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Back to Health Special Edition

5 days ago

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. While some cities and countries are returning to a tenuous “old normal,” others are grappling with devastating third waves, and new virus variants continue to emerge. And yet, to bring societies worldwide back to health – and keep them that way – ending this pandemic is only the first step.
In today’s special Say More feature, four leading experts – former Rwandan Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho, Nobel laureate economist Angus Deaton, former Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden, and Vice President Social Impact of CEMEA at Visa Carl Manlan – consider what must come next.
All four of today’s featured contributors will be discussing these topics and more at Back to Health: Making Up for Lost Time, a

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China’s Population Bust

10 days ago

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Jun 10, 2021

With the abolition of the one-child policy in 2015 having failed to prevent the country’s fertility rate from declining to Japanese levels, the Chinese government has announced that it will allow all families to have up to three children. What other measures can policymakers take to boost sluggish population growth – and should they even try?
In this Big Picture, Fudan University’s Zhang Jun argues that China’s rapidly falling fertility risks significantly undermining its future economic growth, and urges the government to raise the

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Biden’s Grand Tour

17 days ago

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Jun 3, 2021

US President Joe Biden’s upcoming trip to Europe will include G7 and NATO summits, as well as meetings with European Union leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Repairing the damage to the transatlantic alliance caused by former President Donald Trump is crucial for Biden, not least to devise an effective response to an increasingly assertive China.
In this Big Picture, Melvyn B. Krauss of New York University argues that the Biden administration’s recent acceptance of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Germany to

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Speed the Jab

24 days ago

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May 27, 2021

In response to intensifying political pressure, US President Joe Biden’s administration now supports a waiver of intellectual-property rights for COVID-19 vaccines for the duration of the pandemic. But an IP waiver, although urgently needed to reduce suffering in low-income countries, may not be enough to accelerate the fight against the coronavirus.
In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch accuse private drug companies of deadly rent-seeking and rebut

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Gaza’s Forever War

May 20, 2021

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May 20, 2021

The recent upsurge in violence between Hamas and Israel shows that the Palestinian cause has not gone away, despite the recent Abraham Accords establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab states. For Israel, the real danger lies not in Hamas-controlled Gaza, but in an increasingly mobilized Arab population within its own borders.
In this Big Picture, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami says the current hostilities – including in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in pre-1967 Israel that were supposed to be

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The Future of Informality

May 13, 2021

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May 13, 2021

The world’s two billion informal workers are a vital but often-neglected part of the global labor force, and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to make conditions for them even more precarious. Improving their prospects will require not only new laws and regulations, but also a change in leaders’ mindsets.
In this Big Picture, Marty Chen of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) calls on governments to implement a New Deal that recognizes, protects, and supports informal workers and counters prevailing

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Busting Big Tech

May 6, 2021

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May 6, 2021

The European Commission’s recent decision to charge Apple with antitrust violations is further evidence that regulators around the world are seeking to curtail the market power of Big Tech. But official motives differ considerably across countries, and breaking up today’s internet behemoths might not produce the desired result.
In this Big Picture, Columbia Law School’s Anu Bradford shows how America’s laissez-faire approach to governing the digital economy has enabled the European Union to emerge as the leading global rule-maker,

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Crossing the Rubicon of Price Stability

April 29, 2021

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Apr 29, 2021

The traditionally conservative world of monetary policymaking is undergoing a revolution, with many central bankers now aiming to align their institutions with efforts to combat global warming and inequality. How can policymakers best address these issues with their existing mandates and tools – and should they tackle others, too?
In this Big Picture, Daniel Gros of the Centre for European Policy Studies says that greening Europe’s monetary policy would encroach on the responsibilities of governments, and is thus incompatible with

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The Recovery of Women

April 22, 2021

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Apr 22, 2021

Women and girls have suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 crisis – including in terms of job losses, domestic violence, mental-health problems, and an increasing burden of domestic labor and childcare. Will governments put their needs at the center of the post-pandemic agenda, and which priorities should come first?
In this Big Picture, María Fernanda Espinosa, a former president of the United Nations General Assembly, argues that achieving anything close to true gender equality will require addressing deeply entrenched

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The Great American Tax Gambit

April 15, 2021

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Apr 15, 2021

US President Joe Biden is seeking to raise America’s corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and introduce a global minimum corporate tax in order to halt an international “race to the bottom.” The bold proposal has sharpened the debate about how his administration should finance its ambitious spending plans, and, more broadly, how to tax increasingly footloose multinational companies.
In this Big Picture, MIT’s Daron Acemoglu welcomes Biden’s plan, saying that it would increase corporations’ share of US federal tax revenues and

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Economics Must Build Back Better, Too

April 1, 2021

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Apr 1, 2021

Thoughtful economists have long been concerned by their profession’s hubristic tendencies, collective attachment to questionable models, and lack of openness to new and different voices. Will the combined effect of the global financial crisis, the anti-globalization backlash, and now COVID-19 finally prompt the discipline to demonstrate greater humility and embrace genuine diversity?
In this Big Picture, Harvard University’s Dani Rodrik thinks that while economists can be justifiably proud of the power of their statistical and

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Bitcoin and Beyond

March 11, 2021

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Mar 11, 2021

The surging price of the world’s best-known cryptocurrency has made some investors rich and prompted skeptics to point to the excesses of the current bull market. Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) may offer a surer route to greater financial inclusion, but are policymakers and the public prepared for this potentially radical innovation?
In this Big Picture, Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate the emergence of CBDCs, and outlines two ways in which monetary policymakers could

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Is Inflation Alive?

March 4, 2021

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Mar 4, 2021

Inflation in most rich countries has been low since the 1990s, not least because of central banks’ success in lowering long-term inflation expectations. But today’s policymakers must weigh how far they can go in trying to engineer a post-pandemic recovery without unanchoring these firmly entrenched beliefs.
In this Big Picture, UBS Group AG Chairman Axel A. Weber warns that the pandemic – and expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in particular – could trigger higher inflation than many currently expect. But Harvard

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America’s Stimulus Debate

February 25, 2021

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The US Congress is currently debating President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic rescue package, which includes a planned increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Policymakers and economists disagree not only about the appropriate size and scope of the measures, but also on the broader question of whether fiscal policy can and should return to center stage.
In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz says Biden’s spending plan is urgently needed, and warns that failure to enact a large recovery package risks doing enormous and possibly long-lasting

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How Secure is Putin?

February 18, 2021

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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has become an even greater thorn in President Vladimir Putin’s side following his recovery from what was almost certainly a Kremlin-ordered poisoning last August. And the Putin regime’s brutal suppression of recent Navalny-inspired protests may intensify the country’s political polarization, forcing ordinary Russians to choose which side they are on.
In this Big Picture, Navalny, in an interview with Dozhd TV’s Tikhon Dzyadko, sees the assassination attempt against him as a sign of the Putin regime’s decay, and pledges to continue opposing the

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The Post-Pandemic Playbook

February 11, 2021

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The COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted many countries’ systemic weaknesses and inequities, but also provided policymakers with an opportunity to change their approach to tackling them. Choosing the right strategies and policies to foster a robust recovery and mitigate the risk of future crises will be essential.
In this Big Picture, Chatham House’s Jim O’Neill says the COVID-19 crisis has shown that governments can spend a lot more money without upsetting markets than most people thought, raising the prospect of more ambitious fiscal policies. This creates the scope needed to pursue

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The Grim COVID Convergence?

February 4, 2021

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Many poorer countries have handled the pandemic far better than expected – especially compared to the advanced economies of Western Europe and North America – and suffered less economic damage as a result. But whether the gap between rich and poor countries continues to narrow will depend mainly on the actions of rich-country policymakers and firms.
In this Big Picture, Andrés Velasco of the London School of Economics shows how vigorous policy responses by emerging-market central banks and finance ministries have helped to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on their economies. But Lee Jong-Wha of

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Africa’s Opportunity

January 28, 2021

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened Africa’s political and economic problems, and increased its funding needs, the crisis may yet trigger bold initiatives in international relations, trade, debt sustainability, and foreign investment. Will Africa and the world seize the chance to chart a new and better course?
In this Big Picture, Harvard University’s Célestin Monga urges US President Joe Biden’s administration to rekindle the US-Africa relationship at the symbolic, strategic, and operational levels. Likewise, Carlos Lopes of the University of Cape Town shows why Africa and the

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Biden to the Rescue?

January 21, 2021

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In his January 20 inaugural address, US President Joe Biden called for unity following America’s turbulent and occasionally violent transition, acknowledging the country has “much to repair, much to restore, much to heal.” But how can Biden prevent a revival of Trumpism at home and restore the United States’ standing with its partners and allies?
In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz cautions that overcoming the longstanding problems that gave rise to Donald Trump’s toxic presidency – not least rampant inequality – will require more than what one president can

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Doing Business with China

January 14, 2021

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The terms of the West’s economic engagement with China are again in the spotlight, as a result of the European Union’s recent investment agreement with the country and the change of administration in the United States. In particular, can Western leaders balance political and human-rights concerns regarding China with firms’ desire to do more business with it?
In this Big Picture, Columbia University’s Jeffrey D. Sachs welcomes the new EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and hopes for renewed great-power cooperation to end the COVID-19 pandemic and foster a green, digital global

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Trump’s Failed Putsch

January 7, 2021

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Amid chaotic scenes at the US Capitol on January 6, senior Republicans, in a belated attempt to salvage their reputations, distanced themselves from President Donald Trump’s persistent refusal to accept the result of the presidential election and commit to a peaceful transfer of power. But the raging, conspiracy-mongering hysteria of Trump loyalists, and the fact that more than 74 million Americans voted for him in 2020, raise grave questions about the state of US society, and whether Trumpism is really a spent political force.
In this Big Picture, The New School’s Nina L. Khrushcheva sees

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The Legacy of 2020

December 31, 2020

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As if COVID-19’s impact in 2020 was not pervasive enough, its long-term implications may be even broader and more far-reaching. Even if vaccines bring an end to the pandemic as quickly as hoped, they will not reverse its most consequential effects on governance, geopolitics, and culture.
In this Big Picture, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says the COVID-19 crisis has shown that national governments, which had seemingly been sidelined by globalization, in fact retain enormous power. Arguing in a similar vein, former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio thinks the pandemic may

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The Gift of a COVID Vaccine?

December 24, 2020

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The world will not conquer the COVID-19 pandemic until the coronavirus has been vanquished everywhere. And if advanced economies’ vaccine nationalism continues to win out for now over international cooperation, then the vast majority of the world’s population risks having almost no access to lifesaving interventions.
In this Big Picture, Seth Berkley of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Richard Hatchett of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Soumya Swaminathan of the World Health Organization argue that the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), which aims to provide

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DEBATE: Targeting Reduced Emissions

December 22, 2020

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Five years ago, nearly 200 countries adopted the Paris climate accord, agreeing to keep the global increase in temperature below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, and ideally below 1.5°C. Each country committed to setting emissions-reduction targets – “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) – and to updating these targets at five-year intervals. In the run-up to next year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, the issue of countries’ individual climate pledges is back in the spotlight.
Columbia University’s Shang-Jin Wei argues that we can do better than relying on voluntary pledges, and

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America’s Looming Fiscal Battle

December 18, 2020

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US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to “build back better” from the pandemic-induced economic crisis, and has chosen the widely respected former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be Secretary of the Treasury in his administration. But Yellen’s bipartisan appeal will not smooth the treacherous fiscal path that Biden will have to navigate between suddenly “prudent” congressional Republicans and the left of his own party.
In this Big Picture, Laura Tyson, a former chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, and McKinsey & Company’s Lenny Mendonca call on Congress

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The Sovereign-Debt Crunch

December 11, 2020

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At their November summit, G20 leaders adopted a new common framework for restructuring sovereign debt on a case-by-case basis. Could this be the first step toward a comprehensive global resolution mechanism, and what intermediate alternatives might be feasible?
In this Big Picture, Paola Subacchi of the University of London’s Queen Mary Global Policy Institute says the G20 initiative needs to be expanded into a common sovereign-debt restructuring scheme involving multilateral institutions. Similarly, Columbia University’s Willem H. Buiter and Anne Sibert of Birkbeck, University of London

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Destination Net-Zero

December 4, 2020

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China is aiming to halt the rise in its carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060, just ten years after the European Union. Although the Chinese and European pledges are currently not legally binding, they will likely have far-reaching implications for both the global green transition and great-power politics.
In this Big Picture, the European Climate Foundation’s Laurence Tubiana argues that the two powers’ recent net-zero commitments, far from being merely aspirational, reflect a recognition that whoever moves first toward decarbonization will have a major

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Europe’s Populist High Noon

November 27, 2020

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Hungary and Poland have vetoed the European Union’s proposed €1.15 trillion ($1.4 trillion) seven-year budget and the €750 billion European recovery fund, rejecting the EU’s plan to condition its funds on member governments’ adherence to the rule of law. What will this latest crisis reveal about the EU’s commitment to democratic principles, and its ability and willingness to tackle the populist threat?
In this Big Picture, George Soros urges the EU to stand up to Hungary and Poland, arguing that the bloc cannot afford to compromise on enforcing the rule of law if it wishes to survive as an

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Palestine’s Agony

November 20, 2020

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A permanent settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict may not be a lost cause, but for many Arab governments it seems to be less important than ever. With other Arab states likely to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel, do the Palestinians still have a viable path to an independent state of their own?
In this Big Picture, Majdi Khaldi, a senior diplomatic adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, argues that Israel’s refusal to accept the 1967 border and an independent Palestine is a rejection of the simple principle of Palestinian rights.

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Waiting for Biden

November 13, 2020

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Most international leaders have congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden, and many welcome the prospect of reviving moribund multilateralism once he takes office in January. But how can Europe and other US allies best engage with Biden’s administration on key global issues, and how should America wield its declining relative power in an increasingly complex and polarized world?
In this Big Picture, Josef Joffe of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, who sits on Die Zeit’s editorial board, argues that Biden will not completely reverse America’s inward turn, which predates President

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