The State of the Market

By Joseph E. Stiglitz in Economics and Finance

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 […]

Bismarck’s health insurance

By Stefan Bauernschuster, Anastasia Driva, Erik Hornung in Features

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals commit members to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. Success could massively improve health, while reducing out-of-pocket spending. This spending averages 32% of expenditures on health services (WHO 2014). Many developing countries are experimenting with compulsory health insurance models (Lagomarsino et al. 2012, Miller et al. 2013). Although large […]

Restoring the Mosaics of San Vitale

By Livia Alberti in Arts and Culture

History of San Vitale Ravenna was still under the reign of the Ostrogoths when Bishop Ecclesius laid the foundations of the Basilica of San Vitale in 527. Incorporating a pre-existing fifth century sacellum (shrine) dedicated to the martyr St. Vitalis, the building took nearly 20 years to complete. By the time Bishop Maximianus had inaugurated […]

Tree of the Wooden Clogs

By Robert Arnold in Arts and Culture

THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS won the Palme D’Or for Best Film at Cannes in 1978. Using untrained actors from around Bergamo, speaking the heavy dialect of that region, it depicts the lives of a few families who share a large farmstead around the end of the 19th century. Peasant farmers, they work the land […]

Crypto currencies don’t make sense

By Jon Danielsson in Economics and Finance

I have been trying to understand what the point of cryptocurrencies is, without success. They may not be an immediate financial stability concern (den Haan et al. 2017), but I just don’t get them. As far as I can tell, they are supposed to be some combination of: • a type of money; • an […]

The Mariinsky Ballet

By Valentina Bonelli in Arts and Culture

A ballet company is a living organism made up of a number of factors: history, culture, economics and also an element of fate. This is particularly true of the Mariinsky Ballet of St Petersburg which, for better or for worse, has been significantly affected by all of these factors. The company had a glorious beginning, […]

The World’s Best Travel Book

By Allston Mitchell in Travel Writing

There is plenty of competition for the title of best ever travel book: Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts; A.W. Kinglake’s Eothen; Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia or Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana have all been cited as the very best of the genre at one time or another. Travel writing has attracted many […]

Rituals of the Russian Banya

By Vlad Chorazy in Features

Herodotus first mentioned the steam bathing phenomenon in Russian lands when describing the Scythians (c440 BC) having baths in their tents by pouring water on hot stones to get a steam effect inside (the same way that native Americans did, as was found out centuries later). While it is impossible to establish which country actually […]

Marius Petipa: the Tsar of Ballet

By Valentina Bonelli in Arts and Culture

Even in the one hundredth anniversary of his death. Marius Petipa still remains a partially unknown figure. For an anniversary that is so important for the history of ballet, it is surprising there have been no conferences, no publications and no festivals dedicated to his memory to fill in the gaps in his biography and […]

Gold as Monetary Arbiter

By Michael Taylor in Economics and Finance

Even very late into the Renaissance, alchemists laboured in their quest to transmute base materials into gold. That they laboured, and labour in vain, tells us something about the quality of gold which made it for so long an embodiment of value: while it could be exchanged for almost anything, there were no combinations of […]

My Father, Ezra Pound

By Alessandra Quattrocchi in Arts and Culture

A story of love and mysteries. On one day in July 1925, a poor  Tyrolean woman, Johanna Marcher, gave birth in a clinic in the Italian town of Bressanone – or Brixen, as the German-speaking locals call it. It was an unusual decision for the farmer woman from the village of Gais, in Val Pusteria, […]

In the Medina

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Travel Writing

Green is the colour of Islam, presumably because it is emblematic of paradise. Fertility in a climate of extreme heat and vast deserts cannot be taken for granted. It may seem to a believer God-given, a blessing. The surprise is how green much of Morocco seems. Even in the intense heat of Africa, there are […]


By Allston Mitchell in Letters

To all our readers, we have an announcement to make.  The editors Allston Mitchell and Gillian McBride will be moving on after ten years running The Global Dispatches.  It has been a great pleasure and we hope you have enjoyed the magazine as it has developed over time.  As a farewell from us we are […]

Putin’s Patriarch

By Astrit Dakli in Features

This is an article by Astrit Dakli from 2012.  We republish it in his memory.  He will be sorely missed. Prison for protesting feminists, prison for gays who flaunt their homosexuality, prison for anyone publishing Lenin’s works … the so-called “nostalgia for Soviet values”, expressed recently by the official spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, has […]

Travels Through Rural China

By Olga Iazzarelli in Travel Writing

Completely rebuilt in the 1970s, the Anlan or Couples Suspension Bridge over the River Min in Sichuan is known as one of the Five Ancient Bridges of China. [/caption] As I travelled around China I thought long and hard about what adjective could most faithfully describe what I was seeing and experiencing. Not incomprehensible, nor […]

Mud Brick Architecture of Yemen

By Howard Meadowcroft in Arts and Culture

Yemen has a unique architectural heritage, one from which we can learn and draw inspiration. The practitioners, the master builders and craftsmen have learnt how to build to suit geography, location, the climate and available materials. They have by necessity had to “work with” the local conditions and in so doing have developed over generations […]