As I argued in a blog post last week, the climate crisis is increasingly marking economies around the world. Least developed countries, such as Mozambique or Bangladesh, are probably most exposed, but California with its wildfires is increasingly becoming symbolic. Yes, I agree, people in poor countries deserve more attention for their suffering than they are getting, and global media have a tendency of paying too much attention to rich nations. What may be more important, however, is that central banks and other policymaking bodies must pay attention to growing environmental hazards.
Global environmental change is a cause of investors’ much bemoaned uncertainty – but economists don’t pay this trend adequate attention. Global heating and the loss of biodiversity do not lend themselves to standard modelling.
The London-based magazine The Economist still believes there are two different Narendra Modis, and hopes that India’s prime minister will finally live up to his reformer image, backing away from authoritarian Hindu supremacism. The depressing truth is that his track record already reveals who he really is: a divisive right-wing populist. The Economist is guilty of wishful thinking because it fails to consider properly the aggressive ideology that marks the political network that created Modi.
We mourn the death of our colleague Humphrey Nkonde. Regular readers of our Nowadays column will remember him. His reports from the Zambian town of Ndola conveyed a lively picture of day-to-day reality in the region.
The current Brexit drama is a good reason to consider how the EU became what it is. Closer scrutiny shows that its history is more complex than generally believed. Accordingly, the British government is finding it more difficult to leave the EU than was anticipated in the Brexit referendum in 2016.
It was announced yesterday that Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer will win this year's economics Nobel Prize. The three scholars are brilliant intellectuals and have pioneered important research on poverty. Nonetheless, I am afraid that their work is actually less helpful than generally assumed. The elegance of their microeconomic research must not distract us from the fact that we need macro-level action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A journalist's comment on the politics of the climate crisis stated yesterday on German public radio (Deutschlandfunk – DLF) that Greta Thunberg was painting an apocalyptic picture of the future. That was not entirely wrong, but not quite accurate either. The young Swedish activist is not painting that picture. Scientists are, and Thunberg merely has the habit of pointing that out.
Today's Financial Times includes a short item dealing with the United Nations General Assembly. The absurdity of what US President Trump said in that context is worth pointing out. It has worldwide repercussions, but is also peculiar in regard to his domestic problems.
Last week, I attended this year's PEGNet conference in Bonn. PEGNet stands for Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network. It links academic institutions to development agencies. This time, the conference topic was social protection. I'd like to give you a first impression in this blog post and plan to return to the international dimensions of this issue sometime soon.