Global Challenges

  • The WEC members are meeting, but will it matter?

    Meeting in Davos, and Missing the Point

    The World Economic Forum is underway in Davos.  The global capital markets are off to one of their worst years ever.  The threat of terrorism hangs over us like the Sword of Damocles while GDP growth, except in a few countries, is not keeping pace with population growth. 

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  • Current global crises can be though of with the acronym SHOE.

    World Crises a Really Big S.H.O.E.

    The weak growth, large output gap, low return on capital, and a host of other economic malaise are widely recognized.  There seem to be two main schools.  One is associated with Reinhart and Rogoff.    They argue that "this time is not different" and that much of disappointment with economic performances is what one should expect given the end of a historic credit cycle and debt crisis.

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  • Minimize your Earthly impact this holiday season.

    Enjoy an Environmentally-Friendly Christmas This Year

    Our impact on the environment might not be at the forefront of our minds during the rush of the Christmas festive season. We might be far more worried about our light wallets from the expected pile of presents and massive food feast. Many of us are concerned about just getting through it.

    However, the consumer madness of late December is the perfect time to ponder the consequences of our habits and excesses. Christmas is probably the most extravagant of our Western celebrations.

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  • The consensus on climate change reached in Paris is fragile at best.

    Finding a Consensus by Degree

    Today, almost 200 nations have united in a global agreement on global change. However, the efforts of a few can still undermine the hopes of the many.

    After the 1992 Kyoto Protocol, it took almost a quarter of a century to achieve the Paris accord. . For the first time, it obligates both advanced nations as well as emerging and developing economies into reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Long-term challenges

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  • Paris is labeled a soft climate agreement, but it is better than none at all.

    Can You Feel the (Climate) Love Tonight?

    The Paris climate talks have been heralded as a historic deal. However, while they have been praised for the very feat of reaching an agreement and for setting an ambitious aim to keep warming below 2℃ and endeavouring to limit it to 1.5℃, the agreement has been criticised for being weak. In terms of achieving the 1.5℃ limit, it is up to the states themselves to change their behaviour and they can pull out of the agreement at any point. This, however, might not be such a bad thing.

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  • A claimed territorial caliphate likely means enduring conflict without resolve.

    Whom Do You Call to Talk to ISIL?

    While the brutal expansion of the Islamic State of Levant (ISIL) has triggered great fears in popular imagination, Dr. Steinbock says that the ISIL’s — and its potential successors’ — claim to a territorial caliphate is likely to pose enduring economic, political and strategic challenges to the international community. 

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  • Arguments are mounting over loss and damage due to climate change.

    Migration, Displacement and Human Mobility and Our Future

    One possible future – a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it. Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.

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  • There is a strong correlation between good health and income equality.

    Income Equality Equals Good Health among G20 Countries

    The G20 leader’s summit took place in November in Istanbul, Turkey. The emphasis of Turkey’s G20 presidency this year is on “inclusive and robust global growth.” Turkey recognizes inequality as a major problem within countries as well as across national borders and stresses the need for reducing inequality in order to achieve mutual growth.

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  • China's security role in Asia is evolving and growing.

    China's Rise Entails New Regional Security Costs and Benefits

    Recent tensions over maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea have highlighted the lack of consensus over the existing security order in Asia. Understanding China’s perception of the Asian security order is crucial to find innovative policy solutions to enhance security cooperation. So how does China conceptualise the current security order and what do we know of its vision for the future?

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  • Poverty measurement is becoming more country-specific.

    The Income Elasticity of Poverty

    Development researchers cover many dimensions when discussing poverty in developing countries. Numerous studies have focused on the size of the response of the poverty rate to growth of real per capita income, usually stated in terms of income or growth elasticity of poverty. However, almost all these studies consider the global or regional magnitude of the elasticity, overlooking cross-country variations in the response of poverty to income growth.

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