Longitude #24

February, 2013

Leaders

Laying out a legacy

In his own image
by Christopher Caldwell

President Obama’s new cabinet reflects his insular tendencies and paradoxical ideology – or lack thereof. Can his team serve to crystallize a cohesive doctrine as historic as his own presidency?

Fable of the bees
by Stefano Stefanini

Reelected presidents’ second terms can be disappointing. Will Obama be the exception to the rule? In spite of the mixed reviews his foreign policy has received, America today is in better shape internationally than in 2008. Caution and realism have been his trademark – but also decisiveness. 

Treasury’s Lew direction
by Domenico Lombardi

With the choice of an old Washington hand to take the reins at Treasury, Obama looks to his trusted Chief of Staff, Jack Lew, to focus on domestic policy.

America: lawmakers, guns and money
by Stash Luczkiw

In the wake of yet another tragedy, the long dormant gun control debate has now been revived in Washington. But before anything substantive can be achieved, Americans will need to explore the roots of their own love affair with guns.

When consensus kills governability

Restoring democracy
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

A government of the people, by the people and for the people is surely a noble idea. But what happens when governments become ineffectual, or even paralyzed, due the people’s desire to reap rewards without paying the price?

Redefining the battleground
by Francesco Galietti

In the context of the current crisis of democracy, Italian elections matter, and often reluctant élites are rolling up their sleeves and entering the fray. It remains to be seen if the electorate is ready for them – or even fully understands and trusts their intentions.

Economic policy feuds
by Giovanni Tria

The global recession has made finding viable economic solutions a matter of utmost urgency. It has also shed a new light on the traditional dispute between Keynesians and monetarists. Could the time be nigh to abandon such ideological polarities?

Democracies in no one’s world
by Gianluca Sadun Bordoni

While there may not be much alternative to democracy, there is an ever increasing variety of democracies. As Western hegemony declines, we will be faced with an international system groping for an elusive center of gravity.

Europe

Merkel gets ready for the polls
by Ubaldo Villani-Lubelli

Germany’s upcoming elections will be a referendum both on Merkel’s performance and on the future of Europe. While the Chancellor is respected throughout the country, the recent economic slowdown may undermine her popularity.

Credit where credit is due
by Justin Muzinich, Richard Greco

Italy has all the elements needed for a growth spurt – almost. The missing piece in the puzzle is a crucial one: credit. Lending money to Italy’s myriad small businesses is fundamental to its economic recovery.

Reforming the Italian promotion system abroad
by Maurizio Melani

In order to support growth in a changing world, the Italian government has made structural adjustments to facilitate international business both at home and abroad.­

Russia

Putin out the feelers
by Matteo Tacconi

Vladimir Putin is determined to re-establish Russia’s standing as an international power. To do this he will need to focus attention on the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, which would require a strategic about-face after a century of focusing on Europe.

Global food production

Wasting food
by Anna Bono

Industrialized nations waste a shocking amount of food. But few people are aware of just how much food gets lost in the developing world. A closer look at how and where the loss occurs can lead to finding solutions.

The world’s food
by
The six million dollar tomato­
by Moreno Zani

Studies show that improving the productivity of agriculture with genetically modified crops will not only benefit investors in the much maligned sector of seed production, it will especially benefit the world’s hungry and poor.

Global markets

The Starbucks zeitgeist
by Maurizio Stefanini

Sipping one of Starbucks’ many permutations of the tried-and-true cup of coffee while settling into a couch and perusing a computer screen to the soundtrack of a hip playlist has become more than a passing fad in America and throughout the world. It’s now a cultural statement. 

Warming bloopers

Catastrophe and the insurance industry
by Carlo Clini

A corollary of climate change is the increase of extreme weather and the damage it inflicts on private property. In order to cope with the changes, insurers need to reassess their policies on catastrophe insurance.