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This blog offers you comments on recent events written by members of D+C’s editorial team. You’ll find one or two posts per week. The guiding question is whether something is good or bad for global development.

by Hans Dembowski

Why Trump lost decisively last week

Right-wing populists around the world – from Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil to Germany’s AfD, from Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines to Italy’s Lega party – feel inspired and encouraged by US President Donald Trump. Given that the USA is the world’s most powerful country and was the most important promoter of democracy in the past century, it is of great international relevance to assess how successful Trump is. My impression is that the media tend to underestimate how bad the results the mid-term elections were for his camp last week.
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by Hans Dembowski

In defence of the SDGs

I've recently noticed that some civil-society activists and left-leaning observers are disparaging the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their main point of criticism is that the SDG agenda relies on economic growth and emphasises the role of private sector businesses. I think this reasoning is wrong. Implicitly, the critics suggest that any serious SDG agenda would have to overcome capitalism. The way I see it, it makes more sense to regulate capitalism prudently, and that is indeed what the Agenda demands.
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by Hans Dembowski

The IPCC, Bolsonaro, Trump and Kavanaugh

The consensus of climate scientists is that global warming can be kept below 1.5° on average if action is taken fact fast. That is the message of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By coincidence, it was launched at the same time as it became clear that a right-wing radical won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. If Jair Bolsonaro prevails in the 2nd round, he is likely to cause serious climate damage.
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by Hans Dembowski

In human history, opium was always an important commodity

If you want to know why the concept of “free trade” does not inspire great enthusiasm in China and India, you might find a new book about the history of opium quite revealing. Among the many things Lucy Inglis discusses in the “Milk of paradise” are the two opium wars of the 19th century. She also provides interesting insights into how organised crime became deeply entrenched in the USA.
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by Hans Dembowski

Human rights are universal, not western

The rise of right-wing populism in Europe and North America does not delegitimise democracy promotion. The Arab spring and other popular uprisings have shown that the demand for self-determination is not specifically western. People want to be in charge of their lives all over the world.
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by Hans Dembowski

What The Economist gets wrong about liberalism

On its current cover, the London-based magazine The Economist celebrates its 175th birthday. The issue includes a long essay on the merits of liberalism, the worldview which The Economist wholeheartedly endorses. Unfortunately, the essay shies away from dealing with the crucial inherent contradiction of liberalism: does it emphasize free markets or equal opportunity? What is more important: the private interests of the “bourgeois” or the public good demanded by the “citoyen”?
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