Assigned News Items
Note: I will list here, for most of the term, the major news items that have appeared that are relevant for the course. I will usually discuss these, if only briefly, on Tuesdays (or the following Thursdays when Tuesdays are not available). You should be sure to be familiar with them from whatever news sources you are using. Where possible, I will provide links to the items online. I will include questions about some of them on exams.
The following is the last set of news items that I posted the last time I taught the course, just to give you and example of what you will see this term.
- Fast track trade legislation introduced
-- WSJ: 4/17
| NYT: 4/17
| WP: 4/17
| ST&R: 4/17
- Senators Hatch (R-Utah) and Wyden (D-Ore) introduced fast track legislation that, if passed, will allow Obama to submit trade agreements for up-or-down votes without amendment. The bill is considered crucial to completion of the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership with eleven other Asia-Pacific countries.
- Many Democrats oppose this legislation, formally called Trade Promotion Authority, on the grounds that previous trade agreements -- especially NAFTA -- have undermined labor standards and worker rights. Obama insists that the TPP, as it is being negotiated, will do the opposite.
- Wyden fought for and got a provision allowing the Senate to cancel fast-track authority if certain conditions on the negotiations are not met. These include greater transparency and protections for workers, the environment, and human rights. Not included is anything about currency manipulation, which will be left to other legislation.
- IMF lowers its forecast for global economic growth
-- WSJ: 4/15
| NYT: 4/15
| FT: 4/13
- Global economic growth will improve this year, but less than had been expected, as emerging markets are growing more slowly, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund. China's growth has slowed; Brazil is contracting; and Russia is in steep decline. An exception is India, where growth is 7.5%, up from 6.3% last year.
- Global GDP is expected to expand by 3.5% in 2015, just 0.1% faster than last year. This is not enough to undo the legacies of high unemployment and high debt that resulted from the 2008 financial crisis.
- IMF officials, meeting in Washington, are encouraging easy-money policies in Europe and Japan.
- EU files formal anti-trust charges against Google
-- WSJ: 4/16
| NYT: 4/16
| FT: 4/16
- The EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, filed formal charges against Google, alleging that it steers searches for specific products toward it own in-house shopping sites. There is also a separate charge against Google's Android mobile platform.
- The US FTC investigated Google two years ago and did not choose to file charges after Google agreed to voluntary changes. EU law, unlike US law, protects competitors as well as consumers.
- Google dominates web search in Europe, with 90% there compared to only 65% in the US.
The case recalls the EU case against Microsoft, which led to changes in the firm's behavior and a €2.2 billion fine.