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Spotlighting downturns UN agency challenges current economic wisdom

“There is a global glut in both labour and product markets, with too many goods chasing too few buyers and too many workers chasing too few jobs,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero said in his overview of the Trade and Development Report 2003. “Intense price and exchange rate competition among major exporters have been adding to instability and deflationary pressures, while many developing countries facing tight payment positions are being forced to curtail imports.”The report added that the developed economies looked set to repeat the substandard growth rate of less than 2 per cent of the past two years.The developing countries in Latin America and Africa, meanwhile, had changed to policies based on optimism about globalization and in many cases had regressed.”The current economic landscape in the developing world has an uncanny resemblance to conditions prevailing in the early 1980s” with its debt and development crises, Mr. Ricupero said. Blaming the economic failures of the 1980s on government intervention led to a new policy approach of “deferring to the invisible touch of global market forces.”The result has been that between 1980 and the 1990s only eight of 26 countries selected for analysis were able to raise the share of manufacturing value in their gross domestic product (GDP) and increase their share of investment. The production structure in much of Latin America and Africa had moved away from sectors with the greatest potential for productivity growth towards those producing and processing raw materials.UNCTAD Senior Interregional Adviser Jan Kreger told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York that Latin America was experiencing premature de-industrialization. It has been moving rapidly to a service economy, although the service sector could not absorb the surplus labour in manufacturing.Sound macro-economic fundamentals – bringing about low inflation, opening economies to international trade and reducing government share in economic activity – have been very successful in providing price stability, he said. They had failed, however, at the microeconomic tasks of adjusting domestic production to meet international competition and increasing exports and foreign exchange earnings, thus helping countries to service their debts.”We don’t have a ready answer, but what we’re attempting to do is draw attention to the fact that simply placing emphasis on introducing sound macroeconomic fundamentals is not sufficient to allow developing countries to reach a sustainable growth path, and that we need to continue and to do more research in order to attempt to identify ways in which we can make these two sets of policies compatible,” Mr. Kreger said.He also dismissed the idea that one development policy could fit countries at different levels of development. The difference between Latin America and more successful Asia was that the Asian countries had tried a very wide range of policies to improve their economies, he said. read more

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Oklahoma serves ultimate test before Big Ten slate

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) sets up to pass in the second quarter against Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl at SunLife Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Clemson won, 37-17. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)In the era of the College Football Playoff, teams with a relative shot at the national championship see the importance of making a statement early in the season. Coach Urban Meyer and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes have that opportunity on Saturday at No. 14 Oklahoma.This meeting marks just the third time, and the first since 1983, that the Buckeyes will play the Sooners. In his fifth year as OSU’s coach, Meyer faces off against Bob Stoops in his 18th season with Oklahoma. The two met in the 2008 BCS National Championship.Two prolific quarterbacks — Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford — and two sublime coaches created an atmosphere for a college football game that is rarely seen. Meyer’s Florida Gators won that game for his second national title in three years.In 2016, the same scenario remains. Two Heisman-caliber quarterbacks, the same coaches. Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma, is a Herculean early-season showdown.In Week 1, Oklahoma played the Houston Cougars and former OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman at NRG Stadium in Houston. By the final whistle, Oklahoma had an 0-1 record —  facing an uphill climb.OSU redshirt sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard said he and the Buckeyes know they will face a determined team.“We feel like they have their backs against the wall,” Hubbard said. “They’re a big time program just like us and they’re not going to roll over cause we’re Ohio State. We really got to prepare because they’re just as motivated as us, if not more.”Hubbard went on to say that the practices this week were intense, focusing on exact details that could be the difference.“I think what Oklahoma does a real good job is they pull off the gas, they put on the gas,” said co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. “They control the tempo but it’s not consistent. We just need to be ready all the time for mach speed.” One of the team’s first tasks is containing redshirt junior quarterback Baker Mayfield. Finishing last season with 3,700 yards passing and 36 touchdowns, Mayfield is one of the favorites for the 2016 Heisman Trophy.Mayfield has the ability to create opportunities downfield by avoiding tacklers and scrambling outside of the pocket. Schiano said that he’s preparing for Mayfield the way he prepared for Hall-of-Fame quarterback Brett Favre when Schiano coached for the Chicago Bears.“I think what has occurred there over time is their offensive line and receivers know that he’s creative (when scrambling). They really work hard at finishing plays,” Schiano said. “We’re going to really have to maintain discipline in our pass rush lanes. Eye discipline is going to be key for our secondary.”Running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine present a challenge for the OSU defense. The dynamic duo has totaled 246 yards rushing on 36 carries with three total touchdowns through two weeks. Hubbard and redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis lead a rather inexperienced group into one of college football’s crystal palaces in the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Stadium.On the offensive side, Saturday’s gargantuan contest serves as an opportunity for redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett and the offense to get back on track.Against Tulsa in Week 2, the offense fed off the momentum harnessed by the defense’s two first-half touchdowns. The Buckeyes had 151 first-half total yards. Senior H-back Dontre Wilson said he doesn’t expect another slow start in Week 3.“I know we have to establish the running game,” Wilson said. “Once the running game pops, then we can start throwing the ball.”Barrett is similar to Mayfield in style, but might have the advantage in the passing game. The Sooners’ defense has allowed an average of 296.5 yards passing in 2016.The OSU receiving corps continues to be a mystery as to who who will be the main target for Barrett, but wide receivers coach Zach Smith remains confident.“This is what we do all year round,” Smith said. “They’ll come in ready. They’re not going to come in overwhelmed. We’ve built up to this moment.”OSU asserting itself on all levels against a nationally recognizable opponent will firmly place Meyer’s team as a national contender. Improving to 3-0 leading into the nine-game Big Ten slate would be an indicator to Meyer that his young team has matured to a level he has desired since the beginning of fall camp.“This is going to be one of those prized fights,” Meyer said. “It’s going to be a big one.” read more

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