24 April 2019

Real Insight

  • Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has sidelined courts, labor unions, and independent media, but he has been unable to quash opposition. Photo: AFP

    The Arab Spring’s second chance

    - Apr 24, 2019 9:55am
    Mass protests in Algeria and Sudan have recently removed two aging autocrats, ending 20 and 30 years, respectively, of absolutist rule. In both countries, the insurgents are now locked in negotiations with the army, the de...
  • US President Donald Trump fought and maneuvered to prevent US special counsel Robert Mueller and his team from finding out how involved his campaign had been with high-level Russians. Photo: Reuters

    Trump is guilty as not charged

    - Apr 23, 2019 11:29am
    The political situation in the United States is more unsettled now than at any time since I began covering it, including the Watergate era. President Donald Trump is a desperate, wounded, and unstable figure – a...
  • Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in this picture taken on April 5. Markets have priced in many positive factors, but ‘risk-off’ sentiment could make a comeback down the road, Nouriel Roubini warns. Photo: Bloomberg

    Bipolar markets in the ‘New Mediocre’

    - Apr 23, 2019 11:24am
    Financial markets tend to undergo manic-depressive cycles, and this has been especially true in recent years. During risk-ons, investors – driven by “animal spirits” – produce bull markets, frothiness, and sometimes outright bubbles; eventually, however, they...
  • Social-protection programs are supposed to protect the segments of society that are most in need. Demanding that these people effectively renounce their rights to personal privacy and data protection amounts to just the opposite. Photo: Bloomberg

    Data protection is social protection

    - Apr 17, 2019 10:13am
    In recent decades, social assistance programs around the world have been strengthened to the point that they now benefit more than 2.5 billion people, usually the poorest and most vulnerable. But rising pressure to apply biometric...
  • China will struggle to attain growth above 5 percent in the 2021-2030 period, for the simple reason that its workforce growth will have peaked. Photo: Xinhua

    The future of economic growth

    - Apr 12, 2019 10:41am
    Last month, I wrote about the growing divide between economic theory and real-world economic conditions, and reminded readers that economics is still a social science, despite whatever loftier ambitions its practitioners may have. Nonetheless, when it...
  • The US Department of the Treasury estimates that as much as US$300 billion is laundered domestically each year. Photo: AFP

    The West’s dirty financial laundry

    - Apr 10, 2019 11:04am
    The money-laundering scandals keep rolling in, most recently in Estonia, where a subsidiary of Danske Bank reportedly processed some 200 billion euros (US$225 billion) in suspicious payments from around the region in recent years. Nonetheless, the...
  • US President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again" agenda embodies and celebrates unbridled selfishness and self-absorption, writes Joseph E. Stiglitz. Photo: Reuters

    Trump’s most worrisome legacy

    - Apr 10, 2019 10:47am
    Kirstjen Nielsen’s forced resignation as US Secretary of Homeland Security is no reason to celebrate. Yes, she presided over the forced separation of families at the US border, notoriously housing young children in wire cages. But Nielsen’s...
  • A file photo from February shows US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey speaking at a news conference in Washington for their proposed ‘Green New Deal’ to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years. Photo: Reuters

    Toward a global Green New Deal

    Apr 10, 2019 10:09am
    The “Green New Deal” (GND) proposed by progressives in the United States cannot be achieved in isolation. To tackle climate change and inequality together, all countries will need to agree to new rules for international cooperation....
  • The World Health Organization estimates that around 90 percent of people worldwide breathe polluted air. Photo: CNSA

    Cities for the people

    - Apr 9, 2019 9:51am
    Dante’s Divine Comedy describes one level of hell (the City of Dis) as “Satan’s wretched city … full of distress and torment terrible”. He could well have been describing many modern-day metropolises. The world, especially Sub-Saharan...
  • Despite warnings from the United States and NATO, Turkey seems determined to follow through with the purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia. Photo: Reuters

    The Sick Man of NATO

    - Apr 8, 2019 11:34am
    As NATO marks the 70th anniversary of its founding, it is confronting a crisis unique in its history. Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, has concluded a deal to purchase an S-400 air defense system from...
  • The anniversaries of the IMF and the SDR in 2019 present an opportunity to transform the SDR into a true global currency that would strengthen the international monetary system, writes José Antonio Ocampo. Photo: Bloomberg

    Time for a true global currency

    - Apr 8, 2019 9:48am
    This year, the world commemorates the anniversaries of two key events in the development of the global monetary system. The first is the creation of the International Monetary Fund at the Bretton Woods conference 75 years...
  • To maximize the benefits and mitigate the risks of the latest technological advances, national and global policy frameworks need to be strengthened and modernized, writes Richard Samans. Photo: Bloomberg

    Globalization needs an upgraded operating system

    - Apr 4, 2019 10:31am
    The G20 Leaders’ Summit in London on April 2, 2009, is widely regarded as one of the best examples of global cooperation in a generation. Meeting as a group for only the second time, leaders of...
  • Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) advances an alternative vision of globalization, based on an integrated system of physical infrastructure. Photo: Reuters

    The new-old globalization

    - Apr 3, 2019 10:36am
    Once upon a time, everyone assumed that there was a single phenomenon called globalization, whereby cross-border flows of financial capital drove innovation, industrialization, development, and trade. But Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)...
  • US 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren participates in a moderated discussion at the We the People Summit in Washington on April 1. Photo: Reuters

    Elizabeth Warren’s big ideas on Big Tech

    - Apr 2, 2019 10:00am
    Displaying a degree of courage and clarity that is difficult to overstate, US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken on Big Tech, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. Warren’s proposals amount to a total rethink...
  • In the worst-case scenario, the BRI countries could account for over half of global carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050. Photo: AFP

    A low-carbon Belt and Road

    - Mar 29, 2019 9:35am
    Discussions about climate action nowadays often focus on the largest past and current emitters. But, if one looks to the future, the biggest climate risks and opportunities lie in the more than 60 countries that have...
  • Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Chinese leader Xi Jinping attend a news conference in Rome on March 22. Italy’s decision to participate in China’s BRI unilaterally will undermine the EU’s collective influence vis-à-vis Beijing, writes Guy Verhofst

    Europe must unite on China

    - Mar 28, 2019 9:31am
    When seeking investment capital and seemingly lucrative commercial deals, EU member-state governments do not always consider shared European interests. This has especially been the case with respect to China. Yet member states that pursue a relationship...
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and other top officials clap their hands during the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

    China and its Western critics

    - Mar 27, 2019 10:01am
    In Washington, DC, a bipartisan consensus about China has emerged: the United States is facing a trade-manipulating, authoritarian intellectual-property thief that represents a strategic threat to the US and its allies and deserves to be punished....
  • It is not easy to detect a coherent rationale in US trade policy under Trump, writes Jeffrey Frankel. Photo: Reuters

    Xi and Trump miss their chance

    - Mar 22, 2019 9:55am
      President Donald Trump has postponed until at least April the supposed deadline for concluding the United States’ current trade negotiations with China. A good outcome for both sides would be reached if China agreed to...
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive at Fiumicino airport on March 21 ahead of a visit to Rome and the Sicilian capital Palermo. Photo: Reuters

    Italy’s BRI blunder

    - Mar 22, 2019 9:46am
      Barring any sudden reversals, Italy will formally endorse China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome this week. Though US President Donald Trump’s administration recently signaled its disapproval of...
  • Though the US runs a persistently large trade deficit in goods, it maintains sizeable bilateral services surpluses with many of its leading trade partners, including China. Photo: Bloomberg

    The blind spot in the trade debate

    - Mar 21, 2019 9:24am
      Negotiations to resolve the Sino-American trade conflict have so far centered on soybeans, natural gas, and an assortment of commodities and manufactured goods. Yet, an increasingly important component of US and global trade is scarcely...

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