Robin Harding

Global Return to Economic Growth

Thomson Reuters, along with the Atlantic Council, the Rotman School of Management, and The Embassy of Canada hosted special event, The Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned From Canada and The Way Forward.

Closing out the day, Financial Times US Editor Robin Harding moderated a panel on global economic growth. Participants included Tim Adams, former Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, now Managing Director at The Lindsey Group; Craig Alexander, SVP and Chief Economist at TD Bank Financial Group; Troy Davig, Senior US Economist for Barclays Capital; Peter Rashish, VP for Europe and Eurasia at the US Chamber of Commerce and Alan Schwartz, Executive Chairman at Guggenheim Partners.

Adams outlined the headwinds global growth faces, including ‘welfare states we can’t afford, aging demographics and mature economies – a short term loop that is capping growth.” Rashish sounded a bit more optimistic note, stating, “the reform path leads to growth through implementation.”

Several speakers addressed the challenges that politics and national self-interests pose and the necessity for balancing, with Schwartz saying “capital is global, but politics stay local” and Alexander highlighting the need for ‘firewalls to protect against contagion”.

Panelists appeared to agree that strong actions would be required. Alexander said, “financial markets are about faith and control…you have to be bold, over-deliver, but its hard to get confidence back if you keep saying ‘it’s not enough’.” Adams stated, “shock and awe (impact) actions will require a huge commitment.”

Katharine Ramsden is managing editor, Thomson Reuters.

Restoring US Competitiveness

Thomson Reuters, along with the Atlantic Council, the Rotman School of Management, and The Embassy of Canada hosted special event, The Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned From Canada and The Way Forward.

The afternoon programming picked up with an interview of Melody Barnes, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House by Financial Times US Economic Editor Robin Harding.

Citing US unemployment stuck at 9%, Harding asked Barnes to talk about how the Administration was working to stimulate demand and get Americans back to work. Barnes touched on a number of initiatives that she described as aligning economic recovery and employment objectives with issues the US needs to tackle, including infrastructure, education, healthcare and the environment.

Starting with the American Jobs Act, she described ‘long term investments’ aimed at putting people to work, a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to producing win-win-wins like jobs in the health sector, where focus on better healthcare, greater effectiveness and efficiency and higher employment is a smart triple play. Pointing to another initiative involving 13 auto companies, Barnes said building more fuel efficient cars was good for the environment, makes them more attractive to overseas markets and stimulates demand, in turn creating more jobs and economic improvement.

Barnes also responded to questions on process – “we are using the tools we have, such as executive action and executive order, to move forward while focused on getting Congress to act,” – and on whether regulation was killing jobs, “we have to address and attack the regulatory burden companies now labor under.”

Looking to the future, Barnes discussed the critical role of education in competitiveness and the need for college and work-ready standards and the creation of an ‘innovation culture’.

Katharine Ramsden is managing editor, Thomson Reuters.