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Government budgets: Save or spend?

A heated debate between Princeton University economist Paul Krugman and Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson was a highlight of the 11th World Knowledge Forum*–held in Seoul, Korea from 12-14 October–and among the conference’s most attended sessions.

Tackling the budget problem

Public debt in the OECD area is fast approaching 100% of GDP, as the financial and economic crisis badly deteriorated government budgets. A concerted move towards more balanced budgets is needed, while preparing the ground for economic growth.

Restoring public finances

How can governments restore public finances and promote sound economic growth at the same time? With budget deficits stretched and public debt at historical highs, it will not be easy. But the OECD believes that with the right mix of policies much progress can be made.

A 21st century revolution

Chile and Latin America are at a historic crossroads. For Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, today’s new revolution in knowledge, technology and information will benefit only those countries that embrace it, but could be cruel to those who let it pass them by.

Getting it right in 2011

What is the state of world economy as we enter 2011? Have we made progress over the past 12 to 18 months in putting an end to the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes and laying the foundations for a stronger, cleaner and fairer world?

The fiscal imperative

Governments and central banks managed to avoid a global economic catastrophe, but the crisis has left a legacy of nearly bankrupt governments. A quick return to solvency is required.

Global business: To protect, respect and remedy

An update of the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises is due in 2011. The changes will include stronger guidance for businesses on preventing human rights abuses, both in their own operations and in those of suppliers.

Banking Stress Tests

Hey you, stop wurfing and read about the 26 billion buck haircut!

Trimming pensions

Pensions are a major component of public expenditure, and a target for governments looking to streamline budgets. What are countries doing to manage costs at a time when populations are ageing at an accelerated pace?

The OECD Green Growth Strategy: Key lessons so far

Can a durable recovery come from greener growth? That largely depends on the policies. In 2011 the OECD will deliver its Green Growth Strategy. Here are some early pointers.

Policy innovations

Anyone who doubts that policy can spur innovation should look at the Kyoto Protocol. After it was adopted in 1997, the number of patents for certain technologies used to mitigate climate change climbed worldwide. In fact, just six years later, the number of patents on wind technologies had grown more than five-fold, and those on solar photovoltaic and hydro/marine technologies had more than doubled. The number of new patents for other climate change mitigation technologies, such as carbon capture, biofuels and geothermal energy also rose, though at a rate that was not much faster than the increase for patents in general over the same period.

Towards smarter supply chains

Innovation in organisation and management will be needed if sectors are to adjust to new, oil-challenged realities. Supply chains will evolve as a result, notably in transport.

Decarbonising road travel

If the transport sector is to make deep cuts in carbon emissions, the carbonintensity of travel must be reduced. For that, policy analysis has to be based on how world markets actually function, and that means understanding what consumers look for when deciding to buy a vehicle, and what drives manufacturers’ decisions too.

After Copenhagen: the European business perspective

European businesses were disappointed with the climate change agreement hammered out in Copenhagen. Here’s one way forward.

A stronger, cleaner, and fairer economy : Towards a new paradigm

The current crisis is an opportunity to launch a new economic model, in which the environment, as a pillar of human welfare, must be central.

Setting the standards and building confidence

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD

When leaders of government, international organisations and civil society from around the world gather for critical discussions at the OECD summit meetings in Paris this June, one question will dominate the agenda: Is enough being done to restore confidence and long-term growth, and break the grip of the worst global crisis of our times?

The green growth race

Environmentally-friendly investments form part of many recently launched recovery programmes. With the right policies, they could achieve growth and a cleaner planet as well.

Economic instruments in the fight against climate change

2008 will be a decisive year in the battle against climate change. Hopefully, it will see us forge an international consensus so an agreement can be reached in Copenhagen in 2009 that will allow us to build on the Kyoto Protocol.

Climate change
A new contract

We hear again and again that we must choose between having a stable climate and having a strong global economy. This is a false choice.

Economics climate

Harsh financial reality often rides roughshod over good intentions when it comes to corporate and national balance sheets. Climate change is no exception, for though it may rouse worldwide concern, it also makes people uneasy because of how much it might cost and who should pay.

Tackling global challenges and the OECD

With the world economy today experiencing turbulence on a number of diverse fronts, OECD countries are preoccupied with meeting these challenges.

Canada: Slowing expected

The economy has been operating above its estimated production potential, but is expected to decelerate noticeably in the short term as lower external demand and the marked currency appreciation damp activity. Yet growth is likely to rebound quite rapidly once the effects of these international factors disappear. A slowing in commodityprice increases, the federal goods and services tax cut and the stronger Canadian dollar should contribute to a temporary decline in inflation.

#14 Frankie's report
#20 Frankie measures happiness
The euro: laying down the challenge

The smooth introduction of euro banknotes and coins will not guarantee the new currency's economic success. That will depend on structural reforms and completing the European single market. 

The politics of globalisation circa 1773

Newness in politics has a long and eventful history. Globalisation and the battle for and against are no exception, as the events of the late 18th century show.

Understanding global public goods

Globalisation has highlighted the need to take a closer look at challenges, from reducing pollution to tightening disease control, whose consequences are shared across the world. But if we are to make best use of such global public goods, we need to understand how they work and how to measure them.

Sustainable development: climate change

Fears that neither the political will nor the mechanisms exist to combat the problems posed by climate change emerged strongly at a panel on sustainable development and climate change held as part of the OECD Forum 2000 in Paris on Tuesday.