Weekly Selection 3 January 2020

Willem Buiter, When Central Banks Go Green

(Project Syndicate, January 2, 2020)

The economist explains why there are financial risks associated with making the shift to a low-carbon economy (stranded assets) and physical risks tied to inaction (destruction of assets). He wonders whether mitigating the adverse consequences of climate change should become an explicit monetary-policy objective and concludes that central banks thus have no choice but to focus more closely on the issue, with or without an expansion of their traditional policy mandates. He predicts that we’ll see “green QE” in both the Eurozone and the UK in the not-too-distant future (reads in 5-6 min).

Martin Jacques, This decade belonged to China. So will the next one

(The Guardian, December 31, 2019)

Not everybody will agree but the argument is worth listening to… The author of “When China Rules the World” claims that the next decade will see a continuing fragmentation of the western-centric international system, together with the growing influence of Chinese-oriented institutions. The process will be uneven, unpredictable and, at times, fraught – but ultimately impossible to resist (reads in 6-7 min).

Sean Illing, A decade of revolt

(Vox, December 26, 2019)

This is an interview with Martin Gurri, a former CIA analyst who in 2014 predicted the upheavals of the past 10 years. His argument: the digital revolution empowers the public to participate more in politics, creating an impulse to revolt against the dominant institutions of society and the elites. That leaves us in a state of perpetual rebellion in which an unhappy public continually screams for the destruction of the established order without any sense of what comes next; a sort of political nihilism: everyone knows what they’re against and no one knows what they’re for (reads in 7-8 min).

Kazumi Nishikawa, How to get ageing populations to invest in their health

(World Economic Forum, December 26, 2019)

A Japanese policy-maker responsible for healthcare policy explains how a public-private partnership program called Health and Productivity Management (H&PM) addresses the challenge of healthy ageing. It was created six years ago and is now implemented in 2,300 Japanese large companies and 35,000 SMEs, boosting their performance. Since the data shows it is a success for Japan’s super-aged society, it will be emulated elsewhere (reads in 4-5 min).

Tara Parker-Pope, For the Holidays, the Gift of Self-Care

(The New York Times, December 10, 2019)

A Buddhist teacher offers five simple steps to quiet our mind and soothe stress, highlighting “the power of self-care”. While self-care is a simple concept, it can be remarkably difficult to enact, but this article suggests a simple five-step plan: (1) Become mindful of your own breathing; (2) Accept life’s imperfections; (3) Write down the things in your life that are weighing on you, and the things you need to do; (4) Make time on a regular basis for a meaningful conversation; (5) Take a walk – “an incredible resource for healing (reads in 5-6 min).