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How Corruption Fuels Climate Change

LONDON, BERLIN – Anti-corruption campaigners achieved a number of crucial victories in 2016, not least by ensuring accountability for one of Big Oil’s most crooked deals: the acquisition of Nigerian offshore oil block OPL 245 in 2011 by Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, Italy’s largest corporation. Last December, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission indicted some of the Nigerians involved, and Italian prosecutors then concluded their own investigation, bringing...

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Using Data to Find the Middle Ground

PORT AU PRINCE – A sad reality of this hyper-partisan, politicized era is that many policy proposals are immediately identified as either “left-wing” or “right-wing” and lauded and derided by partisans as if by rote, with little room for discussion about soundness or impact. But there is an alternative that could help us get past this political divisiveness: using data to help us focus on the policies and investments that would have the biggest positive impact on...

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A More Dangerous Globalism

PRINCETON – “America first,” thumps Donald Trump. “Britain first,” say the advocates of Brexit. “France first,” crows Marine Le Pen and her National Front. “Russia first,” proclaims Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. With so much emphasis on national sovereignty nowadays, globalization appears doomed. It’s not. The struggle playing out today is not one of globalism versus anti-globalism. Rather, the world is poised between two models of integration: one is multilateral and...

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A Turkish Thorn in the EU’s Side

MADRID – While the European Union tries to weather a nationalist storm that threatens its core institutions, some of its most important strategic allies have injected more uncertainty into the current political climate. A clear example is Turkey, which has been a NATO member state since 1952, and an official candidate to join the EU since 1999. On paper, Turkey looks like an ideal country to serve as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. But it has now taken an...

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Nationalists and Globalists

WASHINGTON, DC – The Dutch election was the first bright spot in a while for people in Europe and the United States who are deeply worried that the backlash against globalization will bring even more white “Judeo-Christian” nationalist parties to power. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte defeated the anti-Islam candidate Geert Wilders, who has called for closing Dutch borders, shutting mosques, and banning the Koran. The standard way of describing political forces ranging...

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Trump the Destroyer

LONDON – With all the skill of an experienced arsonist, US President Donald Trump is preparing America for a firestorm. His actions have heightened insecurity, instability, and fear, while potentially making populations elsewhere in the world even more susceptible to political fire-starters. Voters in the United States who thought they were supporting the only capable firefighter around have been played. But Trump has a knack for manipulating perceptions. To deflect...

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The Eurozone is Still Vulnerable

BRUSSELS – Despite recently experiencing an overall economic uptick, the eurozone remains fragile and uninsured against the risk of another crisis. And a major reason is that it is still vulnerable to asymmetric boom-and-bust cycles. Simply put, while all eurozone members can benefit during good times, some suffer far more than others during busts. This means that whenever the next crisis hits, safety-conscious investors will flee from fiscally weak countries toward...

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Mnuchin’s Mission

CAMBRIDGE – US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is hemmed in on all sides. Domestically, he’s trapped between the promises he has made (such as the “Mnuchin rule” that taxes wouldn’t be cut for the rich), the actions of President Donald Trump (whose tax plan includes cuts for the rich), and simple arithmetic (which makes the administration’s conflicting pledges impossible to fulfill). But even on the international stage, where US treasury secretaries typically enjoy...

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The Sino-Korean Trade War Must End

SEOUL – South Korea has decided to deploy a US missile-defense system, and China is furious. Chinese leaders worry that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will undermine its security and disrupt the regional strategic balance, by monitoring flights and missile launches in Chinese territory. But, as long as North Korea poses such an acute threat on the Korean Peninsula, China’s opposition to it is pointless – and highly destructive. As the United...

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Robotization Without Taxation?

NEW HAVEN – The idea of a tax on robots was raised last May in a draft report to the European Parliament prepared by MEP Mady Delvaux from the Committee on Legal Affairs. Emphasizing how robots could boost inequality, the report proposed that there might be a “need to introduce corporate reporting requirements on the extent and proportion of the contribution of robotics and AI to the economic results of a company for the purpose of taxation and social security...

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