Pose a question to Jacques Attali

Readers will likely have noticed the (non-commercial) ad for a public talk by Jacques Attali in the right column of this page.

To make the event even more relevant to the audience, Attali is taking advance questions. You can submit your question here. The ten questions selected for answer will win a free signed copy of his new book.

Jacques Attali was the founder and first President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London from 1991 to 1993. He has also served in numerous positions advising the French state and international organisations on economic growth and the financial industry.

I understand from the Asia-Europe Foundation, organisers of the upcoming talk (13 January 2010) that response has been good.

* * * * *

The topic of his talk is particularly crucial to the present times. While Asian economies have generally recovered from the 2007/2008 downturn, those of Europe and the US have not. Latest job creation figures in the US have been disappointing; unemployment levels are forecast to stick around 9 – 10 percent for an uncomfortably long while yet — and this will have serious politicla implications.

In Europe, budget deficits and financial commitments by states in bailing out banks cast a long shadow over several economies, in turn causing severe strains in the Euro as the German economy powers ahead while some other countries languish.

Meanwhile in the UK, the Conservative/Liberal coalition government is slashing spending, and people are divided whether the cure might be worse than the disease.

Yet, Asia is not all that rosy. The flood of hot money into the region risks instability in currencies. Where exchange rates are controlled, e.g. in China, asset bubbles and general inflation become serious problems.

The ride is likely to remain bumpy for many years to come. Perspectives from East and West seem to differ markedly. This should make Attali’s talk particularly interesting.

2 Responses to “Pose a question to Jacques Attali”

  1. 1 feeblechicken 18 December 2010 at 12:39

    This is an uneducated question coming from someone with little knowledge of economics. The question is this: Will we ever outgrow a consumer based economy? I get conflicting messages from environmentalists and economists. Environmentalists that we should consume less, waste less and reduce our carbon foot print. Yet countries want growth through productivity and in order to produce more goods consumers either need to consume more or “make” more consumers to consume. So much so that the financial industry were able to come up with all sorts of unorthodox financial products to increase “consumption”. I know little about economics but I find the conflicting messages disconcerting. Doesn’t economics take into account sustainability?

    • 2 yuen 18 December 2010 at 14:49

      >unorthodox financial products to increase “consumption”

      financial products allow companies inventing them to earn commission; they increase the income and therefore consumption of company owners and executives; the investors in these products often lose money and it is less clear whether their consumption increased

      large sections of the world population are undernourished and require better living conditions, medical care and education; however, there is little economic incentive to meet their needs; economists, investment bankers, government officials, etc, might make speeches about the problems, but they dont know what to do any more than you and me

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