Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Switch to Disqus Comment system???

AB currently uses a WordPress comment system which has been problematic. As a result, I have been researching other plug-in systems when readers have asked about functionality not available in WP.

The Disqus system seems to have the functionality that was requested (may be dependent upon web browser being used). An ad-free version can also be purchased for a yearly fee. Does anyone have experience with Disqus (Washington Monthly uses Disqus)? If you do and have an opinion of Disqus, please send me an e-mail:

Briefly, Disqus Commenter functions include:

– Improved acceptance and formatting of cut and paste material including insertion of gifs, jpeg, and even videos

– Nested comments to the author in a thread and thread of other comments between commenters on the thread for reading convenience.

– Automatic identification of sender of comment and receiver of the comment.

– Bolding, italicizing, striking, underlining, linking, coding, quoting, etc. functionality.

– Editing of comments after publication for a set period of time.

– Login by name and email addy.

Status of Angry Bear

Strategy New Media Inc is our new host and IT fix-it company. MEV, our previous host, had ceased supporting WordPress platforms. so a move was mandatory. As of last night, Strategy is migrating AB to a new server, so as some have experienced difficulties in commenting I apologize. I have alerted Strategy to these glitches.

The IMF and the Coronavirus

by Joseph Joyce

The IMF and the Coronavirus

A global threat such as the coronavirus should be met with a global response. National governments, however, have generally not coordinated their efforts, with the exception of those that belong to the European Union, and even there the distribution of vaccines has not gone smoothly. International agencies, on the other hand, such as the International Monetary Fund have responded more quickly. Moreover, the IMF has shown a willingness to play an active role in preparing for the post-pandemic world and to take on issues outside its usual remit.

The IMF’s past attempts to resolve financial crises have not always been successful (for an account see here). The IMF’s policy prescriptions at the outset of the East Asian crisis of 1997-98 included contractionary fiscal policy conditions for the governments that adopted IMF programs, as well as higher interest rates. There were  also structural conditions that dealt with the privatization of government-owned enterprises. While such policies may have been appropriate for a crisis that was due to expansionary macroeconomic policies, fiscal and monetary measures did not precipitate the East Asian crisis. Capital inflows had fueled bank lending and asset prices had soared, while central banks were committed to fixed exchange rates. Once foreign investors became alarmed about the exposure of private borrowers to currency and maturity mismatches, they began to exit, provoking a “sudden stop” of capital and currency devaluations.

Robert Waldmann: Debt and Taxation Series