12 May 2017

5 insightful op-eds or articles to help make sense of today’s world

  • Tyler Cowen, “Reasons to Like the Euro Again”

    (Bloomberg View - 9 May 2017)

    We appreciate this piece because we never stopped liking the €, even though it felt pretty lonely when in 2011 – 2012 we stuck to our guns that it would not disintegrate. The author of “Average Is Over” argues that France's vote is the latest sign that the currency's future looks better than its past. He emphasizes the geopolitical importance of the psychological tie resulting from the currency adoption and makes a critical point that is rarely mentioned: the changing nature of international trade is lowering the benefits from flexible exchange rates (reads in 6-6 min).

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  • Bruno Caprettini and Joachim Voth, “Rage against the machines: New technology and violent unrest in industrialising Britain”

    (VOXeu - 10 May 2017)

    This piece of research describes how labour-saving technology played a key role in one of the most dramatic cases of labour unrest in recent history: the Swing riots in England during the 1830s. It serves as a powerful reminder of how technological disruption can entail social and economic disruption. The point to remember: there is a causal connection between the introduction of new technologies and social unrest (reads in 7-9 min).

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  • Chandran Nair, “After 50 years of progress, it's time for ASEAN's next economic revolution”

    (World Economic Forum - 10 May 2017)

    Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France will reignite interest in regional integration. In the Western world, we think of the EU, but in this short (5-6 min read) piece, the founder of the Global Institute for Tomorrow reminds us that there is another, larger regional union.  ASEAN constitutes a group of 10 member states with a combined GDP of $2.6 trillion (2014) and a population almost twice that of the EU, soon expected to reach about 800 million. The article neatly delineates ASEAN’s achievements and challenges.

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  • Robert Mickey, Steven Levitsky, Lucas Way, “Is America Still Safe for Democracy?”

    (Foreign Affairs (metered paywall) - 31 May 2017)

    The three political scientists explain why the US is in danger of democratic backsliding that could happen through a series of little-noticed, incremental steps, most of which are legal and appear innocuous. They argue that the Trump presidency could push the country into a mild form of what they call “competitive authoritarianism”—a system in which meaningful democratic institutions exist yet the government abuses state power to disadvantage its opponents (reads in 6-8 min).

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  • Carol Cadwalladr, “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked”

    (The Guardian - 7 May 2017)

    This article reads like a thrilling detective story, exposing how a shadowy global operation that involved the capabilities of artificial intelligence, some billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign succeeded in influencing the result of the EU referendum. This article begs the question as to whether the electoral process remains fit for purpose if it can so easily be skewed (reads in 8-10 min).

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