Weekly Selection 27 September 2019

Arvind Subramanian and Dani Rodrik, The Puzzling Lure of Financial Globalization

(Project Syndicate, September 25, 2019)

The two renowned economists observe that, although most of the intellectual consensus behind neoliberalism has collapsed, the idea that emerging markets should throw their borders open to foreign financial flows is still taken for granted in policymaking circles. They argue that until that changes, the developing world will suffer from unnecessary volatility, periodic crises, and lost dynamism (reads in 5-6 min).

Matthew Bishop, Getting to the Global Goals: A Radical Yet Realistic Route to 2030

(Rockefeller Foundation, September 20, 2019)

The summary reads in less than 5 minutes, the report requires a few hours (unless chapters are read independently from each other). We are slipping behind the SDG targets, but “there are still 10 years to get things right” Bishop says. He adds: The incentive for those in business and finance is that “there are potentially huge fortunes to be made” and concludes: “We have nothing to lose but our regrets”!

Debbi Kickam, KLM Celebrates 100 Years Of Service And Why You Should Take The Sustainability Travel Pledge On World Tourism Day Tomorrow

(Forbes, September 26, 2019)

As more and more people are encouraged to stop flying and to take the train and other forms of transportation, the issue of “flight shaming” is gaining a lot of traction. This article is not long on content, but the fact that it appears in Forbes is the unmistakable sign that the issue of travel sustainability (flight + all the rest) will become paramount in the months and years to come. Rosy predictions about travel’s double-digit growth will be proven wrong (reads in 5-6 min).

Chandran Nair, The High Cost of Hong Kong’s Housing Inequality

(Berggruen Institute, September 26, 2019)

The founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow and the author of “The Sustainable State” sheds an interesting light on what’s happening in Hong Kong. China is now trying to reduce inequality in the territory by calling on the city’s largest property developers to release their land holdings in order to construct more housing, thus reducing the high cost of accommodation. Could this quell the protests that have both political and economic causes? Singapore offers an interesting example (reads in 6-7 min).

Jia Talentino, How TikTok Holds Our Attention

(The New Yorker, September 23, 2019)

This is a must-read to understand how the social media landscape is evolving. TikTok has been downloaded more than a billion times since its launch in 2017, with more monthly users than Twitter or Snapchat. After a USD3bn investment from SoftBank, its Chinese parent company (ByteDance) was valued at more than USD75bn, the highest valuation for any startup in the world. In the teleology of TikTok, “good content” is anything that is shared, replicated, and built upon. In essence, “the platform is an enormous meme factory, compressing the world into pellets of virality and dispensing those pellets until you get full or fall asleep” (reads in 9-10 min).