Many steps to relieve the economic crisis have encouraged a return to environmentally harmful policies. If we are to avert an even graver ecological crisis, priority must be given to address the challenges of green growth.
Is Edward Snowden a traitor or a whistle-blower? However he is viewed, it is now clear that his actions will have a lasting impact on how the US conducts its intelligence gathering from now on.
China's shadowy moves
China has just launched a new phase of its development. Behind the policies guiding the reforms there is an overarching vision of the Chinese nation rooted in its traditions and well equipped for the future. Will China’s rise oblige it to become an offensive power?
A plan for continuing China’s balancing act between socialism and capitalism was laid out in November by Xi Jinping. If implemented correctly it has the potential to be as decisive as anything since Mao’s exit from the scene.
China is now poised to become the world’s dominant economic force. Nevertheless, many factors – political and cultural – must still align themselves if it is to live up to its enormous potential.
Is China capable of becoming the Pacific region’s main player? Can it continue to drive the world economy? Many social and political constraints, if not surmounted, could sabotage China’s seemingly inevitable ascendancy.
China needs to increase its food production and has begun shopping for fertile land beyond its borders. A monumental deal with Ukraine indicates where the future of agriculture may be headed.
In less than a decade China has expanded its cultural influence through the establishment of Confucius Institutes – not only in neighboring countries, but especially in distant lands that promise to be potential trade partners.
Business and ethics
Since the economic crisis gripped the most developed economies, the world of finance has faced particular scrutiny. Under the spotlight, the very notion of ethical financing is rapidly expanding.
Apart from strictly moral considerations, SRI serves as an additional risk management tool allowing executives and investors to foresee potential threats to a company’s reputation.
The fair trade movement keeps growing, with major corporations joining the bandwagon. Yet it has been the target of criticism from both ends of the spectrum.
Despite their legal troubles – or perhaps because of how those troubles have played out – JPMorgan and other big banks have shown that they are now inextricably intertwined with the mechanics of government.
What many tend to forget is that business involves human beings. The growth of corporations stems from the drive to improve human happiness and well-being. Therefore, ignoring ethics will ultimately undermine business’s raison d’être.
Although the financial crisis has subsided, the recovery is still struggling to gain traction and fears of a prolonged stagnation continue to grow. Economists are now debating what, if anything, can be done.
One would think the eradication of a disease like polio would be a universal goal. Unfortunately, cultural resistance and suspicion of immunization programs remain, and there may be a polio resurgence in some countries.
For those who don’t mind risk, the Iraqi economy is fertile ground for making money. As long as the country doesn’t descend into civil war – with which it is continually flirting – the opportunities are vast.
Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Africa. Growing just as fast, unfortunately, is the persecution against Christians – especially in areas where Muslim extremist groups are growing stronger.
The money sustaining the climate change counter-movement comes largely from vested business interests. But rather than using it to fudge scientific data, which is harder than it seems, the fund go mostly to PR and lobbying.