Mark Weisbrot

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (at www.cepr.net) in
Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

The Financial Times on Lula (Guest blog)

In an article today about President Lula Da Silva�s landslide (61-39) re-election victory, the Financial Times reports that the �the PT�s [Lula�s Workers Party] anti-liberal rhetoric during the second round has caused consternation among many economists, who see it as a sign that spending cuts, needed to release money for investment and growth, are less likely under a second Lula administration than the first.� This continues a major theme of the Financial Times� pre-election coverage . A bigger worry for economists concerned about Brazil�s sluggish growth (1.4 percent average annual per capita for Lula�s four years, about the same as for his predecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso�s 1.6 percent for 8 years) would be Brazil�s interest rates. The Selic (central bank overnight rate, comparable to our Fed�s 5.25 percent federal funds rate) rate is currently at 13.75 percent. Brazil�s inflation is now less than ours; hence the country�s real interest rates are among the highest in the world...

The Mirage of Progress

E veryone knows that the past 20 years have been an era of rapid overall economic progress for the vast majority of countries, especially in the developing world. Tariffs have collapsed and countries have flung open their borders to international trade and investment. Technology has progressed as never before, we are told, with revolutions in such cutting-edge industries as communications, computers, and the Internet spawning and spreading productivity miracles around the globe. Of course, there are problems: a widening gap between rich and poor nations; environmental destruction; and, in some countries and regions, the poor being left behind. But the engine of growth has roared ahead. So if we can fix some of the problems, then growth--and the policies that produced it--will allow future generations to enjoy a better life. Right? Actually, it's quite clear that the opposite is true. The past 20 years have been an abject economic failure for most countries, with growth plummeting. The...