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

Raghuram Rajan, “Containing Competitive Monetary Easing”
(Project Syndicate, April 28, 2014)
This is an article based on a speech that the governor of the Reserve Bank of India gave on the fringe of the IMF / WB Spring Meeting. It made a big impact. Rajan essentially argues that “competitive” monetary easing in rich countries – most notably in the US – has negative spillover effects in most emerging economies. In his view, in a world with weak aggregate demand, this amounts to “a futile competition for a greater share of it”.

Philippe Legrain, “Investors Are Ignoring Eurozone Risks”
(Financial Times, April 30, 2014 – metered paywall)
Philippe Legrain, a former advisor to President Barroso who just authored ‘European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right’, argues that the recent rally n peripheral bond yields is now reaching bubble proportions. He presents in this short article the arguments that underpin his conviction.

Sebastian Buckup, “Is Innovation Exploding or Expiring?”
(Techonomy, April 30, 2014)
A sharp and crisp review of the current literature on whether innovation will deliver on its promises. Sebastian explores the two main narratives on innovation: one that portrays “a civilization that has run out of big ideas”; and the opposite one that “suggests we are on the brink of a new industrial revolution”. Useful links and references throughout.

Nikhil Sonnad, “Is Your Job At Risk From Robot Labor?”
(Quartz, April 29, 2014)
This is an interactive map that tells you what is the probability that your job will be automated in the years to come. It is based on an in-depth scholarly piece of research (The Future of Employment – with link). Two main insights: (1) some industries are safe from robotisation, (2) a low median wage doesn’t necessarily mean that robots will make the corresponding human jobs obsolete.

Shane Harris, “Meet the Fed’s First Line of Defence Against Cyber Attacks”
(Foreign Policy, April 28, 2014)
This is a piece that sheds some light on the secretive group of about 100 employees – the National Incident Response Team – whose job is to prevent intruders from breaking into Fed computer networks and money transfer systems. These people constitute the first line of defense of the US central banking system against a possible cyber-attack.