More to Do
Stock markets are smartly up from summer lows. Interest rates are at last moving down in the US and starting down in Europe.
That should stimulate the giant economies of America and Europe, warding off the worst effects of world slowdown. It also allows choking interest rates to decline in key Asian and Latin American nations, stimulating recovery there.
Add to that a goal line stand against global recession focused on Brazil. Major financial institutions are being pressed to help Brazil's currency while President Cardoso ratchets down a mammoth deficit.
In Asia, Japan's pol- iticians have at last agreed to buy their way out of the nation's debilitating banking crisis. China's economy is showing faster growth once more. And Beijing's leaders are promoting regional stability by talking calmly with old enemies from Taiwan and Vietnam.
Despite threats, Iran and Afghanistan have not gone to war. Neither have Turkey and Syria. At this writing, Israeli and Palestinian leaders were still thrashing out land-for-peace details, despite a high-casualty Palestinian grenade attack. And NATO was not at war with Serbia, despite Slobodan Milosevic's maneuvering to the end on his drawback from Kosovo.
We roll out this inventory of good economic and political news from around the globe only to pose the question: Is it enough?
Answer: A blunt no.
A lot of follow-through is needed. America's Federal Reserve Bank must continue (and Europe's new central bank start) more rate cuts. With inflation low in most places, and job creation still needed in Europe, such a growth stimulus is both safe and necessary. Happily, America's budget is in surplus. And the EU's core states have cut their deficits prior to launching the euro in 10 weeks.
But Germany's new government has taken a contrary turn. Chancellor-elect Schrder's new team has lost its entrepreneurial job creator, Jost Stollman, who refused the economics ministry because it had been stripped as an engine of growth.
That's bad. Europe needs growth. So does the world. Schrder's Germany can't create jobs without it. Job-training programs are fine. But they lead nowhere if businesses don't grow. Mr. Schrder should change course now while he has maximum leverage.