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Brexit House of Cards Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Britain’s long-running Brexit saga has thrown up a new argument. Does Prime Minister Boris Johnson have a cunning plan for conjuring up a new and improved exit deal, or is he just dragging the United Kingdom over the “no-deal” cliff edge? The highest court in Scotland has ruled Johnson’s..

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The ECB’s Beggar-thy-Trump Strategy Monday, September 16th, 2019

On September 12, the European Central Bank decided to launch yet another asset-purchase program, with plans to buy €20 billion ($22 billion) in new securities per month for an indefinite period of time, using the same structure as it has in the past. The decision was not made unanimously: the..

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Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq Sunday, September 15th, 2019

The attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia southwest of Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran had a few predictable responses. Given that the facility has a daily output of some 5.7 million barrels, damaging it was bound to cause a spike in the price of..

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The Meritocracy Muddle

If anyone still doubted that we live in a populist era, the surfeit of recent books which aim to make sense of the current moment should settle the matter. If these efforts are not always successful, that is partly because populism itself can be so conceptually slippery. Commentators use it to..

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FALSE PROPAGANDA ABOUT SLOW DOWN OFINDIAN ECONOMY Saturday, September 14th, 2019

During the last few weeks, there have been several “ scholarly” discussions and articles in the media that Indian economy has now slowed down and some of these commentators go to the extent of saying that India is now facing a grim economic crisis that is unlikely to go away in the near..

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India’s Democratic Dictatorship Friday, September 13th, 2019

Amid much fanfare, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has completed a hundred days of its second term. Despite his government’s poor record, Modi remains immensely popular personally. This does not bode well for Indian democracy. The Modi government’s supporters tout a slew of..

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Farewelling Dr No: The Sacking of John Bolton Thursday, September 12th, 2019

It was compelling viewing (one does not so much read Twitter as see it as a series of violent flashes). John Bolton, the armed-and-ready national security adviser who has been tiring of the US President’s jerks and adjustments, had floated the prospect of resignation. “I offered to resign last..

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Is Arab Unity Dead?

Historically, the task of promoting multilateralism in the Middle East has rested with two institutions: the League of Arab States, a broad alliance for collaboration on political, economic, and cultural issues, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which deals mainly with economic matters...

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Preventing Cold War II Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

When world leaders gather in New York later this month for the annual United Nations General Assembly meetings, they will have much to discuss besides climate change and sustainable development. In particular, the escalating superpower rivalry between the United States and China poses a growing..

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Should We Worry About Income Gaps Within or Between Countries? Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

At the beginning of classes every autumn, I tease my students with the following question: Is it better to be poor in a rich country or rich in a poor country? The question typically invites considerable and inconclusive debate. But we can devise a more structured and limited version of the..

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What Economists Still Need to Learn Monday, September 9th, 2019

Macroeconomics was one of the casualties of the 2008 global financial crisis. Conventional macroeconomic models failed to predict the calamity or to provide a coherent explanation for it, and thus were unable to offer guidance on how to repair the damage. Despite this, much of the profession..

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Boris Johnson Trips: Duvets, Toothbrushes and the House of Lords Sunday, September 8th, 2019

In 2017, MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory creature trapped in cold storage, suggested that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union was tantamount to fighting the battles of Agincourt, Waterloo and Trafalgar, a true statement of British strength. (Much inconsistency there, but let him ride with it.)..

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Robert Mugabe’s Legacy: Revolution, Amity and Decline Saturday, September 7th, 2019

Robert Mugabe is the sort of figure that always caused discomfort. He was a permanent revolutionary, becoming, in time, the despotic ruler who frittered away revolutionary gain. He played multiple roles in international political consciousness. As Zimbabwe’s strongman, he was demonised and..

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The Rule of Lawyers

Law professors are apparently chafing at the confines of traditional law and economics, an academic subfield that emerged when intermediate-level microeconomics was imported wholesale into law. Proponents of law and economics largely succeeded in displacing previous, ethics-based modes of..

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The Biomedicine Threat

Biomedical advances in recent decades have been hugely beneficial – most of all for the world’s poor, whose life expectancy has increased dramatically. But the future looks more dangerous. Although continued innovation will further improve people’s lives, it will also give rise to new..

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The Courage of Saying No: Children, Rebellion and Greta Thunberg Thursday, September 5th, 2019

There is something to be said of wariness when it comes to revolutionary voices. As Albert Camus argued in that beautiful tract of illumination and contradiction, The Rebel, “All modern revolutions have ended in the reinforcement of the power of the state.” But he also argued that humankind..

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How China Can Reach its Centennial Goal Monday, October 14th, 2019

Two years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that by the time the People’s Republic celebrates its centenary in 2049, it should be a “great modern socialist..

The Insanity of Austerity Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Significant protest by Tibetans at Chennai Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Europe Needs a Serious Nuclear-Energy Debate Saturday, October 12th, 2019

The Climate Kids Are Right Friday, October 11th, 2019