5 insightful op-eds or articles to help make sense of today’s world

Nouriel Roubini, “The Great Backlash”
(Project Syndicate, May 31, 2014)
In this short column, the economist / pundit argues that the backlash against globalization – and the freer movement of goods, services, capital, labor, and technology that came with it – has arrived and takes many different forms, ranging from trade barriers to resource nationalism. He worries that if income and job growth do not pick up soon, populist parties and nationalism will rise inexorably.

Daniel Altman, “Where to Invest Around the World”
(Foreign Policy, May 29, 2014)
This is the second edition of the Baseline Profitability Index – yet another index! This one looks at how eight different factors might affect foreign direct investment – a kind of holistic approach to forecasting investment returns. Botswana comes first! As a whole, Sub-Sahara Africa and East Asia perform well.

Kenneth Rogoff, “Paper Money is Unfit for a World of High Crime and Low Inflation”
(Financial Times, May 28, 2014)
The Harvard economist proposes to abolish physical currency. In his opinion, the adoption of electronic money would achieve two valuable objectives. (1) It would eliminate the zero bound on policy interest rates that has handcuffed central banks since the financial crisis; (2) It would address the concern that a significant fraction of banknotes appears to be used to facilitate tax evasion and illegal activity.

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, “The Global Pivot to China”
(Yale Global, May 27, 2014)
As China rises to prominence and becomes more assertive, Jean-Pierre’s article does a great job at explaining why Asia Pacific is both a center of bustling potential, but also of security pitfalls.

Special Report: “The Future We Deserve”
(IEEE Spectrum, June 2014)
Not our traditional article as this is the content of the entire magazine! Even if we don’t know precisely what the next 50 years will bring, we have a reasonable idea of what will be possible. The link presents scenarios for eight of the most promising of today’s technologies, ranging from the end of disability to completely new forms of entertainment.