17 July 2019

Real Insight

  • A proposal being explored by the transition team of Boris Johnson, Britain's likely next prime minister, could lead to the loss of the country's soft power. Photo: AFP

    Boris Johnson and the threat to British soft power

    - Jul 16, 2019 9:44am
    Since the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) was created 22 years ago, it has lifted millions out of poverty, sent millions of children to school, and saved millions of lives through vaccination programs and...
  • Governments must address the root causes of inequality by identifying and eliminating discriminatory laws. Photo: Bloomberg

    Tackling inequality is a political choice

     The world has made impressive strides in reducing extreme poverty, but that progress has slowed considerably in recent years. The problem is clear: eliminating extreme poverty requires tackling inequality. The good news is that inequality between...
  • G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs pose for a group picture after a meeting in Fukuoka, Japan last month. Maintaining central bank independence has become all the more important now in the era of populist leaders. Pool photo via Bloomberg

    How to keep central banks independent

    The global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 transformed the role of central bankers and the scale and scope of their policy toolkit. Today, financial stability is once again at the core of central banks’ missions,...
  • The ECB should seek to replace the bank’s relatively narrow inflation objective with a broader target range, an economist argues. Photo: Bloomberg

    The ECB needs new inflation rules

    - Jul 3, 2019 9:56am
    The upcoming change of leadership at the European Central Bank represents an opportunity – if not an obligation – to review the Bank’s policy framework. The ECB can take credit for major achievements during Mario Draghi’s...
  • The value of Facebook's Libra currency will be fixed in terms of a global basket of currencies and 100 percent backed – presumably by a mix of government treasuries. Photo: Reuters

    Thumbs down to Facebook’s cryptocurrency

    - Jul 3, 2019 9:54am
    Facebook and some of its corporate allies have decided that what the world really needs is another cryptocurrency, and that launching one is the best way to use the vast talents at their disposal. The fact...
  • Automation means labor costs become less important when considering where to build new plants. But a corollary is that such manufacturing will be much less labor intensive than in the past. Photo: Bloomberg

    Build your own talent magnet

    - Jul 2, 2019 10:51am
    Around the world, the creation of good new jobs is increasingly concentrated in some of the largest cities. Innovative people want to work and live in close proximity to one another. This process of talent agglomeration...
  • After 2012, the euro crisis started to look more manageable only after the euro began depreciating against the dollar. Photo: Reuters

    A future without currency wars?

    - Jul 2, 2019 10:39am
    The terrible experience of the 1930s should remind us that trade and currency wars go together like a horse and carriage. Now that US President Donald Trump’s administration is fully implementing his protectionist “America First” agenda,...
  • Boris Johnson is the lead candidate in the Conservative Party leadership election to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: AFP

    Boris Johnson’s big lie

    - Jun 27, 2019 9:45am
    Three years after the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, the UK is no closer to figuring out how to leave the European Union, and what comes next, than it was when the result was announced. And now...
  • If the US-China trade war escalates, American multinational firms will be the biggest losers, warn Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng. Photo: Bloomberg

    Corporate America in the crossfire

    - Jun 25, 2019 11:02am
    American multinationals may like the idea of forcing China to alter the policies and practices – from subsidies for state-owned enterprises to the requirement that foreign firms share proprietary technology in exchange for access to the...
  • Activists block traffic on a New York street on June 22 as they seek to draw attention to the climate change problem. Photo: Reuters

    America’s bipartisan climate-policy failure

    - Jun 24, 2019 11:46am
    US President Donald Trump’s anti-climate agenda is in full swing. His administration has already taken action 117 times to repeal or weaken climate regulations, and much more deregulation is in the works. By unraveling environmental protections...
  • The European Union is working on a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Photo: AFP

    Europe must answer the climate call

    - Jun 19, 2019 12:31pm
    In early 2015, the European Union became the first major economy to set a post-2020 target for limiting greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. By committing to reducing emissions to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,...
  • Climbers make their way to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal on May 22. Photo: Reuters

    Economic lessons from Everest

    - Jun 19, 2019 12:17pm
    Like many others, I was shocked by recent images showing the size of the queue that formed in May to scale Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, from the Nepalese side. The idea that delays caused...
  • Average labor productivity in the United States – and in most other advanced economies – has slumped in the past decade. Photo: AFP

    The US economy’s strange decade

    - Jun 13, 2019 10:10am
    The current US economic expansion is extraordinary. Not only does it rival the longest on post-war record, but, unlike previous periods of sustained growth, it has not unleashed much inflation. Corporate profits have soared to unprecedented...
  • Environmental activists demonstrate during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London on April 17. Small island states are disproportionately affected by climate change. Photo: Reuters

    Islands of climate innovation

    - Jun 11, 2019 10:24am
    To live in a small island state today is to reckon regularly with the cruelest irony of climate change. Islands contribute little to global warming, but they are the first to suffer from its devastating effects...
  • People take to the streets in an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 9. Venezuela owes its plight not so much to Trump-era economic sanctions as to its own populist leaders, writes Kenneth Rogoff. Photo: Bloomberg

    As populists rise, Latin America’s economies will fall

    - Jun 6, 2019 9:54am
    Though US President Donald Trump tends to grab most of the headlines, he is hardly a global exception. Populist autocrats have enjoyed a breathtaking rise to power in countries around the world, and nowhere is the...
  • Swedish Green Party leaders applaud at the party's election night watch party in Stockholm as first preliminary results in the European Parliament elections are presented on May 26. Photo: TT News Agency via Reuters

    Game of EU Thrones

    - May 28, 2019 10:17am
    The European Parliament elections that concluded on May 26 turned out to be a Game of Thrones replay – a long and complex story with a surprising and, for many, unsatisfactory outcome. As with Game of...
  • The Trump administration insists that the only deficit to worry about is the bilateral trade deficit with China. Photo: Reuters

    How will the US-China trade war end?

    - May 28, 2019 9:53am
    Dashing hopes of a quick agreement on trade relations with China, US President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed punitive tariffs on another US$200 billion of Chinese goods. Now that the Chinese government has responded with new...
  • If higher tariffs remain indefinitely, the US and the global economy will be worse off. Photo: AFP

    The real cost of Trump’s tariffs

    - May 24, 2019 8:00am
    Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump suddenly revealed that a trade agreement between the United States and China was not imminent after all. On the contrary, on May 10, the Trump administration raised its previous...
  • Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (left) and French far-right Rassemblement National party president Marine Le Pen share the stage at a rally of European nationalists in Milan on Saturday. Photo: AFP

    A vote for populists is a vote for Putin

    - May 22, 2019 1:32pm
    On May 18, European right-wing leaders assembled in Milan for a rally ahead of the European Parliament election this week. Among the attendees were Marine Le Pen of National Rally in France, Geert Wilders of the...
  • The Sino-American relationship will be the key geopolitical issue of this century, writes Nouriel Roubini. Photo: Reuters

    The global consequences of a Sino-American cold war

    - May 21, 2019 11:47am
    A few years ago, as part of a Western delegation to China, I met President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. When addressing us, Xi argued that China’s rise would be peaceful, and...

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