15 August 2018

Real Insight

  • When China’s leaders formulate and execute policies, they tend to think in terms of decades. Photo: Reuters

    The right way to judge Chinese governance

    - Mar 27, 2018 9:45am
    Following China’s “two sessions” – the annual meetings of the national legislature and the top political advisory body – all Western observers, it seems, are discussing the removal of the two-term limit for the president. Xi...
  • To achieve a democratic digital future, the world needs to change how it thinks about technology. Photo: Bloomberg

    Engineering a more responsible digital future

    - Mar 16, 2018 10:04am
      The world is being battered by technological disruption, as innovations such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things, blockchain, 3D printing, and virtual reality change how societies and economies work....
  • President Xi Jinping casts his ballot during a vote on a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits, at the third plenary session of the National People's Congress  in Beijing on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

    Missing the forest for the Xi

    - Mar 13, 2018 10:26am
    In recent weeks, Western media commentators have focused extensively on the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) decision to abolish presidential term limits, which will allow Xi Jinping to remain in power indefinitely. Unsurprisingly, they have generally...
  • A cryptocurrency mining facility in Austrla. Today’s 'coin mania' is not unlike the railway mania at the dawn of the industrial revolution in the mid-nineteenth century, say the authors. Photo: Bloomberg

    The blockchain pipe dream

    - Mar 6, 2018 10:11am
    Predictions that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will fail typically elicit a broader defense of the underlying blockchain technology. Yes, the argument goes, over half of all “initial coin offerings” to date have already failed, and most...
  • AI and other new technologies will eventually come to have a much larger impact on global growth than they have up to now. Photo: Bloomberg

    Economists vs scientists on long-term growth

    - Mar 5, 2018 10:39am
    Most economic forecasters have largely shrugged off recent advances in artificial intelligence (for example, the quantum leap demonstrated by DeepMind’s self-learning chess program last December), seeing little impact on longer-term trend growth. Such pessimism is surely...
  • Franco-German vision for Europe must be fresh and bold enough to capture the popular imagination, observers say. Photo: Bloomberg

    Europe’s Bretton Woods moment

    - Mar 2, 2018 10:47am
    After years of paralysis during the debt crisis that began in 2009, the European Union seems to have regained some momentum. In France last year, Emmanuel Macron and his La République En Marche! won the presidency...
  • For thousands of years, state control was China’s default governance strategy, with a strong central government overseeing stability and preventing regional and factional rivalries from causing chaos. Photo: AFP

    Why there is no ‘Beijing Consensus’

    Feb 28, 2018 10:58am
    Four decades would seem to be plenty of time to identify the underlying logic of China’s development model. Yet, 40 years after Deng Xiaoping initiated the country’s “reform and opening up,” a “Beijing Consensus” – that...
  • US authorities want to prevent a recurrence of what happened in September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a cascade effect that nearly destroyed the financial system. Photo: Reuters

    The making of Lehman Brothers II

    - Feb 27, 2018 10:13am
    Last week, with some fanfare, the US Treasury Department released a report on what to do about the Orderly Liquidation Authority. The OLA, created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, was intended to prevent...
  • Social-media companies have the power to exert significant influence on our societies, but they do not have the right to set the rules. That authority belongs to our democratic institutions. Photo: Reuters

    Tech vs democracy

    - Feb 26, 2018 10:04am
    Instagram, a photo-sharing platform owned by Facebook, recently caved in to a demand by the Russian government that it remove posts by opposition leader Alexey Navalny alleging misconduct on the part of Russian Deputy Prime Minister...
  • Like many of his predecessors, Russian President Vladimir Putin viewed the US-dominated world order as a threat to his rule and to what he regarded as his country’s rightful place in the world. Photo: Reuters

    Cold War II

    - Feb 26, 2018 10:02am
    The Cold War lasted four decades, in many ways both beginning and ending in Berlin. The good news is that it stayed cold – largely because nuclear weapons introduced a discipline missing from previous great-power rivalries...
  • The European Central Bank has been pushing policy and market interest rates well below their equilibrium levels. Photo: Bloomberg

    The financial roots of the eurozone surplus

    - Feb 26, 2018 9:42am
    In December 2017, the eurozone’s current-account surplus reached an all-time high of 391 billion euros (US$483 billion), prompting the usual calls for Germany to “do more” to resolve the imbalance through fiscal policy. But such policy...
  • The rate of return on stocks is likely to be substantially lower over the next 15 years than it was over the last 15 years. Photo: Reuters

    The economic message from equity markets

    - Feb 26, 2018 9:30am
    The recent stock-market correction – the first in the United States in two years – has invited substantial commentary about what investors should do, the role machines have played, and the implications for the real economy....
  • Costa Rica is developing an open-source data tool to help improve decision-making and enhance the country’s ability to monitor and meet its climate-change goals. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The data-driven city

    - Feb 20, 2018 11:15am
    When you look at your phone or tablet, what do you see? Pixels? Pictures? Digital distraction? I see data. Every day, we generate enormous amounts of information, a binary trail of breadcrumbs that forms a map...
  • Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is seeking a political comeback, has proposed a "dignity income” that would entail generous monthly payments to the disadvantaged. Photo: Reuters

    Europe’s poverty time bomb

    - Feb 15, 2018 9:08am
      The poor don’t often decide elections in the advanced world, and yet they are being wooed heavily in Italy’s current electoral campaign. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of Forza Italia, has proposed a...
  • In the US, tertiary education accounts for over 2.5 percent of GDP, and yet much of the money is spent quite inefficiently. Photo: Bloomberg

    When will tech disrupt higher education?

    - Feb 7, 2018 10:50am
      In the early 1990s, at the dawn of the Internet era, an explosion in academic productivity seemed to be around the corner. But the corner never appeared. Instead, teaching techniques at colleges and universities, which...
  • US President Donald Trump pictured on stage on Jan. 26 as he attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) event in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Reuters

    Post-Davos depression

    - Feb 2, 2018 10:47am
    I’ve been attending the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland – where the so-called global elite convenes to discuss the world’s problems – since 1995. Never have I come away more dispirited than I...
  • Notwithstanding his bragging about deregulation, the total economic impact of Donald Trump's regulatory repeals has been trivial relative to the size of the US economy, critics say. Photo: Reuters

    Trumponomics is failing on growth

    - Feb 1, 2018 10:21am
      US President Donald Trump and his Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, have promised an economic miracle. They argue that when the United States adopts their policies, it will consistently achieve annual economic growth above...
  • With his Olympic coup, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has both managed the North Korean threat to the Games and avoided any backlash from the United States. Photo: Reuters

    Moon Jae-in’s Olympic realpolitik

    - Feb 1, 2018 9:01am
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made a good start to the New Year. Not only did he broker an agreement to bring North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang; he also convinced US...
  • Since 2010, Chinese consumers have added around US$2.9 trillion to the world economy. That is bigger than the entire UK economy. Photo: Reuters

    China’s irresistible rise

    - Jan 31, 2018 10:27am
    China’s recently released GDP data for 2017 confirm it: the country’s dramatic rise, with the concomitant increase in its global economic relevance, is not slowing down. To be sure, there has been fresh media chatter about...
  • China under President Xi Jinping is “adopting a new vision for development”, which “ensures and improves living standards”. Photo: Bloomberg

    China’s search for quality growth

    - Jan 31, 2018 9:40am
    As Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his second five-year term, shifting toward “quality growth” is at the top of the country’s policy agenda. Across China’s government, a quiet but resolute commitment to fostering a new growth...

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