Commentary

Toxic Politics Versus Better Economic's

NEW YORK – The relationship between politics and economics is changing. Advanced-country politicians are locked in bizarre, often toxic, conflicts, instead of acting on a growing economic consensus about how to escape a protracted period of low and unequal growth. This trend must be reversed, before it structurally cripples the advanced world and sweeps up the emerging economies, too.

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Financial Inclusion and Beyond

CAMBRIDGE – Because traditional financial services are not designed for small depositors and borrowers, several non-traditional models have been able to scale up rapidly in this untapped market. But, without a strategic policy roadmap to guide further financial-technology (fintech) development, these new “connector” models will remain limited in terms of the services they can provide.

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Toxic Politics Versus Better Economics

NEW YORK – The relationship between politics and economics is changing. Advanced-country politicians are locked in bizarre, often toxic, conflicts, instead of acting on a growing economic consensus about how to escape a protracted period of low and unequal growth. This trend must be reversed, before it structurally cripples the advanced world and sweeps up the emerging economies, too.

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The US Election and the World

CAIRO – The Republican Party’s candidate for the American presidency, Donald Trump, is clearly not the GOP establishment’s first choice. Even this close to the November 8 election, more than a few prominent Republicans refuse to endorse him, and it goes without saying that Democrats loathe him. He won his party’s nomination because he was by far the most popular choice among Republican primary voters.

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Leading the Future

SAN FRANCISCO – New technologies are emerging so rapidly that we are now having trouble coping with their impact on society. By affecting everything from the nature of work to what it means to be human, technological changes could overwhelm us if we do not collaborate to understand and manage them.

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The Geography of Elections

PARIS – In many countries, where you live tends to be an accurate predictor of what or whom you are voting for. This was most evident in the maps of the electoral geography of voting for “Leave” and “Remain” in the United Kingdom’s June referendum on European Union membership. A similar pattern can be found in the distribution of votes in the 2012 US presidential election or in French support for Marine Le Pen’s National Front in the 2015 regional elections. It is very likely to be found in the United States’ upcoming presidential election. Many citizens live in places where a large share of their neighbors vote the same way they do.

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Returning to Investment

GENEVA – At the G20 summit last month in Hangzhou, China, world leaders outlined an ambitious plan for a “new era of global growth.” But they left out a key ingredient: fixing the investment climate.

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Who Has Space for Renewables?

LONDON – This summer, an electrical power auction in Chile attracted successful bids by wind generators willing to provide electricity at $0.04 per kilowatt hour and solar generators at $0.03 per kwh, easily beating fossil-fuel competitors. That success reflects dramatic cost reductions over the last six years, with the cost of solar power falling about 70% and wind-power costs down more than 30%. Further reductions are inevitable.

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A Virtuous Cycle for Conservation

NEW YORK – Poor and rural people around the world rely on plants and animals for shelter, food, income, and medicine. In fact, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 15) on sustainable ecosystems acknowledges many developing societies’ close relationship with nature when it calls for increased “capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.” But how is this to be achieved?

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Trump’s Magical Economic Thinking

WASHINGTON, DC – Donald Trump has finally put out a detailed economic plan. Authored by Peter Navarro (an economist at the University of California-Irvine) and Wilbur Ross (an investor), the plan claims that a President Trump would boost growth and reduce the national debt. But the plan is based on assumptions so unrealistic that they seem to have come from a different planet. If the United States really did adopt Trump’s plan, the result would be an immediate and unmitigated disaster.

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