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The world’s most under-achieving countries

This week I’m reading Duncan Green’s book How Change Happens, and in one section he talks about a campaigning politician in a place where change isn’t happening. It’s one of just three countries in the world that failed to achieve a single one of the Millennium Development Goals. I wonder if you can guess what […]

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Let’s talk about China

China’s role in global climate change is a contentious one. For years it’s been seen as carbon enemy number one, the careless coal consumer condemning us all to climate catastrophe. It was mostly China that scuppered the Copenhagen talks in 2009, and it is generally accepted that it will be impossible to stop runaway climate […]

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The planet’s four quadrants

Last week I reviewed Paul Collier’s book The Plundered Planet, and I mentioned that he often has useful shorthand ways of explaining things. One of them that appears in the book is the four quadrants. The world has just short of 200 nation states, but Collier suggests you can divide them into four rough quarters: […]

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Global inequality is an opportunity too

It’s 2016, and after decades of growth, the global economy stands at over $70 trillion. If that was divided evenly and distributed to every working person in the world, you’d get an income just short of $32,000. But of course that’s not how it works. In reality, half the world’s population gets by on less […]

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rise and fall of nations

The Rise and Fall of Nations, by Ruchir Sharma

Ruchir Sharma is Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist at Morgan Stanley. His job is to watch global trends, looking for sound investments – which countries are growing or likely to grow in the short term, and which ones are on the verge of decline? When is growth sound and sustainable, and when […]

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Why I’ll be voting to remain in the EU

The world in the 21st century is smaller than it was. We are more connected than ever before, in so many ways. Just in the course of this morning, I have engaged with a host of international networks. Breakfast involved global trade, particularly the coffee from Ethiopia. Here I am working on a laptop made […]

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The many faces of the new economy

In a recent article in Stir to Action magazine I came across a list of titles the new economy might be found under. I won’t type the word ‘economy’ after all of them, but it included the ‘caring economy, sharing economy, provisioning, restorative, regenerative, sustaining, collaborative, solidarity, steady-state, gift, resilient, participatory, the new economy.’ To […]

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What are we scared of?

There’s a fascinating survey out from the Pew Research Centre this morning. They’ve asked over 45,000 people in 40 countries how concerned they were about a range of international issues. Here are the top concerns in the participating countries: There’s a lot to explore in this map. Many countries have an obvious vulnerability and are […]

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jlr solar roof

The economics of clean energy in poor countries

A few years ago, one of the most common arguments against climate change action was that renewable energy was uneconomic. We couldn’t afford it. And if we couldn’t afford it, neither could emerging economies. They would push ahead with coal power and make our carbon cutting irrelevant – so why bother? That’s an argument that […]

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emissions imports

EU emissions – decoupling or outsourcing?

Over the couple of decades, the EU’s carbon emissions have fallen, with some countries reporting fairly significant declines. This is what was hoped for, and indeed promised, through the Kyoto Agreement. As the world meets again to try to come to a new international climate agreement, the EU will be keen to champion its successes. […]

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