Tag Archives: Heineman

Can Chinese Market Reforms Help American Companies?

By Ben W. Heineman, Jr. (This article first appeared on TheAtlantic.com, where Ben Heineman is a frequent contributor) At the recent Third Plenum political gathering, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made headlines around the world by committing to a greater … Continue reading >

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Name the Trade Rep, Mr. President

[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignleft" width="90"]Ben W. Heineman, Jr. Ben W. Heineman, Jr.[/caption]

By Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

(This article first appeared in Harvard Business Review Blog Network, where Ben Heineman is a frequent contributor)

In President Obama’s second term, the United States has an ambitious and challenging Atlantic and Pacific trade agenda which could significantly alter the architecture of the global economy.

But the President has yet to designate someone to fill the crucial Cabinet level position of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The stakes, both internationally and domestically, are extremely high and Mr. Obama should immediately send to the Senate for confirmation a nominee of prominence and stature.

Doing so would show that he places the highest priority on both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations — started in 2011 and slated to end this year — and the newly launched free trade negotiations between the US and EU which are scheduled (optimistically) to be completed before the 2016 election. He should simultaneously push hard for Congressional renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) which gives the Executive the power to negotiate trade agreements subject only to a prompt up or down vote in the House and Senate with no amendments. This authority expired in 2007.

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Why Egypt’s Economy Matters

By Ben W. Heineman Jr. Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Note: This commentary first appeared on TheAtlantic.com. The economy was an important cause of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow. The Mubarak regime failed to deal with … Continue reading >

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Failing to get to corporate accountability in Gulf disaster

By Ben W. Heineman, Jr. Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (A longer version this column first appeared on the Harvard Business Review blog on Sept. 22, 2011) The last official report on the April 2010 explosion … Continue reading >

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In China, corruption and unrest threaten autocratic rule

By Ben Heineman Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (A longer version of this post appeared first on TheAtlantic.com) In recent days,  the Western media separately reported two events –-one on corruption and a second on a … Continue reading >

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Can women be a catalyst for Japanese renewal?

Japan faces the daunting task of rebuilding after the earthquake and the tsunami. But these natural disasters struck a nation with deep structural issues, including a slow-growth economy, an aging population, often sclerotic political, bureaucratic, and business leadership — and significant workplace discrimination against women.

Many commentators have speculated that Japan’s response to the immediate crisis creates the possibility — though hardly the certainty — of broader, longer-term renewal. And, if such a renewal occurred, an important dimension could be to redress serious gender inequality in the workplace which is more pronounced than in other industrialized nations.

• Employment rates for Japanese men are 20 percent higher than for women, the greatest disparity in the industrialized world. On average, women only earn 60 to 70 percent of compensation paid to men.

• A 2006 UN study found that Japan was last among industrialized nation in economic empowerment of women, with women holding only 10.7 percent of managerial positions in government and business (compared with 42 percent in the U.S.).

• Japanese women are often put on an “administrative” job track, not a “career” job track by Japanese companies with nearly 70 percent of Japanese women leaving the work force permanently after having their first child (in contrast to the U.S. where only one-third don’t return to work after having a child).

• Japan again is last in the league rankings among industrialized nations for representation of women in the national legislature.

• The rates of participation in the job market of Japanese college-educated women are 5 to 15 percent less than other developed nations. And, at the elite Tokyo University, women only make up 20 percent of the student body.

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The Quest for Economic Legitimacy in Egypt

Since Anwar Sadat took over from Gamal Abdel Nasser more than 40 years ago, Egypt has gone through episodic waves of economic liberalization, from privatization to changes in fiscal/monetary policy to sectoral restructuring.

However, during this period of start-stop economic reform, there was no meaningful reform of the constitutional structure and the political system.

A closed, unaccountable polity led to the cries for freedom, demands for constitutional change and insistence on legitimate governmental institutions in Tahrir Square.

But, so, too, many Egyptians viewed the economic system as illegitimate, imposed upon them by corrupt and profligate elites for their own benefit and not affirmed through transparent processes secured by societal consensus.

Although the media have recently refocused on protests and conflicts arising in other Mid-East nations, the post-Mubarak transition, now not the stuff of front-page stories, is of surpassing importance to the future of the region. This transition will involve both a revision of the constitution to increase legitimacy and formation of a government after new elections, which will seek to adopt social and economic policies with greater transparency and wider acceptance.

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