Archive for the ‘Technology and Globalization’ Category

3
Nov

As new technologies subject the world’s economies to massive structural change, wages are no longer playing the central redistributive role they once did. Unless the decoupling of productivity and wages is addressed, the political convulsions many countries are experiencing will only intensify.

MADRID – Macroeconomic data from the world’s advanced economies can be mystifying when viewed in isolation. But when analyzed collectively, the data reveal a troubling truth: without changes to how wealth is generated and distributed, the political convulsions that have swept the world in recent years will only intensify.

Consider, for example, wages and employment. In the United States and many European countries, average salaries have stagnated, despite most economies having recovered from the 2008 financial crisis in terms of GDP and job growth.

Moreover, increases in employment have not led to a slowdown or a reversal of the decline in the wage share of total national income. On the contrary, most of the wealth created since the 2008 crisis has gone to the rich. This might explain the low levels of consumption that characterize most advanced economies, and the failure of extremely lax monetary policy to produce an uptick in inflation.

Employment, too, seems to be performing in anomalous ways. Job creation, where it has taken place, has followed a different path than history suggests it should. For example, most employment growth has been in high-skill or low-skill occupations, hollowing out the middle. Many of the people who once comprised the Western middle class are now part of the middle-lower and lower classes, and live more economically precarious lives than ever before. Read more…
Published on Oct. 25, 2017 in https://www.project-syndicate.org

Manuel Muñiz
Manuel Muñiz is Dean of IE School of International Relations and Senior Associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

4
Dec

As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centred around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community that I became part of in my 20s is even more rarefied.

And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. In addition to this, with the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller.

So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.

It was, everyone seems to agree, the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere. Read more…

by Stephen Hawking; Thursday 1 December 2016 ; theguardian.com

30
Mar

That morning on the 5th day was probably one of the hardest to wake up from after a very fun late night dinner with the MIR program at an amazing restaurant. We woke up bright and early for our final seminar of the week at Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company. After a brief walk, we arrived at the Brussels branch of the company. The seminar took a different path than I thought it would have. Rather than being just broad overview of the company, it was focused mainly on role, need, and process of lobbying for companies like Telefonica in Brussels. Our speaker had lived and worked in Washington DC and made some really good and insightful comparisons about how things would work in DC in the USA and in Brussels for EU institutions. He opened up the floor for questions which many of us took advantage of to ask the questions that were gnawing at us.

Brussels Day 5_telefonicaAfter the seminar, we went back to the hotel and it was time to pack up and check out. Most of the MIR students decided to fly back to Madrid on Monday instead of immediately leaving after the seminar on Friday. I, on the other hand had a flight to Morocco for 8 days of solo travel around the country.

After packing up, I entrusted my laptop and my formal clothing that I had brought for the week to a fellow MIR student to take back to Spain for me, and as a result have been unable to update for the past week and a half.

My Morocco adventure was truly unforgettable and I’ve come back now with many new experiences, new friends from different parts of the world, and also a small bout of stomach troubles typical of traveling to other countries. It’s all a part of the experience!

Today was the first day of classes of the spring quarter of the program. I can’t believe that we only have 3 months left of studies before graduation. The studies and schoolwork here are intensive which also distorts the sense of time. When you’re busy as a bee, time flies without you noticing at all. I have to savor it while it lasts!

Calvin

 

This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the Master in International Relations yearly trip to Brussels. 

You can read more blogposts on the Brussels trip here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4

27
Oct

 

Evans Wadongo_21102014 (41)

Written By Matthew Pelton, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake

 

Kenyan entrepreneur Evans Wadongo, the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Development for All (SDFA), conducted a seminar with the MIR class on Tuesday 21 October.  Mr. Wadongo discussed his entrepreneurial journey from rural Kenya to the world stage, as an accomplished social entrepreneur recognized as a CNN Hero and Schwab Foundational Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the widespread impact of his solar lantern enterprise.  Building off the MIR’s Base of the Pyramid workshop, the session addressed the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and discussed the changing relations within Africa and between Africa and the world.  The session concluded with interactive Q&A on recent course topics, and MIR student Matt Pelton provided context based on his previous work experiences at the African Leadership Network.

Innovation and Opportunities

As economic growth continues, and the “Africa Rising” story garners attention, there are questions whether social development is following closely behind.  The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) might provide a different perspective.  The continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, ranks very low (#152 out of 187) based on the most recent HDI data.  As such, there still is a need for African entrepreneurs to create social impact through their businesses.  With foreign aid and government initiatives further removed from the needs and opportunities in local communities, Mr. Wadongo emphasized the significant opportunity to build innovative, local solutions from the bottom up. Using savings from his student loan, Mr. Wadongo developed a simple solution to a widespread problem.  He grew up in rural Kenya and developed eye sight problems at a young age due to kerosene oil.  His solar lanterns are made from recycled materials and provide a sustainable and healthier alternative to more expensive kerosene lanterns.  SDFA’s innovative business model provides solar lanterns on loan to women, who then use their kerosene savings to start businesses that support their households.  SDFA provides capacity-building support to the women entrepreneurs and to the unemployed youth that are trained to build the low-cost lanterns. Africa has become a growing hub for technology entrepreneurs in recent years (World Bank blog), but innovation can be found in sectors beyond technology and energy, such as financial services, agriculture, and education.  Examples provided in the seminar included a nano-lending mobile platform based in Kenya, an organic fertilizer made from bat droppings found in Madagascar caves, and an innovative chain of low-cost African universities, among others.  The continent’s population is rapidly growing, and UNICEF believes the youth population (under 18 years) will grow to nearly 1 billion by 2050.  Entrepreneurship and related education initiatives will play a key role in ensuring that unemployment is minimized through sufficient job creation.  With proper education and job opportunities, youth will be less likely to join rebel groups and extremist terrorism organizations, which recently has become a threat to local and international security.  

Read more…

28
May

 

Crowfunding conference (1)

Javier Ramos, Research Associate at the University of Zurich and Complutense Institute of International Relations, addressed the MIR class on Friday 23 May in what was the last seminar of the academic year. His topic, crowdfunding, was both relevant and novel for the students.  Crowdfunding is a relatively recent phenomenon in which funds can be raised through the internet for a political, cultural, non-profit or even commercial campaign.  The three core dimensions of crowdfunding are: social networks (one can raise funds from friends and family); sector specific (the event is usually cultural); low risk (amounts donated or lent are usually quite small). This new form of financing often benefits from the “wisdom of the crowd” or the fact that, collectively, projects can become more efficient or effective. Indeed, through crowdfunding, a person may lend money to a project he/she believes in but can also give feedback on how to improve the project. This is “collective” intelligence or “efficiencracy”: efficiency through democracy.

According to Ramos, there are 4 types of crowdfunding platforms: equity based in which investors seek profits; lending based in which lenders seek interest; reward based in which one receives a reward (a book, a diploma, a gift) in exchange for a donation; and donation based in which whatever you pledge is a donation. What makes this type of financing innovative is that almost anything and everything can get financed: an end of school trip, tuition for a Phd program etc…

Of course, crowdfunding, like any new phenomenon, also presents risks and disadvantages: the risk of fraud or that you will invest your money in something uncertain, untried, untested, distant. Some critics also dislike the fact that there is no interaction or real face to face time with the person who is fundraising for a project. Perhaps, the strongest criticism is that these new internet platforms are as yet unregulated and that international law lags behind these new initiatives. In due time, laws and regulations will catch up and crowdfunding will become a transparent, efficient and democratic way to finance one’s dreams.

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