Learning Lessons from Crisis

“Just two days after Haiti’s earthquake, Leonel Fernández, the president of the neighbouring Dominican Republic, ordered a helicopter to fly him over the border for an unannounced visit. He was worried that his Haitian counterpart and friend, René Préval, was still incommunicado. What made this neighbourly gesture remarkable was that the two countries that share the island of Hispaniola have long been divided by mutual suspicion. During a previous term in the 1990s, Mr Fernández…

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The Toyota Recall

“[Shares in] Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, fell in Tokyo as it expanded a U.S. recall by more than 1 million vehicles to 5.35 million, adding to concerns its reputation for quality may be permanently tarnished.” The article continues, “…Toyota’s “reputation for long-term quality is finished,” said Maryann Keller, senior adviser at Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York, a strategic adviser to the auto industry. ‘People aren’t going to buy Toyotas, period….

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Dictators, Democracy and Some Home Truths…

As Foreign Policy Magazine reports, “Equatorial Guinea’s economy depends almost entirely on oil, which generated revenues last year of well over $4 billion, giving it a per capita annual income of $37,900, on par with Belgium.” While this has given the country’s ruler (Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) an estimated net worth of over $600m (which in reality will be many magnitudes higher) it has left the population impoverished with one in three dying before the…

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The Start of The Great Unwind?

“The Federal Reserve Board sent its most explicit signal yet that the emergency supply of liquidity to financial markets is done and the most aggressive monetary policy easing in its 96-year history will eventually reverse.” – February 19th, Bloomberg. Citing “continued improvement in financial market conditions”, the US Federal Reserve raised its discount rate (the rate banks are able to borrow directly from the Fed) by 25 basis points to 0.75% (from 0.50%).  This may…

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Could Greece End the Euro?

As I write this, my Bloomberg feed shows that, “Euro-region leaders [have] ordered Greece to get the bloc’s highest budget deficit under control and said they are prepared to take “determined” action to staunch the worst crisis in the currency’s 11-year history.”, with the FT adding, “Under an agreement hammered out in last minute negotiations in Brussels, the 16-country eurozone stopped short of providing immediate financial support for Greece, but gave an implicit assurance to…

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How The Internet and Digital Culture Affect Rights and Liberties.

History has seen humanity exist in a near constant battle for social, economic, political and (since the enlightenment) individual freedoms. These battles have been set against a backdrop of great change and conflict, as states, commerce and other bodies struggle to reconcile their needs for utility, their risk aversion and so forth, with an individual’s right to autonomy. In the modern age, we exist in a society which is largely defined using economics, and where…

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The Truth About Democracy

In recent weeks, we have seen uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Jordan where members of the populous have taken to the streets, demonstrating and disrupting a country over issues ranging from food inflation, corruption, freedom of speech, living conditions and basic human and economic rights.  Most notably of these have been the actions in Tunisia and Egypt which, at least academically, have forced some degree of regime change.  For the first time within…

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