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

Daniel Altman, “Get Ready for the Perma-Slump”
(Foreign Policy, June 27, 2014)
One of today’s key questions for economists is whether slower growth reflects a structural shift or simply a long hangover from the Great Recession. The NYU professor remains cautious, but worries about long-term trends slowing growth. In particular: urbanization and technology running out of steam (not everybody will agree!)

Max Nisen, “Here are the countries showing early warning signs for banking crises”
(Quartz, June 30, 2014)
That new banking crises will occur is not an “if”, but a “when”. This short article is based upon the newly published BIS (the central bank for central banks) annual report. It points to worrisome early-warning indicators for a domestic banking crisis. The regions and countries most at risk: Asia (and China in particular), Switzerland, Turkey and Brazil.

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, “China’s unprecedented quest for a peaceful rise”
(South China Morning Post, July 2, 2014)
Jean-Pierre, currently a visiting professor at HK University and NIIT University in Rajasthan, explains why, with no precedent to follow, China’s quest for a peaceful rise to global power status is understandably challenging, both for China itself and other ‘responsible stakeholders’.

Steve Coll, “Citizen Bezos”
(The New York Review of Books, July 10, 2014)
This is a longish (but consistently interesting) review of the just published “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” – a “deeply reported, fiercely independent-minded account of Amazon’s rise”. It is full of interesting insights and anecdotes. A revealing one? Bezos once suggested that Amazon should negotiate with small publishers “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle!”

Olga Khazan, “Burnout – The Enemy of Sleep”
(The Atlantic, July 2, 2014)
In a recent appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Arianna Huffington explained how banishing glowy devices and going to bed earlier changed her life and lead her to pursue much healthier work practices. She gives a few tips, all grounded in neuroscience and the latest findings in medical research. An easy one: have a little silence in your life…