Saturday News

Egypt After Three Years Of Revolution
Ghada Chehade of the Centre for Research on Globalization reflects on what the Egyptian revolution has wrought as the movement marks its 3rd anniversary. She argues that the Egyptian people are so tired of the violence – there were more bombings on Friday in Cairo – and chaos that they pose less of a threat to the elite today than they did when the Arab Spring began. At least 20 people died Friday across Egypt in clashes among Islamist protesters, their secular opponents and police.

“While the subject and spectacle has been focused on the battle between Brotherhood supporters and the military state, those sympathetic to the cause of the 2011 uprising may be keen to note that both sides are antithetical to the original people’s uprising and its demands and grievances. It’s as if the people’s revolution— which originally sought, in part, to undo or oppose the policies of global neo-liberalism—has gone, or been taken, down a path that increasingly distorts and undermines its initial ideals and demands while violently polarizing a previously more cohesive population.

“If I was a complete cynic, I might even go as far as to say that the bizarre and temporary governing tenure of the Muslim Brotherhood ushered in just enough social turmoil and fissure to allow a once contested Mubarak-era military elite to (violently) re-emerge as the stout (and constitutionally backed) protectors of the peace and the nation,” Chehade admits.

Does Syria Reflect A New World Order, Or Is It The Same Old Chaos
Doug Sanders, a columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail argues that those who contend the Syrian civil war represents a new world order in which leadership is absent and chaos ever-present miss the point.

He notes that there was little leadership present when the Sudan was devolving or in Sierra Leone.

“The awful Sierra Leone civil war ended after a decade when Britain pulled together a few other nations and dragged the UN back in. Afghanistan, a UN-mandated NATO war, was the exception that proved the rule – and its outcome can’t be called ‘leadership.’ The 2011 UN-NATO Libyan intervention, paradoxically, is the closest thing one can imagine to the ‘old’ world order these folks describe,” he writes.

“Ad hoc, chaotic, paradoxical, ineffective, contradictory: That is not a description of the new world order. It describes the past half-century of ugly, but thankfully less frequent, conflict,” he asserts.

The Changing Welfare State In Europe
Dr. Nima Sanandaji examined tax rates and grades of economic freedom to assess the current state of welfare and economic growth in Western Europe. What he found was that most of the nations on the list remained the same, but their levels of economic freedom changed.

The Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation index of economic freedom showed that the Netherlands and Austria were the most market liberal of the nine Western European countries, while Sweden and Italy were the least free. Denmark – which compensates for high taxes with market oriented  policies, including a liberal labour market – has climbed to become the freest economy amongst the group.

“It is anything but easy to predict the future development of the Western European welfare states. But one thing is clear: the countries in the region that are doing well today are those that have reformed  towards free-market policies and lower tax burdens since the mid-1990s. Given the apparent problems in France and Italy, and the continued interest for  market reforms in the more vibrant North, it would seem that increased economic  freedom is still the recipe for success,” he writes.

World Economic Forum Discussion On Global Climate Change
Former Vice President Al Gore joined a panel that included Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss efforts to address climate change in a rapidly developing world.

And Then There Is This
Tim Harford of The Financial Times tackles the emerging issue of income inequality with a mix of seriousness and jest.


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