Newsletter – December 2013

Welcome to The Global Dispatches,
This month Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, discusses the changing status of the US dollar since 1945; Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Lecturer in African Politics at the University of Oxford reviews Paul Theroux's latest book, 'Last Train to Zona Verde' with special reference to his trip in Angola; Patrick Smith, author of 'Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century' explains that China has grown more willing to assert historical claims to its sphere of influence as we have seen in the recent spat with Japan and the USA over disputed islands; William C. Carter, distinguished Professor Emeritus of French at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of the biography: 'Marcel Proust: A Life' explores the somewhat sticky issue of how the translation using the English Shakespearean title of Proust's masterpiece missed the mark regarding Proust’s theory of memory;Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s Chief Economist explains how the global crisis has changed the face of monetary policy; Gary Burnett on the Muddy Waters classic: 'I'm a Man' that has become something of a blues standard with its raunchy lyrics which nevertheless betray a stronger message about a Jim Crow South; Keith Fisher looks at what exactly has changed since the banking crash; François Godement, Professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris and Director for strategy of Asia Centre outlines what really happened at China's 'Third Plenum', Walden Bello, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives representing Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) on Typhoon Haiyan and with a message for climate negotiators in Warsaw; Yudit Kiss, a Hungarian economist on political developments in Hungary, and of course Beat Box.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. See you in 2014.

Proust and Scott Moncrieff
By William C. Carter

Scott Moncrieff’s English translation of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu is widely hailed as a masterpiece in its own right. William C. Carter explores the somewhat sticky issue of how the Shakespearean title missed the mark regarding Proust’s theory of memory.

Beat Box
By MC Ledbetter

Updated for August 2017. Every month we recommend a few classic music CDs that rarely see the light of day. This month sees: Incredible Bongo Band, Jesus Guerrero, Budos Band, Dead Combo, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos, Ali Khattab and The Cairo Jazz Band get main billing.

The dollar’s international status
By Jeffrey Frankel

Except for the period 1992-2000, the dollar’s role as an international currency has been slowly declining since 1976. Since 2010, there has been another pause in this decline – somewhat surprising, given that the financial crisis began in the US, and given Congress’ recent flirtations with default.

Grand colonic tour: Theroux does Angola
By Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

Unimpressed by the savvy interviews with new oligarchs advertising their charity credentials and nervous expats’ claims that the country is improving, Theroux doesn’t pull any punches.

China’s Struggle over Air and Sea
By Patrick Smith

China has grown more willing to assert historical claims to its sphere of influence, but it would be a mistake to regard this as “aggression” that requires an American response. The struggle is essentially an Asian affair with old spheres of influence re-emerging.

Monetary policy will never be the same
By Olivier Blanchard

The global crisis changed the face of monetary policy. The IMF’s chief economist, reviews the main changes. It draws on contributions to a recent IMF conference on the topic.

Muddy Waters – I’m a Man, M-A-N
By Gary Burnett

The song has become something of a blues standard with its raunchy lyrics which nevertheless betray a stronger message about a Jim Crow South where a black man would always be referred to as a "boy", a black "man" was just too much of a threat.

Frankenstein’s Bankers
By Keith Fisher

It is now 5 years since the banking crash but its effects are still with us. What exactly happened, what has the world done about it, and is there anything to stop something similar happening again? "

China’s Third Plenum: great expectations
By François Godement

While there is still hope for change, there is overabundant evidence that Mr. Xi’s dream for China does not include the major reform that many hope for.

Hello Warsaw, This Is Haiyan Calling
By Walden Bello

The super typhoon that just hit the Philippines should be a wake-up call for climate-change negotiators in Warsaw. This year, the big climate polluters must be denounced for their continued refusal to take the steps needed to save the world from the destruction that their carbon-intensive economies have unleashed on us all.

Winter chill over Hungary’s autumn
By Yudit Kiss

The only electoral promise Fidesz has fulfilled has been the “restoration of order”, through a myriad of laws, decrees and regulations and a harsh new Penal Code. Also, assets have been re-distributed to create a new class of loyal, privileged, crony capitalists.

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