Writing and editing at the virtual IMF/ World Bank annual meetings

Phil helped organise the coverage by the magazine GlobalMarkets of the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank that were held in October 2021. First the second time the annual meetings had to be held virtually because of the coronavirus. This means that the newsroom existed only on Microsoft Teams with editors and journalists reporting from various locations. We built on our experience of 2020 to interact with the organised events through virtual platforms. The newspaper was published as a PDF rather than printed and distributed manually.

He wrote two features analysing key issues that came up at the meetings of the finance ministers and central bankers of the 187 member countries. The first look at the future that surrounded accusations that IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva had put pressure on staff to alter data on China when she was CEO at the World Bank. The feature was converted into a news story as the issue was resolved in Georgieva’s favour on the eve of the start of the meetings. The story is here.

The other looked at the agenda that experts believe that World Bank president David Malpass should pursue to ensure that the multilateral lender remains relevant in the post-Covid era. At its heart is the need for a massive replenishment of the finances of the International Development Association, its arm that gives grants and makes loans to the poorest countries. The story is here.

Will Covid-19 cause the next financial crisis?

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning commissioned research into the way that the deadly Covid-19 disease has changed the way millions of office workers do their jobs and live their lives and the impact on the property market in the Uk and Europe.

The article looked at the extent to which firms are looking to cut their real estate footprint, and investment institutions forecast that demand for office space might fall up to 35% exacerbated by rising insolvencies.

It found that the knock-on effects from a crisis in the property-related debt market could prove disastrous – unless the government takes action. It concluded that there has been insufficient discussion of the financial help that will be needed if a health crisis turns into a financial catastrophe for owners, investors, and lenders. Now is the time to start planning for that.

The article is here.

Insight into first-year econ undergrads’ key priorities

Every year the CORE Project, the team behind the campaign to radically transformed economics education, asks teachers at the universities that use their free textbooks to survey their first-years about what they see as the key economic issues.

This year the top issue is inequality, as it has been since the starting polling in 2016. This year that was closely followed by Covid-19, climate change, and unemployment – reflecting the problems that they hope the economics profession can explain and solve. Note that the traditional obsessions of orthodox economists (inflation, equilibrium,supply/demand, inflation) are way down the list.

COREproduce word clouds for the aggregate conclusions from all 17 universities that took part as well as individual word clouds from the cohorts from North America, Europe and Asia. My blog summarising the findings can be found here

Report on the G20 for the Atlantic Council

Phil was commissioned by the Atlantic Council, the US non-partisan thinktank, to produce a report ahead of the Group of 20 finance ministers and heads of leaders’ summit in 2020. the report was based on his in-depth interviews with 10 senior directors at the council as well as a large amount of background material and research.

The report was aimed to be a concise explanation of the issues that the politicians and their advisers would need to deal with and advice on how to ensure that the summits are a success at such a crucial time for the world’s economy, health security and long-term sustainability.

At its heart is the idea that the G20 is the only body with the clout to save the global economy and that only by focusing on cooperation and consensus combined with pragmatic leadership by the United States can it succeed in that mission. The link to the report is here.

 

 

 

Blog called for IMF and World Bank to lead the lead on virus

Phil wrote a column for The Independent’s Voices section at the end of February urging the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to take up the leadership role that leaders such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson had failed to play. The piece urged them to repeat the role that the IMF played in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis where it pulled together the leaders of the G20 countries to take action. Fortunately IMF head Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank head David Malpass did exactly that in early March.