Posts tagged of

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The 10 Poorest Countries of the World: Hottez

Republic of the Congo is one of the very poor countries in the world. In fact, many people believe that this country might be the poorest country in the world. The blog Hottez has ranked the Congo as top number 1 in the most poorest country in the world.

The GDP per capita is $300 (2010 est.) and the GDP is $22.92 billion (2010 est.) which is the 119th in the world. Despite its large land (2,344,858 sq km) and large population (70,916,439) the GDP is quite small.

Population growth rate is 3.165% which is high. The data for unemployment rate is not available. It may be because that there are so many people in poverty and jobless. The life expectancy is only 54.73 years for the whole population.

Leave a comment »

Table of Types of Protectionism

Type of Protectionism Definition Real World Example + Link
Tariff It is the tax on imported goods, which could be imposed on specific products. Japan imposes tariff on imported rice.Article Link: Click Here
Quota It is a limit to the imports set by the government. The trading economy can only export maximum amount of goods to the economy that is imposing quota. European Union imposes quota on Japanese cars.Article Link: Click Here
Subsidy It is the sum of money given to the weak industry in order to maintain the job places that it provides. The Japanese government is giving subsidies to Japanese rice farmers.Article Link: Click Here



Leave a comment »

How can demand/supply side policies help variety of people?

How should the government implement demand/supply side policy to help corporate leaders, unemployed workers and retired people? The government should utilize the policy that both stabilizes the inflation rate and lowers the unemployment rate to help all of these people. There aren’t any absolute solutions to these problems all simultaneously, yet there are always ‘best’ solutions.

The government could nullify the labor union’s power and make the wages flexible. By lowering to wages to an apt level, there will be surplus of money that can be used to employ a number of people. Also, the money that’s left could be used to increase the pension of the retired people. People who were employed will be angry, however, it’ll give them a strong sense of job security by looking at numbers of people coming in.

In order to protect the working population from the inflation, the government should implement the monetary policy in order to cut down money supply. By cutting down money supply, it’ll significantly decrease the inflation rate  to stable state. Also, the government could increase the interest rate in order to curb inflation.

Leave a comment »

What Greece must do to Survive the Debt Crisis

A frustrated Greek expressing his angry through violent protest

CNN News: Click Here

In action to fight off the increasingly unbearable debt crisis, Greece chose to get financial support from both EU (mainly Germany) and IMF. This might help Greece out of the problem in a short-run, yet they still have to pay back the money they have borrowed from EU and IMF. Now all Greeks must tighten their belt in order to fight off the crisis. There is a list of what Greece must to do recover their economy.

  1. Salary Cuts
  2. Retirement
  3. Increase in Taxation
  4. Reform in Pension System

First of all, all Greeks (at least public workers) will increase a cut in their salaries. Salaries are one of the big factors that take up large percentage of the cost in business and government spending. Though this will arouse some violent protests from the people, there is no other way to fight off the debt crisis without a cut in wages.

With some cuts in wages, many business and governments will want to minimize the number of employees as possible to decrease the money spent. This will result in early retirement of many workers with ages over 60. This will also contribute to the high unemployment rate, however, significantly cut the unnecessary budgets.

Interestingly, the Greek government decided not to have an early retirement for its workers but to increase the retirement. The retirement age was shifted from 61 to 65. It may be that Greece government didn’t want more unemployment and more protests regarding it. I think that the Greece government is tightening the payment of wages so much that they don’t need to cut down its workforce.

Greek people will most definetly exprience the rise in taxation. Greek government said that it was going to raise all VAT’s by 10%. Increasing taxation is one of the key ways that Greece can endure the crisis.

Greeks will also exprience a cut in pension. Unplanned pension system was the main culprits for the cause of Greece’s debt crisis. The government borrowed money, unplanned, in order to fulfil its populistic policy of pension system. The system supported too many people and gave out excess amount of money. So many aged Greeks will exprience this frustrating cut in their pension.

In sum, these were the actions that Greece must implement in order to survive the debt crisis. I think that the government’s determination to get out of the deb crisis is firm, but I think that this determination is not supported by lots of Greeks. Greek people must bear in mind that if they don’t start tighenting their belts, the government’s effort in order to get out of the crisis.

Leave a comment »

Greek Bonds are Useless Junks says Standard & Poor’s

BBC News: Click Here

According to BBC News, global stock markets tumbled after Greece’s debt was downgraded to “junk” by rating agency Standard & Poor’s over concerns that the country may default.

As uncertainty of whether Greece will get financial support from EU and IMF to clear up its looming debt increases, many rating agency such as Standard & Poor’s has rated Greek bonds as junks, rubbish.

What does it mean when a rating agency says that now Greek bonds are ‘junk’? It means that it is now very risky to invest on. It is mainly because of Greek’s apparent lack of ability to pay its bills. So there is a higher chance that an investor will lose money for investing in a country falling into the abyss of ever increasing debt.

Greece’s finance ministry said in a statement that the downgrade “does not correspond with the real data of the Greek economy.” Greek finance ministry denies that the down-rating doesn’t reflect the real Greek economy, however, this incident showed investor’s distrust toward the Greek economy.

If Greece does not take action to reduce debt and get help from the EU and IMF, it may default.

What’s default and what happens if a country defaults?

Lets look into what the definition of default is. Default is simply announcing that you cannot pay the debt in the due date. It doesn’t mean that the government will go bankrupt and the debt wouldn’t go away. The debt will always be there and the investors/lenders will demand you to repay the debt whenever possible.

What are the consequences of a country defaulting? There are several effects to this. First of all, the currency of the country becomes a rubbish or a paper tower (or no better than a paper tower). Foreign investors will have distrust against the currency of the defaulted country and the value of the currency will drop significantly. As the value of the currency goes down, it makes the imported goods insanely expensive, which will lead to inflation and shortage of necessary goods. If a country has high food dependency on importing, many people will starve to death as there are simply shortage of food due to expensive importing.

People will loose confidence and the recession or more like disintegration of economy will be in a vicious circle. So by this stage, there is ultimately nothing a country can do to recover. So Greece should get help from EU and IMF quickly by giving them confidence that they can pay back the borrowed money.

Leave a comment »

Limitations of GDP (Gross Domestic Products)

Many economists rely on GDP (Gross Domestic Products) to analyze and compare economies. However, there are several limitations of GDP as all macroeconomic statistics do.

One of the limitations is that ‘nominal’ GDPs do not take into account that there are inflations and deflations. So let’s say that there was 10% inflation and the GDP increased 10%. Some could say that GDP has increased by 10% and that is economic growth. However, it these people didn’t take into account that in fact inflation has caused this increase in GDP. So this is one of the limitation of ‘nominal’ GDP. There is another GDP called ‘real’ GDP that takes inflation/deflation out of the GDP and tries to measure the ‘true’ GDP of an economy.

The second limitation is that GDP does not measure negative externalities. For example, the CO2 emission produced by economic activity would not be considered in measuring GDP. Also, depletion of some resources are not considered either. So, this limitation is greatly criticized by ecological economists.

Another limitation is that GDP’s could change due to change in exchange rate to US dollar. Notice how GDP is calculated in USD. So GDPs of foreign countries would change due to their change in currency value. For example, Japan’s recent GDP would rose due to their strong yen. So, change in currency values could change the GDP. However, this is not the problem of United States because the country uses USD.

There is one last limitation to GDP. It is that GDP’s do not measure black markets and illegal economic transactions. For example, if some drug dealer sells $1 million dollar of drugs to some country this will not be counted in the GDP. Some people will say that these kind of economic activities would comprise only a meager proportion of GDP, however, United States, for example, has 10~20% of illegal black markets to its GDP.

In sum, these were the limitations of GDP. Despite these limitations, GDP is considered to be one of the best methods of measuring/comparing economies.

Comments (4) »

Saving is a Good Habit, but also a Bad Habit

Japan’s $15 Trillion Not Enough to Make It a Buy by William Pesek: Click Here

Is saving a good habit? If you look at Japanese people, they save a lot. As a result of assiduous saving, Japanese households have about $15 trillion according to the Bloomberg commentary by William Pesek. Wow, $15 trillion dollars! It’s higher than United State’s GDP of $14.2 Trillion (2008). However, the author acerbically criticized that Japanese people’s habit of saving is actually harming the Japanese economy for several reasons.

As you see, the saving is considered as a leakage along with importing and taxing. Why is saving considered a leakage? It is because the money saved is not used in the economy or market for long period of time. It is like blocking a current of river by building a dam. Saving is necessary, however, excessive saving can result in deflation, which Japan is severely suffering from.

Although the Japanese households have $15 trillion, they do not use it. This is one of the major roots of Japan’s lost decades and current economic crisis. The news columnist William Pesek claims that Japanese people’s saving of consuming is causing the deflation because the market has lack of currency flowing through it. If an economy is compared to a human body, people’s lack of consuming can be compared to low blood pressure. There just aren’t any money to get the economy going. Due to low demands for almost all the goods and services in Japan, the suppliers has to lower the price of their product. And this causes deflation, which William Pesek considers it to be a big problem for Japanese economy. The market is just hamstrung by Japanese’ excessive saving.

Japanese government’s public debt of 200% (to GDP) has resulted from this excessive saving too. Because there is a big leakage (saving) in the market, the Japanese government has to borrow from banks or households and pour it in the market to make it working. If the government do not support the market, the economic crisis would have been more devastating. As a result of trying to pour the money into the market, the Japanese government’s 45% of its spending is from Japanese’ households lending. This has further accumulated the public debt of 200% (to Japanese GDP).

Why are Japanese people reluctant in spending? It is from the lack of confidence about the future. The Japanese government is to be ascribed to the blame. The government did not take aggressive measures to tackle the problem. This has resulted in Japanese people’s distrust toward the government. The government now has to take aggressive measures to tackle the economic depression and encourage the people to spend more.

In sum, saving is a necessary habit, however, it could also hurt the economy if this is done excessively, when no one is willing to buy anything and just save money. I think that the best solution for Japanese economy to rise again to for the Japanese people to spend more again. Just think. If Japanese people spends all of $15 trillion, the GDP will surpass the US GDP. 🙂 yay and Japan will have the top GDP in the world. I personally do not think that that much of spending is worth it :(. Yet, this will be the best solution to the economic crisis in Japan.

Leave a comment »

Analysis on Japanese Crisis

Japanese Economy is in Deep Coma

Times Online: Click Here

According to Bronwen Maddox on Times Online, Japanese Crisis resulted from extremely inefficient bureaucracy culture, lack of risk-taking, aging population, and bad governmental budget.

The article states that Japanese government (local and central) have debt over 180% of Japan’s GDP. That means, the Japanese government has to pay almost double the country’s GDP to the lenders, who are mostly Japanese citizens. So, the Japanese government is carrying the unexpectable time-bomb of national bankruptcy. Japan is the second highest in debt percentage to GDP in the world, after Zimbabwe’s 200%. However, Zimbabwe’s GDP is so infinitesimal compared to the world’s second biggest Japanese GDP. So Zimbabwe could get support from other countries, but Japan will not be able to survive the misery even if there were some supports from other countries.

The main reason for Japan’s enormous debt is the Japanese government’s bad planning for budget. According to the article, over 45% of the governmental spending was borrowed from Japanese people’s savings. This kind of spending started from 1992, so this debt accumulated for 20 years until the debt almost went up to twice the country’s GDP. United States had deficit governmental spending just like Japan, however, Obama passed the Budget Plan for 2010 to minimize the deficit and ultimately get rid of the debt. Japan is not taking any actions to minimize and get rid of debts they are carrying. Instead, the new government is increasing the deficit almost forced by its populist economic policies. If the new government does not cancel its policies and sketch a new way to get out of this misery, Japan will face more serious problem than ‘lost decades’ : a bankruptcy.

There why are Japanese government spending so much money? My answer to this question was that Japanese people did not want to use money. That is why the Japanese government has to release money to the paralyzed Japanese market. I have heard and read that many Japanese people had lack of confidence in their futures because of the prolonged economic recession in Japan (lost decades). Even if they have one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, they do not use money in fear of another economic recession. This is called leakage in economic term. So Japan is suffering from deflation because of very very low demands in domestic market. Japanese domestic markets do have money to spend, however, people simply chose not to and save it. That is why Japanese companies are having a bad time in the domestic market. To get back to the point, the Japanese government has to release money in order to get the domestic market going, or else, it will collapse.

This lack of confidence or fear about future is devastating to the economy. This once happened to Korea when it was near national bankruptcy in 1998 during the economic crisis in Asia. People feared for the future and they stopped spending but saving. This had rather devastating effect on the Korean economy. So the government had made up the mind to get help from IMF, the international monetary fund, and cold-heartedly let the lazy banks or companies to go bankrupt. The government has forced many companies and economic figures to reform. The economic reform has resulted in tons of people without jobs, however, Korea managed to get out of the trouble until 2000, which only took them 4 years to overcome the trouble.

Japan, in the other hand, did not take such daring measures to overcome the economic crisis, which started from 1992. As a result, Japan has suffered from two lost decade, and ‘is’ suffering from another losing decade. The Japanese government was not determined like the Korean government so that the economic crisis of Japan has lingered around since 1992, almost 20 years from now.

There is another factor that is aggravating the crisis in a long term. It is the low birth rate. Japan has the birth rate of 7.64 out of 1000 population, which ranks 221th in the world. It was estimated that in 20 or 30 years, there will be 45% of Japanese population with old people over 65. This will reduce governmental income from taxation and aggravate the responsibility the young people have to carry out. Thus, it will have unenthusiastic young people and there will lack of labor in the market. Every economically active young person (at 25-30) will have to take care of 2 elders. This will give disincentive to the young people to get a job. Also, it will discourage the young people not to have babies because it’ll be even more burdensome. Thus, the low birth rate gets worst. The Japanese government has to do something to give incentive for the young people to have babies. Or else, the national will fall into the abyss of low birth rate and ultimately ‘extinction’ of Japanese people.

In sum, the Japanese government has to do something. The Japanese government should first pass a new budget plan in effort to minimize the deficit, and they should pass a new law to encourage young people to have babies. Also, they should get rid of the culture of bureaucracy. Or else, Japan will confront the irremediable problem of bankruptcy.

Leave a comment »

Intro to Macroeconomics

Today in the class, we have learned simple diagrams about the economic transactions between firms and households. As you see in the diagram, the households provide factors of production (FoP) to the firms. Firms gives wages or rent for the factors of production provided by the households. The firm then provides the service or good by using these factors of production to the households. The households in reture gives payment to the firms for the service or the good.

We have learned about several economic terms such as GDP. GDP means Gross Domestic Product and it is the Total Value of all Spending in an Economy. It is the Total Value of all final Goods and Services in an Economy regardless of who owns the productive assets.

Unlike GDP, GNP encounters for the total income earned by a nation’s factors of production regardless of where the assets are located. For example, lets say that there is one British businessperson doing business in Japan. His buisness is part of Japan’s GDP, but it is not part of Japan’s GNP. It is the part of UK’s GNP.

GDP per capita is GDP divided by population of that country. It is often used to show how much wealth each person has. However, there is one flaw with this index. If there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, like in United States, this value means less compared to when there is less disparity between rich and poor. According to Ms. Q in the class, only 1% of United State’s population owns 49% of financial wealth. So, GDP per capita is not always accurate.

GDP per capita is often used to evaluate one country’s standard of living, however, as it was stated, it is not always accurate. For example, there could be several trillionares and billions of poor in a country. As an alternative, many scholars use HDI to evalute standar of living of countries. It encounters for life expectancy, literacy rate, education, public health system, and etc. It looks at the different point of view compared to GDP per capita. According to the lecture today, Cuba has less thant 5000$ per capita, however, it has almost 100% literacy rate, which shows that it has high standard of living.

Extra Info: GDP can vary according to the country’s currency exchange rate to USD. As GDP is in US dollar, other foreign countries have to convert their currency to USD. For example, if the exchange rate goes down (value: Foreign currency<USD) the total GDP of the nation decreases. On contrary, if the exchange rate goes up, the total GDP of the nation increases dramatically. So this is one drawback to GDP.

There is an economic index called PPP that covers up the problem of GDP. “Purchasing power parity exchange rate is the exchange rate based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) of a currency relative to a selected standard (usually the United States dollar)” (wikipedia.org) So it gets rid of the exchange rate drawback of GDP and gives more reliable data. However, there is one problem with this also. It is very difficult to measure the differences in quality of goods.

Comments (2) »