Commentary

The Old New Financial Risk

WASHINGTON, DC – The main financial risk facing the United States today looks very similar to what caused so much trouble in 2007-2008: big banks with too much debt and too little equity capital on their balance sheets. Uneven global regulations, not to mention regulators who fall asleep at the wheel, compound this structural vulnerability.

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A Global Marshall Plan

ROME – Despite ongoing efforts to catalyze global development cooperation, there have been significant obstacles to progress in recent years.

Fortunately, with major international meetings set for the second half of 2015, world leaders have an important opportunity to overcome them.

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Climate Change and the Catholic Church

ROME – Pope Francis is calling on the world to take action against global warming, and many conservatives in the United States are up in arms. 

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Escaping the Middle East’s Violence Trap

OXFORD – The Arab world and its neighbors are stuck in a violence trap. The fighting in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, together with the predations of groups like the Islamic State, is destroying the economic links needed to ensure long-term political stability.

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The Health Benefits of Fighting Climate Change

LIMA – Governments often see climate change as too costly to address. In fact, it is too costly to ignore. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO), for example, has linked the prevention of disastrous climate change to “immediate health benefits and health cost savings” from the reduction of air pollution.

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The Case for Peace With Iran

NEW YORK – The nuclear framework agreement between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia) plus Germany is an important achievement in global diplomacy.

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Smokeless China

BEIJING – In a few weeks, Beijing will implement a city-wide ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces, such as restaurants and offices, as well as on tobacco advertising outdoors, on public transportation, and in most forms of media.

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Western Politics’ Locust Years

NEW YORK – Since my teenage years, I have been fascinated by the permutations and machinations of national politics. Today, I find myself focusing on broader political trends that also help to explain global economic issues.

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Money for Nothing

BRUSSELS – The developed world seems to be moving toward a long-term zero-interest-rate environment. Though the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the eurozone have kept central-bank policy rates at zero for several years already, the perception that this was a temporary aberration meant that medium- to long-term rates remained substantial. But this may be changing, especially in the eurozone.

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Reversing Africa’s Medical Brain Drain

OXFORD – There is understandable consternation over Uganda’s plan to send almost 300 health workers to Trinidad and Tobago. The plan reportedly includes four of Uganda’s 11 registered psychiatrists, 20 of its 28 radiologists, and 15 of its 92 pediatricians. In return, the Caribbean country (which has a doctor-to-patient ratio 12 times higher than Uganda’s) will help Uganda exploit its recently discovered oil fields.

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