Adjusting to the virus in Turkey
17 January 2021
COVID-19 surprised everyone. Fareed Zakaria tweeted on April 10 that “it’s not right to call this a recession or even to talk about a Great Depression. This is a great paralysis.” Looking back, to what happened in Turkey this year, I think that is an apt description.
COVID-19 is good for businesswomen
28 November 2020
You may have spent the day like any other, but the Thursday before last, November 19, was a special time of the year – it was women’s entrepreneurship day (WED). The United Nations has organized meetings on this day since 2014 to discuss the state of women who launch their own businesses. Perusing this year’s output of research, I was surprised to see information indicating that COVID-19 has not been bad for women in Turkey. Let me elaborate.
Inflation measurement in the age of COVID-19
06 September 2020
On the sudden stop in global economic activity this year, Fed Chair Jay Powell said in May 2020 that “the virus is the cause, not the usual suspects.” That started the global process of monetary easing.
Waiting for the virus
30 August 2020
Constantine P. Cavafy’s poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” is a delightful read in dark times. It’s about a day in an unnamed city-state, where life comes to a halt as everybody, from the king to the crowd, stop whatever they usually do, dress up in their finest clothes and await the arrival of “the barbarians.”
A tale of three blasts
09 August 2020
I still recommend taking the long view on Turkey. Yes, there is cause for serious concern, but Turkey remains a great country in a very troubled region. In this troubled region, we do not always do the right thing, but I like to think we learn from our mistakes. Just have a look at the three major events, three blasts, in fact, that I see this week, and three learning opportunities, taking their place in our collective consciousness.
Turkey’s COVID-19 response from the perspective of German business
26 July 2020
Recently, “AHK Türkei,” the Turkish-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, has announced the results of a survey regarding the business expectations of its members. Fortunately, Turkey is not the only country that AHK, the German Chamber movement, has a dual chamber arrangement with – it has these arrangements with 92 countries. That is how through this survey, we can compare the COVID-19 response of different countries from a commercial perspective. It’s a kind of litmus test for Turkey’s COVID-19 response, and I find the results more than a bit ambivalent. Let me explain.
Deeper in 2020, slower in 2021
28 June 2020
“The crisis like no other will have a recovery like no other,” IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said this week. I couldn’t agree more. We have never had a sudden stop in global economic activity like this one. It is only natural that we do not yet have a real idea of how to get out of this mess. For an economist, this is a real-world experiment of planetary scale.
Throw out the old policy menu
21 June 2020
Telecommuting is one of the great novelties of our lives in this age of COVID-19. It isn’t that the technology is new of course, but the manner in which we use it definitely is. You can be at a meeting in Riyadh in the morning, participate in a debate in Berlin in the early afternoon, and be in a workshop in Washington, D.C before dinner, all the while staying at home in Ankara. No jet lags, no overnight stays, no hassle at crowded airports. You can participate in the global debate – at times more than it is necessary, as we now have more free time than usual.
Ready for the second round?
14 June 2020
We are all getting ready for the second round of the fight between the virus and humanity. The first round was all about “flattening the curve,” meaning that we had to limit contagion through severe physical distancing measures, lockdowns and curfews. The virus has equalized all economies in this first stage, if I may say so. It didn’t matter how rich or poor your country was, your population was vulnerable just the same, and you had to shut down your economy just the same. As Jerome H. Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, put it so elegantly, “It’s the virus, not the usual suspects” that led to the sudden stop in global economic activity.
A change in the nature of uncertainty
24 May 2020
The COVID-19 induced uncertainty has brought a sudden stop to real economic activity. We needed to slow down the spread of the virus to gain time and get to know the virus better. But now we are finally thinking about living with the virus, as new cases are subsiding. We cannot yet magically lift uncertainty, but we have a better sense of things. We are gradually moving away from the world of complete uncertainty into a world where we can assign probabilities to different eventualities, kind of moving from crisis management to change management. That’s what reopening is to many.