Krugman in the New Republic

Patrick Bond pbond at
Thu Sep 24 21:55:14 PDT 1998

Krugman's weakness notwithstanding, nevertheless, Sol was right to say that the other orthodox positions amount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nor did Nelson Mandela had nothing particularly interesting to say on int'l financial regulation when he addressed the UN on this early in the week.

One such orthodox approach -- limited to speed bumps -- is the Commonwealth commission set up to look into this, which (as I point out in my forthcoming LBO hard-copy article) is chaired by Chris Liebenberg, who as South African finance minister in March 1995 lifted our exchange controls (a dual currency) and set the stage for two vicious (30%) bouts of devaluation (2-5/96 and 6-7/98). He left the finance ministry in 3/96 to reclaim his position as chairman of our fourth largest banking group (Nedbank) which was known here for its tendency to take wild and unsuccessful gambles in NY financial markets, including in mid 1996. Like asking arsonists for fire-fighting advice.

This report will be unveiled in Ottawa on Monday (I'll be there with the NGO set, whining on the sidelines). Any advice on how to spin this with the Commonwealth journos? Does our team have any alternative aside from Eatwell/Taylor?

> From: James Devine <jdevine at>
> It's pretty tame stuff, though from the point of view of Stanley Fischer or
> Larry Summers, it may be heresy.

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