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Thierry is a former top executive for the World Economic Forum (WEF) that organizes the Davos Conference. He has also served as Chief Economist and Strategist for Alfa Bank managing a team of experts for capital markets in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Thierry has also served with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was a resident fellow with the Institute of East-West Security Studies, and was assigned to the Office of the Prime Minister of France between 1988-’90. Thierry has a doctoral degree in economics from Oxford University.

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

Michael Spence and David Brady, “Politics-proof economies”
(Project Syndicate, March 18, 2014)
The Nobel laureate in economics and a professor of political science argue that there is little correlation between a country’s relative economic performance and the “functionality” of its government. They base their assertion on the US example, claiming that the country is clearly not paying a high price for political dysfunction. In their opinion, what accounts for the US economy’s relatively good performance is its underlying structural flexibility. They also draw lessons for Europe.

George Magnus, “China’s financial distress turns all too visible”
(Financial Times, March 19, 2014 – metered paywall)
The much-respected economist explains why China’s current problems will end up having deflationary consequences for the rest of the world. He highlights a complex chain of causations, ranging from excess capacity to debt service problems. To sum it up in the simplest possible manner: “what China gave producers and miners on the way up, it is taking away as the commodity composition and intensity of GDP growth tail off.”

James Surowiecki, “The dismal art”
(Democracy – A Journal of Ideas, Spring 2014)
A review of “Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters” by the author of “The Wisdom of the Crowd”. Surowiecki enumerates the reasons why economic forecasting, while becoming increasingly sophisticated, remains “so bad at it”! Ideology (in particular the belief that markets self-correct), the “like-the-past” fallacy, too much information, increasing complexity – all these play a role…

Moises Naim, “The (Fake) Conspiracy to Overthrow the World’s Autocrats”
(The Atlantic, March 14, 2014)
Moises connects the dots between the Ukrainian crisis with what’s happening in Turkey, Venezuela and some other places. Putin, Erdoğan, Maduro: they all believe that a vast international conspiracy, engineered by NGOs and activists with the support of foreign intelligence services, is at play to oust them from power. In Moises’ own experience, this is not true; the real threat for these regimes comes from the forces fighting for democracy in their countries.

Jeremy Rifkin, “The rise of anti-capitalism”
(The New York Times, March 15, 2014 – metered paywall)
The pundit who just authored “The Zero Marginal Cost Society” argues that the technological revolution that is bringing marginal costs to near zero has far-reaching implications. As we enter a “zero-marginal-cost-economy” (in part thanks to the “Internet of things”), he says that a collaborative rather than a capitalistic approach will prevail. Shared access will matter more than private ownership. The capitalist system will “remain with us far into the future, albeit in a more streamlined role, primarily as an aggregator of network services and solutions”.