Posted by Québec de Droite on lundi 29 novembre 2010
Aucun carnet pour les deux prochains jours,
mise à jour de la table des matières et de sa section graphique.
Posted by Québec de Droite in Crise économique on dimanche 28 novembre 2010
Excellente vidéo de Michael Spence prix Nobel d’économie sur les enjeux de la crise économique actuelle, malheureusement, il n’y en aura pas de facile !
Andrew Michael Spence (born November 7, 1943) is an American-born, Canadian-raised economist and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, along with George A. Akerlof and Joseph E. Stiglitz, for their work on the dynamics of information flows and market development. He conducted this research while at Harvard University. In the current technological environment—with ever more abundant information flows about market development, prices, profit margins, investment instruments and rates of return—their work is more relevant than ever.
Michael Spence is probably most famous for his job-market signaling model, which essentially triggered the enormous volume of literature in this branch of contract theory. In this model, employees signal their respective skills to employers by acquiring a certain degree of education, which is costly to them. Employers will pay higher wages to more educated employees, because they know that the proportion of employees with high abilities is higher among the educated ones, as it is less costly for them to acquire education than it is for employees with low abilities. For the model to work, it is not even necessary for education to have any intrinsic value if it can convey information about the sender (employee) to the recipient (employer) and if the signal is costly.
Spence did his middle and high school education at the University of Toronto Schools of the University of Toronto. In 1966, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University upon graduation from Princeton University with a degree in Philosophy. He studied Mathematics at Oxford. Spence is a former Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is presently the Chairman of the Commission on Growth and Development.
Un bon article assez dense par contre, mais qui explique la problématique monétaire.
Extrait de: Is there a better way to organise the world’s currencies? , Beyond Bretton Woods 2, The Economist, Nov 4th 2010
WHEN the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) countries meet in Seoul on November 11th and 12th, there will be plenty of backstage finger-pointing about the world’s currency tensions.
1) American officials blame China’s refusal to allow the yuan to rise faster.
2) The Chinese retort that the biggest source of distortion in the global economy is America’s ultra-loose monetary policy—reinforced by the Federal Reserve’s decision on November 3rd to restart “quantitative easing”, or printing money to buy government bonds.
3) Other emerging economies cry that they are innocent victims, as their currencies are forced up by foreign capital flooding into their markets and away from low yields elsewhere.
These quarrels signify a problem that is more than superficial.
The underlying truth is that no one is happy
with today’s international monetary system
—the set of rules, norms and institutions that govern the world’s currencies and the flow of capital across borders.
There are three broad complaints.
1) Dominance of the dollar as a reserve currency and America’s
The first concerns the dominance of the dollar as a reserve currency and America’s management of it. The bulk of foreign-exchange transactions and reserves are in dollars, even though the United States accounts for only 24% of global GDP (see chart 1). A disproportionate share of world trade is conducted in dollars. To many people the supremacy of the greenback in commerce, commodity pricing and official reserves cannot be sensible. Not only does it fail to reflect the realities of the world economy; it leaves others vulnerable to America’s domestic monetary policy.
2) Vast foreign-exchange reserves
The second criticism is that the system has fostered the creation of vast foreign-exchange reserves, particularly by emerging economies. Global reserves have risen from $1.3 trillion (5% of world GDP) in 1995 to $8.4 trillion (14%) today. Emerging economies hold two-thirds of the total. Most of their hoard has been accumulated in the past ten years.
These huge reserves offend economic logic, since they mean poor countries, which should have abundant investment opportunities of their own, are lending cheaply to richer ones, mainly America. Such lending helped precipitate the financial crisis by pushing down America’s long-term interest rates. Today, with Americans saving rather than spending, they represent additional thrift at a time when the world needs more demand.
3) Scale and volatility of capital flows
The third complaint is about the scale and volatility of capital flows. Financial crises have become more frequent in the past three decades. Many politicians argue that a financial system in which emerging economies can suffer floods of foreign capital (as now) or sudden droughts (as in 1997-98 and 2008) cannot be the best basis for long-term growth.
France, which assumes the chairmanship of the G20 after the Seoul summit, thinks the world can do better. Nicolas Sarkozy, the country’s president, wants to put international monetary reform at the top of the group’s agenda for the next year. He wants a debate “without taboos” on how to improve an outdated system.
Such a debate has in fact been going on sporadically for decades. Ever since the post-war Bretton Woods system of fixed but adjustable exchange rates fell apart in the 1970s, academics have offered Utopian blueprints for a new version. The question is: what improvements are feasible?
“Trilemma” of international economics.
The shape of any monetary system is constrained by what is often called the “trilemma” of international economics. If capital can flow across borders, countries must choose between fixing their currencies and controlling their domestic monetary conditions. They cannot do both.
· Under the classical 19th-century gold standard, capital flows were mostly unfettered and currencies were tied to gold. The system collapsed largely because it allowed governments no domestic monetary flexibility. In the Bretton Woods regime currencies were pegged to the dollar, which in turn was tied to gold. Capital mobility was limited, so that countries had control over their own monetary conditions. The system collapsed in 1971, mainly because America would not subordinate its domestic policies to the gold link.
· Today’s system has no tie to gold or any other anchor, and contains a variety of exchange-rate regimes and capital controls. Most rich countries’ currencies float more or less freely—although the creation of the euro was plainly a step in the opposite direction. Capital controls were lifted three decades ago and financial markets are highly integrated.
· Broadly, emerging economies are also seeing a freer flow of capital, thanks to globalisation as much as to the removal of restrictions. Net private flows to these economies are likely to reach $340 billion this year, up from $81 billion a decade ago. On paper, their currency regimes are also becoming more flexible. About 40% of them officially float their currencies, up from less than 20% 15 years ago. But most of these floats are heavily managed. Countries are loth to let their currencies move freely. When capital pours in, central banks buy foreign exchange to stem their rise.
They do this in part because governments do not want their exchange rates to soar suddenly, crippling exporters. Many of them are worried about level as well as speed: they want export-led growth—and an undervalued currency to encourage it.
“Safe” level of reserves
Just as important are the scars left by the financial crises of the late 1990s. Foreign money fled, setting off deep recessions. Governments in many emerging economies concluded that in an era of financial globalisation safety lay in piling up huge reserves. That logic was reinforced in the crisis of 2008, when countries with lots of reserves, such as China or Brazil, fared better than those with less in hand. Even with reserves worth 25% of GDP, South Korea had to turn to the Fed for an emergency liquidity line of dollars.
This experience is forcing a rethink of what makes a “safe” level of reserves. Economists used to argue that developing countries needed foreign exchange mainly for emergency imports and short-term debt payments. A popular rule of thumb in the 1990s was that countries should be able to cover a year’s worth of debt obligations. Today’s total far exceeds that.
Among emerging economies, China plays by far the most influential role in the global monetary system. It is the biggest of them, and its currency is in effect tied to the dollar. The yuan is widely held to be undervalued, though it has risen faster in real than in nominal terms. And because China limits capital flows more extensively and successfully than others, it has been able to keep the yuan cheap without stoking consumer-price inflation.
China alone explains a large fraction of the global build-up of reserves (see chart 3). Its behaviour also affects others. Many other emerging economies, especially in Asia, are reluctant to risk their competitiveness by letting their currencies rise by much. As a result many of the world’s most vibrant economies in effect shadow the dollar, in an arrangement that has been dubbed “Bretton Woods 2”.
The similarities between this quasi-dollar standard and the original Bretton Woods system mean that many of today’s problems have historical parallels. Barry Eichengreen of the University of California, Berkeley, explores these in “Exorbitant Privilege”, a forthcoming book about the past and future of the international monetary system.
Consider, for instance, the tension between emerging economies’ demand for reserves and their fear that the main reserve currency, the dollar, may lose value—a dilemma first noted in 1947 by Robert Triffin, a Belgian economist.
When the world relies on a single reserve currency, Triffin argued, that currency’s home country must issue lots of assets (usually government bonds) to lubricate global commerce and meet the demand for reserves. But the more bonds it issues, the less likely it will be to honour its debts. In the end, the world’s insatiable demand for the “risk-free” reserve asset will make that asset anything but risk-free. As an illustration of the modern thirst for dollars, the IMF reckons that at the current rate of accumulation global reserves would rise from 60% of American GDP today to 200% in 2020 and nearly 700% in 2035.
If those reserves were, as today, held largely in Treasury bonds, America would struggle to sustain the burden. Unless it offset its Treasury liabilities to the rest of the world by acquiring foreign assets, it would find itself ever deeper in debt to foreigners.
Artificial reserve asset
Triffin’s suggested solution was to create an artificial reserve asset, tied to a basket of commodities. John Maynard Keynes had made a similar proposal a few years before, calling his asset “Bancor”. Keynes’s idea was squashed by the Americans, who stood to lose from it. Triffin’s was also ignored for 20 years.
But in 1969, as the strains between America’s budget deficit and the dollar’s gold peg emerged, an artificial reserve asset was created: the Special Drawing Right (SDR), run by the IMF. An SDR’s value is based on a basket of the dollar, euro, pound and yen. The IMF’s members agree on periodic allocations of SDRs, which countries can convert into other currencies if need be. However, use of SDRs has never really taken off. They make up less than 5% of global reserves and there are no private securities in SDRs.
Some would like that to change:
Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s central bank, caused a stir in March 2009 when he argued that the SDR should become a true global reserve asset to replace the dollar.
Mr Sarkozy seems to think similarly, calling for a multilateral approach to the monetary system. If commodities were priced in SDRs, the argument goes, their prices would be less volatile. And if countries held their reserves in SDRs, they would escape the Triffin dilemma.
For SDRs to play this role, however, they would have to be much more plentiful. The IMF agreed on a $250 billion allocation among measures to fight the financial crisis, but global reserves are rising by about $700 billion a year. Even if there were lots more SDRs it is not clear why governments would want to hold them. The appeal of the dollar is that it is supported by the most liquid capital markets in the world. Few countries are likely to use SDRs much until there are deep private markets in SDR-denominated assets.
Only if the IMF evolved into a global central bank able to issue them at speed could SDRs truly become a central reserve asset.
This is highly unlikely. As Mr Eichengreen writes: “No global government… means no global central bank, which means no global currency. Full stop.”
Nor is it clear that the SDR is really needed as an alternative to the dollar. The euro is a better candidate. This year’s fiscal crises notwithstanding, countries could shift more reserves into euros if America mismanaged its finances or if they feared it would. This could happen fast. Mr Eichengreen points out that the dollar had no international role in 1914 but had overtaken sterling in governments’ reserves by 1925.
China used yuan to be used in transactions abroad
Alternatively, China could create a rival to the dollar if it let the yuan be used in transactions abroad. China has taken some baby steps in this direction, for instance by allowing firms to issue yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong. However, an international currency would demand far bigger changes. Some observers argue that China’s championing of the SDR is a means to this end: if the yuan, for instance, became part of the SDR basket, foreigners could have exposure to yuan assets.
More likely, China is looking for a way to offload some of the currency risk in its stash of dollars. As the yuan appreciates against the dollar (as it surely will) those reserves will be worth less. If China could swap dollars for SDRs, some exchange-rate risk would be shifted to the other members of the IMF. A similar idea in the 1970s foundered because the IMF’s members could not agree on who would bear the currency risk. America refused then and surely would now.
Rather than try to create a global reserve asset, reformers might achieve more by reducing the demand for reserves. This could be done by improving countries’ access to funds in a crisis. Here the G20 has made a lot of progress under South Korea’s leadership. The IMF’s lending facilities have been overhauled, so that well-governed countries can get unlimited funds for two years.
Overcome your reserve
So far only a few emerging economies, such as Mexico and Poland, have signed up, not least because of the stigma attached to any hint of a loan from the IMF. Perhaps others could be persuaded to join (best of all, in a large group). Reviving and institutionalising the swap arrangements between the Fed and emerging economies set up temporarily during the financial crisis might also reduce the demand for reserves as insurance. Also, regional efforts to pool reserves could be strengthened.
However, even if they have access to emergency money, governments will still want to hoard reserves if they are determined to hold their currencies down. That is why many reformers think the international monetary system needs sanctions, imposed by the IMF or the World Trade Organisation (WTO), against countries that “manipulate” their currencies or run persistent surpluses.
This is another idea with a history. Along with Bancor, Keynes wanted countries with excessive surpluses to be fined, not least because of what happened during the Depression, when currency wars and gold-hoarding made the world’s troubles worse. The idea went nowhere because America, then a surplus economy, called the shots at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. The same forces are evident today—except that America, as a deficit country, is on the other side of the argument. Like America in the 1940s, China would never agree to reforms that penalised surplus countries.
Such rules would probably be unenforceable anyway. Harsh penalties in international economic agreements are rarely effective: remember Europe’s Stability and Growth Pact? Modest co-operation has better prospects. Just as the Plaza Accord in 1985 was designed to weaken the dollar and narrow America’s current-account deficit, so the G20 could develop a plan for rebalancing the world economy, perhaps with target ranges for current-account balances and real exchange rates. These would be supported by peer pressure rather than explicit sanctions.
A rebalancing plan, which included faster real appreciation of the yuan, would remove many of the tensions in the monetary system. But shifting the resources of China and other surplus countries from exports to consumption will take time.
America’s quantitative easing
Meanwhile, capital flows into emerging markets are likely to surge much faster. This is partly due to America’s quantitative easing: cheap money will encourage investors to seek higher yields where they can find them. It is also partly due to the growth gap between vibrant emerging economies and stagnant rich ones. And it reflects the under-representation of emerging-market assets in investors’ portfolios.
For the past decade emerging economies have responded to these surges largely by amassing reserves. They need other options. One, adopted by Brazil, South Korea, Thailand and others, and endorsed by the IMF, is to impose or increase taxes and regulations to slow down inflows. Some academics have suggested drawing up a list of permissible devices, much as the WTO has a list of legitimate trade barriers.
This is a sensible plan, but it has its limits. Capital-inflow controls can temporarily stem a flood of foreign cash. However, experience, notably Chile’s in the 1990s, suggests that controls alter the composition but not the amount of foreign capital; and they do not work indefinitely. As trade links become stronger, finance will surely become more integrated too.
Although the direction is clear, the pace is not.
Other tools are available. Tighter fiscal policy in emerging economies, for instance, could lessen the chance of overheating. Stricter domestic financial regulation would reduce the chances of a credit binge. Countries from Singapore to Israel have been adding, or tightening, prudential rules such as maximum loan-to-value ratios on mortgages.
But greater currency flexibility will also be needed. The trilemma of international economics dictates it: if capital is mobile, currency rigidity will eventually lead to asset bubbles and inflation. Unless countries are willing to live with such booms—and the busts that follow—Bretton Woods 2 will have to evolve into a system that mirrors the rich world’s, with integrated capital markets and floating currencies.
Although the direction is clear, the pace is not. The pressure of capital flows will depend on the prospects for rich economies, particularly America’s, as well as the actions of the Fed. Emerging economies’ willingness to allow their currencies to move will depend on what China does—and China, because its capital controls are more extensive and effective than others’, can last with a currency peg for longest.
If America’s economy recovers and its medium-term fiscal outlook improves, the pace at which capital shifts to the emerging world will slow. If China makes its currency more flexible and its capital account more open in good time, the international monetary system will be better able to cope with continued financial globalisation and a wide growth gap between rich and emerging markets.
But if the world’s biggest economy stagnates and the second-biggest keeps its currency cheap and its capital account closed, a rigid monetary system will eventually buckle.
Posted by Québec de Droite in Montréal
ü Les marchands sont farouchement opposés au projet de la hausse des tarifs de 2$ à 3$ l'heure et l'extension des heures tarifées dans une partie du boulevard Saint-Laurent.
ü Selon Paul Lewis, professeur d'urbanisme à l'Université de Montréal, les craintes des marchands sont justifiées. D'autant plus qu'il n'existe aucune étude montréalaise pour les rassurer.
ü Or, poursuit-il, dans un contexte où les centres commerciaux de la banlieue livrent déjà une rude concurrence aux commerces indépendants des quartiers centraux, même une légère baisse de la clientèle peut mener à la faillite.
Extrait de : Le parcomètre, ami du commerçant?, Martin Croteau, La Presse, 27 novembre 2010
Posted by Québec de Droite in Canada
Extrait de: Poverty in Canada, The Economist, Nov 25th 2010
Extrait de : Des milliards à surveiller dans les villes, Carl Renaud, Argent, 5 novembre 2010
Les faits et gestes de nombreux élus municipaux sont scrutés à la loupe ces jours-ci. Alors que les médias multiplient les révélations troublantes, des observateurs exigent une surveillance accrue du secteur municipal qui administre plus de 14 G$ par année.
Des centaines d’élus et de fonctionnaires ont pour mandat de dépenser ces deniers publics dans les 1113 municipalités de la province. Des milliers de contrats sont paraphés chaque année pour notamment ramasser les ordures et entretenir ou construire des infrastructures.
Les décisions des élus sont-elles assez transparentes? Ont-ils l’expertise nécessaire pour distribuer autant d’argent. L’ancienne ministre des Affaires municipales, Louise Harel, croit que les élus municipaux manquent d’encadrement.
«Il nous faut un commissaire à l’éthique au niveau municipal qui aura des pouvoirs d’enquête et de sanctions», a exprimé Louise Harel à la chaîne Argent, inquiète des scandales qui frappent le monde municipal.
Les dépenses des municipalités sont réparties dans deux grandes catégories : les dépenses de fonctionnement et les dépenses en immobilisation. Les dépenses de fonctionnement regroupent les frais engagés pour offrir des services à la population –collecter des ordures, rembourser des emprunts et payer les employés municipaux- alors que les dépenses en immobilisation totalisent les sommes injectées dans la construction ou la réfection des infrastructures.
Près de 7 G$ sont annuellement consacrés à la rémunération des employés municipaux pendant que 2 autres milliards sont versés à des firmes de services professionnels qui emploient des ingénieurs, des architectes ou des comptables.
«C’est surtout dans les contrats d’immobilisation, de collecte des ordures et d’entretien des infrastructures qu’on retrouve de la corruption», a précisé Danielle Pilette, professeur d’Études urbaines à l’UQAM, déplorant que pour protéger leur emploi plusieurs fonctionnaires ferment les yeux devant les irrégularités ou le copinage commis par certains élus.
Après les dépenses de sécurité publique et à d’administration, ce sont les frais liés au Transport qui sont les plus importants. Ces charges, qui inclus les frais de déneigement, totalisent 3,6 G$ et représentent 26% du budget des municipalités. Un autre poste budgétaire regroupe les dépenses liées à l’hygiène, la collecte des ordures par exemple. Cette catégorie entraine des charges de près de 1,8 G$, soit 12,7% du budget des villes. Les pourcentages précédents inclus les salaires versés aux employés des services concernés.
Pierre Yves Melançon croit que les élus sont généralement des administrateurs compétents. Pour éviter les scandales, l’ancien conseillé municipal de la Ville de Montréal et auteur du livre La politique municipale pour tous, pense cependant que Québec devrait nommer un vérificateur général pour surveiller l’octroi de contrats dans les municipalités.
«Il pourrait travailler sous le vérificateur général du Québec et vérifierait les bonnes pratiques de gestion dans les municipalités», a affirmé M. Melançon, soulignant que les malversations révélées par les médias ne concernent pas toutes les municipalités québécoises.
«Le problème c’est que la Commission ne fait presque rien actuellement. Il y a 25 ans, plusieurs municipalités étaient placées sous tutelle», a exprimé Mme Pilette, déplorant que les citoyens ne surveillent pas de plus près les faits et gestes de leurs élus. «Ils ne s’intéressent qu’aux hausses de taxe foncière» a-t-elle souligné.
Un projet de loi qui porte sur l'éthique et la déontologie en matière municipale –la Loi 109- est actuellement en préparation à l’Assemblée nationale.
Pendant la première étape, décidée suite à la faillite de Lehman, la FED a racheté environ 1500 milliards de dollars de titres émis par les agences hypothécaires et d'obligations d'Etat, essentiellement. Ces opérations ont cessé fin 2009, alors que la reprise économique semblait bien enclenchée.
Devant la crainte d'un enlisement déflationniste, la FED a donc décidé un second tour de 900 milliards d'obligations sur une période de 8 mois, afin d'injecter des liquidités dans l'économie.
Quel est le raisonnement économique ?
· En achetant des obligations publiques, la FED émet des dollars en contrepartie, et injecte ainsi des liquidités dans le circuit économique, par l'intermédiaire des banques. Celles-ci devraient donc plus largement prêter aux agents économiques, particuliers pour la consommation, entreprises pour l'investissement.
· De plus, ces achats de titres font baisser les taux à moyen et long terme, augmentant ainsi l'incitation à emprunter, et rendant les investissements plus rentables.
Deuxième canal de diffusion :
· L'effet richesse. Une partie des fonds va être utilisée pour acheter des titres financiers, augmentant ainsi la valeur du portefeuille des épargnants, qui pourra être dépensée.
· Par ailleurs, l'augmentation de la base monétaire est destinée à lutter contre les tendances déflationnistes, et à recaler les anticipations inflationnistes à moyen terme sur un niveau proche de 2%.
Excellent vidéo interactif du Financial Times sur la notion de quantitative easing.
Utiliser le choix : QE theory explained
|Politique monétaire contestée|
Posted by Québec de Droite in Démographie
Projet de découpage de la carte électorale canadienne :
Ontario : + 21 nouvelles circonscriptions
Colombie-Britannique : + 7 nouvelles circonscriptions
Alberta : + 6 nouvelles circonscriptions
Québec : + 0
Immigration entre 2009 et 2036 :
Ontario : + 143 000 immigrants par année
Québec : + 49 000 immigrants par année
Migration interprovinciale :
Québec : - 10 000 québécois par année
Estimation de la population en 2036 :
Ontario : 17,7 millions d'habitants
Québec : 9,3 millions d'habitants
Commentaires : Quand nos deux vieux partis se chamaillent depuis plus de 40 ans, les autres provinces ont prospéré entre-temps, et bien sûr :
La migration suit la prospérité
Extrait de : Le déclin démographique du Québec sous la loupe, Claude Picher, La Presse, 27 novembre 2010