Joseph Nye on China's rise and US pivot to Asia
"This is not to say that Asia’s rise will not demand adjustments. When the Industrial Revolution began, Asia’s share of the global economy began to decline from more than 50% to just 20% by 1900. By the second half of this century, Asia is expected to recover its former economic dominance – that is, account for 50% of global output – while lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty...This power shift – perhaps the most consequential of the twenty-first century – implies serious risks", writes Nye, pointing that a new order is not going to be reached by a destabilizing revolution, but transformation in which US and Europe have their role as well.
"Bretton Woods demonstrated that it takes a major crisis to produce a political dynamic of reform. Today’s world, for all of its troubles, is simply not dangerous enough – at least not yet – for the countries at the helm of the global economy", write Harold James and Domenico Lombardi for Project Syndicate. Discussing the possibilities of a new Bretton Woods, the authors conclude that "world leaders – especially in the US and China – would need to be under similarly high pressure. A global pact would have to be an urgent necessity, rather than an attractive possibility."
The founder of Microsoft is now blogging and his blog offers some pretty amazing ideas to the public. This week, a post on how the world is made caught my eye. Gates reviews a book written by his favourite author, the historian Vaclav Smil (Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization). In Gates' words, Smil "argues that the most important man-made material is concrete, both in terms of the amount we produce each year and the total mass we’ve laid down. Concrete is the foundation (literally) for the massive expansion of urban areas of the past several decades, which has been a big factor in cutting the rate of extreme poverty in half since 1990."
While it is still not clear who won the recent presidential election in Afghanistan (while it seems the winner could be Ghani), it is well worth watching this inspiring TED talk on fixing failed states. Ghani did research on the subject for years, and wrote some important books in the field. In case he is elected, Afghanistan would get a competent and educated president - who, by the way, knows a lot about the problems that worry his country (in theory and practice).
Argentina celebrates the Independence Day and Anibal Troilo
This week, the Argentine society has much to celebrate, especially when it comes to two of their great passions: football and tango. To add up to those - in the same week with the Independence Day (9 July). While Messi and his team-mates play Klose and the mannschaft this weekend, the tango aficionados around the world celebrate what would be the 100th birthday of Anibal Troilo, a famous tango musician and orchestra leader. Nothing can capture better the link between football, tango and Troilo than the video below.
P.S. World Cup finals is more than football - it is also a place for heads of state and government to gather for political summits. Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Angela Merkel of Germany and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argenitna are supposed to support their national teams in Rio. Also, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Jacob Zuma of South Africa could attend and enjoy football - just a few days prior to the BRICS summit.