Nowadays, "concerns" about the global economy and the concomitant state of instability are attributed to the growth decline in the Chinese economy and the dollar-denominated debt burden of developing countries. Let us see whether this is really the case.
On a Sunday morning last August, The Financial Times published a headline, saying that Chinese Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) in the manufacturing industry dropped from 47.8 percent in July to 47.1 percent in the first three weeks of August. It announced this as if it were a calamity. Following this, developing countries experienced a cash outflow on those days and markets began talking about a new crisis in developing countries in parallel with the "concerns" about China. Indeed, the West's concern about China is related to China's abandonment of being a global factory and the possibility that it may begin replacing the U.S. by initiating capital exports, rather than to the growth fall in the Chinese economy. The growth decline in China has been on the agenda since 2012 and it has remained a topical issue thanks to decisions by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, not the markets. In short, China is ceasing to abandon old economic practices; it is ceasing to employ people for just a $100 a month to drive up profit rates in the system. Moreover, it has started to abandon purchasing dollars and U.S. treasury bills with its surpluses. As the U.S. realized this, it declared the Pacific region a sphere of political and economic problems a long time ago. From this point of view, the negative data coming from China cannot be interpreted as a new phase of the global economic crisis and as a crisis facing Asia and developing countries.
China's growth chart shows that the country's growth has fallen since 2009 and its contribution to world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased, which also means that China exports capital. A discrepancy occurred in the chart in 2012, since when China has decreased its purchases of the U.S. dollar and treasury bills with its foreign trade surpluses, and mainly exports capital instead. Furthermore, China is completely renouncing its growth strategy, which is based on low wages, relies merely on exports and completely disregards domestic demand. Instead, it is entering a new growth path that is supported by domestic demand and is based on brand and technology, and therefore on relatively higher added value.
The rise of the dollar will be the main characteristic of 2016; however, a continuously overvalued dollar is not a situation that the U.S. can maintain without China's support. Therefore, the U.S. Federal Reserve's (Fed) interest rate hike process will not lead to sharp transformations as it argues. It is voiced as another crisis argument that developing countries, which have run into debt depending on the cheap dollar supply that has accompanied the Fed's balance sheet expansion process since the 2008 financial crisis, will no longer be able to pay this money and will undergo challenging times.
According to the Institute of International Finance (IIF) data, the foreign currency-denominated debts of companies in developing countries have soared to $4.4 trillion from $900 billion over the past decade. In terms of national currencies, this debt cycle has reached 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developing countries. In other words, developing countries seem to have used balance sheets that were nearly equal to the balance sheet expansion of the central banks of developed countries. Now, it is claimed that this money will rapidly turn back and indebted countries will face a new debt crisis.
At this point, we need to ask two questions. First, why could countries, especially the U.S., not ensure a rapid recovery in the real sector by benefiting from the monetary expansion that their central banks have practiced since 2008? Second, what did this money, which flowed to developing countries, finance and what sort of an economic dynamic did it trigger? Furthermore, many global companies turned their production toward the East and indirectly benefited from this expansion.
For instance, we know how developing Asia, which has made a breakthrough since the late 1990s, used this conjuncture as South Korea did. The role of the presidential system in the country's utilization of this conjuncture in a positive way cannot be ignored. I advise those, who cannot establish a relation between a presidential system and economy, to look at the South Korea example.
In this process, countries like Turkey must highlight rapid decision making processes in order to have a more efficient market mechanism and minimize bureaucratic transactions in state institutions in order to improve the investment environment and attract foreign direct investments (FDI). From this point of view, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's proposal of a presidential system for Turkey is necessary to achieve an efficiently functioning economy. Long-term and technology-based capital inflow into a country is possible with the achievement of a completely open economy and rapid decision-making mechanisms. If not, countries like Turkey can merely attract rent-based capital, which is called hot money, and will face a Ponzi-style economic cycle.
We cannot suggest that developing countries develop a Ponzi-style economy with this debt cycle like before. However, such an economy was imposed and is still being imposed on developing countries, including Turkey.
Consequently, developing countries will not experience a debt crisis as in the 1990s, as this process brought along a major breakthrough in production - which prevented these countries from experiencing the liquidity trap that occurred in the West. Quite the contrary, developing countries played a role that reduced global output gap on a global scale and prevented the intensification of the crisis.
However, this situation might pose problems in the medium term for countries like Russia that merely rely on energy imports and for economies, which heavily export basic commodities.
Although Turkey could not perform like South Korea did, it took major steps. Furthermore, Turkey must adopt a new growth model rapidly, which, beyond any doubt, will be much different from the previous one.