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Weekly selection
5 October 2018

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

  • Michael Spence, “The Restructuring of the World”

    (Project Syndicate - 27 September 2018)

    The Nobel laureate in economics offers a useful framework to think about the changes engulfing the world. He says that trade protectionism, together with fears over the geopolitical implications of technological development, are contributing to a balkanization of the world. In short: the world is heading towards greater fragmentation. The crucial dynamic that will shape every part of the global economy in the coming decades is the strategic rivalry between China and the US (reads in 5-6 min).

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  • Noah Smith, “The Biggest Risk That Markets Ignore”

    (Bloomberg - 4 October 2018)

    The odds of an accidental clash (like a small, indecisive conflict between warships in the South China Sea) between the US and China are not insignificant; and the argument that the countries are too economically dependent on each other to go to war doesn’t hold (so were Britain and Germany on the eve of WWI). No one can tell whether a war is likely, but some suggest that a conflict of some sort between the two is inevitable. If it takes place, the global-trade regime as we know it will come to an end, with supply chains across the world unwinding rapidly and painfully (reads in 5-6 min).

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  • Robert Kagan, “‘America First’ Has Won”

    (The New York Times - metered paywallk - 24 September 2018)

    This is a must-read to understand why Trump’s foreign policy is here to stay. The author of “The Jungle Grows Back; America and Our Imperiled World” affirms that the three pillars of Trump’s ideology — isolationism, protectionism and restricting immigration — were gaining popularity before he became president and will probably outlast his tenure (reads in 6-7 min).

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  • Carl Bildt, “The Case Against Climate Despair”

    (Project Syndicate - 24 September 2018)

    The growing severity and frequency of extreme-weather events suggests that climate scientists' nightmare scenarios must now be taken seriously. Fortunately, says the former policy-maker, rapid advances are being made in clean-energy technology and carbon-neutral forms of living. Research shows progress in the use of non-fossil-fuel technologies is advancing not just linearly, but exponentially (reads in 6-7 min).

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  • Dean Keith Simonton, “Your IQ Matters Less Than You Think”

    (Nautilus - 4 October 2018)

    This is an excerpt from “The Genius Checklist”, just published by MIT Press. In studies of children and historical figures, IQ falls short as a measure of success. Simply put: intelligence is not a determining factor in those who make it and those who don’t (reads in 9-11 min).

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