Wednesday News And Notes
Are Asia, Europe Moving Away From Integration?
As the global economy disintegrated in 2012, the underlying political structures also suffered as nations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East shifted away from greater collaboration in favor of national interest.
“After two decades of globalization, this year will see each of the big political theaters re-erecting barriers and focusing more on domestic repairs than on global expansion. The unraveling has its roots in longer-term trends, but it is set to step up in the next year,” observes Reuters columnist Mark Leonard.
In Asia where the “economic map has been redrawn over the past 15 years as increasing intra-regional trade, investment and supply chains have driven deep interdependence (all done largely without the United States),” political disputes and security concerns are driving nations, primarily China, away from the course of unity.
Strengthening Democracy Is Key To Global Stabilization
Christian Science Monitor columnist Kurt Shillinger contends that there is no more important component to fostering stability globally than protecting hopes for democracy.
Shillinger acknowledges that many issues demand attention from climate change to the spread of nuclear weapons, but says “nothing will be more important to international stability and human progress in 2013 than advancing the aspirations of people who are upending authoritarian rule in the pursuit of self-government and a fair shot at success.”
Think The Cliff Was Bad?
From entitlements to a swath of new regulations, the US economy will face five big obstacles to economic growth if inaction is the route chosen by politicians, according to Investors Business Daily.
Africa’s Shining Stars
Across the continent there are several nations that are disproving the myth that economic growth and prosperity are anathema to Africa. Sebastian Mallaby notes in The Financial Times that the mindset of fatalism about economic progress in Africa is not quite appropriate.
“But better policy has also made a difference. You can see this in studies of particular advances: the policy of distributing insecticide-treated bed nets to ward off malarial mosquitoes explains a large part of the gains in child survival. You can also see this in the productivity performance of the best-managed nations,” he says cautioning that “this shift of economic structure is not a continent-wide story.”