Michael Pettiis had an interesting, but politically difficult solution to the economic problem of the imbalance between China and the United States (which is why he put as a Modest Proposal in the Swift manner).
Pettis suggests a "New Deal" for both China and America. Instead of the Chinese wildly spending on excessively infrastructure, which is creating an asset bubble in China, why not spend it on American infrastructure? Over time, better American infrastructure will raise productivity and stimulate US consumer spending, which benefits China. It's a win-win.
What Pettis is proposing is the Macquarie solution for America. A number of years ago, Macquarie was known for raising funds and securitizing infrastructure projects, e.g. toll roads, bridges, etc. If the state of Illinois wanted to build a new highway, or if California wanted to upgrade one of its ports, or construct a desalination plant, it could create an authority to build that highway and then collect the tolls. The tolls would then be used to finance the construction. In effect, the Pettis proposal would change Chinese investment in the US from debt (Treasuries) to equity (toll roads, etc.) What's more, a for-profit construction authority would pay more attention to the economics of the project, which would mitigate much of the pork that goes on in many of these endeavors. It would create also American jobs in engineering and construction - another win-win.
It's a very intriguing idea.
Politics is Economics in the Week Ahead
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