services. The accounting system does not fully allow income from fees and commissions charged for services individual consumers purchase. The data, for instance, include commissions from POS machines. Since the credit card market is deepening in recent years, banks are receiving more commissions from firms. As a result, the data should not be misinterpreted. And more transparent accounting system is required for all actors to have a clearer picture of the current situation for better policies.

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Noyan Rona

Garanti Bankası Şanghay Baştemsilcisi

February 2016

Orta Gelir Tuzağı

 

Çin ekonomisinde bir süredir devam eden yavaşlama baskısının giderek ağırlaşması, teorisyenlerin Çin ekonomisinin geleceği konusunda kötümser bir tavır almasına neden oluyor. Nüfusun yaşlanması sonucunda genç nüfus yapısından elde edilen ekonomik avantajların azalması, potansiyel büyümenin düşme eğilimine girmesi ve Çin’in ‘orta gelir tuzağına’ düşmekten kurtulamayacağı görüşü, bu bağlamda sıklıkla dile getirilmeye başladı.

‘Orta gelir tuzağı’ kavramı ilk kez 2006 yılında Dünya Bankası’nın ‘’Doğu Asya Ekonomik Kalkınma Raporu”nda yer aldı. Anılan rapor, “Bir ülkede kişi başına düşen ortalama yıllık gelir 3 bin dolara ulaştıktan sonra, ekonomik büyüme duraklama seyrine girer ve uzun bir süre yüksek gelir grubuna geçilemezse, o ülke orta gelir tuzağına düşmüş olur” tespitinde bulunmuştu. Son 50 yıllık döneme bakıldığında, gerçekten de ekonomik büyüklük açısından orta düzey gelir grubuna giren bazı ülkelerin uzunca bir süre bu grupta kalmalarının, yüksek gelir düzeyine sahip ülkeler arasına girmelerinin önüne geçtiği görülüyor. Orta gelir seviyesindeyken gelişme hızını koruyabilen ülkeler ise sınıf atlayabilenler.

Dünya Bankası’nca yapılan son sınıflandırmalara göre; kişi başı yıllık ortalama geliri 824 doların altındaki ülkeler “düşük gelirli ülke”, 8253 bin 254 dolar aralığındaki ülkeler “ortadüşük gelirli ülke”, 3 bin 25510 bin 64 dolar arasındaki ülkeler “ortayüksek gelirli ülke”, 10 bin 65 doların üzerindeki ülkeler de “yüksek gelir düzeyine sahip ülke” olarak kabul ediliyor. Asya Kalkınma Bankası, bir ülkenin ortadüşük gelir düzeyinde bulunduğu süre 28 yılı aşar ve ülke bu dönem zarfında ortayüksek gelir seviyesine yükselemezse, o ülkenin ortadüşük gelir tuzağına düştüğü tespitinde bulunuyor. Benzer biçimde, ortayüksek gelir düzeyindeki bir ülke 14 yıl boyunca yüksek gelir düzeyine çıkmazsa, ortayüksek gelir tuzağına düşmüş kabul ediliyor.

Bu bağlamda, 1950 yılından bu yana orta gelir grubunda 52 ülke bulunuyorken, bunlardan 35’i orta gelir tuzağına düştü (30 ülkenin ortadüşük gelir tuzağına, geri kalan beş ülkenin ise ortayüksek gelir tuzağına düştüğü kabul ediliyor). Bahse konu 35 ülkeden 13’ü Latin Amerika, 11’i Ortadoğu ve Kuzey Afrika, altısı ise Sahraaltı Afrika ülkesidir. Ayrıca, üç Asya ülkesi (Malezya, Filipinler, Sri Lanka) ile iki Avrupa ülkesi (Romanya ve Arnavutluk) bu kategoriye giriyor. Anılan ülkeler arasında orta gelir grubunda yer alan bazılarının, bu grupta oldukça uzun bir süredir beklediği de dikkat çekiyor. Örneğin Peru, Kolombiya ve Güney Afrika 60 yıldan fazla süredir ortadüşük gelir tuzağında. Venezuela ise ortayüksek gelir tuzağında 60 yıldan fazla kaldı. Buna karşılık, bazı Doğu Asya ekonomileri 10 yıldan az bir süre içinde orta gelir düzeyinden yüksek gelir düzeyine atlayabilmişlerdir. “Asya Mucizesi” kavramı esasen bu ülkelerin başarısına dayanıyor.

Büyüme yüzde 4 seyretse bile...

1978 yılında reform ve dışa açılma sürecinin başlamasıyla birlikte Çin’de uygulanan hızlı, yüksek yatırım ve tasarrufa, emekyoğun üretime ve ihracata dayalı ancak kaynak tüketimi yüksek ve çevreye duyarsız büyüme modeli, bazı Batılı ekonomistler tarafından ‘sürdürülemez büyüme’ olarak nitelendirildi. Buna mukabil, 2000’lerin başından itibaren Çin’de kişi başına yıllık ortalama gelirin hızlı bir yükseliş göstererek, 930 dolardan 2014 yılında 7 bin 575 dolara çıktığı da bir vakıadır. Günümüzde Çin’in, ortayüksek gelir grubunun gelişim aşamasında bulunduğunu söylemek mümkün. Bu haliyle Çin, hem yüksek gelir grubunda yer alan ülkeler arasına girme fırsatına sahip hem de orta gelir tuzağına düşme tehlikesiyle karşı karşıya.

Küresel krizin kronikleşmesiyle birlikte, Çin’in ekonomik gelişimi, Cumhurbaşkanı Xi Jinping’in belirttiği üzere “Yeni Normal” dönemine girdi. Şimdiye kadar Çin’in ekonomik büyümesinin itici gücü olagelmiş geleneksel etkenler zayıflamaya başladı. İşçi maliyetlerinin yükselmesi, doğal kaynakların azalması, bazı sektörlerde varlık balonunun oluşması, yatırım verimliliğinin gerilemesi ve ihracatta artış hızının düşmesi gibi bir dizi olumsuzluk büyümeyi aşağı çekiyor. Yüksek hızlı büyümeden orta hızlı büyüme dönemine girilmesi ve nüfusun yaşlanması bu bağlamda bilhassa önemli iki sınama olarak ortaya çıkıyor.2012 yılında Çin’de fiili çalışan nüfus kapasitesi 3.45 milyon kişi azaldı. 2013 ve 2014 yıllarında da bu eğilim devam etti Önü- müzdeki dönemde Çin’de çalışan nüfusta negatif büyüme bekleniyor. Ülkedeki emeklilik yaşı da diğer ülkelere kıyasla düşük (60 yaş). Tüm bunlara ek olarak, Çin’de işgücü işverimliliği ABD’nin ancak yüzde 20’sine denk düşüyor.

Çin’in 63 trilyon yuan tutarındaki gayrisafi milli hasılası, 1,367 milyarlık nüfusu ve 1 doların 6 bin 1224 yuan’a eşit olduğu varsayılarak yapılan hesaplamalara göre; hızlı (yüzde 7 oranında) büyüdüğü takdirde Çin’in 2020 yılında, 10 bin 834 dolar tutarında kişi başı yıllık ortalama gelir seviyesine ulaşması bekleniyor. Büyümenin yüzde 4 düzeyinde seyretmesi halinde ise Çin, 10 bin 961 dolar kişi başı yıllık gelir düzeyine 2025 yılında erişilebilecek. Dolayısıyla, ekonomide öngörülemeyen iniş çıkışlar yaşanmadığı takdirde, Çin’in en geç 2025 yılında yüksek gelir grubuna geçmesi muhtemel.

Bununla birlikte, Çin’in orta gelir tuzağından kurtulabilmesi ancak ve ancak, nüfusun yaşlanmasına karşı çözüm üretilmesi, ihracat, yatırım ve iç tüketimden oluşan kalkınmadaki ana unsurların yapısal reformlarla yeniden yapılandırılması, devlet işletmelerinde ve finans sektöründe reformlara hız verilmesi, çevrenin korunması ve şehirleşme oranının yükseltilmesi alanlarında sergileyeceği güçlü performansa bağlı olacak.

Esasen Çin yönetimi de tüm bu alanlar olan köklü reformları, 2025 yılına kadarki dönemi kapsayacak 13. ve 14. Beş Yıllık Kalkınma Planları’nda, Çin’in kendine özgü sistem ve modeline uygun olarak uygulamaya kararlı görünüyor.

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Onat Kibaroğlu

Novermber 2015

 

Danger and Opportunity: The Chinese Approach to the Euro Crisis

In line with the Chinese phrase for crisis, “Wei Ji” which is made up of two characters that sound the same with danger and opportunity, the Eurozone crisis poses not only serious danger but also significant opportunities within the global context.

The imminent danger of a Grexit claimed the top headlines during last month as the European continent got unprecedentedly close to being hit from the Achilles heel of its economy. On the other hand, an opportunity that has been unraveling in the continent was covered in a relatively low-profile and sporadic fashion within the media. Recently, the Chinese have accelerated their trend of purchasing and investing in numerous European infrastructure projects, financial instruments and luxury brands, especially in the debt-stricken Mediterrenean countries such as Italy, Portugal and Greece.

As of 2014, the outward foreign direct investment from China surpassed the amount flowing into the country for the first time. The major recipients of this capital flow have also been significantly shifting, as the emphasis is moving from the Global South to the North. Latin America, once the uncontested Chinese OFDI recipient outside Asia, has now been relegated to the last place in the same ranking within a decade, as illustrated below.

The recent portfolio of the Chinese OFDI stock indicates the rising European appeal, intriguingly, at a time the Old Continent is suffering from its most severe crisis in decades. It must also be noted that more than $6 billion of Chinese investment stock already is present in Kazakhstan and billions more are to follow into other Central Asian countries within the context of the Silk Road project that envisions the development of a prosperous trade route between Europe and China.

So why have the Chinese been so eager to invest in a continent with no real prospect for growth in the near future and such serious financial uncertainties?

The answer initially lies in the basic financial principle of “buying  at low and selling at high” as many European assets are plunging in value due to chronic deflation and lack of domestic investment. The other major reason, arguably even more significant in terms of differentiating Europe from the rest of the world’s continents, is the prospect of brand value creation and maximisation. Despite the phenomenon that the global balance of power is shifting gradually from West to the East, most of the top global brands are still Western, with the exception of Japanese ones.

Take the Chinese investments in Italy for example. Not only is the Sino-Italian relationship is being empowered in the energy sector with the recent investments in ENI and Enel, the Chinese investors have also demonstrated a significant interest in luxury brands. Ferretti Yachts, a company that defaulted on its debt in 2009 has been recently purchased by the Chinese and De Tomaso, the brand of niche sports cars in financial woes, has also been up for grabs. Hotyork Investment, a Chinese group, said it would buy 80% of De Tomaso for only €60m. Hotyork believes that cars made with sexy Italian design, technology and craftsmanship will lure in the high-end Chinese customer. It plans to invest another €400m to extend production near Torino and market the brand abroad, especially in China. With such acquisitions, Chinese investors have gained on symbols of Italian elegance at bargain prices.

Portugal presents even more of an intriguing story, by being the 4th major destination of Chinese investment in Europe, despite accounting for less than 2% of the Eurozone’s economic output. In the ‘Quinas’, Chinese direct investment is reported to account for 45% of the total privatisation conducted within the last 5 years. The Chinese initially invested in power utility and infrastructure projects by acquiring a stake of 21% in Energias de Portugal in 2011 and 25% of REN, the national grid operator. By 2014, investments signalled to be rather concentrated in financial services, with Fosun Investments buying 80% of the Portuguese Caixa Seguros, the largest insurance company, and now bidding for assets of Banco Espirito Santo.

On the other end of the Mediterranean, Greece serves as a perfect hub within Silk Road scheme, with its extensive shipping network and well-developed ports. The Chinese shipping group COSCO had already acquired a concession to operate in the Piraeus port back in 2009 and is competing to buy the remaining 67% stake currently held by the Greek State. The move was initially blocked off by the socialist Syriza government, but will go through soon thanks to IMF concessions regarding the liberalisation of privatisations in the country. Also, in June 2014, Greece and China signed shipbuilding deals worth $3.2bn that will be financed by the China Development Bank.

In the1950s, the post-war Europe was in a state of ruins, only to be brought back to life with the famous Marshall Plan that poured capital from the US into the economies of its Western European allies. The Eurozone crisis is fortunately not as devastating and China may not have such an extensive plan as the one former Secretary of State George Marshall had for Europe in 1948. Yet, the Euro-crisis have clearly opened to China the doors of many otherwise unreachable European assets and given the urgency, the European governments have been unprecedentedly interested in drawing even more in. The capital inflow to Europe not only compensates for the continent’s stagnant economy, but also creates new opportunities for Chinese companies as the Middle Kingdom is entering a new normal of slower growth. Therefore despite all the alarming headlines, Europe was indeed never open for business from abroad at such a level for decades and as the saying goes, “you never want a serious crisis go to waste”.

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Mehmet Kerem Çoban

PhD Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

June 2015

 

Global Cooperation and Coordination in Resolving Globally Systemically Important Banks: A Developing Country Perspective

The boundary between local and global has become blurred with the latest wave of globalisation. Any local financial turmoil has implications for other countries at varying degrees. As this has become the reality of the contemporary world, global coordination and cooperation is vital for global financial stability.

When globally systematically important banks (G-SIBs) are in trouble, home and host countries experience financial instability stemmed at negative externalities such as bank runs and/or individual or systemic bank failures. For their global and systemic banks, those banks are currently subjected to tighter regulations. Two rounds of Basel regulations before the global crisis in 2007-08 have not guarded the banking sector around the world against negative externalities not only on the whole sector but also on the ‘real’ side of the economy. The updated version (Basel III) aims to address caveats that have become much clearer during the recent global crisis with minimum capital requirements.

Alongside Basel III minimum capital requirements, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) which is mandated by G-20, has developed international standards for resolution of G-SIBs with cooperation of regulatory and supervisory agencies, international banks, credit rating agencies, and scholars. FSB has recently ended its public consultation on its mechanism of resolution of global banks in case of a failure. During the crisis governments had to capitalise banks with taxpayer’s money. Both taxpayers and policy-makers would be less eager to capitalise banks as its burden had been too heavy which can even explain slower recovery in advanced economies since 2008-09. In order to demotivate global banks to take excessive risks, and motivate creditors of G-SIBs to better monitor, FSB formulated international standards to increase the so-called “loss-absorption capacity of globally systemically important banks in resolution”.[i]

The concept of (internal and/or external)[ii] “total loss-absorption capacity” (TLAC) has multi-faceted objectives: complement Basel regulations on minimum capital requirements, limit contagion across countries, reduce the likelihood of global financial instability, limit the size of externalities posed on the “real” side of an economy, and force banks to build stronger buffers with an expectation of not tapping taxpayers’ money in the future.

Although these measures and standards are well-thought, the caveat is that FSB faces a huge challenge. The location of TLAC is ambiguous. Whether it would be the parent and/or material subsidiaries operating in various jurisdictions needs more clarification. The issue of where to locate TLAC also requires cooperation and coordination of global banks and regulatory/supervisory agencies. Local authorities are assigned with the task of resolution strategies according to local realities.[iii] This naturally comes along the concern of supplying global public goods, in that case global financial stability as it needs inputs from all stakeholders. The stakeholders may not necessarily fall into a prisoners’ dilemma because communication between them is available either through third parties such as FSB, or direct ties between them.[iv] However, in a world of economic and political competition, if actors, especially major actors, avoid cooperation, then the result is a pure (global) market failure. Home and host regulators need to work together; while international banks both need to monitor each other, and comply with the local and international regulations.

If we were to make a content analysis of responses international banks, and regulators sent to FSB’s call for views on its proposed regulations, what should we expect? In general international (e.g. Institute of International Finance, Global Financial Markets Association, International Banking Federation), regional (e.g. European Banking Federation), and country-level (e.g. The Hong Kong Association of Banks, British Bankers Association, German Banking Industry Committee, Japanese Bankers Associations) bankers associations; regulators (e.g. Norges Bank, Dubai Financial Services Authority, Bank of Uganda); and G-SIBs (e.g. Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Credit Suisse, UBS) agree that host authorities should  make sure subsidiaries, especially material subsidiaries, have adequate external TLAC so that resolution process would be as smooth as possible.

The problem may arise as the Bank of Uganda (the only Central Bank among developing countries that sent its view on FSB’s consultative document) raised[v] is that in (small) developing countries subsidiaries may not have large operations to qualify as material subsidiaries that will be subjected to tighter regulations. Contagion risk therefore may not be reduced even if other subsidiaries elsewhere are regulated by other local regulators. For host authorities will oversee compliance, G-SIBs operating in various jurisdictions may try to manipulate the process as proposed measures grant some flexibility to regulatory and supervisory authorities. In countries where human and financial resources of these authorities lag behind what is expected from them may leave them vulnerable to individual and systemic shocks. Due to such caveats in the design of the TLAC framework, it would be better to reduce the threshold for each subsidiary to qualify as a material subsidiary to make sure they need to build stronger buffers against a domestic or an international shock in the future. A subsidiary of a G-SIB is labelled as a material subsidiary if it fulfils at least one of the three criteria.[vi] The first two criteria might be reduced so that a more inclusive design could be achieved with the aim of covering as many subsidiaries as possible around the world. This has potential advantages for developing countries and developed countries. From the former’s view, global regulations may complement or even replace inadequate local regulations provided international regulatory bodies fulfil their mandate. From the latter’s view, contagion risk might be reduced because if a non-material subsidiary fails it may produce externalities to the whole G-SIB group.

Besides writing more inclusive and comprehensive international rules, international coordination and cooperation between host and home regulators is crucial. Any international standard cannot replace coordination and cooperation in guarding the international banking sector against various sources of instability. As the recent global financial crisis has shown, all stakeholders can cooperate (Drezner 2014) despite diverging policy preferences. Given such capacity, regulators and international banks should coordinate and cooperate required measures not only when an individual or a systemic failure occurs but more importantly before such distress emerges. Compliance to agreed international rules around the world has life-bearing implications if one takes into account externalities on the ‘real’ side of the world economy. Timely and frequent consultations among domestic and international regulators, particularly among developing and developed countries, tighter public disclosure measures could play a vital role to foster international coordination and cooperation given global and systemic footprint of G-SIBs.

References

Drezner, Daniel W. 2014. The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hardin, Garrett. 1968. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Science 162 (3859): 1243-1248.

Olson, Mancur Jr. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.  

 


[i] The draft FSB presented for public consultation is accessible at: http://www.financialstabilityboard.org/wp-content/uploads/TLAC-Condoc-6-..., accessed on May 20, 2015.

[ii] FSB is making a distinction between internal and external TLAC. The former indicates an internal transfer of capital from the so-called resolution entity to subsidiaries within the individual G-SIB. The latter is an external source of capital complying with FSB’s measures that exclude insured deposits among other liabilities (see Section 12 in Proposed TLAC Term Sheet on page 16 in FSB’s TLAC Consultative Document).

[iii] The location of TLAC refers to identification of the resolution entity. For G-SIBs have operations in different jurisdictions via subsidiaries, it is important to clarify in advance whether the parent bank or the financial holding company or the subsidiary will be the resolution entity. It has vital value because international cooperation and coordination undoubtedly depends on the mechanism that defines the resolution process in case of individual or systemic failure.

[iv] Ostrom (1990) rejected the so-called first generation collective action theories of Hardin’s (1962) or Olson’s (1965) seminal studies on the tragedy of the commons and collective action problem. The first generation assumes that actors cannot communicate. Ostrom argues that when communication is allowed, actors become more willing to bring more of their resources into the “game” as actors learn the game in iterative interactions.

[v] The response sent by the Bank of Uganda is available at http://www.financialstabilityboard.org/wp-content/uploads/Bank-of-Uganda-on-TLAC.pdf, accessed on May 20, 2015.

[vi] See Section 21 of the FSB Consultative Document on pages 19-20.

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Andrew Gamble

Professorial Fellow at SPERI

May 2015

 

The debate on inequality often highlights the increasing disparity in incomes, but to understand why inequality is so persistent we need to ask why wealth is even more unequally distributed than income.  This requires an examination of structures of ownership, how they reflect concentrations of power, and create economic rents.  Redistribution of income alone will not change patterns of inequality. What is needed is a redistribution of property rights.

In the debate now raging on inequality a great of attention is paid to income inequality, partly because of the way in which the pay of CEOs and bankers in recent decades has soared so spectacularly in relation to their employees.  But to understand why inequality is such a persistent feature of capitalist market economies we also need to focus on ownership and wealth.

The ownership structures of a society express its fundamental power relationships.  One of the basic features of our kind of political economy is that, while everyone is legally entitled to be an owner, in practice the only thing most people reliably own is their capacity to sell their labour.  Most people in capitalist market economies are property-less, because they possess only very limited physical property and financial assets.  Many people have no financial assets at all.  This is of course in sharp contrast to the top 10 per cent who have significant financial assets, whether in the form of ISAs or pension funds, and even more to the top 1 per cent whose share of financial assets and total wealth has been steadily increasing.  As a result, as the Equality Trust shows the distribution of wealth is even more unequal than the distribution of income.  The extent of the inequality has fluctuated in the history of capitalism, but in the last forty years it has been increasing again towards levels last seen when the Titanic sank.  Andrew Sayer estimates in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich that the top 1 per cent now own 14 per cent of all the wealth in the United Kingdom and 35 per cent in the United States.

Concentration of ownership was seen as an evil in the nineteenth century by both radical liberals and socialists.  Tom Paine argued that democracy could not work unless there was a rough equality between citizens, with all citizens owning sufficient property to make them independent of their fellow citizens and the state.  Socialists argued for collective and co-operative forms of ownership in which all citizens would have a sufficient stake to empower them against the landlords and the capitalists who controlled the economy.  In general, the connection between unequal ownership of land and capital and the inequality of income and wealth was widely understood.  Property ownership allowed the extraction of unearned rents, cementing the division of society into rich and poor.  The most hated form of unearned rent was that extracted by the rentiers of the landed aristocracy, who owned so much of the land on which the great industrial cities were built, as well as benefiting from mining royalties and other unearned windfalls.   Yet the profits and dividends extracted by the new class of industrial owners came a close second.

In the last hundred years the political salience of land ownership has lessened, with the decline of landed aristocracies across Europe, while the attention paid to ownership of capital shifted because of the growing divorce between ownership and control with the decline of capitalist owners and the advent of the managerial revolution.  Some argue that ownership is increasingly formal and that power now lies elsewhere, predominantly in the self-perpetuating oligarchies which run the giant transnational companies that dominate the international economy.  It is true that ownership has changed and that it has become much harder to understand the structures of control at the heart of modern capitalism.  But that does not mean it is no longer important.  The emergence of a class of absentee owners who only have a financial interest in the companies in which they hold shares disguises the way in which the other attributes of ownership, in particular the control over the assets themselves, are exercised by executives operating within the legal form of the modern corporation.  This process has also been disguised because of the blurring of the lines between states and big companies.  Both have become dependent upon one another, to the point where, despite some frictions, there is no fundamental conflict of interest between them.  The weakening of trade unions as a countervailing power has further meant that there has been little pressure either through the state or within companies themselves to ensure transparency and accountability in the way in which ownership rights are now exercised.

The consequences are plain.  Corporate managers in big companies and in the banks have used the ownership powers vested in them to extract an ever increasing stream of rents.  Some of this takes the form of increased incomes, but it is also evident in the share options, bonuses and other perks which senior executives receive.  There is no market justification for these rewards.  They reflect the current set of power relationships in our political economy, which ultimately rest on the exclusion of most citizens from significant property ownership. It has been a recurring political ambition of the Conservative party in the UK to establish a property-owning democracy, and the means by which it has sought to bring this about have included at different times tax incentives to home ownership, the sale of council houses and shares in privatised industries at a discount.  But these measures of popular capitalism have failed to stop the inequality of wealth increasing.  The number of individuals owning shares rose sharply in the 1980s, but has since fallen back.  Only 15 per cent of British citizens hold any shares at all.  Yet ownership of shares is the major repository of the wealth of the top 1 per cent.

There will be no lasting change in the drift towards ever greater inequality unless the source of the problem is tackled – namely, the cartel character of ownership at the heart of our political economy, which constantly distorts free markets by encouraging collusion and rent seeking, yet is defended as the embodiment of competition.  This should not surprise us.  The financial markets were celebrated before 1997 as a perfectly formed and infallible mechanism for pricing risk.  The concentration of ownership and the shareholder value model of corporate governance reinforce the privileges of an increasingly closed elite and weaken both social mobility and social cohesion.  Commentators across the political spectrum have become alarmed at these trends, but there are few ideas about what to do to arrest them. Nothing is likely to change unless there is a redistribution of property rights.  This means looking again at stake-holding and the reform of corporate governance, at capital funds for the young financed by inheritance taxes, at employee share ownership and at the accountability and transparency of pension funds.  There are plenty of radical ideas around for a new reformed, civic capitalism.   If we do really want to reduce inequality, translating them into reality is overdue.

 

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Caner Bakır

Co-director of GLODEM

Koç University International Relations Department

April 2015

 

Merkez Bankası Başkanları ve Siyasetçiler

Geçtiğimiz haftalarda Cumhurbaşkanı’nın Merkez Bankası Başkanı’na medya üzerinden söylediği “Vatanı satmak yüksek faizle kötü yönetimle emeği heba etmekle olur", “Yüksek faiz vatana ihanettir”, "Bize karşı bağımsızlık mücadelesi veriyorsun da başka yerlere bağımlılığın mı var?" sözleri ekonomi gündeminin başına yerleşti.

Bu konuya iktisatçılar, kur-faiz-büyüme-merkez bankası bağımsızlığı temelinde yaklaştılar. Çok yanlış bir algıyla sadece iktisatçılara ait olduğu sanılan bu konuyu, ben politik ekonomi konusuyla ilgili bir siyaset bilimci olarak tarihsel kurumsal bir perspektifle ele alacağım. Bu kapsamda, başkanın siyasi baskılar karşısında bağımsız davranabilmesinin ardındaki yapısal ve kurumsal tamamlayıcıları ve kişisel faktörleri ve 1930’lu yıllardaki devlet adamı üslubuyla yakın zamanın ilginç bir karşılaştırmasını sunacağım.

Öncelikle şu tespiti yapmakta yarar var. Yakın zamandaki tartışmalar bize 2001 krizi sonrasındaki siyasetçi-merkez bankası başkanı ilişkilerinde 1950’den günümüze kadar geçen sürede, siyasetçilerin Merkez Bankası başkanlarını hükümete bağlı birer memur olarak görmeleri konusunda fazla bir mesafe kaydedemediklerini gösteriyor.

Geçmişte başbakanın sözlü ve hatta fiziki şiddetine maruz kalmış ve istifa ettirilmiş başkanların hazin hikâyeleri de var. Bugün o talihsiz noktaya gelmemiş olmamızın ve Başkanın bağımsız davranabilmesinin ardında birbirini tamamlayan yapısal ve kurumsal faktörlerin ve Başkan’ın kişiliğinde ifade bulan unsurların birbiriyle etkileşimi var.

Yapısal tamamlayıcıların başında; 1) uluslararası sermaye hareketlerinin serbest olması, yani spekülatif, üretken olmayan ve kısa vadeli paranın çıkış opsiyonunu kullanarak istifanın faturasını devalüasyonla siyasetçiye ödetebilecek olması riski ve 2) neoliberal paradigmaya göre şekillendirilen, hükümetten bağımsız merkez bankası fikrinin yaygın kabul görmesinin sağladığı düşünsel desteğin beslediği, ulusal ve uluslararası tepkiler geliyor. Bunlar bir yandan siyasetçinin söyleminin fiili uygulamaya dönmesini kısıtlarken, diğer yandan da başkanın siyasi baskılar karşısında direnebilmesine imkân veren yapısal tamamlayıcı unsurlar olarak karşımıza çıkıyor.

Kurumsal tamamlayıcıları ise formel (yasal) ve enformel (fikri) tamamlayıcılar olarak ikiye ayırabiliriz. Temel formel tamamlayıcı faktör, Merkez Bankası Yasasıdır. Yasa başkanın para politikası amaç, araç ve hedefini uygulamada siyasetçilerden talimat almamasını, atama ve görevden alma, görev suresi vb. konuları açıkça tanımlayarak, başkanın siyasal baskı karşısındaki yasal bağımsızlığını güçlendirmiştir. Ancak koşullar olgunlaştığında ilgili yasa maddelerinde bazı değişiklikleri yaparak, gelecekte benzer bir durumla karşılaşmamak için siyasetçinin yasal değişiklikleri gerçekleştirebileceğini hatırlamakta yarar var.

Enformel tamamlayıcı olarak ise, özellikle seçimler öncesinde kısa vadeli siyasi çıkarları takip eden siyasetçilerin karşısında, merkez bankası başkanlarının para politikasını uygulamada bağımsız olmaları fikrinin egemen paradigma olarak kabul görmesi geliyor.

Başkan özelinde bağımsızlığa imkân veren faktörler; başkanın görevini üst düzeyde bir profesyonellik, kurumsal ve ahlaki bilinçle yürütmedeki kararlılığı ve bağlı bulunduğu ekonomi bakanından aldığı güçlü siyasi destektir.

Bugünkü tartışmaları tarihsel bir perspektifin içine koymakta yarar var. 1930’lu yıllarda Merkez Bankası Başkanı ile Başbakan ilişkileri bugünkünden çok farklıydı. Merkez Bankası’nın ilk Başkanı Selahattin Çam’ın İdare Meclisi zabıtlarına geçen konuşmalarından yapılan aktarımla:

1938’de Selahattin Çam’ın İdare Meclisine bir açıklaması var: ‘Hatırlarsınız, Başvekil Paşa hazretleri geçen sene bizden bir talepte bulunmuştu’ diyor. Yani 1937’yi ve İsmet Paşa’yı kastediyor, çünkü 1938’de Celal Bayar Başvekil. Çam, ‘Hükümetin büyük bir kaynağa ihtiyacı vardı. Biz de bu kaynağın dengeleri bozacağını düşünüyorduk. Bunun üzerine beni [İsmet İnönü] boğazda bir motor gezisine davet etti’ diyor... Günün Başvekili, Merkez Bankası Genel Müdürü’nü boğazda teke tek motor gezisine davet ediyor. Yani [makamına çağırmıyor,] bir zarafet var. Birkaç saat sürüyor gezinti. İnönü, 150 milyon lira civarında bir kaynak istiyor ki, bu o günün bütçesinin yarısı veya üçte biri civarında. Bu kaynağa hükümetin ihtiyacı var. Selahattin Çam, ‘Başvekil Paşa hazretleri ikna oldular ki bu enflasyonist olacaktır, vazgeçtiler. Şimdi bu yıl da aynı durumla karşı karşıyayız... fakat benim geçen sene mütalâam ne ise yine aynı şekilde davranacağım’ diyor (24 Nisan 2006, yazar tarafından yapılan özel mülakat, Kaynak: Bakır, 2007, Merkezdeki Banka.s.134).

Siyasetçiler karşısında Cumhuriyetin ilk Merkez Bankası Başkanı, 21’nci başkandan çok daha uygun bir ortamda işini yapıyordu. Gelecekte yeni atanacak Başkanın son birkaç aydaki talihsiz gelişmeler nedeniyle, aşması gereken bir kredibilite sorunuyla karşı karşıya kalabileceğini de not etmekte fayda var.

Hem Türkiye’de hem de dünyanın pek çok ülkesinde geçmişte hükümetlerin seçim odaklı, kısa vadeci ve popülist harcamalarını merkez bankaları kanalıyla, açık finansmanla/kısa vadeli avansla karşılamalarının yol açtığı enflasyon, ekonomik, siyasi ve toplumsal tahribatlar yaratmıştı. Bu kapsamda 1990’lı yıllarda şekillenen ve 2008 küresel finansal krizi öncesine kadar geçen dönemde merkez bankalarının temel amacı, fiyat istikrarını sağlamak ve sürdürmek olarak tanımlandı. Bu amaca yönelik olarak kısa vadeli faiz oranlarını hükümetten bağımsız olarak belirlemeleri bekleniyordu. Ancak bu yaklaşımın çok kısıtlı olduğuna daha önce dikkat çekilmişti. Örneğin, “para politikası ile ilgili alınan kararların bölüşüm, işsizlik ve büyüme oranları ile cari denge açığı ve spekülatif aktif enflasyonu gibi ekonomideki kırılganlıklar üzerindeki etkilerine merkez bankası yöneticilerinin kayıtsız kalmaması gerektiği” (Bakır 2007: 197) vurgulanmış ve “Fiyat istikrarına odaklı para politikası uygulamaları finansal istikrar konusuna ilgisizliği mi beraberinde getirmektedir?“ (a.g.e., s.5) soruları sorulmuştu. Politik ekonomistler tarafından dile getirilen fikirler, merkez bankası uygulamalarında yansıma bulmadı. Hem Türkiye’de hem de dünyada en azından fiyat istikrarının yanında, finansal istikrara da önem verilmesi fikrinin kabul görmeye başlaması için bir Küresel Finansal Krizin çıkması gerekiyormuş. Gerçekten de ‘uygulanan para politikası finansal istikrara nasıl katkıda bulunur?’ konusu son birkaç yıldır hem merkez bankası başkanlarının hem de ekonomistlerin dilinden düşmüyor. Kuşkusuz krizler, aksayan mevcut paradigmaların sorgulanması ve yeniden gözden geçirilmeleri için fırsat pencerelerini açmada birebir. Kim bilir, belki para politikasının bölüşüm üzerine etkilerini de egemen söylem ve uygulamaların içine alacak fırsat pencereleri gelecekte açılır.

Merkez Bankası faizleri nasıl bir seyir izleyecek? Doların değer kazanmasının ABD’deki enflasyonist baskıları azaltması ve enflasyonun %2’lik hedef aralığına geri dönmesi, bana göre Fed’in faiz artırımını bu yıl gündemden çıkarttı. Önümüzdeki dönemde ise Türkiye’de faiz oranının, Türk lirasının ve ekonomik büyümenin seyrini her zaman olduğu gibi, yine sermaye hareketleri belirleyecek. 6 Haziran’daki Genel Seçim sonrasında nasıl bir ‘Yeni Türkiye’nin kurulacağı ile ilgili belirsizlik ve kaygı izleyen aylarda artacaktır. Kuşkusuz bunun pek çok makroekonomik ve finansal göstergeye yansıması olacaktır.

 

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Semuhi Sinanoğlu

Koç University Graduate School of Social Sciences & Humanities

March 2015

 

Youth Policies in the Middle East: The Right Way to Go

At the Starco Center, located in the Downtown Beirut that became a ghost town nowadays, an energetic young man greeted us – at the first glance, in his suit, he was formal and earnest. Then we found a commonality in discussing our experiences. He has been striving to address our problems – the problems of the youth. Ziad Mikati is the leading figure to promulgate the first comprehensive national youth policy in Lebanon. I can only imagine how challenging and demanding it might be to convince the old policy-makers for the necessity of such a law. Unfortunately, the current political establishments in the MENA region keep encroaching upon the agency of the youth and cannot keep pace with the expectations of the young generation. In addition, the policy-makers have difficulties in realizing how an integrated approach to youth issues might contribute to the comparative institutional advantage of the countries for future economic performance.

The problems of the youth cut across different sectors of economies and any wise investment concerning these problems will buttress the human capital and skill formation. The international institutions began to accentuate this dimension of the development strategies. For instance, in May, UNDP will publish the Arab Human Development Report1 that discerns the problems of the youth in the region.

The youth distressingly suffer from deteriorating economic conditions. The current economies cannot generate enough jobs for the “youth bulge” in the region – as the global youth unemployment rate was 13.1% in 2013, the Middle East region experienced one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, 27.2 %2. And new crisis looms on the horizon. In order to absorb new entrants into the labor force, more than 4.5 million jobs need to be generated every year for the next 15 years3. Given the current projections for the future years, it doesn’t seem quite possible.

The problem does not just stem from the lack of supply, but the distorted incentives entail skills mismatch. As the balance of employment generation is tilted towards public sector, neither labor-intensive high-quality private sector jobs can be offered4 nor can the workforce attain the high skills necessary for the private sector. The findings of World Enterprise Survey5 indicate that 50.1%, 59.6%, 36.8%, and 34.2% percent of firms identify an inadequately educated workforce as a major constraint in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, and Iraq, respectively. The high levels of informality exacerbate working conditions for the youth further –they cannot rely upon any safety net. The swarm of immigrants from Syria and Iraq will affect the levels of informality, too.

In order to reach equilibrium for skills mismatch, the policy-makers need to adopt a common regional policy to integrate youth policies into development agendas. Given high level of influx of migrant workers and disenchantment with skill attainment of the workforce, the optimal solution can only be realized at the regional level of decision-making. That is not to say that the region can be construed as a unified entity – Gross National Income per person varies from almost 64,000 US$ in Qatar to 2,090 US$ in Yemen and labor-importing resource-rich economies do not experience high level of unemployment6. The countries should not be lumped together, yet the variation in their institutional settings and macroeconomic fundamentals needs to be assessed. These differences might be the starting point to facilitate job mobility within the region and to solve the problems of skills mismatch and unemployment.

Without any doubt, each set of policy proposals for the region cover a range of generic topics from the proper utilization of foreign direct investment and the removal of universal subsidies to the specific programs for skill attainment. Although it is open to dispute whether these proposals can shed light on the right way to go, most of them address to the old policy-makers in the region. I think young policy-makers are the missing link in these action frameworks. It is not just about whether youth policies are implemented or not, the agents for the implementation matter as well. We need more young policy-experts in the decision-making, who can follow regional and international trends and empathize with the young citizens of these countries in the region.

 

2 ILO, Global Employment Trends (Geneva: ILO, 2014), 21.

3 The World Bank, Shaping the Future: A Long-Term Perspective of People and Job Mobility for the Middle East and North Africa (Washington: The World Bank, 2009), 11.

4 Memduh Karakullukçu, “Economic Prospects for the MENA Region: Impatient Expectations, Deferred Promises and the Missing Axes of Trust,” in Flexible Frameworks Beyond Borders: Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance Cooperative Security, ed. Federico Casprini et al. (Belgium: NATO, 2014).

5 World Bank Enterprise Surveys: What Businesses Experience. http://www.enterprisesurveys.org/

6 Jad Chaaban, “Job Creation in the Arab Economies: Navigating through Difficult Waters,” Arab Human Development Report Research Series (New York: UNDP, 2010).

 

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Kürşat Çınar

Ohio State University

February 2015

 

Exploring the Linkage between Political and Economic Institutions and Economic Development

“Few political scientists and economists doubt that institutions potentially affect macroeconomic performance” argues Benson Durham, “but, the challenge is to avoid tautologies and to render testable propositions.” Many scholars have examined the linkage between institutions and economic development yet nothing has been fully set in stone regarding the “causal” linkage between these two phenomena. Some experts argue that better institutions yield higher macroeconomic performance whereas others maintain that it is the economic development that opens the doors for more sound institutions. This short piece will briefly cover the divergent strands of the literature, underline the problems in the extant literature, and provide possible solutions to these problems.

The first strand of the institutions-economic development literature derives from the Grand Transition (GT) and modernization arguments. The GT scholars who favor a Kuznetsian (1968) view regarding the relationship between institutions and economic well-being argue that economic development leads to institutional development (cf. Paldam and Gundlach 2008). In a similar vein, modernization scholars (cf. Lipset 1959) underline economic wealth as an important precondition for democratic institutions (Geddes 1999; Boix and Stokes 2003; and Boix 2011).

On the other hand, some scholars reverse the direction of causal arrow in institutions-economic development nexus and maintain that enhancements in political and economic institutions must yield better economic development. These scholars espouse a Northian (1990) view of institutions and apply the “Primacy of Institutions” (PoI) argument (e.g.: Rodrik 2000; Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2001; Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson 2005).

The extant body of the literature suffers from some weaknesses. The first set of problems in the literature is empirical. To be more specific, most of the extant studies adopt one side of the aforementioned strands of the literature (either GT/modernization or PoI) and apply statistical analyses based on their one-sided premise with a basketful of socioeconomic and political controls. However, the intricate relationship between institutions and economic development dictates meticulous tests for robustness. To begin with, tests for multicollinearity (collinear relationship between independent variables) are vital in statistical analyses which incorporate variables on education, industrialization, urbanization etc. that are most likely interrelated to each other. Lack of vigilance regarding multicollinearity may render statistical analyses invalid for individual independent variables under examination (Green 1993). Further, tests for reverse causality should be conducted to shed light on the direction of causal arrow between institutions and economic development. It may well be the case that higher economic performance brings about better institutions and at the same time better institutions yield more economic development. A possible reverse causality between institutions and economic development calls for detailed statistical models (such as instrumental-variable econometric models), beyond the OLS analyses that most of the literature prefer. Attention for these methodological issues is a must to further the extant body of the literature.

The second set of problem in the literature is methodological. Scholars in the field mostly prefer cross-country analyses that utilize panel datasets. While these studies offer a general picture about institutions and economic well-being in the world, they fail to account for the diversity of experiences of the individual countries in their institutions-economic development trajectories (West, Durlauf, and Brock 2003). In reality, there are country- and region-specific institutions-economic output effects (cf. Doucouliagos and Ulubaşoğlu 2008), which dictates a more thorough analysis regarding each country (or a region). Moreover, as Boening et al (2012: 59) maintain, “it would be insufficient and incomplete to explain the economic development mainly with help of institutional development by confining to econometric models”.

The literature on political and economic institutions and economic development stands on divergent strands of the literature. To unearth the linkage between institutions and economic development, we should first take into consideration all of the contrasting views in the literature and pay attention to each of them. This requires empirical vigilance and econometric models that address the aforementioned problems of reverse causality and multicollinearity. However, a purely econometric approach would offer us only a part of the whole story. Qualitative, historical analyses of single-country cases should be conducted to complement our statistical analyses. Hence, a mixed-method, country-focused approach is a must to fully explore the relationship between institutions and economic development.

References

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. 2005. “Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Economic Growth.” In Handbook of Economic Growth, edited by Philippe Aghion and Stephen Durlauf, Volume 1, Part 1, pp. 385–472. North Holland: Amsterdam, Holland.

Boening, Astrid B., L. Díaz Romero, J.R.García Hernández, P. González del Miño, Niklas Helwig, Karel Lannoo, Simon Stroß, Csaba Töro, J. Antonio Yañez-Barnuevo, Bahri Yılmaz. 2012. The EU as a Global Player. Fundación University-San Pablo.

Boix, Carles. 2011. “Democracy, Development, and the International System.” American Political Science Review 105 (4): 809-828.

Boix, Carles and Susan C. Stokes. 2003. “Endogenous Democratization.” World Politics 55 (4): 517-549.

Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, James D. Morrow, Randolph Siverson, and Alastair Smith. 2001. “Political Competition and Economic Growth” Journal of Democracy 12: 58-72.

Doucouliagos, Hristos and Mehmet Ali Ulubaşoğlu. 2008. “Democracy and Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis” American Journal of Political Science 52 (1): 61-83.

Durham, J. Benson. 2004. “Economic Growth and Institutions: Some Sensitivity Analyses, 1961-2000” International Organization 58 (3): 485-529.

Geddes, Barbara. 1999. “What Do We Know About Democratization After Twenty Years?” Annual Review of Political Science 2: 115-144.

Greene, W. H. 1993. Econometric Analysis, 2nd edition. New York: Macmillan.

Kuznets, Simon. 1968. Towards a Theory of Economic Growth. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

North, Douglass C. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Paldam, Martin and Erich Gundlach. 2008. “Two Views on Institutions and Development: The Grand Transition vs the Primacy of Institutions” Kyklos 61: 65-100.

Rodrik, Dani. 2000. “Institutions For High-Quality Growth: What They Are And How To Acquire Them” CEPR Discussion Papers 2370.

West, Kenneth D., Steven N. Durlauf and William A. Brock. 2003. “Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2003, No. 1.

 

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Assel Tutumlu (Rustemova)

Assistant Professor in International Relations at Gediz Universiy

January 2015

 

Law in the Interest of the Few: Pension Reform in Kazakhstan 

Research that shows how authoritarian regimes adopt laws that are in the interests of the few is widely available for the African and Latin American governments. However, it failed to become a vibrant field within the scholarship on Central Asia, primarily because of the strict libel laws and arbitrary interpretation of legal provisions that resulted in elimination of opposition in Central Asian states and Kazakhstan in particular. Most of the literature on Central Asia that does address the workings of the law comes under the framework neopatrimonialism, a political system in which government officials treat their position of authority as a source of personal income. Neopatrimonialism explains the incentive structure that exists in most authoritarian regimes, which enables officials to adopt laws to their own advantage. The system is possible due to the lack of accountability to the people and instead accountability to the superiors and the ruler of a country. The resulting hierarchy provides opportunities for a merger between political power and economic wealth. Neopatrimonialism is a term that applies to most governments of Central Asia. Ruled by presidents who have been in power for decades, with the exception of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan), these countries developed extensive networks of political figures who managed to accumulate substantial economic assets due to their privileged position of authority. Once these regimes solidified political and economic power, they were interested in adopting laws that suited their interests, rather than the interests of the common people per se.

Pension reform provides us with a domestic illustrative example of the official justification and implementation of the reform that benefitted the few.  On April 24, 2013 Government of Kazakhstan decided to merge several privately operated pension funds into a single government-managed entity State Accumulation Pension Fund (SAPF). The old pension system in Kazakhstan was heralded as one of the most progressive reforms in post-Soviet space back in 1997 when it was first adopted. Modeled after Chile, Kazakhstan introduced obligatory contribution of 10% from the salary income to pension funds of choice for management of these retirement assets by professional financial brokers who took small part of dividends and transferred the majority of profits to customers’ accounts. The reform was hailed progressive, because it enabled customers to receive much bigger profit by investing into safe assets avoiding inflation costs from investing into international stocks and bonds. Government of Kazakhstan guaranteed security of assets. By 2013 Kazakhstan had 11 pension funds with total capitalization of approximately 16.3 billion Euros or about 11% of the GDP. Of these, 10 private funds controlled about 80% of the total assets. As of January 1, 2013, around half of the population of Kazakhstan, or 8.4 million people, contributed money to these pension funds. Most of the funds were established by the largest banks in the country. Most assets were invested domestically into safe government bonds. Since most of the banks belong to members of presidential family or indirectly linked to specific government officials, it is important to evaluate this economic reform from a neopatrimonial perspective.

Officially, government cited several reasons for the merger. First, private funds took large commissions up to 15% on investment returns swallowing 0.6% of income per year. Merger will enable government to decrease commission expenses by half and transfer more profits to people’s accounts. As a result, the largest of the 11 funds (please see the table below) were given buy-out schemes. However, details of the mergers and negotiations over asset swaps rarely come under public scrutiny. Second, a devastating 2008 financial crisis in the United States and the following sovereign debt crisis in Europe proved to President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan that international investment into what seemed to be reliable government bonds can lose value in a matter of days. Investments in local infrastructure and industrialization projects under the unified entity are to provide the foundations for the development of Kazakhstani economy and guarantee stability of return. Third, slow economic growth in key exporting partners of Kazakhstan resulted in decreasing economic growth, which in 2013 reached 5% a year in contrast to around 7% growth rate two years before that. In order to boost economic growth without raiding the National Fund, fund that accumulates revenues from oil and stores it by investing in foreign assets, government proposes to use assets from pension funds for domestic investment.

However, perspectives that use neopatrimonialism for policy analyses enable deeper understanding of law-making process in post-Soviet states. Application of neopatrimonialism to pension reform of Kazakhstan shows that the reform was largely created to alleviate private funds from unprofitable business enterprises by shoveling responsibility on government entity. Second, government obtained more pocket money from the newly established government entity that will distribute cash to various domestic enterprises. The merger of the pension funds does not avoid the growing problem of the difference between investment yield and official inflation rate. As a result, several years from now state pension fund will likely to ask for more state support to facilitate payment of pensions profitably and sustainably.

 

* Assel Tutumlu (Rustemova) is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at Gediz University-Izmir. Her research areas include political economy of post-Soviet authoritarian regimes and democratization practices.

 

Further Reading:

 

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Sinja Graf

PhD Candidate at Cornell University

Visiting Fellow at GLODEM, Koc University

December 2014

 

Eric Posner just delivered ‘the case against human rights’.[1] Posner diagnoses the empirical inefficiency of the international human rights regime and recalls the ideational continuities between the colonial ‘civilizing mission’ and contemporary human rights instruments. Relying on recent critiques of development economics, Posner calls for an empirical, rather than an ideological approach to improving human lives in far away places.[2] Posner’s critique joins an exceptionally diverse range of criticisms of human rights.[3]  Critical approaches to human rights, and to international law more broadly, contribute to invigorating the debate on global (in)justice. And yet, critics of human rights ought to grapple with counterarguments stemming from one crucial distinction: the difference between the values that animate human rights and the political authorities that command the power to enforce them.

If we distinguish more clearly between the normative content of human rights[4] and the actors that mobilize them for their political activities, we gain a clearer sense of how we should approach ‘the case against human rights’. To illustrate, Posner laments the vague terms in which human rights have been phrased. Such definitional indeterminacy, Posner suggests, renders human rights vulnerable to being invoked as the justificatory foil for aggressive and imperial foreign policies. However, if we criticize the reliance on human rights to justify the foreign policies by the likes of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, we are already aware of the fact that the actors claiming to realize human rights by violent means do so illegitimately. True, the language of human rights does lend itself to that. However, the virtue of the very same language is that a variety of non-state actors such as social movements engaged in struggles for justice mobilize it to articulate their claims against policies of systematic violence.[5] In short, human rights travel. They travel to places and to people who find them useful to mobilize against violent state authorities. If we distinguish between the content of human rights and the actors invoking them to frame their political goals, which can develop a clearer compass for understanding the political value of human rights. If we consider human rights more as a set of arguments while activating our ability to distinguish between good and bad arguments, then we may gain a more nuanced picture of what is at stake when we criticize human rights.

A similar point may be raised about international criminal law. We will most likely agree that the types of violence internationally criminalized under crimes against humanity are truly heinous. [6] However, we may disagree about two things. First, we may criticize the omissions and exclusions that enable the definition of crimes against humanity as we know it.[7] Second, we may criticize the relations of political power that undergird the institutional actors charged with the enforcement of international criminal law.[8] The first point calls for reforming international criminal law by means of an internal critique. The second questions the relationship between uneven political power and the making of international institutions charged with enforcing international law. Neither point, however, lends itself to making ‘the case against international criminal law’. Whether we make cases for or against human rights, therefore, will depend largely on where, or to whom, we look for their potential to bolster legitimate claims for social justice. 


[1] Eric Posner, ‘The Case Against Human Rights’, The Guardian, December 4, available at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/dec/04/-sp-case-against-human-right.... Eric Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. His latest book is titled ‘The Twilight of International Human Rights Law’.

[2] See Michael Hobbes, ‘Stop Trying to Save the World. Big Ideas are Destroying International Development’, The New Republic, available at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120178/problem-international-developm....

[3] See for instance Costas Douzinas (2007), Human Rights and Empire. The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism, Routledge: London/New York, Ayça Çubukçu, (2011) “On Cosmopolitan Occupations: the Case of the World Tribunal on Iraq,” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 13 (3): 422-442.

[4] Needless to say, the normative content of human rights is neither uncontested nor historically and culturally unproblematic.

[5] Janice Gallagher, Tipping the Scales of Justice. The Role of Organized Citizen Action in Strengthening the Rule of Law, forthcoming from Cornell University.

[6] The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines crimes against humanity as follows: “For the purpose of this Statute, ‘crime against humanity’ means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder;  (b) Extermination;  (c) Enslavement;  (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;  (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture;  (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; (i) Enforced disappearance of persons; (j) The crime of apartheid; (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.” It should be noted that crimes against humanity is the most widely applicable international crime since it neither requires a special intent nor a nexus to armed conflict.

[7] As Siba Grovogui argues, the definition of crimes against humanity unduly excludes economic and environmental exploitation, thereby neglecting the relationship between forms of structural violence and mass atrocities criminalized under international law.

[8] The dominant role of the United Nations Security Council with regard to the insittutions of international criminal law have been subject to much criticism. The two ad hoc criminal tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) were established by binding Security Council authorization. The ICTY in particular has been criticized for repeating the Nuremberg gesture of ‘victors justice’. After the NATO intervention in the Yugoslav conflict, the ICTY determined that the conduct of NATO forces was not subject to the Tribunal’s investigations.

statute of the ICC grants extraordinary powers to the Security Council, such as the coercive referral of non-member states to the Court as well as the authority to defer investigations in a situation for up to twelve months. 

 

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Mustafa YAĞCI

PhD Candidate in Political Science and International Relations

Koç University, Department of International Relations  

November 2014

From Washington Consensus to Beijing Consensus: Rise of China in the International Political Economy

 

“The rise of China” is an appealing topic for different social science fields. Generally we can make a distinction between two types of scholarship: one that focuses on the implications and possible consequences of the rise of China and the other one focusing on the reasons behind the Chinese rise.  In International Relations scholarship the main focus is on the former. Many neo-realist scholars see the rise of China as a threat. For these scholars, China as an emerging power will challenge the US hegemony and bring an end to the unipolar world order. For many liberal scholars, rise of China can be both a threat and an opportunity. For optimists, China offers an example to the developing countries that free trade, openness to the world economy and not challenging the international political and economic order are key ingredients on the path to prosperity. For pessimist scholars, China’s authoritarian political system will diminish the democratic values in the world and will open a new path to authoritarianism in other countries.

Many International Political Economy and Economic Development scholars try to analyze the rise of China by examining the reasons behind the Chinese economic rise. The term “Beijing Consensus” is coined to explain the economic rise of China by contrasting its economic policies to the prevalent economic policy doctrine in the 1990s, infamous “Washington Consensus”. Coined by Williamson (1990), Washington Consensus refers to a set of policy reforms that were widely agreed in Washington to be desirable in all the developing countries. These policies were also applied to other developing countries in structural adjustment programs by the leading international organizations of International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Washington Consensus includes ten policy reforms:

- Fiscal policy discipline.

- Redirection of public spending from subsidies (‘especially in discriminate subsidies’) towards broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure.          

- Tax reform – broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates.

- Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms.

- Competitive exchange rates.

- Trade liberalization – with particular emphasis on the elimination of quantitative restrictions.

- Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment.

- Privatization of state enterprises.

- Deregulation – abolishing regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions.

- Legal security for property rights.

Despite its prominence in the 1990s, Washington Consensus lost its relevance after many developing countries experienced sweeping economic and financial crisis after implementation of liberalization policies. Asian crisis in Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, crises in Mexico, Russia, Argentina and Turkey had devastating economic and political consequences.

In contrast to the orthodox neoliberal policies of the Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus illustrates the crucial role of state and protectionist policies in economic development. The term “Beijing Consensus” was first coined by Ramo (2004). For Ramo, in contrast to the shock therapy, rapid liberalization doctrine of the Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus is guided by the “groping for stones to cross the river” principle of Deng Xiaoping who initiated the economic reforms in China in late 1970s. Following Ramo, many other scholars tried to identify the principles of Beijing Consensus, reasons behind the Chinese economic rise in the last three decades. These debates proliferated after the Global Financial Crisis as this crisis is interpreted as the weakness of American and European economic models. Williamson (2012) identifies five main features of the Beijing Consensus:

- Incremental Reform (as opposed to a Big Bang approach)

- Innovation and Experimentation

- Export Led Growth

- State Capitalism (as opposed to Socialist Planning or Free Market Capitalism)

- Authoritarianism (as opposed to Democracy or Autocracy).      

Policy experimentation, gradualism, openness to the international trade by prioritizing exports, importance of state intervention in the economy, the success of the State Owned Enterprises in China and the meritocratic political system led by the Chinese Communist Party were seen as the main features of the Chinese Model or the Beijing Consensus. However, the critical question is: can other developing countries implement similar policies China have utilized and achieve a similar success in economic development? Naughton (2010) questions the applicability of the Chinese Model in other countries and argues that China is unique in several dimensions. 1.3 billion population with healthy, well-trained labor abundance, big geographical size, hierarchical, centralized political system and highly protectionist financial policies are some of the important elements of Chinese uniqueness that will make very difficult for other countries to implement Chinese Model inspired policies.

There are also criticisms of the Chinese economic model. Acemoglu and Robinson (2012) argue that Chinese model is not sustainable because it lacks the “inclusive institutions” that will provide more political rights to the overall population. They argue that Soviet model in the 1960s was also seen as a success story in the developing world but later it was seen that their model was not sustainable due to lack of inclusive institutions in their political and economic system.      

In conclusion, it is essential to characterize the main elements of Chinese economic rise in order to have a better understanding of a country that will have a significant impact in global political economy in the coming years. It is also crucial to realize that China is a country that is undergoing overarching transformations in the last three decades. In the last few years China is undergoing another transformation to leap to a higher level of economic development. Thus, Beijing Consensus is not an end for China, it is an ongoing process of economic, political and social transformations in different stages of development. A famous quote of Deng Xiaoping is that “It doesn't matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” Therefore, Beijing Consensus will evolve by adapting different policies in different stages of development. That is to me, the most important element of the Beijing Consensus. 

 

References

Acemoğlu, D. and Robinson, J. A. 2012. Why Nations Fail, New York: Crown Publishers. Naughton, B. 2010. “China's Distinctive System: can it be a model for others?” Journal of

Contemporary China, 19 (65): 437-460.

Ramo, J. 2004. The Beijing Consensus, London: The Foreign Policy Centre.

Williamson, J. 2012. “Is the “Beijing Consensus” Now Dominant?” Asia Policy, 13: 1-16.

 

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Küyerel

October 2014

Caner Bakır                                                                                       

2014 nasıl bitecek?                                                                             

 

Eşbaşkanı olduğum GLODEM’in yeni iletişim kanalı olan blogunda, ‘Küyerel’ başlığı altında, politik ekonomi ve finans gündemini sizlerle birlikte tartışacağız. Yazılarım konuların içeriğine göre İngilizce veya Türkçe olacak. İlk yazımı da Türkiye ekonomisi ve finansında son bir ayda gerçekleşen olumsuz gelişmeler ışığında daha da önemli hale gelen bir soruya ayırdım: 2014 nasıl bitecek?

Öncelikle küresel beklentilerin neler olduğuna birlikte bakalım. Bloomberg Küresel Yatırımcı Anketi 2014 yılındaki yatırım fırsatları ve risklerini bizlere sunuyor. 700’ün üzerinde küresel yatırımcının katkılarıyla ortaya çıkan anketin sonuçlarını incelediğimizde karşımıza çıkan tablo yatırımcıların iyimser beklentiler içinde olduğunu gösteriyor.

Küresel yatırımcıların %35’i Amerikan Kongresi’nde yaşanacak tıkanıklıklar ve bunun sonucunda Amerikan hükümetinin mali ve ekonomik kararları almada zorlanmasını önümüzdeki en büyük küresel risk olarak görüyor. İlgi çekici bir sonuç ise Amerika’yla ilgili siyasi kaygılara rağmen yatırımcıların %54’ü Amerikan ekonomisinin iyiye gideceğini düşünüyor.

Avrupa’nın borç problemini ise yatırımcıların sadece %19’luk bir kesimi riskli buluyor. Avro bölgesinde büyüme bekleyenlerin oranı %33 olarak görülüyor. Çin ekonomisindeki yavaşlamayı riskli görenlerin oranı %26. Bunların yanında küresel ekonominin kötüye gideceğini düşünenlerin oranı ise sadece %17. Ancak, Türkiye gibi gelişmekte olan ülkelerde ekonominin iyiye gitmeyeceği görüşünün yaygın olduğunu belirtmekte fayda var.

Küresel yatırımcılara göre en yüksek getiriyi hangi aktifler sağlayacak? Hisse senetleri getiri beklentisinde açık ara önde ve hisse senetlerinin iyi finansal performans göstereceğini düşünenler %50’lik bir kesimi oluşturuyor. Bunu gayrimenkul (%17) ve döviz (%10) izliyor. Altın (%8), emtia (%7) ve tahvillerin (%6) ise getiri beklentisi düşük.

2014, Napolyon savaşlarının bitişinin ardından Avrupa’nın barış ve istikrarı sağlayan Viyana Kongresi’nin yapıldığı 1815 yılı gibi mi geçecek? Yoksa 20’nci yüzyılın uzun ve yıkıcı savaşlarının başlangıcı olan 1914 gibi mi olacak? Cambridge Üniversitesi tarihçilerinden Nicholas Boyle, 21. yüzyılın nasıl geçeceği sorusuna 500 yıllık bir perspektiften bakıyor. Bu görüşe göre her yüz yılın ilk 20 yılında o yüz yılın karakteri biçimleniyor: Martin Luther’le Protestanlığın yükselişi 1517’de, 30 yıl savaşları ve dinsel çatışmalar 1618’de, Britanya, İrlanda ve Almanya arasındaki çatışmaların bitişi 1715’de; Viyana Kongresi sonrasında Avrupa’da barış ve istikrarın sağlanması 1815’de ve Birinci Dünya Savaşı ise 1914’de çıkıyor.

‘’2014 ve sonrası neden farklı olsun?’’ sorusu ister istemez akla geliyor. İçinde bulunduğumuz yüzyılın ilk 14 yılında pek de iç açıcı olmayan gelişmeler yaşandı; 11 Eylül ve sonrasında Orta Doğu’daki istikrarsızlık, 2008 küresel ekonomik krizi, Euro krizi ve şimdi de Ukrayna’daki siyasal krizin ardından Batı ile Rusya arasındaki gerginlik ve IŞİD terör örgütü ile birlikte yakın coğrafyada farklı bir evreye geçen kapsamlı istikrarsızlık bunlardan sadece birkaçı. Uluslararası toplumun küresel risk barındıran sorunlar karşısında kapsamlı bir işbirliği ve koordinasyon içinde çözümler bulması ve uygulaması istikrarlı bir 21. yüzyıl için önemli.

500 yıllık bir perspektifle 21. yüzyıla bakmak ilginç olsa da geçmişin geleceğe ayna tutmak açısından iyi bir rehber olmadığını biliyorum. Ayrıca, J.M. Keynes’in İkinci Dünya Savaşı’nın başlayacağını tahmin etmesi gibi istisnaları gözardı edersek, benim de çalışmalarımı yürüttüğüm sosyal bilim alanının geleceğe yönelik tahminde bulunma konusundaki sicilinin pek parlak olmadığını biliyoruz.

Yine de 2014’de Türkiye ekonomisiyle ilgili değerlendirmemi kısaca paylaşayım. Küresel likiditenin nasıl bir seyir izleyeceği ekonomi tarihimizin ikinci en büyük cari açığının finansmanı için büyük önem taşıyor. Küresel likiditeyi belirleyen ise Amerikan Merkez Bankası’dır. FED’in her ay bastığı parayı 85 milyar dolardan 65 milyar dolara çekmesi ve bu rakamı daha da düşürebileceği belirtmesi, Türkiye gibi yapısal cari açık problemi olan ülkeler için büyük bir problem. Gerçekten de 2013’e ait ödemeler dengesi bilançosuna baktığımızda sermaye girişlerinin bir önceki yıla göre yaklaşık %25 azaldığını görüyoruz.

Cari açığın, azalan sermaye girişlerinin çok üzerinde olmasının ilk sonuçlarını yılın başında %20’nin üzerinde artan döviz sepeti ve yaklaşık iki katına çıkan Merkez Bankası politika faizi ile gördük. Bu artışlar artan maliyetler üzerinden yükselen enflasyon oranını, düşen üretim, tüketim ve istihdam oranlarını beraberinde getiriyor. Tüm bunlar ise, sermaye çıkışları olmazsa, ekonomik durgunluk demek. Bunların yanında, son 10 yılda kritik şekilde yükselen finansallaşma temelinde gelişen hane halkı borçluluğu ve alarm veren KOBI borçluluğunu unutmamak gerek. Ayrıca yakın coğrafyadaki kapsamlı -ekonomik, sosyal ve siyasal- istikrarsızlığın Türkiye’deki olumsuz yansımaları ve yaklaşan 2015 seçimleri ile birlikte düşününce önümüzde zor bir dönem var. Küresel likiditenin daha fazla daralması, Avrupa’daki ekonomik canlanmanın dış talebi ve sermaye girişlerini olumlu etkilememesi gibi dış gelişmelerin ihtimal dâhilinde olması önümüzdeki 6 ayda iyimser olmamızı daha da zorlaştırıyor.

 

 

Undefined