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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NEW YORK – ExxonMobil’s current business strategy is a danger to its shareholders and the world. We were reminded of this once again in a report of the National Petroleum Council’s Arctic Committee, chaired by ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. The report calls on the US government to proceed with Arctic drilling for oil and gas – without mentioning the consequences for climate change.
CAMBRIDGE – Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality. Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries?
PARIS – Since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, governments in advanced countries have been under significant pressure. In many countries, tax receipts abruptly collapsed when the economy contracted, income dwindled, and real-estate transactions came to a halt. The fall in tax revenues was in most cases sudden, deep, and lasting. Governments had no choice but to raise taxes or to adjust to leaner times.
PARIS – It is Boston, July 2004. The setting is a downtown restaurant to which the editor Tina Brown has invited Hillary Clinton and a handful of notables, including Caroline Kennedy, filmmaker Michael Moore, and former Senator George McGovern. What is immediately striking is Clinton’s youthful appearance, bright laugh, and blue eyes that appear a little too round when she gazes at us with curiosity.
WASHINGTON, DC – It is impossible to deny that trade and exchange rates are closely linked. But does that mean that international trade agreements should include provisions governing national policies that affect currency values?