WASHINGTON, DC – When Pope Francis visited Latin America in July, he made an impassioned plea for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the people who live there. “Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity,” he told activists gathered in Bolivia for the World Meeting of Popular Movements. “Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin.”
SAN FRANCISCO – Nearly 30 years ago, the economists Robert Solow and Stephen Roach caused a stir when they pointed out that, for all the billions of dollars being invested in information technology, there was no evidence of a payoff in productivity.
PARIS – When Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, recently tabled the option of a Greek exit from the euro, he wanted to signal that no member could abstain from the monetary union’s strict disciplines. In fact, his initiative triggered a much broader discussion of the principles underpinning the euro, its governance, and the very rationale for its existence.
SYDNEY – On a recent 14.5-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, I had time to read the columnist Charles Krauthammer’s collection of essays, Things that Matter. It made for a disturbing flight.
ATHENS – The point of restructuring debt is to reduce the volume of new loans needed to salvage an insolvent entity. Creditors offer debt relief to get more value back and to extend as little new finance to the insolvent entity as possible.
BERKELEY – Back in the early days of the ongoing economic crisis, I had a line in my talks that sometimes got applause, usually got a laugh, and always gave people a reason for optimism. Given the experience of Europe and the United States in the 1930s, I would say, policymakers would not make the same mistakes as their predecessors did during the Great Depression. This time, we would make new, different, and, one hoped, lesser mistakes.
NEW YORK – The accord struck in Vienna to rein in Iran’s nuclear activities has warmongers fulminating. Citizens worldwide should support US President Barack Obama’s brave effort to outmaneuver them, taking heart from the fact that the signatories include not just the United States, but all five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
LONDON – This December, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where they will attempt – yet again – to hammer out a global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
WASHINGTON, DC/MOSCOW – Four years ago, a devastating tsunami crashed into the coast of Japan. Fifty-foot waves breached the seawall of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, cutting off its emergency power supply and disabling its cooling systems.
OTTAWA – The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December will feature all the tightly choreographed production values of a Hollywood blockbuster. The cast will be huge: presidents and prime ministers at center stage, supported by thousands of extras, including protesters, riot police, and busloads of media. The script may still be under wraps, but the plot has already leaked: This time, in sharp contrast to the failed negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, the planet is going to win.