Essay: As Russian history repeats itself, Putin becomes Yeltsin
Russia’s pension reform continues to reverberate in domestic politics. For the first time ever, President Vladimir Putin has assumed full personal responsibility for an unpopular decision that directly infringes on the lives of most Russians. The effects are already visible in his slumping popularity and in the startling results of gubernatorial elections in several regions. Mr. Putin could be looking for an electoral out as he follows the downhill path of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.
Russia breaks its social contract
In two decades of rule, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ensured stability by offering Russians an implicit social contract – a modest but secure social safety net in exchange for carte blanche in politics. Now, the country’s deepening financial and demographic crisis has put an end to this, forcing the government to make plans for increasing taxes and raising the retirement age by as much as eight years. No matter how cleverly handled, these austerity measures could trigger a serious backlash.
African countries move toward fiscal consolidation
Stung by falling commodities prices and growing donor fatigue, many African countries are expanding their tax bases. While at first blush this looks like a good move to liberate their economies from aid and resource dependence, it could also be a recipe for reducing investment and tamping down economic growth.
China’s coming pension crisis
China’s population is aging rapidly, a trend that will put huge strain on its economy and pension system. China is not the only country with this problem, but it is much poorer than many of its Western counterparts facing similar challenges. The government is working on measures to address the problem, but these will ultimately prove to be too little, too late.
China’s demographic shift places nation at a crossroads
CHINA’S controversial one-child policy, originally introduced to alleviate food shortage problems and raise living standards, has received substantial support from citizens for the most part of the three decades it has been in place. Yet cracks are beginning to emerge from within. GIS guest expert Yuen Sin says signs point to a population both ageing and in decline...
Germany - the not-so fit man of Europe
News of a slowdown in the German economy came as a surprise to many, including the German government. Is the only powerful growth engine of the eurozone suddenly running out of steam? The German economy is not as robust as one may think and its long-term prospects for growth are rather dim. <i>The German economy ha...