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Is Economic Winter Coming?

Now that the old rules governing macroeconomic cycles no longer seem to apply, it remains to be seen what might cause the next recession in the United States. But if recent history is our guide, the biggest threat stems not from the US Federal Reserve or any one sector of the economy, but rather from the White House. CHICAGO – What could trigger a recession in the United States? In the past, a tightening labor market...

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Why US Inequality Is Higher Than Europe’s

Since 1980, income inequality has exploded in the United States, while remaining much less extreme in Europe. Yet each side of the Atlantic could learn from the other in tackling the problem, which is as much about predistribution policies as it is about redistribution. PARIS – Europe’s political forces are divided between those who regard the European Union as promoting unfair, inefficient neoliberal economic policies,...

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Will China Confront a Revolution of Rising Expectations?

Amid much discussion of the challenges facing the Chinese economy, the line-up of usual suspects typically excludes the most worrying scenario of all: popular unrest. While skeptics would contend that widespread protest against the regime and its policies is unlikely, events elsewhere suggest that China is not immune. ZURICH – For over a decade, China has accounted for a quarter or more of global economic growth. With...

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Power to the People?

From Beirut to Hong Kong to Santiago, governments are eager to bring an end to mass demonstrations. But, in the absence of greater institutional responsiveness to popular grievances and demands, people are unlikely to stay home. NEW YORK – People all over the world are resorting to mass demonstrations to express grievances and press unmet demands. While, in some ways, popular protests are a triumph of democratic...

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Goats Against Climate Change

As climate change continues, severe weather events – from cyclones to droughts – will become increasingly frequent and intense. But there is a simple way to boost climate resilience for farmers in vulnerable regions: investment in goat markets. BULAWAYO – Earlier this year, Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique. Its powerful winds and heavy rains led to massive floods, hundreds of deaths, and the large-scale destruction...

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New Hope for Indian Unity

At a time when India’s social fabric has been placed under unprecedented stress, Indians greeted the Supreme Court’s ruling on a long-running inter-religious dispute with almost universal relief. The Court’s verdict thus should be viewed as the start of a process of national healing. NEW DELHI – After eight years of deliberations, India’s Supreme Court has issued a verdict that settles one of the most protracted...

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The High Stakes of the Coming Digital Currency War

Just as technology has disrupted media, politics, and business, it is on the verge of disrupting America’s ability to leverage faith in its currency to pursue its broader national interests. The real challenge for the United States isn't Facebook's proposed Libra; it's government-backed digital currencies like the one planned by China. SOUTH BEND – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was at least half right when he recently...

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Making Murder Great Again

Many reviewers have praised the controversial film "Joker," arguing that its violent protagonist is leading a revolt against a cruel, unjust society. But is the normalization of mayhem in popular culture fueling indifference questions of right and wrong in politics and public life. ATLANTA – The recent film Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a lonely psychopath and party clown who tries to build a career as a...

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Sporting Tribes

It is remarkable how quickly tribal feelings can adapt to new circumstances. To see how and why, look no further than British soccer clubs, which, like clubs in many European cities, once commanded ferocious loyalty along geographic, ethnic, and even religious grounds. NEW YORK – Siya Kolisi, who raised the Webb Ellis Cup for his country in Yokohama, Japan, early this month, is the first black man to captain the South...

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The Siren Song of Strategic Autonomy

A recent report by the European Commission’s in-house think tank has called for Europe to aim for more “strategic autonomy.” But what may seem like an innocuous goal could easily take an economic-nationalist turn, with serious implications for world trade and the global economy. BRUSSELS – For over a year, US President Donald Trump’s protectionist war against China – and his broader use of import tariffs to advance...

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