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Weekly selection
2 September 2017

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

  • Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng, “Barbarians at the Monetary Gate”

    (Project Syndicate - 30 August 2017)

    The two academics / policy-makers argue that digital currencies (over which policymakers and regulators have little control) could further destabilize an already-tenuous leverage- and liquidity-based system. In their opinion, the danger of crypto-currencies extends beyond facilitation of illegal activities. Unlike conventional currencies, they also have no corresponding liability, meaning that there is no institution like a central bank with a vested interest in sustaining their value (reads in 5-7 min).

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  • Nicholas Miller and Vipin Narang, “How North Korea Shocked the Nuclear Experts”

    (Politico Magazine - 26 August 2017)

    This article inverses the common perspective by asking: if an impoverished dictatorship like North Korea can build a nuclear weapon against the will of the world, who can’t? The country has defied the experts about proliferation and shown that: (1) a poor state can build a bomb; (2) Dictators can manage complex projects; (3) Vulnerable states cannot be easily deterred or denied (reads in 7-8 min).

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  • Jamie Bartlett, “The Next Wave of Extremism Will Be Green”

    (Foreign Policy - metered paywall - 1 September 2017)

    This article is an important warning for many industries and companies. The author of "Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World" predicts that militant environmentalism is coming and that we aren’t ready for it. He offers examples to show that radical environmentalism is not new, but we are now at a stage where climate activism is about to radicalize.  For those who know where to look, growing radicalism in green circles is already there (reads in 6-8 min).

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  • Yasmeen Serhan, “Will Brexit Lead to a 'Brexodus'?”

    (The Atlantic - 30 August 2017)

    Among the myriad of unexpected or unintended consequences of Brexit, net migration is one of the most potentially significant. The difference between those entering the UK and those leaving it fell by nearly a quarter, from 327,000 last year to 246,000 this year. The UK has yet to leave the EU, but some Europeans have started leaving the UK. This is a worrisome development that will adversely impact the British economy (reads in 5-7 min).

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  • David Gershghorn, “The age of AI surveillance is coming”

    (Quartz - 27 August 2017)

    … much faster and will be further reaching than we imagined.  Thanks to deep learning, the tools for identifying who we are and what we’re doing across video and images are evermore sophisticated. Facial recognition systems are rapidly growing in complexity, efficiency and scale (this article offers many examples). The possibility of a dystopian future à la 1984 exists… (reads in 4-6 min).

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