Growth, recessions, fiscal policy, monetary policy, currencies and global business deals. GIS experts provide forecasts and potential scenarios for all of the economic trends that shape geopolitics.
Swiss economic success: diversity as capital
Nothing seems to stop the prosperity of the Swiss economy. Its steady growth is seemingly impervious to the political turmoil in the EU, superpower tensions, the vagaries of world trade and even the overly muscular Swiss franc. Switzerland’s highly diverse economy and its unique political system together form an ecosystem that is amazingly productive and resilient. The question, however, is how long the Swiss can manage to shield their order from the globalized world’s homogenizing pressure.
Opinion: Vaccinations and the loss of collective awareness
Two decades ago it appeared that measles, a disease that once claimed close to 3 million lives per year, had been nearly eradicated. But keeping it at bay depends on very high rates of immunization. As these rates decline, measles outbreaks have spiked again, spurred by the social phenomenon of “vaccine hesitancy.” Can a better way than the deaths of millions be found to restore universal dread of the dangers of contagious diseases?
Educational meritocracy and East Asia’s development miracle
Only a few countries made the leap from developing to advanced industrial nations in the 20th century. Among the fortunate five, four are from East Asia: Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Their politics and economic policies have varied widely over the decades, but at least one common denominator stands out: a rigorous early selection process for their political and business elites based on academic achievement.
Carlos Ghosn and the rigor of the Japanese state
The surprise arrest of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is superficially a tale of personal greed and clashing corporate cultures. But drill deeper and the more significant takeaway is what the case reveals about the Japanese approach to law and the power of the state. That is why Mr. Ghosn’s fate could have an impact on Japan’s international standing and foreign investors.
GIS Dossier: Governance in Africa, the case of three countries
Three sub-Saharan African countries, all with decades-long, devastating civil wars behind them. Two are populous and large, well-endowed in natural riches, while one is a small, landlocked nation with no particular resources. Which one is Africa’s poster child of economic and developmental success today? This GIS Dossier examines why the longtime leaders of these three countries delivered such widely differing results for their societies.
Opinion: Property rights and the challenges of transplanting institutions
Since the time of Adam Smith, economists have understood that the wealth or poverty of nations hinge on the quality of their institutions. Political, economic and social rules of the game can be inclusive, offering opportunities for prosperity to all, or extractive, protecting the rents of a few. But the international effort to introduce one such rule – formal property rights – shows that even simple changes can have complex and unwelcome effects in alien cultural settings.
Integrating a half-empty Balkans into the EU
Citizens of the Western Balkans are entering the European Union much faster than their countries. As a result, the region’s depopulation is accelerating, driven by high unemployment, poor governance, rampant corruption, rising crime and unclear prospects for the future. The most desired destination is Germany, which welcomes emigrants as a much-needed supplement to its workforce. However, the geopolitical consequences of a half-empty Balkans may be disturbing.
Italian gold and populist publicity
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has revived a five-year-old proposal to use his country’s gold reserves to bring down the budget deficit. The idea is problematic for several reasons – but that is not the point. Mr. Salvini is likely using this controversial plan to make headlines and burnish his populist credentials ahead of the European Parliament elections. While he may take the gold idea further, his real goal is to enlarge and lead a pan-European alliance of euroskeptics.
GIS Dossier: Vietnam defends its independence
Vietnam, with its more than 3,400-kilometer coastline on the South China Sea, its growing economy and its large military, is a linchpin of Southeast Asia. It also lies at the crux of global powers’ interests in the region. So far, it has managed to maximize its independence, but rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region threaten to undermine its strategy. This Dossier reviews GIS experts’ analysis of and predictions for this emerging regional leader.
Big government means high taxes
There is a growing myth that the rich are not paying their fair share in taxes and that the middle class is therefore overtaxed. This is not the case. High-income taxpayers across the OECD pay more than their share of the national income. The blame for heavy tax burdens in Western democracies lies squarely with the voters, who have consistently chosen larger government.