Showing posts from July, 2010

China? A Planet within our Planet

Image via Wikipedia Lately there's been an avalanche of news about China, ranging from the best to the worst. Fantastic skyscrapers and olympic shows to floods, strikes and police massacres of Tibetans and Uyghurs. Not to mention tussles with neighbours, in particular Taiwan (the "special relations") and Vietnam (over the Paracels islands).

But China is also a trade giant, credited by some with saving the world from the Great Recession. 

A Gentle Giant.


I'ts becoming increasingly evident that China doesn't need the rest of the world. It grows fast - exponentially fast with little help from outside. And whatever technology it needs, it can buy. Chinese used to go abroad to get it - no more. Now they import from the West whatever brainpower they need. And unlike the Western Capitalist Model, the key agent for change is not business but the government.

It's in the process of becoming a planet within our planet.

Just one example among many: in 2009, sales of dig…

The World Cup 2010 - Political fallouts

So the suspense is over, SPAIN won, the NETHERLANDS lost and it all happened at the very tail end of the game - the 116th minute to be precise. Spain won with just one goal. Big deal! I'm no expert in soccer, but it seems to me that a game that has to drag fully 16 minutes beyond the "normal" 90 minutes had to be pretty close to a draw. I bet people who watched wondered whether anybody would ever score!

But what really drew my attention was not the game in itself - and I'll readily admit soccer watching is a lot of fun, it's a spectacular game - no, what drew my attention were the comments made by everybody, CNN, BBC, France 24, the big papers like the New York Times and Herald Tribune etc. You'd think this was all about sport and nothing else, but no, it's serious stuff, it's about POLITICS and NATION-BUILDING!

There is an enduring notion that Sport can bring Good to the world. Mandela 15 years ago, during the African Nations Cup soccer event, said &…

The Great Recession: How Long Will It Last?

Time to move away from fiction to a little bit of non-fiction.

Have you noticed that the on-going economic crisis has lately acquired a name? It's no longer a financial collapse, a credit crunch, a real estate bubble gone bust, it's the Great Recession. Sounds good, a little depressing but definitely impressive. You can count on economists to come up with nice names even if they can't predict anything about the next turn, whether up or down. They can't tell us after two years of Great Recession and tons of analyses, how long it will last..Even weather predictions are better!

And don't expect me to come up with an answer because I won't! I studied Economics at Columbia University a long time ago and I was lucky to have courses with the likes of Milton Friedman and Baghwati. But at the time I came away with a strong sense that economists are great as long as they confine themselves to their theories and models, and they're very poor when it comes to grapplin…