Lawrence Summers

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Emily Cadman

UK Chancellor George Osborne and former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers have just locked horns at Davos on the UK’s economic recovery. Whilst Summers didn’t directly use the words “you blew it” as some reported, FT reporters on the ground say that was the clear sentiment.

 

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Janet Yellen is soon to be the first woman to be the chair of the US Federal Reserve – the most powerful job in the world economy.

The 67-year-old was an academic for many years, and also served as chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and president of the San Francisco Fed. She became vice-chair of the Fed in 2010 and has been the frontrunner for the chairmanship since Larry Summers rescinded his nomination.

A graduate of Brown University and Yale, she is married to the Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, and has one son.

Her track record of calling events like the housing bubble long before they occur has built her a strong fan base. We look at what’s been written about her and what that says about her likely stance as Fed chair. 

By David Gallerano
♦ Claire Jones outlines how any decision the Federal Reserve will take on tapering has implications far beyond the United States.
♦ Robin Harding takes stock of the situation regarding the nomination of the new Fed chairman. Though it seems the propitious moment for a Yellen selection, there is the chance that the White House might opt for a more thorough selection process. After all, Ben Bernanke’s appointment in 2005 did not come until late October
♦ Meanwhile, John McDermott reproaches Obama for his weak support of Lawrence Summers’ candidacy.
♦ The German elections will pave the way for a third bailout for Greece. How will the Greek economy react? Peter Spiegel outlines the most likely scenario.
♦ The Pacific Standard examines six reasons why Zambia is – and will probably remain for long time – a poor country

By David Gallerano
♦ Edward Luce argues that Lawrence Summers has done everyone a favour by taking himself out of the running to be the next Fed chair.
♦ Alec Russell interviews Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu and asks him about God, Mandela and Syria.
♦ James Blitz retraces last week’s main events in the Syria crisis, while the Wall Street Journal reports on Barack Obama’s conduct behind the scenes of the Syria crisis.
♦ Shadi Hamid points out that Assad was rewarded rather than punished for his use of chemical weapons.
♦ The New York Times’ Laura Pappano reports on Battishug Myanganbayar, a 16 years-old genius from Ulan Bator, Mongolia. “How does a student from a country in which a third of the population is nomadic, living in round white felt tents called gers on the vast steppe, ace an MIT course even though nothing like this is typically taught in Mongolian schools?”
♦ The Hewitts, a white South African family, left behind their comfortable life and moved to 100-square-foot shack with no electricity or running water. A notable experiment for some – just “poverty pornography” for others.
♦ The Royal Academy presents an exhibition of 200 artworks from the “vast and diverse nation” of Australia

♦ Barack Obama said “you would have to slice the salami very thin” to find policy differences between Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen, who are now in the running to chair the Federal Reserve. The FT’s Robin Harding takes a look at the salami.
♦ Russia is spending $51bn on sports facilities in Sochi for the 2013 Winter Olympics, but developers fear the only winners will be friends of the Kremlin.
♦ A Nazi gaffe by Taro Aso, Shinzo Abe’s deputy premier and finance minister, is a reminder that the cultural conservatives, who dominate the ruling Liberal Democratic party, have not abandoned their revisionist dream.
♦ Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, tries to find out where the busloads of voters at Mount Pleasant have come from, but the bus driver is unable to tell him. 

Ahead of the meeting between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in California, now dubbed the “shirt-sleeves summit”, here is a sample of what’s being talked about in the press.

♦ Sunnylands, the 200-acre estate close to Palm Springs, has played host to quite a line up of leaders, including the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher and Kissinger. It seemed the ideal spot for the ‘getting-to-know-you’ summit, with both its long ties to Hollywood and its renowned collection of Chinese enamelled metalwork dating from the Ming dynasty.
History looms larger for those who lost, writes David Pilling, contrasting the two centuries of optimism since the American revolution with the period of imperial collapse that followed China’s rebellion. A sense of boiling injustice mixed with certainty about one’s position in the global hierarchy makes for a potent brew ahead of the meeting.
♦ The summit could define US-China relations for years to come, says the Washington Post. A principal goal of the meeting will be to build individual trust where strategic distrust exists between the two countries.
♦ But Xi is not ready for a touchy-feely meeting, says Foreign Policy. Surely the US is rewarding China when it should be censuring it?
♦ Washington Wire have done a jaunty précis of Lawrence Summers’ proposed agenda for the Summit, including tackling China’s trade surplus, China’s somewhat anti-competitive business practices and a rethink of the global financial system.
♦ Russell Leigh-Moses at the Wall Street Journal warns of the potential pitfalls looming in Sunnylands: “Xi needs to maintain his approachability for the US while being mindful of those in China who think that now is the moment to press Washington on a whole host of issues, especially where China’s military rise is concerned. Xi’s been more forceful than nuanced here in China; he will need to be precisely the opposite in California.”