Tag Archives: Super regions

Development, self-interest, and the countries left behind

By Sarah Bermeo – The self-interest of developed countries affected policy on foreign aid, trade agreements, and even climate finance, as I argue in my new book, Targeted Development.

Targeting foreign aid to areas where potential spillovers to the donor are high is not only the practice of great powers.

Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland have all favored more proximate countries in the post-2001 period—when you control for measures of need such as income, disasters, and civil war.

For Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden, aid is also associated with bilateral migrant flows.

The more a donor imports from a developing country, the higher aid flows are to that country; this is especially true for Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

For states not targeted, however, the picture is bleak.

Where migration—and hence remittances—is low, foreign aid will also be low. When foreign aid is low, the chances of being granted preferential access to wealthy country markets is lower too.

Where geographic distance is great, economic engagement will lag behind. more>

Updates from Ciena

12 Mind-Blowing Data Center Facts You Need to Know
Ciena – How big has the data center monster become? Here are 12 fascinating facts about data centers that just may blow your mind.

  1. There are over 7,500 data centers worldwide, with over 2,600 in the top 20 global cities alone, and data center construction will grow 21% per year through 2018.
  2. By 2020, at least 1/3 of all data will pass through the cloud.
  3. With just over 300 locations (337 to be exact), London, England has the largest concentration of data centers in any given city across the globe. 
  4. California has the largest concentration of data centers in the U.S. with just over 300 locations.

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Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

By Maria Bafaloukou – The European Union’s fundamental goal, projected in the Lisbon Treaty, was to create a “social market economy” with a clear commitment to full employment, social protection, and effective anti-poverty policy. Although principles such as non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality are referred to in Article 1a (Treaty on European Union), the EU’s social status has been seriously undervalued during times of crisis.

The European commitment to social rights is essentially rhetorical in nature, being through the years the Achilles heel of “Social Europe”. On that basis, the political and economic conditions may be propitious to reversing the downturn of the social rights.

Given that the ultra-critical UK is no longer an “antagonist” of Social Europe owing to the recent Brexit vote, concrete measures via the ESPR could erode the economic and social divergences between Member States that have put Europe’s political cohesion at risk. Finally, this and the threat posed by the rise of extreme-right parties should motivate Europe to rethink its geopolitical role – and, indeed, its very nature. more>

The Trump Factor and US Foreign Policy

By Joschka Fischer – All told, the White House “adults in uniform” – Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, and Chief of Staff John Kelly – have ensured continuity in US foreign policy. And the same seems to be true for economic and trade policy.

Does that mean the world can rest easy? Of course not. There is still a big question mark hovering over US foreign policy in the form of Trump himself. It is entirely unclear what the president wants, what he actually knows, and what his advisers are and are not telling him. A coherent foreign policy may not withstand Trump’s mood swings and spontaneous decisions.

Making matters worse, the administration’s shrinking of the US State Department has weakened the institutional base for implementing official foreign policy to an almost mission-critical degree.

The US is still the world’s foremost power, and it plays an indispensable role in preserving global norms.

If America’s policies are difficult to predict, and if Trump’s behavior undermines the reliability of the US government, the international order will be vulnerable to immense turmoil. more>

When exponential innovation meets the infancy of “Industry X.0”


Accenture – With everything from agriculture to aeronautics in the midst of paradigm shift, a cautious approach to adopting new technologies simply can’t keep pace.

Nor will adopting just one innovation suffice. Effective adaptation almost always involves a combination of innovations working together: a dash of machine learning here, a sprinkle of automation there.

As Accenture Chief Strategy Officer Omar Abbosh describes: “You’re combining a series of innovations, one on the back of the next, to do something fundamentally different… You’ve all heard about Big Data and artificial intelligence and internet of things… They are all very meaningful in their own right, but when they come together they can have a massive impact on business and society.”

The benefits of combination abound. For example, amalgamating just five technologies—autonomous robots, AI, 3D printing, big data, and blockchain—could save industrial-equipment companies a total of $1.6 billion. more>

Why Don’t Free Markets Always Work?

By Peter Pham – Free markets are not always safe. If a state-run economy implements the free market, then it usually goes head over heels, and may even crash.

Over the last ten years, China’s state-controlled economy has been alleviating capital controls and freeing its market. Will the 1997 Asian financial crisis repeat itself?

After WW2 ended, savings and investment rates in most Asian nations were between 30 to 50 percent. That means governments were able to allocate as much funds as they pleased.

Japan, South Korea and other Northeast Asian countries preferred to invest in Asian Capital Development (ACD), where governments protect and control certain industries.

They funneled credit to sectors that are less profitable (in the short-run) such as agriculture and export-oriented manufacturing. The goal was to slowly and surely develop human capital. This process gave birth to globally competitive companies and increased foreign exchange reserves. more>

The end of liberal international order?

By G. John Ikenberry – No one can be sure how deep the crisis of liberal internationalism runs. In what follows, I argue that, despite its troubles, liberal internationalism still has a future. The American hegemonic organization of liberal order is weakening, but the more general organizing ideas and impulses of liberal internationalism run deep in world politics.

What liberal internationalism offers is a vision of open and loosely rules-based order. It is a tradition of order-building that emerged with the rise and spread of liberal democracy, and its ideas and agendas have been shaped as these countries have confronted and struggled with the grand forces of modernity.

Creating an international ‘space’ for liberal democracy, reconciling the dilemmas of sovereignty and interdependence, seeking protections and preserving rights within and between states—these are the underlying aims that have propelled liberal internationalism through the ‘golden eras’ and ‘global catastrophes’ of the last two centuries.

Despite the upheavals and destruction of world war, economic depression, and the rise and fall of fascism and totalitarianism, the liberal international project survived. It is likely to survive today’s crises as well. But to do so this time, as it has done in the past, liberal internationalism will need to be rethought and reinvented. more>

Can capitalism be saved from itself?

By Homi Kharas – 2018 may yet turn out to be the year when a great battle of ideas takes place between those who argue for unfettered markets and those who would try to save capitalism from itself.

The first battle is about getting prices right. Capitalism is a great engine, but the road it takes is signposted by prices.

Get the prices wrong and the engine moves fast but in the wrong direction. And, going into 2018, many prices are wrong.

A few examples: the price of carbon, the price of dumping plastic into oceans, and the price of unpaid family care. As a broad proposition, there is a paradox in our system; in most countries, labor is taxed and fossil fuels are subsidized, while politicians and citizens in these countries insist they want more jobs and less pollution. With carbon emissions rising to record levels and employment rates falling, the price distortions are taking a toll.

In 2017 alone, natural disasters cost America $306 billion—almost equal to what economic growth last year added to GDP ($364 billion).

The second battle is around competition. Capitalism delivers for society as a whole when there is strong competition. It delivers for individual companies and their shareholders when competition is weak.

Today’s economies are seeing more concentration. In the U.S., 75 percent of industries have become more concentrated over the past two decades, generating abnormal returns. With more companies enjoying economic rents from patent and copyright returns, competition is becoming harder to achieve and winner-take-all companies are emerging.

Individual countries are unlikely to drive systemic change—this is a case where collective action on a negotiated path forward is most desirable. Yet wholesale change is also the least likely scenario. more>

Restoring Social Cohesion: A Project For 2018 And Beyond

By Michael D. Higgins – Addressing the changes and the fracture in the relationship between the citizen and society has been a matter of great importance for me throughout my Presidency.

It is a relationship that was fraying long before the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, but it has markedly lost cohesion in these last ten years, aggravated by a global macro-economic policy response that saw the losses in so many economics socialized while the gains of the financial sector were not just privatized, but concentrated at the peak of the wealth and income pyramid. Unprecedented programs of austerity became mainstream for citizens and countries reeling from the consequences of an era characterized by a new form of lightly regulated speculative capital.

The transition, in its day, between The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) of Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations (1776) drew a more extensive debate in the eighteenth century than the changes in contemporary international economies, that are in our time presented as near inevitable, and that are being delivered as their sole policy choice to publics suffering the burden of what Pope Francis has called a ‘plague of indifference’. This includes not just the authors of policies but weary publics that are looking away, averting their gaze from deepening inequalities, the welfare of workers, the plight of migrants. He was referring to publics that, in the absence of technical literacy, felt they could not initiate change, were forced to accept what was socially damaging as ‘inevitable’.

The persistence of a failure to critique or challenge a political economy which maintains and even deepens existing inequalities of income, wealth, power and opportunity within societies and between nation-states is eroding social cohesion. more>

Online giants must accept responsibility for impacts on the physical world

By Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton, and Sifan Liu – Despite record profits, these are tough times for Big Tech. In 2017, the industry and society each began to realize the full ambiguity of tech’s transformations of the wider world.

To be sure, many of the era’s disconcerting tech-related mega-trends have tangled origins and predate the current “digitalization of everything” quantified in our recent report.

Yet as tech columnist Farhad Manjoo has noted, the rise of the giant tech platforms has now been linked to a long list of troubling developments (along with the creation of much value).

These developments range from such online concerns as fake news, online echo chambers, and addictive product design to broader analog challenges such as the rise of inequality, the hollowing out of the job distribution, and the spread of the gig economy and automation.

Last year, Elise Giannone demonstrated that the divergence of cities’ wages since 1980—after decades of convergence—reflects a mix of technology’s increased rewards to highly skilled tech workers and local industry clustering. more>