24 February 2019

Real Insight

  • Pro-Brexit demonstrators hold a rally outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

    A very Greek Brexit?

    - Feb 15, 2019 9:34am
    As the Brexit train lurches forward with no clear direction, it is useful to look back at another dramatic episode in European Union politics for possible guidance: the Grexit that never happened. Although almost everyone during...
  • Globalization has enabled large multinationals such as Apple, Google and Starbucks to avoid paying tax. Photo: AFP, Reuters, Bloomberg

    How can we tax footloose multinationals?

    - Feb 14, 2019 10:13am
    In the last few years, globalization has come under renewed attack. Some of the criticisms may be misplaced, but one is spot on: globalization has enabled large multinationals, like Apple, Google, and Starbucks, to avoid paying...
  • Fears of more Fed rate hikes this year could hit the markets and lead to a tightening of financial conditions. Photo: Bloomberg

    A mixed economic bag in 2019

    - Feb 11, 2019 10:26am
    After the synchronized global economic expansion of 2017 came the asynchronous growth of 2018, when most countries other than the United States started to experience slowdowns. Worries about US inflation, the US Federal Reserve’s policy trajectory,...
  • Shinzo Abe, who will become the longest-serving prime minister in Japan’s history later this year, has delivered a remarkable period of stability. Photo: Reuters

    Is Japan’s sun rising?

    - Feb 11, 2019 7:33am
    When I participated in the Chatham House/Daiwa Research Institute conference on the post-Brexit Japan-UK relationship in Tokyo last month, it was my first visit back to Japan since my departure from Goldman Sachs almost six years...
  • Many European countries are hoping to capitalize on a sudden flight of human capital from the United Kingdom as a result of Brexit. Photo: AFP

    The costs of a Brexit brain drain

    - Feb 11, 2019 7:23am
    Should the United Kingdom go through with its withdrawal from the European Union, one of the most severe unintended consequences will probably be the exodus of a significant share of top professionals from London. In fact,...
  • Europe now has an ideal opportunity to lead the world’s green structural transformation. Photo: AFP

    A Green New Deal for Europe

    Earlier this month, Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned from his post as World Bank president, leaving a pillar of the international financial order without leadership or direction. Kim will join a private equity firm, where he...
  • By reducing the cost of bank loans through quantitative easing, the European Central Bank encouraged lending to small firms and households across the eurozone. Photo: Reuters

    Three lessons from QE in Europe

    - Feb 1, 2019 10:06am
    With the European Central Bank having recently ended quantitative easing (QE), this is an appropriate time to reflect on the policy’s impact. Three conclusions seem obvious: the ECB’s asset purchases had important macroeconomic benefits, the political...
  • Prototypes for US President Donald Trump's border wall are seen behind the border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico. Photo: Reuters

    Five lessons from the US government shutdown

    - Feb 1, 2019 9:53am
    Last Friday, a wave of relief spread across the United States. A completely pointless and highly damaging partial government shutdown was over. Unfortunately, what we learned from the episode was extremely worrying about both what is...
  • Countries must do a better job of fostering innovative talent in their young people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and genders. Photo: CNSA

    How Germany lost its Einsteins

    - Jan 31, 2019 10:30am
    Why has Germany, the land of history-making innovators like Johannes Gutenberg and Albert Einstein, not produced high-tech giants like Google, Amazon, or Facebook? Some blame the stigma associated with failure in Germany for discouraging innovative entrepreneurship....
  • China has not quite reached the goal that the market should become the decisive force in resource allocation. Photo: Reuters

    When will China achieve quality growth?

    - Jan 30, 2019 10:11am
      Even before the 2008 global financial crisis laid bare the limits of China’s export-oriented growth model, the country’s leaders were stressing the need for quality growth. In 2007, then-Premier Wen Jiabao argued that Chinese economic...
  • An anti-Brexit protesters' bus drives on Whitehall in London on Monday. Photo: Reuters

    Can a ‘no-deal’ Brexit be avoided?

    - Jan 29, 2019 10:05am
    It is a near-tragedy that the United States and the United Kingdom – the two countries most identified with long-established stable constitutional frameworks – are now ranked among the world’s most dysfunctional democracies. In the past,...
  • If eurozone leaders learn from past mistakes, the monetary union can survive, and even thrive, in the future, writes Jeffrey Frankel. Photo: Bloomberg

    The euro’s first 20 years

    - Jan 28, 2019 11:06am
      Since its introduction two decades ago, the euro has faced serious challenges. So far, it has survived intact. Yet, on the common currency’s 20th anniversary, it is worth identifying problems that have been encountered and,...
  • Anti-Brexit protesters stand outside the Houses of Parliament in London. No responsible politician should even entertain the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Photo: Reuters

    Brexit demands a new British politics

    - Jan 23, 2019 9:28am
    The populist revolts in the United States and the United Kingdom have each reached a critical juncture. At the start of his third year in office, US President Donald Trump is presiding over the longest federal...
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to hold a “grand” nationwide debate on four issues: environmental policy, democracy and identity, taxes, and the organization of the state. Photo: Reuters

    Macron’s great gamble

    - Jan 22, 2019 9:30am
    In reaction to the ongoing “Yellow Vest” revolt in France, President Emmanuel Macron has decided to hold a “grand” nationwide debate.  Over the coming months, locally organized workshops, internet-based consultations, and regional citizen conferences will assess...
  • The major political challenge to global cooperation lies in managing our diversified and pluralistic world within the established institutional architecture, writes Lee Howell. Photo: Bloomberg

    Long live globalization

    - Jan 17, 2019 9:36am
    Will global cooperation finally emerge from the doldrums in 2019? The international community’s recent agreement on a “rulebook” for implementing the Paris climate agreement seems to offer some hope. But opinion polls suggest that many remain...
  • What the world needs is a new income distribution system that restores the market economy rather than distorting it, writes Guy Standing. Photo: Bloomberg

    Battling eight giants with basic income

    Jan 15, 2019 10:57am
    In 1942, William Beveridge issued an epoch-defining report that established a model for welfare states in the post-war era. He recognized that the old social protection system had broken down and that it was “time for...
  • China’s domestic consumption is almost five times lower than that of the US, but the high overall growth rate means Chinese consumers could potentially play a much larger role, with far-reaching benefits for global brands. Photo: Bloomberg

    Whither the Chinese consumer?

    - Jan 11, 2019 9:52am
    For most of the past decade, the growing spending power of China’s expanding middle class has fueled the global economy. After the 2008 financial crisis, I argued that the United States and China would need to...
  • Visitors take pictures of the 18th Century Baroque Trevi Fountain and the 16th Century Palazzo Poli in downtown Rome. Italy developed a cultural style that is still uniquely influential to this day. Photo: AFP

    Italy’s writing on the wall

    - Jan 10, 2019 10:35am
    As the home of both the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, Italy has long been at the forefront of cultural developments in Europe and Western Eurasia.  But it has also long served as an example of...
  • Automation does not mean that human work must disappear, only that it could become more productive. Photo: Bloomberg

    Rewriting the future of work

    - Jan 10, 2019 10:19am
    Much has been written about the “future of work,” and much of it makes for gloomy reading. Study after study predicts that automation will upend entire industries and leave millions unemployed. A 2013 paper by two...
  • Protesters clash with police in Paris on Jan 5. Given people’s gross mistrust in governments and politicians, authorities around the world are finding that asking the public for sacrifices today in exchange for the promise of a better life tomorrow has be

    From Yellow Vests to the Green New Deal

    - Jan 8, 2019 11:46am
      It’s old news that large segments of society have become deeply unhappy with what they see as “the establishment,” especially the political class. The “Yellow Vest” protests in France, triggered by President Emmanuel Macron’s move...

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