Longitude #45

January, 2015


Modifying India

Wringing out India’s waste
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

India is a dysfunctional colossus if ever there was one. But there has been progress in many areas, and the new government is well-positioned to build on already existing momentum and fill in some of the myriad economic sinkholes. 

Myriad India
Map by Marie Joveneau
Modi operandi
by Antonio Armellini

India’s new prime minister has shown a desire to shake up the stale political system and further open the economy. Will he be able to go against his voter base’s interests and succeed? If not, he may need to fall back on the sectarian passions that have long sustained his party. 

Bye-bye superbanks

How to finance the future
by Stefano Cingolani

The financial industry has yet to fully come to terms with the crisis that began in 2007. While many banks have rebounded, it is hard to see sustained solidity barring a deep, well-thought-out reform of big banks. 

The world of banking
Map by Marie Joveneau
The key to EU banking health
by David Kempthorne, Domenico Lombardi

While comprehensive assessments of US banks helped America rebound from the financial crisis, Europe is hobbled by a less dynamic economic situation. What’s needed is an explicit commitment to pro-growth policies. 

The ECB finally takes charge
by Silvia Merler

The ongoing financial turmoil in Europe has led to a sea change in the eurozone’s banking sector. Using an array of tools at their disposal, policy-makers hope to protect banks from future crises. 

Another shock in the making
by Christopher Caldwell

A new analysis about the subprime crisis points the finger at legislation based on misguided goals. If this is accurate, then we can expect more trouble to come. 


by Stash Luczkiw

Caught between a resurgent Russia and a non-committal EU and NATO, Eastern European countries must weigh their wishes and ideals against the ineluctable reality of geography. 

Middle East

Tripoli, oh land of love
by Alessandro Merola

Three years after the NATO-led regime change, there is still no regime in place that can say it is governing Libya. The volatile and violent situation on the ground is a continual vying for position among militias and tribes. 


Survival in a tough neighborhood
by Stefano Stefanini

As NATO pulls most of its forces out of Afghanistan, it again faces a moment of truth, in which the war-ravaged country must survive more or less on its own. This time, however, the neighbors will be watching more closely. 

Global terrorism

The coffers of terror
by Maurizio Stefanini

Like any organization that wants to recruit, expand and influence, even terrorist groups need to secure a steady income. Different groups have found different solutions. They must all adapt to market forces. 


African arms race
by Anna Bono

Military spending throughout Africa in recent years has increased more rapidly than economic growth. The problem, however, is that in most countries the extra money is not well spent. 

Sparrow’s generation
by Enrico Verga

One of the biggest scourges for international trade in the past few decades has been naval piracy. Unlike the drunken rabble sailing under the Jolly Roger back in the heyday of piracy, the new pirates tend to be structured more like small businesses. 

Treasure map
Map by Marie Joveneau

The Orientalist

Putin’s moves in the Middle East
by Maurizio Molinari

Long kept on the sidelines of the Middle East chessboard, Russia is reasserting its importance as a fundamental player in the fight against IS. 

Warming bloopers

Aliens invade the Mediterranean
by Carlo Clini

Thanks to the Suez Canal, many alien organisms have entered the Mediterranean Sea. With Egypt planning to widen the channel, an environmental challenge must be addressed with methods that will prevent a potential ecosystem upheaval.