The real heroes of the global economy are those that run small external imbalances

An interesting column by Prof. Dani Rodrik.

He says countries that have done well in recent times are those that run small external imbalances:

Economic policymakers seeking successful models to emulate apparently have an abundance of choices nowadays. Led by China, scores of emerging and developing countries have registered record-high growth rates over recent decades, setting precedents for others to follow. While advanced economies have performed far worse on average, there are notable exceptions, such as Germany and Sweden. “Do as we do,” these countries’ leaders often say, “and you will prosper, too.”

Look more closely, however, and you will discover that these countries’ vaunted growth models cannot possibly be replicated everywhere, because they rely on large external surpluses to stimulate the tradable sector and the rest of the economy. Sweden’s current-account surplus has averaged above a whopping 7% of GDP over the last decade; Germany’s has averaged close to 6% during the same period.

China’s large external surplus – above 10% of GDP in 2007 – has narrowed significantly in recent years, with the trade imbalance falling to about 2.5% of GDP. As the surplus came down, so did the economy’s growth rate – indeed, almost point for point. To be sure, China’s annual growth remains comparatively high, at above 7%. But growth at this level reflects an unprecedented – and unsustainable – rise in domestic investment to nearly 50% of GDP. When investment returns to normal levels, economic growth will slow further.

…….The real heroes of the world economy – the role models that others should emulate – are countries that have done relatively well while running only small external imbalances. Countries like Austria, Canada, the Philippines, Lesotho, and Uruguay cannot match the world’s growth champions, because they do not over-borrow or sustain a mercantilist economic model. Theirs are unremarkable economies that do not garner many headlines. But without them, the global economy would be even less manageable than it already is.

Interesting bit..

One Response to “The real heroes of the global economy are those that run small external imbalances”

  1. The Real Heroes Of The Global Economy – Dani Rodrik – Social Europe Journal « Dr Alf's Blog Says:

    […] The real heroes of the global economy are those that run small external imbalances […]

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