22 February 2018

Project Syndicate

  • 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...
  • Jakarta had sought to improve traffic flows with a rule that private cars driven during rush hours in the city’s central business district must contain at least three passengers. However, the rule was suspended in 2016. Photo: Reuters

    Which traffic policies work best for megacities?

    Jan 30, 2018 3:06pm
    Urbanization has many advantages. By bringing people together physically, cities inspire innovation and fuel opportunity. They bring workers closer to jobs and facilitate the diffusion of arts and culture. But the benefits of urban life are...
  • As is typical of a financial bubble, investors are buying cryptocurrencies not to use in transactions, but because they expect them to increase in value. Photo: Reuters

    Blockchain’s broken promises

    - Jan 29, 2018 4:49pm
      The financial-services industry has been undergoing a revolution. But the driving force is not overhyped blockchain applications such as Bitcoin. It is a revolution built on artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things....
  • AI and automation have obvious implications for employment. But they will also affect the human mind. Photo: Reuters

    The stupid economy

    - Jan 23, 2018 9:56am
      Most discussions about the march of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have understandably concentrated on fears of massive job losses. But the implications of these technologies are actually far more terrifying. We have been brought...
  • Governments worldwide have begun to recognize the potential of water infrastructure to complement other economic and social policies, including those intended to improve health outcomes. Photo: Bloomberg

    Water management is health management

    - Jan 19, 2018 9:38am
    With climate change accelerating and its effects exacerbating other geopolitical and development crises, the role of environmental protection in preserving and improving human wellbeing has become starkly apparent. This recognition lies at the heart of the...
  • Ireland is a prominent example of how gross national income (GNI) has been used to correct for distortions in gross domestic product (GDP). Photo: Bloomberg

    GDP should be corrected, not replaced

    - Jan 18, 2018 10:10am
    Respected economists have long pointed out that gross domestic product is an inadequate measure of economic development and social well-being, and thus should not be policymakers’ sole fixation. Yet we have not gotten any closer to...
  • Trump's tax law, which emphasizes big cuts, especially for corporations and the highest-income earners, will widen the US budget deficit and, in turn, increase the current-account deficit, say critics. Photo: Reuters

    Making America’s deficits great again

    - Jan 16, 2018 9:44am
      US President Donald Trump and congressional Republican allies have succeeded in passing their big tax legislation. While it lacks many of the desirable attributes of true tax reform, it amounts to a success for Trump,...
  • The current good growth news risks obscuring the potential threats stemming from failure to achieve greater inclusiveness. Photo: Bloomberg

    The danger in today’s good economic news

    - Jan 12, 2018 10:19am
      As 2018 begins, things are looking up for the global economy. Over the last six months, growth projections by official institutions like the International Monetary Fund, matched or even exceeded by private forecasts, have been...
  • Looking at the global macro scene, while many oft-cited concerns in 2017 turned out to be unwarranted, it doesn’t mean economic risks have disappeared. Photo: Bloomberg

    Good times at last?

    - Jan 12, 2018 10:05am
      In February 2017, I wrote an optimistic commentary called “The Global Economy’s Surprising Resilience.” The piece came as a surprise to those who saw only bleak prospects for Western countries, not least the United States,...
  • Policy uncertainty in the US is nothing compared to the UK, where businesses face the twin disruptions of Brexit and (potentially) a Labour government led by the far-left Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Bloomberg

    Giddy markets and grim politics

    - Jan 9, 2018 2:07pm
    Economic growth worldwide picked up in 2017, and the best guess is that the global economy will perform strongly in 2018 as well. At the same time, a rising tide of populism and authoritarianism poses a...
  • Workers separate plastic bags from other recyclable materials on a conveyor belt at a recycling center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The world needs plastics that will not only perform well, but will also biodegrade much faster. Photo: Bloomberg

    Better plastics for healthier oceans

    - Jan 8, 2018 10:15am
    Plastics are among the most popular materials in use today. Given the material’s versatility, it is little wonder that some 320 million tons of it are used around the world each year. Indeed, the recent holidays...
  • The expectation that trade would reduce inequality in the countries with the most unskilled workers has not been borne out. Photo: Bloomberg

    Does trade fuel inequality?

    - Jan 3, 2018 9:57am
    Inequality has become a major political preoccupation in the advanced economies – and for good reason. In the United States, according to the recently released World Inequality Report 2018, the share of national income claimed by...
  • Trump's 'tax reform' will lead to a more unequal society, say critics. Photo: Bloomberg

    The US Donor Relief Act of 2017

    - Jan 3, 2018 9:41am
    Never has a piece of legislation labeled as both a tax cut and a reform been received with as much disapproval and derision as the bill passed by the US Congress and signed into law by...

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