Creativity and freedom

By Michel Serafinelli, Guido Tabellini in

Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. In the 15th century, Florence was home to an amazing number of ground-breaking innovators in literature, painting, sculpture, philosophy, and science. At the turn of the 19th century, Vienna hosted pioneers in painting, medicine, biology, psychology, philosophy, music, who all interacted with […]

Yemen: 2017 in review

By Afrah Nasser in

A U.N. official warned days ago that, “Yemen could be the worst humanitarian crisis in 50 years.” As 2018 begins, these words reflect the increasingly deteriorating unspeakable human suffering in Yemen, after the UN had been calling Yemen throughout last year as the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The poorest Arab nation with a […]

The Tunisian revolution seven years on

By Lakhdar Ghettas in

Thirty years last November Zine el Abidine Ben Ali assumed power in Tunisia ending thereby the rule of ailing Habib Bourguiba who ruled the country since its independence in 1956. Ben Ali promised political reforms that lured large segments of the Tunisian polity, including the Islamists. Those hopes were soon shattered by the brutal crackdown […]

A 17th Century battle of wits. Libertines v Jesuits

By Edward Muir in

 One of the forefathers of the French Enlightenment and an advocate of the open public library, Naudé could be considered a reliable source on Italian intellectual life. He had studied at the University of Padua, where he was charmed by the charismatic Aristotelian philosopher Cesare Cremonini, who seemed to have denied the Christian doctrine of […]

Reminiscences of a Trainee Tea Buyer

By Colin Conor in

A subliminal lift of spirit comes from the drinking of tea extracted from the young leaves of Camellia sinensis. In former days, this characteristic was recognised by the Chinese aristocracy, who guarded the secret of the tea plant even with the threat of death. Thus, naturally, tea products traded to the West – for those […]

Catalonia’s December 21 elections

By Patrice de Beer in

The Spanish central government has called for new elections in Catalonia this coming Thursday, December 21, with the official aim of re-establishing stability and the rule of law after a protracted crisis which peaked with the outlawed referendum on independence organised by the regional Catalan « government » last October 1. Despite the – sometimes brutal – […]

Big media and big money in 2017

By Des Freedman in

Two seminal events that took place this week – the FCC’s vote to scrap net neutrality rules and Rupert Murdoch’s sale of vast chunks of his empire to Disney – are a stark reminder of what really matters in the contemporary media economy: size and influence. The Trump-era Federal Communications Commission has eagerly succumbed to a lie peddled by […]

A Tale of Two Faltering Unions

By Yanis Varoufakis in

Good evening everyone. Thank you so much to the Oxford Guild for inviting me. Allow me to begin with something that I could have written, but didn’t. I’ll just read it out: “I am such a passionate believer in Europe that I accept the accusation of being a troublemaker. But I’m not awkward. I just […]

Monthly Newsletter – December 2017

By Allston Mitchell in

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month André Staltz traces the death of the Internet back to 2014 and looks at the web now that Google and Facebook hace acquired direct influence over more than 70% of internet traffic; Adil Shamoo on the systematic destruction of Yemen through starvation and cholera; Nobel prize winner for […]

The web began dying in 2014

By André Staltz in

Before the year 2014, there were many people using Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Today, there are still many people using services from those three tech giants (respectively, Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN)). Not much has changed, and quite literally the user interface and features on those sites has remained mostly untouched. However, the underlying […]

Starvation and Cholera in Yemen

By Adil E. Shamoo in

The current war in Yemen has had devastating consequences for the population. The indiscriminate Saudi bombing includes schools, water purification plants, hospitals, and electricity plants, leading to the death of over 10,000 and the wounding of 50,000 more. By the end of 2017, the International Red Cross has projected that over a million Yemenis will […]

Trump, Pence, Jerusalem: the Christian Zionism connection

By Paul Rogers in

Donald Trump announced on 6 December that the United States was recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most notable about his speech was not what he said, or how he said it, but the presence and demeanour of vice-president Mike Pence. Though an element almost entirely missing from the reams of analysis following Trump’s […]

The State of the Market

By Joseph E. Stiglitz in

Joseph E. Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is also the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute.  A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and […]

How did 1917 change the west?

By Sam Greene in

Revolutions – and their centenaries – are best dealt with in the first person. That, of course, creates a certain awkwardness for an academic, whose stock in trade is meant to be distance from the subject of study. But nothing forces a reckoning with one’s place in the order of things quite like a revolution, […]

The origins of the Industrial Revolution

By Leander Heldring, James Robinson, Sebastian Vollmer in

Economists have long studied the causes of the Industrial Revolution, relying frequently on comparisons between England and other European countries to understand “Why England and not France or the Low Countries?”. Many hypotheses have been advanced – from the abundance of cheap fuel in the form of coal (Pomeranz 2000, Fernihough and O’Rourke 2014), to […]

Newsletter – November 2017

By Allston Mitchell in

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month we publish a review of Rajko Grlić’s latest film “The Constitution”, an excellent, profound and moving tale set in an apartment block where the tensions of ex-Yugoslavia are played out; Peter Oborne, the former chief political commentator of the Telegraph, looks back at the Balfour declaration noting that […]