Saturday, September 29, 2018

Can Erdogan's New Powers Help Fix Turkey's Economy? 

Turkey is suffering through its worst economic crisis since 2000, and it is at risk of a significant economic meltdown if appropriate emergency policies are not adopted soon. The Turkish lira has suffered a sharp devaluation in recent months because of Turkey’s rising external debt and loss of confidence in its ability to service this debt in the short run. The lira’s decline was accelerated after August 10 as a result of the deterioration of relations between Turkey and the United States. President Trump showed his frustration with Turkey over many diplomatic issues by doubling tariffs on Turkish metal exports, and this unexpected step triggered a lira sell-off.
To avert an economic catastrophe, similar to what happened to Greece in 2016 and more recently inVenezuela, Turkey must introduce very painful fiscal and financial reforms. How President Recep Erdoğan handles this crisis will most likely define the legacy of his political leadership as prime minister and then president since 2002.
More significantly, it will be the first test of how the new presidential government system. That new system was approved in April 2017 and implemented after the June 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections. The question is whether it can prove useful in managing a significant economic crisis.
President Erdoğan and his AKP party campaigned hard for approval of the constitutional reforms in the April 2017 referendum on the promise that a presidential system will bring more political and economic stability to Turkey. They argued Turkey had suffered severe economic instability under its parliamentary system before the electoral victory of AKP party in 2002, because of weak coalition governments were unable to impose fiscal and monetary discipline. The presidential system, it was argued, will be more capable of resisting populist pressures and factional politics that lead to high fiscal deficits and inflation rates.
In that referendum, the voters approved sweeping political reforms, which abolished the post of prime minister and enhanced the powers of the presidency. It also paved the way for direct presidential elections. After that victory, Prime Minister Erdoğan called for the country’s first presidential election in June 2018, which he won. Click on the title (hyperlink) to read more..

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Success of BRI in Africa good for Europe

China's trade with and investments in African countries are now part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which President Xi Jinping proposed in 2013. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China has been providing loans for and investing in a large number of infrastructure development projects, whose aim is to improve the trade and transportation networks on the African continent. These networks will enhance Africa's trade links with the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
The European Union and the United States are carefully monitoring the rapid growth of economic and diplomatic ties between African countries and China. While Europe is still Africa's largest economic partner, both regions have lost parts of their trade shares to China since 2000. The volume of China's investment in Africa now far exceeds those of the US and the EU.
Historical links between Europe and Africa have led to a mixed legacy of colonialism, development aid and various free-trade agreements. Until recently, Europe's interest in Africa was primarily driven by economic self-interest, as the EU tried to maximize export and investment opportunities for European business interests in Africa. From this perspective it is not surprising for Europe to be concerned about rising Africa-China economic ties.
In more recent years, however, the growing flood of African illegal migrants and refugees has altered Europe's priorities for engagement with Africa. Now European leaders are more interested in seeing a genuine improvement in the standards of livings of African countries. And only a genuine improvement in the development and quality of life in Africa can reduce the flow of African refugees into Europe in the long run.
In the light of this new priority, China's economic engagement with Africa can be beneficial to Europe if it contributes to economic development. While Europe has a historical and geographical claim to being Africa's main trade and investment partner, these economic relations have not led to substantial and tangible economic development in Africa. Many African countries still suffer from poverty, corruption and political instability. China's economic initiatives in Africa can accelerate the continent's economic development and provide job and income opportunities for millions of people.
Furthermore, most of Chinese investment projects in Africa are not competing with or substituting European investments. To the contrary, they are complementary to the trade and investment opportunities for Europe. During the past four decades, China has developed a substantial engineering and construction capacity, which is far larger than its domestic needs because most of its internal infrastructure projects have already been completed.
China is using this excess engineering capacity for building roads, railways and commercial ports in Africa and other developing regions. These investments in African countries will expand the continent's production and trade capacity.
Better infrastructure facilities will make Africa a more attractive trade and investment partner for European enterprises. Also, China is financing these projects through its own domestic financial institutions and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China is the main investor in the AIIB. In the absence of China, these projects would not have been financed by African governments or by any public or private institutions in the EU. Therefore, it is not justified to argue that Chinese enterprises are stealing profitable investment opportunities from EU and US companies.
If the EU is truly convinced that the economic development of Africa is in its interest then it should complement Chinese investments with projects and programs that fill the gap in Chinese projects to ensure maximum development gain for the continent. For example, China is being criticized for focusing on capacity creation for trade and export of natural resources at the expense of education, healthcare and improvement in governance.
Rather than obstructing China's investments, the EU should step in to address the continent's deficiencies in these areas so that the African countries can take maximum advantage of the trade and transport capacity that China is developing for them. The EU can also assist the continent in making government institutions more efficient and providing advanced financial, managerial and communications technologies that will complement China's infrastructure projects.
The author is a faculty at Brandeis University. He is affiliated with the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of Economics in that university.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

مقالات به زبان فارسى

عضو هیأت علمی دانشگاه براندیس ماساچوست آمریکا اظهار داشت: برخی اقشار با مشکلات شدید اقتصادی مواجه هستند. بیکاری و کاهش قدرت خرید دو مشکل عمده هستند ولی حتی کسانی که شغل و درآمد کافی دارند از کاهش ارزش پول ملی و بی‌ثباتی اقتصادی رنج می‌برند. ناامیدی و نگرانی در مورد آینده هم متاسفانه فراگیر شده که در چنین شرایطی بحران‌های ناگهانی اجتماعی بیشتر خواهند شد.

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 اين مقاله تفاوت دستمزد افراد بيش از حد تحصيلکرده و به اندازه کافي تحصيلکرده را در يک نمونه از مشاغل خاص مطالعه کرده است. اين مشاغل عمدتا نيازمند افراد نيمه ماهر يا کم مهارت در بازار کار ايران هستند. نتايج به دست آمده نشان مي دهد که افراد بيش از اندازه تحصيلکرده در اين دسته بندي ها از مزيت دستمزدي از 10 درصد تا 25 درصد براي مدرک تحصيلي خود بهره مند هستند. در حالي که اين مزيت نسبي به تدريج براي بخش خصوصي در فاصله 2001 تا 2014 کاهش يافته است؛ اما براي کارکنان بخش عمومي کماکان پابرجا است. اين نتيجه ناشي از اين حقيقت است که حقوق و مزاياي کارکنان بخش دولتي در ايران به طور مستقيم به مدرک دانشگاهي و تجربه کاري افراد وابسته است. همچنين يافته هاي ما يک توضيح قوي براي تمايل جوانان ايراني براي ورود به دانشگاه است.
    اين نتايج نشان مي دهند که اگر يک فارغ التحصيل دانشگاهي کاري همسان تخصص خود پيدا کند، طبعا حقوق و دستمزد بالاتر از يک فارغ التحصيل دبيرستان خواهد داشت؛ ليکن اگر او نتواند کاري مناسب با تحصيلات خود بيابد و کاري با تحصيلات کمتر را انتخاب کند، باز هم به خاطر مدرک تحصيلي از مزيت دستمزدي نسبت به شخص ديگري که مناسب آن شغل است و مدرک پايين تري دارد، برخوردار خواهد بود. همچنين مشاهده مي کنيم که اين اضافه دستمزد براي کارمندان شاغل در بخش دولتي بيشتر است. همانند بسياري از کشورهاي در حال توسعه، ايران يک افزايش سريع در ورودي هاي آموزش عالي را از سال 2000 تجربه کرده و در نتيجه تعداد فارغ التحصيلان جوان دانشگاهي در دهه گذشته افزايش يافته است. رشد سريع در عرضه جويندگان تحصيلکرده شغل، در نهايت دسترسي به شغل مناسب را با چالش مواجه کرده و براي نزديک به يک دهه نرخ بيکاري براي فارغ التحصيلان دانشگاهي در بسياري از رشته هاي تخصصي بالاتر از فارغ التحصيلان دبيرستاني بوده است.
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مطالعات خاورميانه دانشگاه کرون دکتر غلامرضا کشاورز حداد دانشيار دانشکده اقتصاد دانشگاه صنعتي شريف در سال هاي اخير اقتصاد ايران ناتوان از ايجاد فرصت شغلي مناسب براي سيل دانش آموختگان دانشگاهي بوده است. در نتيجه نه تنها نرخ بيکاري در ميان اين قشر از کارجويان به سرعت افزايش يافته، بلکه تعداد زيادي از آنهايي که موفق به يافتن شغل براي خود بوده اند نيز مشاغلي يافته اند که اساسا نيازي به تحصيل دانشگاهي ندارد. در اين مقاله به زبان آمار توصيفي به موضوع دوم يعني تحصيل زدگي نيروي کار دانشگاهي در ايران در ميان افراد دستمزدبگير و خوداشتغال مي پردازيم که در کارهاي ساده بدون نياز به تحصيلات دانشگاهي مشغول به کار شده اند.
    ريشه هاي مدرک گرايي
    در سه دهه گذشته تعداد متقاضيان تحصيل در دانشگاه و به همين دليل تعداد افراد ثبت نام شده در دانشگاه افزايش جهش گونه اي يافت. تعداد ثبت نام سالانه در موسسات آموزش عالي، اعم از آزاد، دولتي و غير انتفاعي از ۱۴۶ هزار و ۱۱۵ نفر در سال تحصيلي ۷۱-۱۳۷۰ به يک ميليون و ۱۷۴ هزار و ۸۹۷ نفر در سال تحصيلي ۹۴-۱۳۹۳ افزايش يافته است. به همين ترتيب تعداد کل دانشجويان شاغل به تحصيل در نظام آموزش عالي از ۵۸۸ هزار و ۲۲۸ دانشجو در سال ۷۲-۱۳۷۱ به ۴ ميليون و ۳۴۸ هزار و ۳۸۳ دانشجو در سال ۹۴-۱۳۹۳ رسيد. اين افزايش در ثبت نام و به دنبال آن افزايش تعداد دانشجويان شاغل به تحصيل نتيجه افزايش تقاضاهاي اجتماعي براي تحصيل بود که در نتيجه آن سياست گذاران آموزش عالي به دلايل اجتماعي و سياسي با گسترش سريع ظرفيت جذب، به اين تقاضاي در حال رشد واکنش مثبت نشان دادند. علاوه بر اين، يکي از دلايل استقبال سياست گذاران نبود بار مالي براي دولت در رسيدن به اين اهداف بوده است. گسترش دانشگاه آزاد اسلامي و نيز موسسات آموزش عالي غيرانتفاعي هيچ بار مالي براي دولت نداشته و تنها وظيفه دولت صدور مجوز است. اگرچه نظارت بر کيفيت آموزش هاي ارائه شده و برنامه هاي درسي مربوط به رشته ها نيز اهميت دارد، ولي تاکنون گزارشي از اقدام جدي وزارت علوم در افکار عمومي بازتاب نيافته است.
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Spring Fun (شادى پرندگان , نادر حبيبى 2019)

Video:  Spring Fun (شادى پرندگان , نادر حبيبى 2019)