Stefano Cingolani

Italy on the brink

The risk of Italy being governed by anti-european forces is palpable. It is especially worrisome as this could lead one of the founding fathers of the Union onto the outside edge along with Greece. The weakening of this strategic position – 70 years in the making – as one of the pillars of the European project, would lead to dire consequences for the continent.

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The Italian political limbo

The vote of the 4th of March has humiliated both the Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, leading parties of the Italian political scene for the last 25 years. Launching the populist anti-establishment 5Star Movement and giving the Lega party a leading position in the center-right coalition, in a surprising game changer.

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The year of optimism

The economic and political scenarios are showing positive signs that the worst of the global recession is behind us and future geopolitical tensions on the way to being resolved or at least contained. The question everyone asks is, will it last?

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Living the Xi era

China needs a great leader to steer it through the next set of challenges. Xi is a powerful and charming ruler but he is also an autocratic leader. By using his power to reform the Chinese system from within he will achieve great success. But what if he fails?

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The long way to Tipperary

In a world buffeted by centrifugal political forces and seemingly incessant globalization, the idea of nationalism is being continually reassessed. New rules of engagement are needed, along with a leadership that can steer the ineluctable process of change.

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The hole in the donut

Thus far, the Trump presidency is noted more for its raucous breaking of all norms than for any single policy achieved. In fact, what is most notable is the new administration’s extreme ineffectuality. But this in itself could lead to problems. 

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The indispensable nation

Germany is a success story from many points 
of view, especially with respect to economic stability. But if it is to be a global power, it must understand how impossible it is for others to imitate the German model.

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Is social media about to burst?

Markets are jittery about what they sense is the end of the social media bubble. Whatever happens, though, the new tech giants are in the process of a full-scale takeover of the old economy.

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Macronism: a hopeful new balancing act

France’s silent majority has given the emerging élite a mandate. Now President Macron is putting together a government and economic program for France that will try to juggle the numerous forces buffeting a Europe still reeling from various crises.

En Marche! marches on

The conflict between a France open and integrating with a globalized world where it has less and less influence and a France retrenching to buttress its rich history and traditions just had its first major battle. Openness won, but the jury is still out. 

World economy
A warm welcome for inflation

Prices are rising and economists seem to be, if not rejoicing, then at least breathing a sigh of relief. Guided wisely, some inflation could lead to much-needed economic growth in the real economy.

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Trump wrestles with the office

Campaigning was the part that came most naturally to the new US President. Now that he has gone gangbusters trying to fulfill his promises, there is resistance and even chaos from all directions.

Featured briefing
The brave new beginning

The totally unexpected is now upon us. Trump is in office and the entire world is waiting to see how his presidency pans out. The only thing that can safely be said is that the entire journey has been unprecedented.

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Italy's revolutionless restoration

The government of Matteo Renzi fell for a variety of reasons. But the electorate’s resounding rejection of his proposed structural reforms is a symptom of a much deeper refusal – that of a general unwillingness in the developed world to adapt to reality.

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Making America flush with money

Trump has promised Americans that his business acumen will allow him to increase wealth and create more jobs. In the short run, at least, business as usual can be expected to be better than ever – but at what price?

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Behind the scenes at the Chancellery

Assailed by an unexpected economic slowdown and bank problems, there is movement among the Christian Democrats to shore up her popularity. As major elections approach, they need to convince the German people that she is still indispensible.

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Sex, lies and political posturing

American politics is becoming increasingly determined by feelings rather than facts. No matter who wins the upcoming presidential elections, the political landscape will be marked by the ability of candidates to stir emotions.

Featured briefing
Europe’s ten conundrums

Things are coming apart quickly on the Old Continent. There are many reasons, and often the sources of one problem stem from the solution to a previous problem. Despite all this, Europe is heading toward a make-or-break moment in which it will be forced to act decisively.

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Britons leave Europe to the Last Men

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. Now apart from managing the inevitable turmoil that will ensue, the EU must confront the risk of a domino effect as it assesses how this could have happened and how to prevent further defections. 

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Stripping Europe to the core

As the UK ponders whether it should stay or go, the rest of Europe has dug an old proposal out of the closet: a core composed of the original members in a multi-layered Union. 

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McWorld vs. Jihad

The most recent wave of globalization – and its no-global backlash – is rather different from previous ones. Transnational integration has often resulted in disintegration at home, in which a clash of civilizations is beginning to brew. How can this be prevented?

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Trumpnomics for dummies

China, Mexico, Japan and globalization have all been demonized by the Trump campaign. And yet, there is a grain of truth to many of the underlying reasons for his economic retrenchment movement.

Now what?
How central bankers become easy villains

These are extraordinary economic times, when old formulas have proven ineffective and politicians are loath to experiment with new approaches. In this context, central banks have become lightening rods 
for criticism.

Crude oil's downward slide
Cheap oil's winners and losers

A new balance of power is emerging among the world’s biggest oil producers. As the price continues to decline, or merely hovers at their current levels, these countries will need to have their economies in order. 

Is the world’s economy safe?
The mysteries of money, oil and war

The new year promises even more uncertainty than we saw in 2015. It seems our standard economic and political models are becoming outdated. Perhaps a new understanding is in order.

Europe’s dark hour
Angela’s blues

As Europe reels under the threat of continued terrorist attacks, Berlin has been remarkably quiet. It would seem that Angela Merkel’s appeal is fading as she deals with possible repercussions from her own policies with respect to refugees.

How the car is changing
The car wars continue

The automobile industry has been agitated for a long time, with new technologies changing the very soul of the car. The recent VW scandal may serve as the spark for a revolution already in the making.

China’s unending march
The Chinese correction

With much of the world concerned about the recent plunge in China’s stock exchanges, most of the signals indicate that the economy is merely undergoing a market correction that Beijing can manage.

Working on the EU to come
Leaving is never easy

Everyone was prepared for Grexit, but in the end all the sides involved came reluctantly to the conclusion that parting ways would be more traumatic than trying to work things out.

Racing to stream
The man who would throw TV into the stream

Media moguls come and go, but some, like John Malone, manage to leave the landscape utterly transformed. As is often the case, the key to success is sheer size, and Malone is bent on creating a media colossus.

The rising allure of the tangible
Back to tangibles

Music, images and information: they’ve all been subsumed by digital technology. However, instead of disappearing, the old paradigms are simply adapting to a wider range of possibilities. The result is a resurgence of the material world.

The sliding euro
The $uper dollar

With the US economy’s recovery gaining traction, its currency has grown stronger. The implications are mixed, depending on which end of a transaction you happen to be on, but they are surely significant.

Fiscal paradise lost
The vaults of paradise

As governments become increasingly strapped for cash, a movement to make tax havens less attractive has gained traction. Unfortunately the practical application of fiscal transparency is extremely problematic.

Greece in the hands of the gods
The great Grexit bluffs

Both sides seem to be playing chicken, each with the other’s sword of Damocles. But under the bluster both realize they are condemned to cooperating with each other, even if for Tsipras this means going back on promises that won him the election.

Euro Sisyphus faces jihad
Until debt do us part

Greece is on the verge of default. But so are many countries, and some of them have been in debt for centuries. Greece’s anti-austerity parties insist that it would be better for everyone to restructure the country’s debt.

Bye-bye superbanks
How to finance the future

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 new world of cheap oil
Oil prices over the barrel

The price of oil has fallen considerably in recent months. Unlike in the past, when oil and gas could be used for political leverage, the structural causes of the drop indicate that market forces have pulled away from political levers.

China’s delicate balancing act
The Dragon’s dilemmas

An economic slowdown, combined with continued protests in Hong Kong, could spell trouble for China. But it could also offer the new leadership a chance to enact promised political reforms.

Draghing Europe out of recession

The current ECB president, Mario Draghi, has been credited with pulling the eurozone away from the brink of disaster. Many, however, still wonder if his office has the wherewithal to drag Europe back to economic vigor.

Jeff Bezos tracing new directions
The Grand Disruptor

Amazon started by selling books. Now the publishing industry will never be the same. As the company pursues its founder’s vision and expands in various directions, look for innovations and attendant disruptions to increase.

The Euro to come
Redrawing the stagnant continent

Europe has managed to pull the common currency away from the brink, but now it is stuck in a political malaise. The whole EU project has been put into question, and the well being that it was supposed to bring is now at risk. Can the European dream resist the recent wave of skepticism?

World war
The economy of war

Can Europe or Russia bear the economic burden of a major war? Some say the global economy is so interdependent that such a war would be obviated by the fact that no clear benefit would come to anyone involved. But this has yet to be proved.

Avoiding the dark
Keeping the lights on in Europe

The prospect of a gas war with Russia has Europe maneuvering to shore up its energy security. With so many factors and contingencies in play, we are now witnessing the negotiation of a new international balance of power.

Full throttle Putin
Sanctions and the butterfly effect

As the EU and US scramble to punish Russia for annexing Crimea, they are realizing that there is no easy painless way to make their point. If they want to stand by their convictions, they must be willing to accept the sacrifices.

World economy
Emerging precariously

A convergence of factors has created a difficult situation for developing countries. As a result, emerging markets are now as dicey as they traditionally have been.

World economy
The great stagnation

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.

Global farming
Plenty for all

Geopolitics cannot ignore the global distribution of natural resources. Among these resources, none perhaps is as vital and complex as food. Can we feed the ever- growing population on limited land?

Global rush in telecommunications
Everything everywhere and all-in-one

The telecoms industry is evolving so rapidly that a recent slew of mergers and potential acquisitions might be just the tip of the iceberg as consumers brace themselves for next-generation technology and services.

De-globalized manufacturing
Coming to grips with the future

The Great Recession has forced many adjustments to the global economy. Ironically, when the recovery hits its stride, the greatest beneficiary of the changes will be the place where the crisis originated.

Shale revolution
Frack baby, frack

The technology of hydraulic fracturing is changing the geopolitical landscape. As the US becomes energy independent, and possibly even a gas exporter, the Middle East and Russia will lose a lot of their leverage.

Smoldering societies
Bridge to Utopia

The Swedish model of a comprehensive welfare state is not what it used to be. In fact, Sweden has recently become a hotbed of perceived inequality, racism and discontent – all in a country whose economy is still the envy of Europe and much of the world.

Why the economy needs fat ducks
The leaner meaner money machine


The financial system is back in business and picking up steam after having taken a beating by a host of converging disasters. What lessons have been learned that could keep it from crashing again?

Kim the bully
Starving a nation

The North Korean government’s total control over its people has gone awry. While the hermit state’s population suffered from famine and food shortages, the government pursued a policy of military build-up and unpredictable posturing to obtain from the international community what it might not get otherwise.

France draws a line in the sand

The most dangerous new front in the ongoing fight against Islamic extremism, especially for European nations, has opened in Africa’s Sahel region. Now France has boots in the sand and must train African nations to contain the threat.

Transatlantic relations
Free trade across the Atlantic

Almost one-third of all world trade occurs between the United States and the European Union. Any free trade agreement between the two would be a game changer in the global economy.

Realigning a divided America
The next American century

Those who have resigned themselves to the slow demise of American preeminence may have done so prematurely. A number of factors are lining up to place the US in a position of continued international dominance.

Swimming upstream
Made in Russia

Russia’s economy is dominated by its natural resources industries. Yet Russia is still struggling to create a significant manufacturing base that can compete globally. A complete overhaul of the country’s approach to its economy may be in order.

A European mood swing

Now that Germany is beginning to loosen the screws on its profligate neighbors and singing the same tune as the ECB, Europe is breathing a sigh of relief. Will the calm be enough to finish the job of integration?

India - The floundering colossus
Potholes on the road to reform

If India is to live up to its potential, it needs to address a slew of political and structural issues that are not only putting the brakes on its recent growth, but may even cause it to fall apart,  jeopardizing a crucial region already fraught with instability.

Euro crisis
Euro fallout across the globe

The threat to the euro is also a threat to international stability. Leaders seem to be ignoring the fact that economic policy is inseparable from security policy. If European fiscal and political integration is to be viable, there will need to be a security pact as well.

Europe fights to survive
Grow now, or be damned

Europe, already withering under austerity measures, needs to grow its economies. But how? The recent G-8 summit sought to address the inability of governments and institutions to agree on a course of action that would avert paralysis and stagnation.

The price of harmony

China’s phenomenal growth over the last decade is finally slowing down. Analysts are now assessing to what degree the transition to a new phase of development can be guided in the manner that growth has been.

The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings

The European melodrama is far from finished. In fact, it is still very much a work in progress. However, if Europe decides to act as a soloist, rather than sing in a chorus, it risks alienating the US and intitiating the gradual demise of the West.

Maastricht in tatters

Twenty years after the drafting of the Treaty, the sovereign debt crisis shows that Europe is a fundamentally incomplete construction. Faced with the specter of disintegration, the EU will have no choice but to reconfigure the framework
out of which it has grown together thus far.

Tangoing on eggshells
­­Keeping things in check

True, there’s no going back to the dysfunctional past for most Latin American countries. Nevertheless, there remain a host of fundamental structural problems that could lead to pitfalls for many of the economies on the verge of overheating.

Debt crisis
Capitalism getting long ­­in the tooth

As many declare capitalism to be in its death throes, developing nations keep embracing it. This is because one thing is obvious: there is no viable alternative on the horizon. The question is whether the system’s middle-age crisis can make it wiser.

Deep water
Coins shining through the ripples

As the importance of water management grows, governments need to recognize the economic opportunities and provide the necessary incentives for private investment in the sector, backed by the political will to solve the attendant problems.

Trying not to bounce too high

While poised to become the dynamo of Europe, Germany might prefer to coast a little and keep the inflation it dreads at bay.

The auto industry shifts gear
America’s road trip nears its end

The auto industry was the driving force of the US economy in the 20th century. But now cars are beginning to take a back seat in the national psyche.

State of the Union
The three sides of the European disorder

Europe is divided on its most fundamental issues. Is this due to members retracting into the shell of national interests, or does a globalized world preclude the initiative we expect from leaders?