Trump diminishes democracy

By L K Sharma in Politics

No military coup has taken place in recent weeks. No elected prime minister has been beheaded. No nation has suspended its constitution. And yet a debate rages on the dangers facing the democratic order. The irresistible rise of one Donald Trump in US politics has made a commentator call the ongoing presidential election campaign, “dystopian”. […]

Papa Wemba of the Sapeurs

By Tom Salter in Arts and Culture

Sadly, we have lost another great of Congolese music – Papa Wemba. Papa Wemba was born Shungu Wembiado in 1949. He came to musical prominence in the great beating heart of Congolese popular music, Kinshasa’s famous district of Matonge in the 1970s during the belle époque of Congolese popular music. The people of the capital, […]

Investors to step up scrutiny of utilities on climate change

By Stephanie Pfeifer in Environment

Are electric utilities – companies that produce and supply electricity – prepared for the changes that will follow from policies and actions put in place to curb climate change? And if not, why does this matter? Most people’s pensions include some exposure to power companies. European utility companies, which did exceptionally well in the years before the adoption […]

The Old Oil Order Is Collapsing

By Michael Klare in Economics and Finance

Sunday, April 17th was the designated moment. The world’s leading oil producers were expected to bring fresh discipline to the chaotic petroleum market and spark a return to high prices. Meeting in Doha, the glittering capital of petroleum-rich Qatar, the oil ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with such key […]

Rethinking the ‘war on drugs

By Ernesto Zedillo in Features

America’s most loved economics textbook (Mankiw 2012) uses the ‘war on drugs’ to illustrate how restricting supply when demand is inelastic increases the total cash spent on illegal drugs. Every anti-smuggling tactic makes each consignment more profitable. No wonder the US war on drugs is not going so well. Yet despite 40 years of violence, […]

2016 will be remembered as the EU’s year of shame

By Barbara Spinelli in Features

For years, after the great Lampedusa shipwreck on 3 October 2013, the EU has tacitly allowed the deaths at sea of thousands of refugees fleeing towards the European coasts, having been unable to guarantee safe and legal access routes to the Union. This year, in 2016, the EU has taken a further step towards barbarity: […]

Xi Jinping: servant or dictator?

By Kerry Brown in Politics

In Beijing a decade ago, the most popular game among “China-watchers” involved speculation about the leadership shuffle expected at the seventeeth congress of the Communist Party of China, due in 2007. Both inside and outside China, lists of potential new leaders began to circulate. These often differed significantly, according to the judgment of the consultants, […]

Newsletter – April 2016

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month, Jenny Johnson reviews Dominic Ziegler’s new book “Black Dragon River” that takes a journey down the Amur, one of Asia’s last free flowing rivers and the contested border lands of Russia and China; Alfredo Saad-Filho,  Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of […]

“Black Dragon River” Russia’s wild window into China

By Jenny Johnson in Features

Russia’s Far East is supposedly a strategically important area for President Vladimir Putin’s administration, with the government repeatedly declaring that development of the remote territory is one of its top priorities. But, as any Russian expert will tell you, many governments have made such claims over the decades, and yet nothing much has actually happened. Despite […]

Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff

By Alfredo Saad-Filho in Politics

Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else. Dilma Rousseff was elected President […]

Effect of shale oil on Arab producers

By Lutz Kilian in Economics and Finance

The use of hydraulic fracturing – ‘fracking’ – in conjunction with horizontal drilling has made it possible to extract crude oil from rock formations characterised by low permeability. Oil extracted by these techniques is commonly referred to as tight oil or shale oil to differentiate it from crude oil extracted by conventional drilling techniques. To […]

The consequences of Brexit

By Dhingra, Huang, Ottaviano, Sampson and Reenen in Economics and Finance

What are the economic consequences of leaving the EU? This question is at the heart of the Brexit debate. Some studies address this question by analysing how countries fared after joining the EU (see Campos et al. 2014 or the survey by Crafts 2016). In recent work (Dhingra et al. 2016a, 2016b), we take an […]

How Mexico City slashed pollution levels by half

By Pierre-Marc René in Environment

Red alerts, curfews and health crises resulting from air too hazardous to breathe – for those who lived in Mexico City in the 80s and 90s, its recent pollution problems are all too familiar. Back then, lead, ozone, carbon and sulphur were so rife in the atmosphere that residents claimed they were causing birds to fall out […]

The Theater of Peter Brook

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Arts and Culture

One day in his Moscow hotel Peter Brook received a slightly alarming telephone call. A Russian speaking English questioned him about his family. His parents, were they not emigrés after the Revolution? Brook nervously confirmed this, immediately adding that he was a British citizen, London born. The voice on the telephone began to laugh. ‘It’s […]

Newsletter – March 2016

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month Bettina Elten follows in the footsteps of Charles Darwin,  from the Falkland Islands to the spectacular land and seascapes of Tierra del Fuego; we review the debut novel “Tram 83” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila that is taking the world by storm; Mark Cliffe, Chief Economist of the ING […]

Sailing the Southern Hemisphere

By Bettina Elten in Travel Writing

We left Cape Town in mid-December en route for the Falkland Islands, where Port Stanley was to be our point of departure for a three-week voyage to Tierra del Fuego on board the sailing vessel Pelagic. We were to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and Captain FitzRoy, sailing through the Beagle Channel and […]