Thorbjorn Waagstein

Thorbjørn Waagstein, Economist, PhD, since 1999 working as international Development Consultant in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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Sunday, 09 July 2023 21:27

The Russian economy has apparently resisted the ‘sanctions from hell’ which were supposed to lead to an economic collapse. This has left a lot of economists and politicians perplexed. But it is no mystery. Sanctions hurt, but they also create opportunities, particularly in big and relatively advanced countries as Russia. The reason it is so difficult for many economists to understand is that they have enclosed themselves in a narrow neoliberal universe. What is happening in Russia has an important message for developing countries.

Monday, 03 July 2023 17:37

The loss of lives of soldiers in the Ukraine war is horrific. We don’t know how many are dying, but nobody doubts the number is terrifying high. A recent study gives us a glimpse of what is going on. It shows that 63% of the Ukrainians respond that they have at least one close relative or friend who died, 78% if we include the injured. This is insane. The US, NATO and EU say this should continue for “as long as it takes”. Do they have a good reason for letting this bloodbath continue?

Friday, 16 June 2023 23:25

Most of the European and North American left considers itself as guardians of universal rights and values. They are campaigning for sanctions and – if needed – military intervention against countries or “regimes” that are not living up to these universal standards, and they expect their governments, the US, EU and NATO to carry out the necessary punitive measures to enforce the standards. They haven’t noted that this is no longer possible. It is imperial overreach.

Tuesday, 16 May 2023 21:24

The present international financial system centred around the US dollar is under pressure from several factors: the use of the dollar to punish other countries, the inflation in the US, the increasing US indebtedness, and the appearance of digital currencies and their potential for making international payments much faster and cheaper without using the dollar. The future is probably a fragmented and regionalised international financial system and a much reduced role of the dollar. But can it work?

Sunday, 14 May 2023 23:02

Central Bank Digital Currencies are coming, and even if they initially will be used only domestically, they are bound to start playing a role in international payments too. This will diminish the need for US dollars in international trade and hence also lessen the US control with the international payment system. No surprise that the US is not at all enthusiastic about this development.

Saturday, 13 May 2023 16:09

Despite much talk about the coming dedollarisation of the World Economy, the dollar continues to be the preferred currency for international trade and for building up foreign exchange reserves. There is no risk for the US that the Chinese Yuan will take over this role. But in the same way as US hegemony is about to give way to a multipolar world power system, the dollar hegemony will probably give way to a much more fragmented international financial system.