Our World in 2018


Leading minds reflect on the state of our societies, and examine the challenges that lie ahead. An edition dedicated to generating ideas that will help form a new vision for our world.

EUR 10




Past, present, future

February 2018 | Issue 008

Leading minds reflect on the state of our societies, and examine the challenges that lie ahead.

An edition dedicated to generating ideas that will help form a new vision for our world.

A publication by






Past, present, future

A publication by





Alexandros Koronakis


Cover title: Back to reality

Concept: Alexandros Koronakis

Illustration: Lavrentis Horaitis

Production by: JZ STRATEGIC


A publication of:


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Democracy Challenged

By Serge Schmemann

Looking across the globe, it might appear at times that violence, chaos and fear

are getting the upper hand over order, democracy and reason.

The world has always been a messy place, of course, and it may be that the

internet and social media give the worst of times more prominence than the best.

But there are real reasons for anxiety. Traditional democratic ideals and

institutions are under attack. Some leaders in Eastern Europe espouse “illiberal”

democracy, which treads on traditional human rights. Authoritarian leaders from


in his pursuit of a doomsday weapon. And the United States under Donald Trump

becomes more bitterly divided and unpredictable.

Historically, however, there has also been pushback, a rejection of oppression

and despotism. It brought about the end of apartheid, the fall of the Berlin Wall,

the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, the acceptance of more

than a million refugees in Germany.



a voice in how they’re governed, and to allow them to change leaders peacefully.

But it can never be taken for granted. It is constantly confronting challenges and

threats and adapting to changing times.



Serge Schmemann

is a member of the

editorial board of

The New York Times.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Serge Schmemann. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate


Some people’s






5 Democracy Challenged By Serge Schmemann

12 Evolution in democracy and our democratic societies

By Alexandros Koronakis


16 Make Europe Popular again By Antonio López-Istúriz White

18 Ireland: Doubling down on EU membership By Helen McEntee

20 Reliable Partners in a Changing World Scenario

By Luis Videgaray Caso

22 Europe’s internal and external challenges By Mikuláš Dzurinda

24 The Future of Transatlantic Relations By David McAllister

26 Business as usual, or will we adapt to the rapidly changing world?

By Ingeborg Grässle

28 “America First” Wakes Up the EU By Elmar Brok

30 A conversation with Helmut Kohl By Theodore Roussopoulos

32 Armenia – A Crossroads between Europe and Asia

By Gagik Tsarukyan



36 It’s Europe’s time to provide the answers By Andrianos Giannou

38 E.NBy Maroun Labaki

40 Unwelcome Europe By Markella Papadouli

42 A battle of campaigners By Shane Fitzgerald

44 Brexit and the microcosm of Europe By Dr. Foteini Kalantzi



48 How Inequality Works By Angus Deaton

50 The Global Economy’s Risky Recovery By Joseph E. Stiglitz

52 The Free Market for the Next Generation By Eli Hazan

54 Saving the Environment and the Economy

By Edmund S. Phelps

56 Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Hazards By Maurice Obstfeld

58 Rediscovering Public Wealth Creation By Mariana Mazzucato

60 Can Economic Policy Solve Economic Problems?

By Jason Furman


66 Safeguarding Elections in the Digital Age By Jimmy Carter

68 Contemporary challenges and opportunities for our societies

By Carlos Moedas

70 Tackling ‘digital’ at the state level in a post-DSM world?

By Krzysztof Szubert

72 How IT Threatens Democracy KA.A

74 The Internet of Things – Delivering a Connected World

By Karim Lesina

76 A Big Data Dystopia By Chelsea Manning

78 Creating the Policy Environment for AI Innovation

and Citizens’ Trust By Naveen Rao

8 2018 | OUR WORLD

80 Making Social Media Safe for Democracy

By Samantha Bradshaw and Philip N. Howard

82 The End of Twitter Diplomacy? By Rob Worthington

84 The Social Media Threat to Society and Security

By George Soros

86 The Self-Regulation Mistake By David Ibsen

88 Is this the end of the era of science? By Dr Rick Phillips


92 The Energy Union in 2018: the year of engagement

94 A Year of Renewed Climate Commitments By Laurence Tubiana

96 A Truly Global Response to Climate Change

By Akinwumi Adesina, Suma Chakrabarti, Bandar M. H. Hajjar, Werner

Hoyer, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Jim Yong Kim, Jin Liqun, Luis Alberto

Moreno, and Takehiko Nakao

98 Russian gas in Europe: new highs and political intrigues

By Konstantin Simonov

101 Gazing into the Energy Crystal Ball for 2018

By Kostis Geropoulos


106 A More Perfect Union By Joe Biden

108 Agile Governance for a Fractured World By Klaus Schwab

110 Revolutionary Centrism By Tony Blair

112 Reversing a Democratic Decay By Marina Silva

114 What Makes Propaganda More Dangerous Today?

By Samantha Power

116 A Democracy That’s Drowning in Cash By Celestine Bohlen

118 Has dealing with Pride and Prejudice become a challenge

for media? By Lieven Taillie


120 Will the Center Hold? By Lawrence Summers

122 Stealing the Populists’ Clothes R

124 The Venal Roots of Political Turmoil By Janine R. Wedel

126 The New Democratic Wave By Kishore Mahbubani

128 Why We Need Political Parties By Moisés Naím

130 Roadmap to a New Convergence By Francisco Jaime Quesado

131 The time beckons By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


134 A New Balance for the Global Age By Gordon Brown

138 East Asia’s Rising Star By Sri Mulyani Indrawati

140 Asia’s Cities Against North Korea By Yuriko Koike

142 The Trumping of Asia By Kevin Rudd

144 Xi Unbound? By Minxin Pei

146 How to Break Korea’s Barriers to Social Mobility

By Ha-Joon Chang

148 Latin America’s Annus Mediocris By Jorge Castañeda

150 Venezuela’s Struggle for Freedom By María Corina Machado

152 We Dream of Living in a Free Venezuela By Lilian Tintori

154 The Only True Strategy for Russia By Mikhail Khodorkovsky

156 In Turkey, Democracy Is in Peril By Elif Shafak

158 Africa, the Business Deal of the Century By Célestin Monga

160 In Syria, the World’s Democracies Failed Us By Fadi Azzam

10 2018 | OUR WORLD


Evolution in democracy and

our democratic societies

By Alexandros Koronakis

Biological evolution takes place over tens

of millions of years. Characteristics

passed down slowly over successive

generations combined with the Darwinian

of what at school we were taught as ‘the food

chain’, has led to humanity as we know it


The same can be said for the institution of

democracy since its inception, and its various

localised implementations of representation

politics. The state of local (seen here as

national) democracies is to evolve over time.

Certainly, there can be short-lived abnormal

mutations, but in the grand scheme of things

the direction will be a forward, positive trend.

Societies move at a different pace than

evolution in biological systems, because

actions of single humans and groups can spur

social change and have more of an immediate

impact. Many will think of Rosa Parks, others

will conjure Emily Davison, and if we’re honest

even Jon Snow will pop into some people’s

minds. But while we seem to ascribe ‘change’

to single individuals, it is many more who

came together in each case to push society

that real change is brought about.

Electoral systems, democracy, and


Electoral systems come into question, only

when societies are extremely divided. The

democratic structures, which allowed Donald

Trump to win the election in 2016 while not

winning the popular vote, would not have

been called into question if the figures

aligned. Yet if this is a problem of democratic




Koronakis is the

Editor of ‘Our World’,

and the Editor

of New Europe


election, rather than be left to create another

problem in the future.

Europe faces its own question of democratic

legitimacy – over the person who will run the

closest thing the EU has to a government: The

European Commission.

It has been quite a rollercoaster since the

turn of the millennium. The European Union

started the century with explosive growth (in

membership), economic prosperity for all, and

taking centre-stage in the global political arena.

Less than 20 years later, the EU is shrinking in

what was looking once like a global powerplayer

has become a fragmented ghost of past

glories. Nationalism has taken hold once again,

and European Political parties risk becoming

pawns of local politicians.

The EU is indeed edging closer and closer

to a directly elected President, but the biggest

obstacle to achieving ‘more democracy’, is

the people whose power is threatened by a

more democratic Europe – national politicians.


had more political power in Europe than

the Chancellor of Germany? Merkel would

not be likely to accept that, unless it was

her taking the reigns herself. This is why the

idea of merging the position of President of

the European Commission and President of

the European Council is unlikely. The excuse

most likely is that it will be too much power to

give to someone who is not directly elected

by citizens. The reality is that it will be more

power than national leaders would pass up

the chain.

Europe is indeed still in search of its own

paradigm to use as a lever. To push past a

tipping point, momentum will have to come

from the local, and European level. The

heroes at the centre of this story, are easy

12 2018 | OUR WORLD



The EU is indeed

edging closer and

closer to a directly

elected President, but

the biggest obstacle

to achieving ‘more

democracy’, is the

people whose power is

threatened by a more

democratic Europe –

national politicians.

OUR WORLD | 2018

to point out at the national level:

Emmanuel Macron, seen as Europe’s

new visionary, and Angela Merkel,

weakened as she may be, will build

momentum ‘at home’. And at the

capital of the European Union, the stars

have aligned for Martin Selmayr, who

is the new Secretary-General at the

European Commission. Selmayr has,

and will outlast many politicians’ terms.

His biggest enemy is a change-averse

system that have devoured many

before him. Whether one agrees with

his personal vision, his dedication to

progress for the European Union can

be one of the few EU-centric powers


with Jean-Claude Juncker, with whom

he will go hand-in-hand until the EU

elections. Europe can only hope that

the next President of the Commission

and the institution’s seventh Secretary-

General will have compatible, if not

joint, visions for the future of Europe.

The federal problem.

When it comes to making Europe

much more like the USA, a federation

of States, what is really the problem?

The first problem is nationalism;

the politicians who take advantage of

human nature. Human beings in one

country want to be better off than

human beings in another country, one

at the expense of the other. The same

of course could apply within a country,

with competition between cities, but

we tend to forget that.

More Europe and an ever-closer

Union, is the natural state of evolution

for the EU. It is only a matter of time.



Time necessary for national

politicians to come together and agree

on a system that will equally divide

voting rights and power in such a

federation. Time necessary for them to

concede their power and hand it over

to a new structure. Time necessary

for it to mature in peoples’ minds that

while history, language, colour, culture,

are inconsequential in front of the

one grand truth that we are all human

beings with a shared need for peace,

prosperity, fairness, and justice.

When putting forward this universal

argument, I’m often asked “Why stop

with the EU?” In the long term, we

won’t. But the European Union is the

best place to start, and one of the most

challenging places to succeed.

Natural selection vs

evolutionary stupidity

Moving on to a very different kind

of problem. One major flaw with

representative democracy today,

is that it allows our politicians to be

insulated from those they govern. In so

far as they do not become involved in

a catastrophic scandal, they and their

consequences of their own actions.

In the USA, the long list of politicians

who have not stopped to blink at the

unending gun violence in the country,

do not feel that such incidents could

ever be a problem for them. Some

will or will not keep guns in the house,

others will collect them, but they will

usually not live in neighbourhoods

where their votes will result in them

being hurt as a consequence.

In the name of preserving the

second amendment to the constitution,

and propping up an entire industry,

America has been engaged in a selfinvolved

arms race to the bottom. Not

the international arms race to possess

as many nukes as possible, but a race

to sell as many guns as possible – too

In the name of

preserving the

second amendment

to the constitution,

and propping up

an entire industry,

America has been

engaged in a selfinvolved

arms race

to the bottom.

many of which end up with troubled

youths. In mid February, there was

another school shooting in the USA.

17 killed by an army of one. The killer,

had purchased at least ten guns in

the past year or so – and it appears

he had done so with great ease.

You’ve all seen the graphs – there are

more guns per capita in the USA than

anywhere else in the world. Firearms in


Indeed, personal convenience, and

meant it remains possible for nearly

anyone to buy a gun in America.

On the night of February 26, 2012,

some might remember another

tragedy that occurred. A man whose

name is not worth remembering, was

driving into his gated community –

concealed gun strapped to his side. This

former altar body, had grown up with

some sort of cop fantasy, and when

he saw a young black man walking on

‘his streets’ he began to follow him –

even calling 911 to say he was doing

so. One thing led to another, and the

young black man – Trayvon Martin -

whose name we should all remember

– was shot dead. The killer, said he

had feared for his life. The victim, was

armed with a pack of skittles and a

can of ice tea. The shooter was fully

acquitted of all charges in court. The

day of the acquittal, #BlackLivesMatter


clashed that day; gun control and

racism. The videos of police brutality,

and the many questionable deaths of

black people – put bluntly, in situations

where white people would still be alive

- managed to steer the conversation

from guns, to the grater evil of racism.

Societies’ have evolved after

reaching organic tipping points;

historically resulting in revolutions

or wars. Racism has – at least in the

legal sense, long been left behind.

Society has not always understood,

implemented or taken ownership of

these changes, but the footprints were

made in the sand.

But what about guns? The

ridiculous tradition of the 21st century

gun hoarding in the USA cannot

remain. Our world is better than

that. It’s time for American citizens to

push past the power of the industry

and the millions of dollars that

the NRA are funnelling to political

campaigns directly or indirectly.

It’s time Americans set aside even

their own convictions, in the name

of logic. It’s time to take the leap

towards evolution, and ban personal

gun ownership in the US without a

valid reason for a permit, and a strict

procedure on being considered for

such a permit. I can’t help but feel we

are getting there; coming closer to

that tipping point on the issue of guns.

We will finally see more and more

politicians coming out against the

constitutional right that Americans

hold so dear. And even though I am

not American, I say ‘we’ because any

such loss of life, is not a loss for the


So here’s to pushing our societies

past those tipping points, bringing

about change without bloodshed,

having a revolution of principles, to the


14 2018 | OUR WORLD




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Make Europe

Popular again

By Antonio López-Istúriz White


vote and fake news. These are two

common traits shared by Brexit, the

US and French elections and the

fake referendum in Catalonia. A vote is the

highest expression of democracy while fake

news is its lowest.

And democracy cannot stand without

well-informed citizens. A number of

elections will take place in 2018 – in Cyprus,

Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden,

Ireland, Latvia and Luxembourg, among

others. Unfortunately, the risk is high that

fake news will overshadow them.

Fight the fake with facts

Online platforms and social media have

provided people with new ways to connect,

engage, debate and spread information

at a level never seen before. At the same

time, the current scale of disinformation is


We need to reconstruct and empower

traditional media by supporting them in

the new digital reality. More than ever, our

societies need professional, independent,

ethical, investigative and fact-based

journalism where freedom of speech and

information uphold our plurality of views.

Social media companies also need to take

their responsibility as platforms that can

spread fake news.

On the side of the user, the citizens need

to be able to detect fake news. This can start

at school where children can be made aware

of fake news and develop critical-thinking

skills. That applies to adults too, who must

be alert and vigilant towards sources of

information and verify their reliability. Fake

news must be replaced by fact news.




Antonio López-Istúriz

White is Secretary-

General of the

European People’s

Party and Member

of the European

Parliament of the

Spanish centre-right

People’s Party (Partido

Popular). He is also

Secretary Treasurer of

the Wilfried Martens

Centre for European

Studies and the

Secretary-General of

the Centrist Democrat


Fight the fake with acts

Populists use fake news as a weapon

to undermine democracy. Propaganda,

misinformation campaigns, support for

anti-European political forces are all part

of their arsenal to spread lies and create

chaos, especially in electoral times. The

European Union (EU) has never been a more

successful scapegoat.


the myths. Concrete proposals to uncover

specious words. Real change instead of

false tomorrows. The EU must act where it


security, migration, defence, the economy,

globalisation, digitalisation or climate

change call for European leadership and

common solutions. Each euro must be

spent to improve the lives of the European


On this, the European Union is already

delivering results, such as the end of

roaming fees in the EU, its commitment to

common defence, the introduction of the

European Pillar of Social Rights and the

youth employment initiative.

The European Union is also a beacon of

values in the world. Without the EU, which

values would we follow? Those represented

by China? By Russia? To protect our way of

life and our standards, the EU must continue

to be a global player. Europe is a continent

of pioneers and discoveries. To keep this

position in the world, talents must stay in

Europe and be attracted by it.

As the European economy is growing, it is

time to plan for tomorrow and prepare for


be in people, especially the youth. We need

to train people to acquire skills due to the

pace of digitalisation and the ageing work

force. Among those who need to gain new

skills, politicians are not exempt.

Fight the fake with heart

Populists moved from empty promises to

false words: they have disrupted the way

of communicating in politics. And they

have managed to do so because European

citizens feel distant from the European

project. There is a lesson in there for

16 2018 | OUR WORLD


The Brussels Town Hall on the

Grand Place is illuminated in

the color of the European flag in

Brussels, Belgium, 31 January 2018,

during the launch of the European

Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.


all of us. In the three letters that

distinguish popular from populism,

fits a whole conception of politics.

Popular means caring about the

people, populist means playing on

people’s fears. Of course, the word

popular is very dear to the European

People’s Party. The people are at the

heart of our action.

Bruxelles, ma belle, these are

words that go together well.

It is not a song you will hear

often. Well, it is time to change the

tune about the European Union.

We need to bring the European

Union closer to the European citizens.

It starts by explaining the benefits

that this incredible political project

brings to the Europeans. The people

must feel European and proud of our

OUR WORLD | 2018

common history.

It is time to reconnect. We have a

project for the European citizens, we

need to tell it and we need explain

what we have achieved. With facts

and with words. The EPP will elect

its Spitzenkandidat next November

in Helsinki for the European elections

in 2019, putting a face and a voice

on our ideas. The European citizens

must be involved at an early stage in

the choices for their future.

This is why we asked them to share

with us their concerns, proposals,


on the dearcitizen.eu platform. It is a

place to have an informed discussion

and not spread lies. Making Europe

popular again will not make us very

popular. But if it wins the hearts

of the Europeans and brings them

More than ever,

our societies need


independent, ethical,

investigative and

fact-based journalism

where freedom

of speech and

information uphold

our plurality of views.

back to the European project, there

might be a new song in the making.

Songs can spur change and true

words protect democracy.





down on EU


By Helen McEntee

Britain deciding to leave the European

Union has been sobering for many in

the EU. It is clear that when you have

one of the largest members of the EU voting

to leave something is not right. Even if the

UK had voted to remain by a small margin;

it should still have acted as a wake-up call

to the EU. For the EU to succeed it must

be connected with and stay relevant to its

citizens. There is recognition now that the EU

is not perfect, nor will it ever be, but there is

a need for a real debate about its future and

how it can best succeed. We can not allow

a project that has brought stability, peace,

to simply fail and slowly fall apart after all of

the success that it has had. It remains the

best vehicle to deal with the many issues

facing us in the coming years.

Often when looking forward it is important

to look back. Take Ireland, when we joined

the EU in 1973, we had a population of less

than 3 million. We were inward looking,

generally unindustrialised and mostly

agricultural. Ireland was poor and was most


completely dependent on the UK for trade.

Our membership of the EU has helped

to transform Ireland; we are now one of

the most prosperous countries in the EU,

we have one of the youngest populations,

a population that is highly educated; we

have huge pharma, financial services

and technological industries that employ

thousands of people around the country.



Helen McEntee

TD is Minister for


of Ireland. She

was previously

appointed Minister

of State for Mental

Health and Older

People in May 2016.

She was elected

to Dáil Éireann

in March 2013.

Deputy McEntee

was appointed

by An Taoiseach

Enda Kenny to

the Oireachtas

Committee on

Transport and


She is also a

member of

the Oireachtas

Committee on


Culture and the


…the EU has done

so much more

for Ireland than

just economic

prosperity. It has

helped to bring

peace to the

island of Ireland.

Our agricultural industry has grown and

our trading relationships have completely

transformed. By having access to a free

market of 500 million people it has allowed

Ireland establish trading relationships with

not only the EU but globally as well. Our

economic dependence on the UK, while

remaining important, has lessened as we’ve

become more embedded within the EU.

But the EU has done so much more

for Ireland than just economic prosperity.

It has helped to bring peace to the island

of Ireland. In the 1960’s and 1970’s almost

3,000 people lost their lives in the troubles.

There was a deep mistrust and little or no

on the island of Ireland. The EU helped to

bring about dialogue and this culminated

in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This

is the framework for peace on our island

and it is underpinned by our membership

of the EU. This peace was hard fought and

the fragile nature of that peace should not

be underestimated by anyone.

Ireland is a member of the EU and a

member of the Eurozone. There has been

in some quarters comment that we should

think about following Britain out of the EU;

I reject that entirely. While I respect the

decision of the British people I think that we

have seen and will see the errors of Brexit. I

believe that Ireland should double down on

18 2018 | OUR WORLD

its membership of the EU and play

an even stronger role in shaping the

future of Europe.

That is why I have started a

national civic dialogue about the

Future of Europe in Ireland. We

want as many people as possible

throughout the country to have

their say on Europe, good, bad or


We need to hear what Europe is

doing well and where it can improve.

Ireland can lead on many of the social

issues, we can lead on areas that will

provide further opportunities for our

young people like the completion of

the digital single market, the single

market, the banking union, and we

can play an active role in areas such

as security and defence and climate


We want to hear the views

of our citizens, who are

generally positive about

the EU. And while we’re probably one

of the most pro-European countries

in the EU it does not mean we should

be complacent. This is an opportune

time to try and solidify support for

the EU and its institutions and it is a

chance to develop an understanding

of what the EU does and how it


I am looking forward to continuing

this extremely important dialogue

and feeding the views of the public

into the government agenda. We will


be concluding the first part of our

citizens’ dialogue on the 9th May

next year on Europe Day.

Europe has given Ireland so

much over the last 45 years of our

membership. We no longer feel like

an outlier in Europe, we are a vibrant,

modern and open nation and we

must ensure other countries are

given the opportunity to develop and

prosper too.

The debate around the future

of Europe from an Irish context is

as important as Brexit; however,

the future of Europe is not Brexit,

it will become what our citizens

determine. That is why engagement

and dialogue is crucial for the Future

of Europe.

TIE. © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro

OUR WORLD | 2018



Reliable Partners

in a Changing

World Scenario

By Luis Videgaray Caso

In January 2013, Mexico and the European

Union (EU) decided to update the Economic

Partnership, Political Cooperation and

Cooperation Agreement (Global Agreement),

signed in 1997 and entered into force in 2000.

The geopolitical scenario had gone through

substantial changes since the signing of the


Therefore, both Parties established that

the existing Agreement needed to adapt

to the new realities of the international

scenario, trade and investment, as well as

international cooperation.

Originally, Mexico and the EU decided to

explore possibilities for a comprehensive


its trade pillar, given the changes the

international trading system had gone

through since the Agreement’s signing.

New rules had been implemented and new

disciplines, such as e-commerce, had been

introduced. Likewise, the EU had acquired

new competences on economic issues that

catalyzed new opportunities for both Parties.

Moreover, starting a revision process

provided possibilities for assessing, not

only the Global Agreement section, but the

bilateral relation as a whole, which by 2013

included the Strategic Partnership and its


to develop the partnership.

Thus, Mexico and the EU began to

perform a thorough evaluation of their

bilateral relation and its current tools, which

would be utilized to create a new, modern

instrument that could rule our relations for

Luis Videgaray


Luis Videgaray

Caso is the Foreign

Minister of Mexico.

He has a career

of more than 25

years in public


Among the various

positions he has

held, the following

stand out: adviser

to the Secretaries of

Energy and Finance

and Public Credit;

Director of Public

Finance at Protego,

SA; Secretary of

Finance of the

State of Mexico;

as well as Federal

Deputy in the LXI

Legislature, during

which he served

as Chairman of

the Budget and

Public Account


The EU is an actor

suited for contributing

to Mexico’s internal

and external goals:

an ally in the defense

of the rule of law,

the consolidation of

democracy and the

protection of human


the next 20-25 years.

Mexico and the EU had experienced

radical transformations in recent years. As

a result, both Parties identified together

three new fundamental issues that needed

to be addressed during the revision of the

Agreement and the bilateral relation. First,

Mexico had strengthened its democracy and

in economic and social terms. Second,

European integration had progressed,

deepening the ties between member states,

increasing EU membership from 15 to 28 in

just a few years.

Third, the international scenario had

experienced both geopolitical alterations,

as well as the emergence of new actors.

Together, these factors increased the

international weight of Mexico and the EU,

making them important actors in the global

scenario and stronger partners for each


Both Parties decided to base the

negotiations on goals of common

prosperity, the projection of Mexico and

the EU as strategic partners assuming

global responsibilities, and the promotion of

increasing economic and social exchanges

20 2018 | OUR WORLD


General view of

at half mast in

the Constitution

Square to


the 32 anniversary

of the earthquake

that occurred on

19 September

1985, in Mexico

City, Mexico, 19

September 2017.


encompassed by the relationship.

It is worth highlighting that Mexico

and the EU share a common interest

for strengthening their cooperation

in subjects of global importance;

these include combating climate

change, implementing the 2030

Agenda, and fighting poverty and

social exclusion, among many others.

Additionally, since Mexico is today a

recipient and a donor of international

cooperation funds,both Parties are in

triangular cooperation projects.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Today, as the negotiations

come close to their

conclusion, this innovative

Agreement incorporates the Strategic

Partnership and its Joint Executive

Plan into a single instrument, which

will become a reference in terms of

EU comprehensive deals with third


Our aim is that the Agreement

represents the newest generation

of these deals, with the most up-todate

mechanisms to further develop


Recent events in the international

scenario have detonated a certain

sense of urgency.

These changes bring awareness of

the importance of working together

to defend international institutions,

protect the rules-based multilateral

trading system represented by

the WTO, and fight protectionism

in benefit of free and open trade,

the engine behind economic

development for Mexico and the EU

in recent years.

The new Agreement between

Mexico and the EU will have a

substantial economic impact: it will

provide access to the European

market for high value-added Mexican

exports, translating into more jobs for

Mexicans. Today, the EU represents

only 8% of our foreign trade, a

percentage that Mexico would like

to increase. In comparison, in terms

of investment, the EU is the second

investor in Mexico worldwide, behind

the United States.

In addition to the Agreement’s

economic benefits, its political

importance cannot be disregarded;

it adds value to high-level political

dialogue and interactions with

legislators and civil society. The

Agreement will not only reinvigorate

our existing political relations, but

it will also send a strong message

to the rest of the world in favor of

dialogue, cooperation, free trade, and


The EU is an actor suited for

contributing to Mexico’s internal and

external goals: an ally in the defense

of the rule of law, the consolidation

of democracy and the protection of

human rights.

The EU is also a key actor for

diversifying our ties by bringing new

trade opportunities and securing

enormous investment potential.

Moreover, the EU is a strategic

partner for Mexico’s work as a

relevant international player, capable

of assuming global responsibilities.



Early morning view of European commission headquarters building, known as the ‘Berlaymont’ in Brussels, Belgium, January 2018.

Europe’s internal and

external challenges

By Mikuláš Dzurinda


...The EU is a project

based on common

values: Values such

as free political space

in which everyone

can aspire to hold a

degree of political

power, and in which

an important role

is played by civil

society, independent

courts, minorities and

independent media.

The 2018 holds important

challenges for the European

Union, concerning both its

internal functioning and its external


them will be to continue increasing

the EU’s competitiveness and defence

capabilities, as well as and its unity

and capacity for action. In order to

make 2018 a success in this strategic

endeavour, we have to address not

only day-to-day practical issues, but

also various enduring dilemmas.

Among the concrete problems I

have in mind are those related to

the domestic developments in some

of our member states, mainly Poland

and Hungary. The dispute between

Slovenia and Croatia over the Gulf of

Piran as a gateway to international

waters for Slovenia also needs

a resolution because it seriously

jeopardises the EU’s unity and

internal cohesion. Unity and capacity

for action are of outmost importance,

especially now at the time of the

UK’s departure from the EU, but also

in light of the unstable situation in

our neighbourhood. Moreover, the

EU is a project based on common

values: Values such as free political

space in which everyone can aspire

to hold a degree of political power,

and in which an important role is

played by civil society, independent

courts, minorities and independent

media. These values, more than

anything else, make up our strength

22 2018 | OUR WORLD

in confronting threats and challenges in the

long term. A major challenge for the European

community is managing the departure of the UK

from the EU. This departure must be managed

in a way that does not weaken the unity of the

EU, and at the same time, preserves a strong

bond between the UK and the remaining 27.

Future-oriented onward-looking partnership

and an alliance spirit should take precedence

over perceived short-term gains on either side.

The year 2018 will undoubtedly be crucial not



mutual relationship. Of no lesser importance in

my view is the development of relations with

the United States under President Trump. The

transatlantic alliance remains the backbone of

European security during this period which is

otherwise characterised by a shift in US foreign

and security priorities. The emerging European

Defence Union must not be a competitor, nor a

duplication of transatlantic defence capabilities,

nor should it simply replace NATO in its basic


defence capabilities should serve to reinforce

the Transatlantic Alliance, by enhancing the

West’s capability to respond to current and

future security challenges early, rapidly and


East and Africa, as well as the increased foreign

policy and military engagement of Russia


in this area.

Regarding the dilemmas, the one that will

keep us most occupied is, in my view, the

dilemma between deeper centralisation

and the subsidiarity principle. The need for

more cooperation between member states

and more community competence in some

areas is unquestionable but, at the same

time, there is also a need to maintain a certain

degree of internal competitiveness – while

still strengthening cohesion and convergence

within the EU... Closely related to this dilemma

is the relationship between the already existing

and the envisaged enhanced cooperation

between some member states in certain areas,


as a whole. This refers to strategic areas such

as a Defence Union, common asylum policy,

OUR WORLD | 2018



Mikuláš Dzurinda

is President of the

Wilfried Martin

Centre for European

Studies since

December 2013.

He is the former

prime minister of

Slovakia (1998-

2006) and has held

various positions

in government

politics in 1990.

Once he became

prime minister and

formed a coalition

government in 1998,

Dzurinda introduced


reforms which have

enabled Slovakia to

begin the process

of joining the EU

and NATO. After

being re-elected in

2002, Dzurinda led

Slovakia to become

a member of the EU

and NATO in 2004,

a process which he

actively took part in

from the beginning.


and further deepening of cooperation within

the Eurozone.

We will continue our search for the right

answers to civilizational challenges, and

will endeavour to devise a value-based and

sustainable solution to the consequences

of migration. In parallel to this challenge, we

must strive to strengthen the stability in our

neighbourhood, particularly in Ukraine, the

Western Balkans and the Levant region of

the Middle East. A special, complex, longterm

and extremely important challenge for


Africa. This is a topic that is also related to the

process of further enlargement of the EU. It

would be desirable for this process to gain new

momentum in 2018. The prospect of accession

should serve as a stimulus for both the

candidate and the aspiring countries in bringing

them to implement deep political and economic

reforms leading to their modernisation and, at

the same time, to increase their compatibility

and competitiveness vis-a-vis the EU.

Understandably, the expert community and

general public are eagerly awaiting the postelection

arrangements in Germany. These

will be extremely important for the further

development of the EU and for an effective

response to the above-mentioned challenges.

An important task lies ahead – not only for

Spain – to resolve the situation in Catalonia

in a manner acceptable to both the Spanish

national government and the Catalan regional

government. Particular attention will be paid

to several upcoming elections, particularly the

parliamentary election in Italy, which will be

important for both the unity of the EU and for

the stability and further development of the

Eurozone. Thus, as I see it, this year will be no

less interesting than last year. Looking ahead,

I feel both hope and responsibility, because

we all should contribute to the continuation,

consolidation and enlargement of the European

project. We at the Martens Centre, of which I am

the President, have given much thought to the

further functioning of the EU for some time. I

am glad that this year we will be able to present

our initial strategic ideas on the functioning of


the Eurozone, migration and asylum policies,




US President Donald J. Trump (R) and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (L) hold a joint press conference in the East

Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 17 March 2017.


The Future of Transatlantic Relations

By David McAllister

One year into Donald Trump’s

presidency, the question

of how US foreign policy

will further develop remains

unanswered. His “America First”

slogan, his comments on US alliance

commitments, his suspicion of free

trade, the withdrawal from the

Paris Climate Agreement or the

constant rhetorical questioning of the

commonly negotiated Iran Nuclear

Deal have caused some tension in

the transatlantic relationship.

Nevertheless, the transatlantic

partners continue to share vital

interests and face common threats.

These threats, whether they are

security-related, economic or other,

are so numerous and diverse that

neither the United States nor the

European Union can adequately

address them alone. Thus, we have

to continue building upon the strong

foundation of our common values

to strengthen our relationship in


The EU and the US are each other’s

most important partners. A strong

transatlantic bond is crucial for us

and for the world.

Economic growth

The European Union and the United

States enjoy the most integrated

economic relationship in the world.

Total US investment in the EU is three

times higher than in all of Asia. EU

investment in the US is eight times

24 2018 | OUR WORLD

the amount of EU investment in India and

China together. Our economic ties are

an important driver for the transatlantic

relationship, contributing to growth and jobs.


global economy as a whole. The EU and the US

economies account together for about half

of world GDP and for nearly a third of global


we should explore ways to further deepen

EU-US trade and investment relations,

taking into account the common ground

reached during the TTIP negotiations. Our

rules-based, open, and non-discriminatory

multilateral trading system plays a crucial

role in promoting global economic growth

and sustainable development. If we want to

ensure a better future for our citizens, we

should deliver the necessary conditions to

strengthen economic growth and create


The transatlantic partnership

in security

Unfortunately, 2018 will most likely not be

more tranquil than previous years. We can

expect a wide range of common threats and

challenges. Both sides of the Atlantic should

remain fully committed to our security and

strategic partnership. The US and the EU

are at their greatest when our partnership

is strong. Most of the threats we face, such as

The EU and the US

are each other’s

most important

partners. A strong

transatlantic bond

is crucial for us and

the world.

OUR WORLD | 2018



David McAllister

is a Member of

the European

Parliament and

a Vice President

of the European

People’s Party

(EPP). He is Chair

of the Committee


in the European


McAllister was born

in Berlin in 1971.

He is married and

has two daughters.

He holds both

German and British

citizenship. His

political career

started in 1998

becoming a

Member of the

State Parliament

of Niedersachsen

(Lower Saxony) until

2014. He served as

Prime Minister of

Niedersachsen from

2010 till 2013.


terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility,

climate change and energy insecurity are

global threats and need a multilateral


is a very positive signal that the European

Union is strengthening its common defence,

notably through the new European Defence

Fund, which will supplement, amplify and

enhance national investments in defence

research and new capabilities, and through

the Permanent Structured Cooperation

(PESCO), which will enable Member States

jointly to develop their defence capabilities

and invest in shared projects. Furthermore,

the US Congress just approved $4.6 billion

for the European Deterrence Initiative in

the 2018 federal budget, showing a strong

commitment to our bond.

Foreign Affairs

The challenges the world is facing can no

longer be tackled unilaterally. History has

shown that when we are united, we succeed

in the face of obstacles. From the aggressive

and irresponsible provocations of the regime

in North Korea, which threatens not only

regional, but also global peace and security,

to the lasting wars in Syria as well as in

Yemen, which have become humanitarian

emergencies of catastrophic proportions, to

the ongoing illegal actions of Russia, which

violates the sovereignty and territorial

integrity of Ukraine – we have to speak with

one voice so that peace and freedom may

become permanent.

The long-lasting bond between the US

and the EU is based on respect for common

values, international law and the idea of


This has led to prosperity and security,

from which people on both sides of the

Atlantic have benefitted. In a changing

world full of challenges, we have to adapt.

There is need to further strengthen and

deepen the transatlantic relationship. We

should continue to work towards increased

cooperation on security issues, as well as

cooperate more closely on creating economic

growth and therefore jobs, alongside

fostering a closer political dialogue in the

spirit of enriching our valuable partnership.



Business as usual, or will we adapt

to the rapidly changing world?

By Ingeborg Grässle

At the beginning of last year, many

pundits predicted a dire 2017. And

what did we get? No victory for

the far right, but a sweeping success of

the pro-European Macron, no large-scale

increase in the number of migrants, but a

decrease of immigration. The emergence of

a closer military cooperation within the EU,

further steps towards a joint protection of

European borders. Most importantly, in 2017

Europe attained solid economic growth,

and unemployment levels decreased in all

member states. As a result, at the end of

2017 we had a strong euro and renewed

economic stability.

Thus, at the beginning of 2018, there is a

renewed belief in the European idea, and we

witness a strengthened Europe.

How can we take advantage of this new

situation? What are the main challenges

that Europe facing? What do citizens

expect from Europe?

2018 will be the last year before the next

European elections, and hence a year of

intense activities. The discussions on the

next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF),

which will set the EU’s budget for the period

2021–2025/6/7 and define the priorities

on which Europe wants to spend its funds

in those years, will dominate the work of

the Parliament. Since the UK, a major net

contributor to the budget, leaves the EU, the

struggle for budget allocations will be even

more severe than in the past.

-Will we once again extrapolate past

spending, or will we be able to redirect our

funds, in line with today’s needs, to face

those challenges everybody is talking about?

Can we continue to spend 50% of the EU’s

budget on agriculture and the rural areas,



Ingeborg Grässle is

a German Member

of the European

Parliament (EPP),

Chair of the

Budgetary Control

Committee, Member

of the Committee

on Budgets and

Member of the

delegation for

relations with the

People’s Republic of


knowing that more than 80% of those funds

will benefit a rather small group of large


- Can we continue to allocate more than

40% of all funds via national envelopes to

structural policy projects whose usefulness

remain too often doubtful, according to

various reports of the European Court of


- Are we able and willing to resist the

well-oiled PR machinery that will advocate a

continuation of existing programmes, and

are we intelligent enough to allocate far

more funds to those activities our citizens call

for: protection of the EU’s external borders,

addressing the migrant crisis, a stronger and

better external policy, a more secure Europe,

and protection against terrorism?

- Are we prepared to deal with the

new challenges from globalisation? Which

resources will be available to bolster

innovation and digitalisation within the EU?

Recent reports on e.g. Chinese trade policy,

but also the American tax reforms, show the

urgency of devoting more attention to the

protection of intellectual property, and to the

safeguarding of our industrial and banking


As chair of the Committee on Budgetary

Control, I see the need for a profound review

of the sectors and activities on which the

EU wants to use its budget. The world is

changing fast, Europe is changing fast, new

challenges ask for our involvement.

- Security: are we willing and able to

support a nascent European army? What

funds are we willing to allocate? Will this

become a common European undertaking,

or will we continue on an intergovernmental

way? Are the 27 willing to go as far, or will

this remain an intergovernmental sector,

with just a marginal role for the EU and its


26 2018 | OUR WORLD


A beach ball emerges from the water.


- Again on security: are we willing

terrorism? Are we willing to allocate

funds and create the necessary

European institutions, or will the

intergovernmental way prevail?

Again, this would require far-reaching

decisions within the EU.

- Border protection: in my opinion,

this constitutes a real European duty.

Considerable funding is required.

- Migration: the rapid population

growth in Africa will continue for the

foreseeable future, this will lead to

major migration movements within

Africa and beyond. Thus, there will

be continued pressure on Europe’s


- Development assistance: after

50 years of development assistance,

a real impact assessment of that

assistance needs to be conducted,

one that has an impact beyond the

circle of assistance specialists. Why

are so many major recipients of aid

in the lower echelon of the doing

business index? What steps are being

taken to encourage the setting up of

businesses, and to advance the rule

of law? Why are education systems

so poor and is professional training

so underperforming?

- How do we interact with and

support our direct neighbours: the

Balkans, Ukraine, the countries in the

Caucasus region, North Africa? What

else do we need to do so that they can

achieve economic growth, social and

political stability?

And, last but not least, 2018 will

challenge us all to bridge the gap

between East and West, between

South and North – to work for a

united and strong European Union.

The world

is changing

fast, Europe is

changing fast,

new challenges

ask for our


OUR WORLD | 2018



“America First”

Wakes Up the EU

By Elmar Brok

US President Donald Trump has been

has already put the relationship

between Europe and the United States to the

test. Be it defense and security cooperation

within NATO, trade relations, cooperation

on global challenges like climate change,

or participation in bodies such as the G7 or

G20, there is hardly any area that has not


judgment. For over a century, the transatlantic

partnership has been central to US foreign

policy. At a time when the key challenges we

face – from terrorism to climate change to

mass migration – extend far beyond national

borders, such cooperation is more important

than ever.

Yet Trump’s “America First” approach,

together with his erratic leadership style, is

undermining the partnerships and mutual

agreements on which transatlantic – and,

indeed, global – cooperation has long been

based. Trump’s doctrine might please his core

constituents, but it fails to account for even

the most basic principles and mechanisms

of international politics.

For all his supposed “deal-making”

skills, Trump seems not to understand that

international agreements work only if they

compromise. As a result, he is taking actions

that jeopardize the cohesion and unity of the

West, while bringing about negative, lasting

change in the world order. Trump’s approach

to defense, trade, and climate change are

emblematic of this pattern.

Elmar Brok

Elmar Brok is

former Chairman

of the Committee


in the European

Parliament and a

the CDU Party in


A strong NATO is undoubtedly in the

interest of both the US and the European

Union. That is why Trump’s often-misleading

criticisms of the Alliance, which cast doubt on

his loyalty to it, were so dangerous. Though

Trump eventually endorsed Article 5 of the

North Atlantic Treaty – the mutual-defense

commitment that forms the core of NATO –

the damage was done.

As a result, the West is widely perceived

– including by world leaders – to be divided

and weak. Russian President Vladimir Putin,

for one, has taken this as a sign that he can

continue to challenge openly the European

and global security architecture.

In recent years, Putin has attempted to

facilitate his violations of the sovereignty and

territorial integrity of neighboring countries

by undermining the cohesion of the EU and

NATO, whether through disinformation

to Euroskeptic and fascist groups in Europe.

In this sense, Trump’s equivocation about

NATO has played directly into Putin’s hands.

The good news is that the EU seems to

understand that, if it can’t rely on the US, it

needs to take matters into its own hands,

by pursuing more integrated security and

defense policies.

Last June, EU leaders agreed to activate

the “Permanent Structured Cooperation”

(PESCO), which allows the bloc to implement

joint defense projects that strengthen its

overall defense capabilities.

We will take further concrete steps to

improve cooperation among European

armed forces. Collectively, European armies

have more soldiers than the US and spend

more on defense than Russia or China. But

that of the US.


defense cooperation among EU member

states costs up to €100 billion ($116 billion)

annually. Given this, increasing cooperation

could not be more important, though

European defensive capabilities will be a

complement to NATO, not a replacement.

Another policy that could undermine

transatlantic security – both directly, and

by further distancing the US from its allies

28 2018 | OUR WORLD


– is Trump’s decertification of the

Iran nuclear deal. Although the deal

doesn’t directly address many aspects

of Iran’s destabilizing behavior,

especially its threats toward Israel,

the EU – and the entire international

community – remain convinced that

the agreement is needed in order to

enable constructive engagement with

Iran in those areas.

As for trade, Trump’s

suspicion and even rejection

of international trade

agreements has created a large political

vacuum that others – especially China


to tout his nationalist approach to

trade, America’s partners are looking

to deepen their relationships with

one another. The recent trade deal

between the EU – which accounts for

more world trade than China and the

US combined – and Japan will be the

world’s largest.

The geostrategic implications of this

trend should not be underestimated.

The EU must

recognize that

the US will not

be as reliable

a partner in

the coming

years as it has

been since the

end of World

War II, and it

must adjust


United States President Donald J. Trump salutes the Marine Guard as he returns

to the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 26 January 2018, after attending the

World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

If Trump continues on the path

toward protectionism, America’s

trading partners will retaliate. Any

US actions against EU steel exports,

for example, would certainly trigger

a prompt reprisal from the EU. And

trade conflicts would surely affect

relations in other areas.

Then there is issue of climate

change. Trump has withdrawn the US

from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

By contrast, the EU considers climate

action to be one of its top priorities,

not just for the obvious ecological,

social, and economic reasons, but

also to support a comprehensive

foreign and security policy. After

all, unbridled climate change will

inevitably trigger destabilizing mass

migration, particularly from climatevulnerable

regions like Africa.

Given that the US is the world’s

largest polluter in history, Trump’s

pursuit of climate-destroying

policies, including his support for the


American coal and cement industries,

will have global implications. And,

contrary to Trump’s rhetoric, it will

undermine America’s own future

competitiveness. Unsurprisingly,

future-oriented US companies like

Tesla oppose this dangerous policy


The EU must recognize that the

US will not be as reliable a partner in

the coming years as it has been since

the end of World War II, and it must

adjust accordingly. Of course, Trump

won’t be president forever, and the

ties that bind the US and Europe will

outlast him.

The EU and the US remain each

other’s most important economic and

security partners, and this fact is likely

to bring the two sides back together

once Trump’s tenure is over. In the

meantime, however, the EU needs

to do what it takes to protect its own

interests on the world stage – with or

without the US.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



A portrait of late former German

Chancellor Helmut Kohl is seen during


Cathedral in Speyer, Germany, 01 July

2017. Kohl, widely regarded as the


died on 16 June 2017 at his home in

Ludwigshafen, Germany. He was the

sixth chancellor of the Federal Republic

of Germany from 1982 to 1998.


In all my political

decisions, time was

needed for everyone

to understand the

benefits for the


A conversation with Helmut Kohl

By Theodore Roussopoulos

hard has it been to

convince your people on


much needed reforms,

especially on decisions concerning

crucial issues?” I asked 15 years ago

the Chancellor Helmut Kohl during

a private dinner at the European

People’s Party Summit where

we attended with the then Vice

President of EPP and subsequently

Prime Minister of Greece, Kostas



hard” he replied.

How hard Ι insisted

If I were lucky it would take at

least two years for the people to

understand what I intended to do.


I was ruthlessly attacked. In all my

political decisions, time was needed

for everyone to understand the

benefits for the country. At the

beginning the press, the people

and my political adversaries were

all against me. As long as I endured

and did not back down, my political

decisions started to pay back and

the results justified them. In any

crucial. That was the time needed for

everyone to understood it was the

right one.”

These are more or less the words

Kohl used at a time when he had

already withdrawn from political

action. He was elected Chancellor

four times. That adds up to 16 years

living in between hammer and thorn.

He influenced European decision

making like no other leader.

30 2018 | OUR WORLD

A few years ago I was fortunate to meet

one of his personal friends, a person who

travels often to Greece and is a top executive

in the German automobile industry. I asked

him how did the late Chancellor assess

the situation after the economic crisis. He

replied that he was more concerned about

the stability of the European infrastructure.

His statement was reported on all the

German newspapers at the time: “I will not

allow them to destroy the Europe we build


was not able to act on it…

Going back in time, during our private

dinner 15 years ago, he had explained why

things have changed so dramatically: “The

old guard of European leaders we have

all lived through war. We know, thus, that

we have to do everything in our power to

avoid it. To do so you have to make mutual

compromises. You also need to understand

one another, the problems of each one and

The Europe of Kohl, Mitterrand,

Adenauer and De Gaulle had no

room for herd mentality like the one

we often see today. Central bankers were

not the ones who decided upon the social

face of politics.

There was no room for nationalist

racism from the part of the bigger countries

towards the smaller ones, of the Northern

countries to the southern ones. Even if

some thought of it they did not act on it. It

was not recorded in the decision making of

the then European Economic Community

(EEC) or in the actions taken by the big

European powers.

Nowadays the South is referred to in

the newspapers of the Northern countries

with the uncourteous label P.I.G.S. which

includes the initials of all south European

countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain).



In February 2016, Holland and Austria

decided to organize a summit with the

participation of the Balkan countries

concerning the refugee issue. The summit

did not include the most prominent

OUR WORLD | 2018




Roussopoulos is

a Journalist, and

Adjunct Professor

in History of


at European

University Nicosia.

He has served as

Minister of State of

Greece, and holds

a PhD in History

from Edinburgh



European Balkan country, Greece, and the

one that is mostly dealing with the huge

waves of refugees in the Aegean islands.

When it comes to statements there

seems to be some kind of support but not

when it comes to actions.

Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic

violating all the European agreements do

not allow in their territories any refugees

coming from Greece or Italy.

It is in the shores of Greece and Italy

where millions of refugees either struck

by war or in search of the promised land/

of better living arrive in the European

continent. Once upon a time we all, more

or less, felt as Europeans maintaining at the

same time our pride, culture and history.

We were assimilated by the participation

in the common currency, the freedom of

movement and the European vision. Today

it seems that these ideals give way to petty

interests. Many leaders, nowadays, are


Instead of taking bold decisions and

leading their people through harsh times

they choose to follow a mob of populist,

right wing extremists and in some cases

even fascist elements. Those actions,

though, lead Europe into becoming an

appalling formation, one that, like a

disease, kills itself.

Helmut Kohl, who died in 2017, was

the last of those political leaders who lived


was divided by war and not just economic


include a good deal of social perception

and sensitivity. Did the vision of another

Europe die with him? The Europe that so

eloquently described one of the greatest

political leaders of the 20th century Winston

Churchill when he said:

“We hope to see a Europe where men of

every country will think of being a European

as of belonging to their native land, and…

wherever they go in this wide domain…will

truly feel, ‘Here I am at home’”

What happened to that vision? Where is

that home?



Armenia – A Crossroads

between Europe and Asia

By Gagik Tsarukyan

Much though we talk about global

problems and challenges, do

we have to admit that currently

we live in a quite interesting and rapidly

changing world, in an era when many

existing constants begin to break down

or be transformed. In countries shaping

the global economic agenda we witness

how the development of scientific

technologies and new industrial models

break the existing stereotypes. At present

the global economy is undergoing a stage

of irreversible transformation. The world

is on the threshold of a new industrial

revolution; the fourth one, which is going

to erase the already known and accepted

technological borders, and radically

transform the technological and industrial

chains. The characteristics underpinning

this new industrial revolution are going to

and the shaping of a digital economy and

digital society.

It is beyond doubt that Armenia, my

country, is still far from this extremely

serious transformation pulse of the 21st

century, since we still need to be able to

solve very simple, albeit necessary issues

within our country. Yet, ineluctable is the

fact that in order to have a competitive

economy and competitive state we have

to move on to a new economic policy.

necessity to change the economic model.

Second, solving the social polarization

challenge, and third, the organization of

repatriation, for which we need to solve

severe problems within the country,



Gagik Tsarukyan

is President of the

Prosperous Armenia


starting from the restoration of trust up

to ensuring equal competition conditions.

The forenamed issues should become the

pulse of our state’s agenda.

I am inclined to believe that there is

an opportunity for Armenia to become a

model to showcase the entire world as to

how it is possible to shape an innovative

environment aimed at launching stateof-the-art

organizations in a country

with a small economy. The aforesaid

organizations should become the engine

of a new economic policy.

Quite recently, in Yerevan I initiated an

international conference under the slogan

“New Policy For a Prosperous World”. It

was a rather ambitious initiative aimed

at contemplating over the new policy

and generating novel ideas and thoughts

together with our colleagues from across

the world.

Armenia stands at the crossroads of

Europe and Asia. It is a country which

has historically been at the crossroads

of the Silk Road. Armenia is a member

of the Eurasian Economic Union and has

concluded a free trade zone agreement

with Vietnam.

Currently, possibilities for trade and

economic agreements with Iran, India,

Egypt, Israel and a number of other states

are being considered. Last November,

Armenia signed a comprehensive

agreement with the European Union;

a market of 500 million consumers.

Armenia can become a bridge for the

aforementioned integration poles. Not

making use of this superb chance would

be unforgivable.

Let me quote Elisabeth Bauer, a brilliant

Armenologist: “Armenia has been a cradle

32 2018 | OUR WORLD


of civilization and, as far back as in

the 1st century B.C. the Armenian

economy, arts and traditions were

so developed that this culture

became a stimulus for Egypt, Greece

and Rome both in the material and

spiritual sense”.

The party and alliance led

by me, have proposed a new

economic model for our country’s

development, the implementation

thereof, I believe, will launch the

beginning of Armenia’s success

story. For this, each and every one

of us needs to become the change

which will transform the world.

At present the global

economy is undergoing

a stage of irreversible


The Armenian Genocide memorial complex in Yerevan. The memorial sits on one of three hills along the Hrazdan River that

carry the name Tsitsernakaberd (swallow’s fortress), and was the site of what was once an Iron Age fortress.


OUR WORLD | 2018



A different EU Agenda for

Innovation and Growth

By Donald Kalff

The present goldilocks economy will not

last. It is debt driven whilst increase in

productivity, the only true source of

economic growth, is continuing its downward

path. Also, the policies of central banks and the

ignited economic growth created a multitude

of unknown risks of unknown proportions

The search should be on for policies

that help real enterprises, operating in the

real economy, to create economic value.

Developing new products, increasing

productivity and improving return on assets

must take center stage. Real enterprises

provide a counterweight to the financial

economy and the destruction of economic

value inherent in many of its business models

These policies can and should capitalize

on the many competitive advantages EU27

enjoys vis-a- vis the other trade blocs. Many of

these EU27 advantages have, so far, not been

recognized as such. Obviously, programs to

enforce what is already strong should to be

preferred over programs that seek to remedy


EU Innovation and Economic Growth Agenda

Civil Law

Unlike England, Wales and Ireland contract

formation in most of EU27 requires good

faith. Moreover, reasonableness and

fairness guide contract partners in handling

all favorable and unfavorable developments.

This contrasts sharply with the Anglo-Saxon

world in which partners can take any action

that is not excluded by law or by contract.

This makes contract formation a lengthy and

costly process, as all undesired behavior must


become a permanent feature of a partnership.

Donald Kalff


PhD is a graduate

of the Wharton

School and a

former member

of the Executive

Board of KLM. At

present he publishes

extensively about

the positioning,

governance and

management of

large enterprises.

He is also the

(co) founder of

6 companies in

biotech, poverty

related diseases

and cybersecurity.

He is a corporate


entrepreneur and


This EU27 advantage is crucial at a time when

enterprises are increasingly relying on a


Also, the use of civil law in EU27 in settling

law as it is rule based and judges take the

original intentions of the contract partners

as a point of departure.

Unfortunately, most EU27 commercial

courts have been subjected to restructuring

and cost cutting. As a result, proceedings have

been delayed and the quality of the rulings

has been compromised. This is destroying

economic value in the form of lost sales,

postponement of investments and distraction

of management. A program to bring the courts

up to strength is long overdue.


In EU27 banks provide most of the capital for

private enterprises. Family businesses and


Stock markets play a modest role in corporate


markets spin around listed enterprises. They

are spared the focus on shareholder return

on investment. The incorrect assumption

higher stock price can be neglected. Pressure

to cut costs, to acquire and to buy back shares,


remuneration, linked to shareholder return on

investment, can be avoided.

EU27 should help enterprises to reduce

dependence on stock markets by stimulating

competition amongst suppliers of capital and

by facilitating new platforms.


Progress in business increasingly depends

on cooperation and EU27 can point to many

examples where government, knowledge

institutions and business came together to

achieve breakthroughs This is in stark contrast

to the US which continues to rely heavily on


It should now cut a bewildering range of

subsidies to stimulate innovation. Application

34 2018 | OUR WORLD

The search

should be on for

policies that help

real enterprises,

operating in the

real economy, to

create economic


OUR WORLD | 2018

Container blocks at the port of



procedure are cumbersome and a

burden for small and medium sized

companies. Resources should be

reallocated from programs with

that have demonstrated that they

work. These are: building an advanced

ICT infrastructure, providing R&D

infrastructure to start ups, compelling

customers of truly innovative products,

increasing government sponsored

fundamental research and setting

environmental and other standards.


Friend and foe agree that EU27 has

created the best patent system in the

world. The Unitary Patent has been a


major step forward and programs are

being implemented to speed up the

process of granting patents.

However, filing, servicing and

defending of patents is still costly and

the appeal process is lengthy and nontransparent.

These are all barriers that

hit small companies hardest.

Several improvements have been

suggested. A “use it or lose it” provision

would reduce the size of the pool of

large companies’ patents in which small

companies can become ensnared.

Raising the level of inventiveness

would prevent large companies

from continually making small

improvements to extend patent life.

The lifetime of a patent could vary from

industry to industry depending on the

time to market.

Increased funding for the European

service to applicants to a structurally

higher level.


European Competition Law and DG

Competition are the envy of the world.

However, there is a strong case to be

made for complementing the present

focus on consumer protection with

the protection of small companies in

their roles as suppliers, customers and

partners of large companies. Abuse

of power by large enterprise takes

the form of predatory agreements,

reneging on contractual obligations

without impunity and extracting

intellectual property from small

partners without proper remuneration.

This abuse should be countered at a

time that cooperation between large

and small companies is one of the keys

to innovation and economic growth.

In conclusion

EU27 has many distinctive and valuable

competitive advantages vis-a vis the

other trade blocks and is well advised

to nurture and strengthen what is

already strong.



It’s Europe’s

time to provide

the answers

By Andrianos Giannou

Europe’s 2018 has been hailed as the

year of solutions, to any or all of

the challenges that the Continent is

confronted with. Expectations abound.

Coalitions are being formed. Actors are

elbowing for pole position. Be it migration

or economic integration, or even more

ambitiously, the overall future of the

European Union, all wheels have been

declaratively set in motion for a pivotal

year. However, the direction remains


In this respect, Europe remains

multidirectional. It is not anymore about

the speed or the pace. Rather, it is about

the destination, the end goal. It is the very

guiding mantra of an “ever-closer union”

of yesteryear that is being questioned,

not how fast further integration should be

achieved. To some, it is all about “taking

power back.” To others, it is business

as usual, or technocratic progressivism

by stealth. “More or less Europe?” is la

question du jour. We all have established

that we are unhappy with the current state


a better Europe look like?

To respond, I believe that we have to

remind ourselves why any form of polity


be simple: to make life for its citizens

better. All humans strive for the same goal:

a better life, at present and in the future,

for themselves and their families. The post-

War social contract, which aimed to deliver



Andrianos Giannou

is the President of

the Youth of the

European People’s

Party (YEPP), the

largest political

youth organisation

in Europe. He was

elected a Vice-

President of YEPP

in 2015, and went

on to become the

10th President of the

organisation in April


exactly that, was based on an equilibrium

between the citizens, the state and private

enterprise under which, in broad terms,

the citizens would provide democratic

legitimacy to the state and manpower to

the private sector, the state would provide

welfare and security to the citizens and a

regulatory framework for private enterprise

employment to the population and act as

the main source of state revenue through

taxation. Recent increasing levels of

disenchantment, vote abstention, income

inequality, a general sentiment of insecurity

and uncertainty, as well as the rise of

populism and extremism, which feed on

those, are clear signs that this balance has


the past and the present: mismanagement,

corruption, greed, tax inefficiency and

avoidance. Correcting those will not


of this breakdown come from the future;

a future that is already here but to which

political reality has yet to adapt. The advent

of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is

based on cyber-physical systems and brings

about further automation, the Internet of


employment. What will become of society

if companies fail to create jobs at the rate

required for the existing social contract to

function, as predicted? At the same time,

climate change has increased migratory

pressure, as has the spread of the internet,

which has made international –including

regional– disparities more visible and

perceptible. Increased levels of migration


What is the role of the European

Union in this context? How can

better for Europeans? Those big, common,

challenges require common solutions.

They all require scale. When it comes to

attracting innovation, Europe doesn’t lack

talent. To some extent, it doesn’t lack

36 2018 | OUR WORLD


financial resources either. What

it lacks is a functioning common

market. It lacks scale. In addition

to putting in place an institutional

structure that will create a truly

single market of 500 million, we will

have to get the policy mix right. It

will not be enough to simply attract

technological advancement. We will

have to embrace it, make it our own,

and more than that, we will have to

come up with the rules that make

it inclusive, that make it work for

everybody; we will have to harness

it. Europe will have to become the

continent that makes innovation –

as well as globalization, including

all. We can lead change and shape

its rules only by working together.

The same applies to the other big

questions of the day, in particular

migration and security.

Europe will have to become the

continent that provides the

answers, that provides the

solutions, that leads by example,

that provides a new model to the

world, a new social contract. A sense

Europe will have

to become the

continent that

makes innovation

work to the benefit

of all.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Voting at the YEPP Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia in April 2017.

of opportunity, of shared growth

and success, a sense that success

serves all people will have to go

hand in hand with a sentiment of

security, of certainty. We will have

to defend and inspire. We will have

to move forward, leaving no one


Does this mean that further

integration is the answer to our

existential question? The response

should be a qualified “yes,” as it

should have always been. That

is because I believe that further

integration should be employed

only when necessary: in addressing

the big challenges. That test is not

tautological: it is subsidiarity that

is the guiding principle. Nor should

it be assumed that Europeans will

jump on the news. The necessity for

further integration, in those areas

that make the cut, will have to be

clearly explained and democratically

legitimised. We will have to tell


the truth. And we will have to

have a compelling narrative that

to the daily lives of all Europeans,

not abstract notions. For the young

people in particular, the usual

argument that centres on peace will

not do anymore. It’s the equivalent

of trying to sell a black-and-white TV

in 2018. There is no excitement, no


It belongs to a museum. It

is tangible, practical, inclusive

solutions that focus on opportunity

and security that might do the trick.

Nor will ideology. Our principles and

ideals should inform and shape our

policy responses. We will be judged


However monumental the task

in recent history that so many actors

have been prepared for change. It is

in our hands to make it meaningful

to all Europeans.



Europe must

be made more

effective. Now!

By Maroun Labaki



there are signs that Europe will see some

progress. The Brexit effect, the Trump

changed and a new dynamic is emerging.

Now everyone is waiting for Angela Merkel

to install her new government. Then she will

be able to sit down with Emmanuel Macron

and design and propose new steps towards

European integration. To overcome the

inertia of the European machine, agreement

between Paris and Berlin is not necessarily

enough, but it is essential.

There is a lot of talk these days about


may be new but the idea is as old as Europe

itself. How can we prevent the most reluctant

from stopping others who wish to take

the European project further? Reluctance

can be legitimate, so can fear and even

capriciousness, since these are carried by

democratically elected governments. But

arithmetic, just as democracy, teaches us

that the greatest number must prevail. It

is not right that the likes of Kaczynski and

Orban are able to block Europe single



may not be more dangerous than it used

to be. It is however very dangerous, even

more so since the arrival of Donald Trump at

the White House. Fire is smouldering in the

Middle East, with the radicalisation of Israel,

with war and rivalries between Sunnis and



Maroun is a Belgian

journalist, author,

and President of the

Press Club Brussels

Europe. Previously,

he was the former

European and

Foreign Editor of

the daily Le Soir

(Brussels). His Most

recent book is

entitled “Trump, tu

ne nous auras pas


The world we live

in may not be

more dangerous

than it used to be.

It is however very

dangerous, even

more so since the

arrival of Donald

Trump at the White


Shiites, with the victory of Bashar al-Assad,

with the ambitions of the Kurds, with the rise

in power of Turkey, etc. As we have seen,

this instability can mar social cohesion and

sow death in the cities of Western Europe.

It can jeopardise our energy supplies.

It can lead us into armed conflict. To the

East, Russian imperialism is back. Further


fire. And out of everywhere, out of every

underground bunker, comes looming the

threat of proliferation, of biological weapons

and cyber-attacks...


weight is diminishing and our presence in

the G7 will soon be a farce. Our research

capabilities are dwindling. Tomorrow’s

robots will no doubt speak English, but with

a Chinese or an Indian accent... And how

about tomorrow’s bosses?

To my mind, Europe is a great project for

civilisation. It is the home of human dignity.

Never before has there been a geographical

expanse with such a high degree of peace,

freedom, democracy, prosperity, solidarity,

etc. The European Union is, of course, far

38 2018 | OUR WORLD


French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during their meeting at Elysee palace in

Paris, France, 19 January 2018.


from perfect, but the whole world

regards it as a model.

One can be insensitive to

these arguments and not

appreciate Europe for its

values. In that case, its usefulness at

least must be recognised. Indeed in

all matters, only Europe will protect

us. Only it will give us a voice in the

commotion of the world. Only it will

enable us to reach the critical mass

required for our strategic autonomy.

If Europe really is to achieve these

objectives, it must correct its lack of

OUR WORLD | 2018

effectiveness - fast. The EU needs

new transfers of sovereignty; its

competences must be broadened.

And the European Parliament must

be at the heart of a new institutional

architecture that is more democratic

and more comprehensible.


this, nothing so ambitious, can be

expected of the Macron-Merkel

couple. All positive steps, whether

on the euro or on immigration, for

example, are of course welcome, but


will persist.

Unfortunately, the French

President and the Federal Chancellor

are not being pressed by public


In Europe, public debate has

been heavily influenced, almost

wing populists, who compete for the

same simplistic ideas and slogans to

disqualify the European project. And

social networks have certainly not

helped to clarify the issues. Things

are bad: people seem to have lost

their desire for Europe. But I hope






By Markella Papadouli

The last year and a half has been

extraordinary, full of unexpected

twists and turns: the election of

Donald Trump in the US, the suspension of

Cataluña’s autonomy in Spain, the explosion

of (recognition of) sexual harassment cases

around the world buoyed by the #MeToo

Campaign, the crystallisation of Brexit ...

In many ways, 2017 shook what we took

for granted and forced some change which

was latent.

2017 was a significant year also in the

perhaps because of the lack of change. Mass

movement of forced migrants continued,

similarly, worryingly, to years before it.

According to IOM 186,768 people fleeing

persecution, civil war, violence, destruction of

their homes, loss of their loved ones or simply

chronic and demeaning poverty, decided to

make a perilous journey to reach protection

in Europe. There are no reasonably accessible

legal routes for such migrants to reach safety

otherwise. Seeking asylum in European

embassies outside Europe remains a taboo

in the migration debate. In reality those who

want to leave have limited choices. They can

with people smugglers, organised criminals,

transport and border crossing, in exchange for

the migrant’s scarce money (or other forms of

exploitation), thereafter taking very little care

of their “client’s” safety.

In 2017, the overwhelming method of

arrivals (92%) in Europe according to IOM

was by sea. An estimated 3,116 people died

in transit, in addition to the 5,143 deaths at



Markella Papadouli

(LLM, MA) is a


Registered European

Lawyer for the AIRE

Centre (Advice on

Individual Rights

in Europe) and a


in International

and European

Refugee Law at

London South Bank


sea the year before, and the 3,777 the year

before that. 2018 has just started and already

404 people have been reported as dead or

missing at sea, adding to the numbers of the

previous years and making the Mediterranean

an underwater grave.

Those who selected the land crossings

fared little better. Some lost their lives on

the way due to extreme weather conditions,

exhaustion or lack of appropriate resources

and healthcare.

Some of those who managed to survive

did so in the hope of joining their family who

already live in Europe and could support them

in rebuilding their lives. But surviving the

journey is not a synonym to family reunion:

frustrating, dysfunctional and often unfair

asylum procedures, collective expulsions at

the borders or even complete border closure

are some of the ways that EU Member

States have chosen to address the migration


This unwelcoming facet of EU Member

State behaviour has been captured in the

numerous pending cases and challenges

before domestic and European Courts.

And it is not just on dry land that the

EU Member States show an unfriendly

and sometimes hostile face. 2017 saw the

most peculiar phenomenon of domestic

investigation and prosecution of nongovernmental

organisations attempting to

rescue those in danger at sea (see the pending

case of the Juventa), an interesting coincidence

with Frontex’s reinforced mandate to counter

smuggling and the Italian imposed code

of conduct for NGOs wishing to continue

performing rescues in the Mediterranean.

Rescuing life at sea, an international obligation

pursuant to the law of the sea, in 2017 became

more complicated than ever. Indeed some

rescuers are now at risk of criminal liability.

The EU and the Common European

Asylum System, despite its reforms (still under

negotiation) have continued to fail migrants

and member states alike. The obsession with

which country’s responsibility it is to examine

a particular asylum application demonstrates

the inverse of the European spirit. Member

States kept playing “responsibility ping

pong”, using legal instruments such as the

40 2018 | OUR WORLD


Children stand next to their tent inside the Khirbat al-Jawz camp, in the north-western Jisr al-Shughour countryside, Idlib, Syria,

19 January 2018. More than 6000 families were forced to leave their homes on the frontline and move to several camps like

Khirbat al-Jawz, Ein al-Baida and al-Hambuoshyeh in the north-western Jisr al-Shughour countryside, Idlib.


Dublin Regulation to keep the sheer

number of applicants outside of their

under the EU asylum seeker relocation

mechanism, which sadly didn’t live up

to its ambitious purpose.

Migrants in 2017 largely continued

to live in conditions which can only be

described as tragically inadequate:

provided by EU Member States who

either could not or did not make an

more humane, only partly explicable

by national financial strain. This

can hardly be described as a good

foundation for a fresh start in 2018.

The commitment of the EU and

Member States, decades ago, was to

create a just, safe system based on

solidarity, guaranteeing that vulnerable

individuals can access and receive the

OUR WORLD | 2018

protection to which they were entitled.

Years after Tampere, the names of

the court cases and challenges may

vary but the issues arising from the

disputes go to the very heart of the

Common European Asylum System

and remain the same.

It seems in the end that, despite

all its twists and turns, the biggest

surprise 2017 had to offer was the

bitter realisation that there was no

fundamental change in attitude in the

field of migration. Whirlwind political

developments aside, it was yet another

year in which state sovereignty prevailed

over the principle of human dignity when

it came to migrants. If not the loss of life,

the growing number of deaths at our

doorstep, what might it take to change

the attitude of individuals, governments

and the EU in 2018?

It seems in the end

that, despite all its

twists and turns, the

biggest surprise 2017

had to offer was the

bitter realisation

that there was no

fundamental change in

attitude in the field of




A battle of


By Shane Fitzgerald

We enter 2018 still reeling from the

Trump/Brexit campaigns of 2016.

The narrative of the past year

has been one of an old guard routed by

insurgents bent on chaos. The implications

for the European Union were grave.

From our slightly calmer vantage, the

emerging lessons of Brexit and Trump

are not that modern politics has been

tipped into anarchy, but rather that small

groups of committed believers, armed with

clear visions and simple messages, can

run rings around the political and media

establishment, which are more than ever

distracted, compromised and overloaded

with competing priorities.

In victory, and to nobody’s great surprise,

the Trumpians and Brexiteers have worn

the mantle of power no more gracefully

than those they despised and evicted from


Rather their authority has been rapidly

degraded by fresh coalitions of focused

opponents. In Trump’s case, this has

involved a rearguard effort by the US

security establishment to hold his team to

account for lying about their interactions

with Russia.

In the UK, it is hard to know which coalition

was more surprising – the huge crowds that

surged in the heat of a snap election to

put the ‘unelectable’ Jeremy Corbyn at the

doorstep of Downing Street, or the bickering

gang of European leaders who have so far

handed to Michel Barnier and his team.

In the middle of this gang has been Angela

of the modern era, and a virtuouso of the

Blair-Clinton strategy of triangulation as

a way to capture the soft centre ground



Shane Fitzgerald

is Director of

Campaigns at Red

Flag, where he

manages national,

European and


advocacy campaigns

for Red Flag’s major


Campaigning is

exhausting. It

takes discipline,

resources and


But it works.

of political debate. This approach has life

in it yet (witness the remarkable rise of

Emmanuel Macron), but the unceremonious

crippling of Merkel’s political career by a

band of far-right insurgents has certainly

shown the risks of appealing to compromise

and the status quo above all else.

There are lessons here for us all. In

the tired arena of Brussels regulatory

policy, it is clearer than ever that small

groups of activists have worked out how

to harness the discontent of vast numbers


Their ammunition? Focused outrage. Their

approach? Disciplined campaigns.

There is a tendency to underestimate

certain NGOs and activist groups because

they represent wide and shallow coalitions,

but the best of them demonstrate an ability

chosen wedge issues, which they do far

more tenaciously than traditional lobby


Brussels trade associations and the

agencies that support them spend their

time laboriously building consensus

around constantly cycling lists of priorities.

They must also devote huge efforts to

relationship-building and peace-keeping

42 2018 | OUR WORLD



campaign group

‘The No 10

Vigil’ sail a boat

bedecked with


River Thames in

London, Britain,

19 August 2017.

EPA/Tolga Akmen

with the policy insiders who they hope will tell them what

is really going on. This triangulation results in advocacy

Cameron ’16 or Merkel ’17).

More dangerously, these trade associations and

their agencies create their own large echo chambers of

mutual denial where they furiously agree with each other

about what should happen rather than analysing, and

attempting to shape, what is actually happening.

Caught up in the arcane procedures of the Brussels

bureaucracy, these insiders dismiss the online petition

campaigns of Europe’s legions of NGOs as so much

‘clicktivism’ while failing to realise the power of a simple

message, repeated ceaselessly, endorsed by tens of


The depressing history of European referendums

indicate that ultimately this sort of policy by petition

is a democratic dead end. It is too easily hijacked by

extremists who use it to push their agenda over the

heads of the silent majority. But the traditional lobbying

model is also not tenable.

Can we triangulate our way out of this one?

Perhaps we can. Traditional business lobbies can no

longer just rely on sober appeals to economic clout and

OUR WORLD | 2018

job creation in order to protect their laundry lists of


They need to scan the horizon for the issue that would

have the biggest impact on their membership, devote

the resources to properly quantify the risk and frame

the problem, and then relentlessly campaign.

Crucially, they need to attach genuine and tangible

political reward to their side of the argument. Because

the other side are all about attaching political risk.

They need to identify every other interest that would

be affected by the change, find the most compelling

people within that group, and amplify their voices. They

need champions who can push back on inaccuracies

and distortions promoted by opposed interests, and

who will praise political leaders for doing the right thing.

Ultimately, if enough relevant policy-makers hear enough

genuine grievances from enough real people, they will

think twice before making harmful decisions.

Campaigning is exhausting. It takes discipline,

resources and organisation. But it works. It also forces

all of us to focus on what really matters, rather than


Ultimately, this is the road to a European politics that is

more substantive, realistic and useful. So, here’s to 2018,

and to the campaigns ahead.



Brexit and the

microcosm of Europe

By Dr. Foteini Kalantzi

ce n’est plus grand chose” (“England

is not much anymore”). These were President


de Gaulle’s famous words as he vetoed British

entry into the EEC in 1963. At that moment, he was also

British from those of the continent. Last year, along

the same lines, the British nation expressed its will to

disentangle itself from the Eurocratic tentacles of Brussels.

The ongoing debate in the British media and Parliament

people, who are just left waiting and speculating as to the

outcome of this saga. Nigel Farage has of late expressed

the opinion that Leave’s mandate would actually increase

with a second referendum that he now thinks should take


May’s divided cabinet, British citizens and intimidated

Europeans residing in the UK are left in darkness. This

could be regarded as a lack of responsibility on the part of

leading Brexiteers and those implementing the outcome

of the referendum.

Since there is no certainty about the future, everyone


Brexit will make Britain great again. In this scenario, it will


the rest of the world. Others portend an isolated post-


London, Britain, 18 December 2017.


44 2018 | OUR WORLD

Brexit Britain whose only major trade deal

is the exchange of its regained sovereignty


Aside from this frustration of these

people, the prospect of Brexit has yet

another drawback. It has left another crack

in the project ‘ever closer Union’.

It has underlined the big socio-economic

discrepancies between the different

states, and the increasing poverty and

gaps between classes within them. People

cannot see the bigger picture and plan for

the long-term viability of their country, if they

cannot put food on the table. That is why the

catastrophic scenarios about the ‘reaction of

the markets’ to Brexit fell on deaf ears. When

Professor Anand Menon tried explaining to

an audience in Newcastle, that Brexit would

cause a decrease in the UK GDP, a woman

yelled back at him ‘That’s your bloody GDP,

not mine’.

Some say that those people who

voted Out have parochial views, i.e.

older generations or people with no


younger generations and those with higher

educational qualifications voted Remain.

However, the demographics of the Brexit

vote only tell one part of the story. The

other part of the story is that, apart from the

forceful and at times deceitful campaigning

for Brexit, there has been a continuous

collapse of the European ideal.


distrust towards the EU, has been one of

the main reasons for this outcome in the

referendum. Euroscepticism is partly a side

Europe, but it is also a defence mechanism

by peoples against an amorphous construct

and economism. Many Europeans, including

a lot of British people, are close to their

national identity. They relate to it and they

understand themselves through it. However,


The EU does not inspire loyalty anymore – it

has lost its glow.

In any case, 2018 will open the road for

the political and economic developments

OUR WORLD | 2018



Foteini Kalantzi is a

Researcher at the

Greek Diaspora

Project in SEESOX.

She received her

PhD in International

Relations from

University of

Macedonia and

carried out part

of her research in

Freie Universitaet

Berlin. Her thesis


of migration in

Greece’ examined

how discourse and

political practices

contributed to

the socio-political

construction of

migration as a

security threat

between 2000-2014.


everyone has been waiting for. At present

position for the UK emerging after the dust

settles. Since the EU is the largest trading

partner for Britain, there will probably be

a bespoke trade agreement between the

two parties. While a trade deal is feasible,

as Emanuel Macron said, full access to the

single market (including access to the EU for


accepting its rules is not feasible.

Brexit Secretary David Davies said that he

wishes to secure a free-trade deal with

to as ‘Canada plus plus plus’; however, EU

negotiators have stressed many a times that

Britain will not be allowed to “cherry-pick”

sectors. This is a reminder that the British

has been the deal throughout the history of

the EU. Since 1973, the UK has opted-out

from several important areas, for example

the EMU, the Schengen area, the Justice and


and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

(where the UK obtained an exemption with

the signature of a protocol).

Despite the love-hate relationship

between the Continent and Albion, there are

constant reminders from the EU that it is not

too late for the UK to change its mind. The

President of the European Council, Donald


of heart. Our hearts are still open for you".

However, there are no signs of returning

from the state of limbo the country lives in.

While the drama of Brexit is unfolding at

its pedestrian pace within the microcosm of

Europe, 2018 will convey the realisation that

there is only one way forward for Europeans

as the realities of the fast-paced world

progress - climate change, massive migratory

changes in the geopolitical and global

economic power game.

This way forward is for Europeans to work

together without divisive rhetoric and shorttermism,

to not only make Europe more

competitive in world markets, but also more

humane and democratic.

















Brussels l Dublin l London l Paris l Washington DC l Los Angeles







By Angus Deaton


nequality has been named as a culprit in

the populist incursions of 2016 and 2017.

But what is inequality, and what role does it

play in inhibiting or encouraging growth, or in

undermining democracy? Does inequality kill,

say, by driving people to suicide or to “deaths

of despair”? Or is inequality a necessary evil

that we must tolerate at certain levels?

These are questions I am often

asked. But, truth be told, none of them is

particularly helpful, answerable, or even well

posed. Inequality is not so much a cause of

economic, political, and social processes as a

consequence. Some of these processes are

good, some are bad, and some are very bad

indeed. Only by sorting the good from the

bad (and the very bad) can we understand

inequality and what to do about it.

Moreover, inequality is not the same thing

as unfairness; and, to my mind, it is the latter

that has incited so much political turmoil in the

rich world today. Some of the processes that

generate inequality are widely seen as fair. But

others are deeply and obviously unfair, and

have become a legitimate source of anger and


In the case of the former, it is hard

to object to innovators getting rich by

all mankind. Some of the greatest inequalities

today are a consequence of industrial and

health revolutions that began around 1750.

countries in northwest Europe. But they have

since improved living conditions and health

outcomes for billions of people around the



Angus Deaton, the

2015 Nobel laureate

in economics,

is Presidential

Professor of

Economics at

the University of

Southern California

and Professor of

Economics and




Woodrow Wilson

School of Public and


world. The inequalities stemming from these

advances – both within and between countries

progress generally.

On the other hand, getting rich by bribing

the state for special favors is clearly unfair, and

rightly resented. Many in the United States

– more so than in Europe – automatically

regard capitalist or market outcomes as

fair, and government action as arbitrary

and unfair. They object to government or

university-sponsored programs that seem to

favor particular groups, such as minorities or


This helps to explain why many white

working-class Americans have turned against

the Democratic Party, which they view as the

party of minorities, immigrants, and educated

elites. But another reason for growing public

discontent is that median real (inflationadjusted)

wages in the US have stagnated over

the past 50 years.

There are two different explanations

for the divergence between median and

top incomes, and it matters a great deal


impersonal and unstoppable processes such

as globalization and technological innovation,

which have devalued low-skill labor and

favored the well educated.

The second explanation is more sinister.

It holds that median-income stagnation is

actually the direct result of rising incomes and

wealth at the top. In this account, the rich are

getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

Recent research suggests that there is

some truth to the second story, at least in the

US. Although globalization and technological

change have disrupted traditional work

arrangements, both processes have the


The fact that they have not suggests that

themselves. It will take much more work to

determine which policies and processes are

holding down middle- and working-class

wages, and by how much, but what follows is

a preliminary list.

First, health-care financing is having a

disastrous effect on wages. Because most

Americans’ health insurance is provided by

48 2018 | OUR WORLD

their employers, workers’ wages are

salaries in the medical industry. Every

year, the US wastes a trillion dollars –

about $8,000 per family – more than

other rich countries on excessive

health-care costs, and has worse

health outcomes than nearly all of

them. Any one of several European

financing alternatives could recoup

those funds, but adopting any of them

those now profiting from the status



related problem is increasing

market consolidation in many

sectors of the economy. As a

result of hospital mergers, for example,

hospital prices have risen rapidly, but

hospital wages have not, despite a

decades-long shortage of nurses.

Increasing market concentration is

probably a factor underpinning slow

productivity growth, too. After all, it

seeking and monopolization than

through innovation and investment.

Another problem is that the US

federal minimum wage – currently at

$7.25 per hour – has not increased

since July 2009. Despite broad

public support, raising the minimum

wage is always difficult, owing to

the disproportionate influence that

wealthy firms and donors have in


Making matters worse, more than

20% of workers are now bound by

non-compete clauses, which reduce

workers’ bargaining power – and thus

their wages.

Similarly, 28 US states have now

enacted so-called “right-to-work” laws,

which forbid collective-bargaining

arrangements that would require

workers either to join unions or pay

union dues. As a result, disputes

between businesses and consumers

or workers are increasingly settled out

of court through arbitration – a process

that is overwhelmingly favorable to


Yet another problem is outsourcing,

not just abroad, but also within the

US, where businesses are increasingly

replacing salaried or full-time workers

with independent contractors.

The food servers, janitors, and

maintenance workers who used to

be a part of successful companies

are now working for entities with

names like AAA-Service Corporation.

These companies operate in a highly

competitive low-wage industry, and

opportunity for advancement.

The earned income tax credit (EITC)

has provided a boost in living standards

for many low-paid US workers. But,

because it is available only to those

who work, it puts downward pressure

on wages in a way that unconditional

would not.

Unskilled immigration also poses

a problem for wages, though this

is controversial. It is often said that

immigrants take jobs that Americans

do not want. But such statements are

meaningless without some reference

to wages. It hard to believe that lowskilled

Americans’ wages would

have remained as low as they did in

the absence of inflows of unskilled

immigrants. As the economist Dani

Rodrik pointed out 20 years ago,

globalization makes demand for labor

more elastic. So, even if globalization

does not reduce wages directly, it

makes it harder for workers to get a

pay raise.

Another structural problem is that

the stock market rewards not just

innovation but also redistribution from



has grown from 20% to 25% over the

same period that median wages have

stagnated. The increase would be

even higher if executive salaries were



The final problem on our

preliminary list is political. We have


The Consumer Financial Protection

Bureau, despite having uncovered

major scandals, is now under threat,

as is the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation,

which introduced measures to prevent

another financial crisis. Moreover,

President Donald Trump has indicated

that he wants to eliminate a rule

requiring money managers to act in

their clients’ best interest. All of the

deregulatory “reforms” currently being

proposed will benefit capital at the

expense of workers and consumers.

The same is true of US Supreme

Court rulings in recent years.

The court’s decision in Citizens

United v. FEC, for example, gave wealthy

Americans and even corporations

the ability to spend almost unlimited

amounts to support candidates and

engineer legislative and regulatory

outcomes that work in their favor.

If this account of stagnant median

wages and rising top wages is correct,

then there may be a silver lining to our

era of inequality, because it means that

the US’s dysfunctional labor market

is not an irremediable consequence

of unstoppable processes such as

globalization and technological change.

Broadly shared progress can be

achieved with policies that are designed

workers. And such policies need not

even include redistributive taxation,

which many workers oppose. Rather,

they can focus on ways to encourage

competition and discourage rentseeking.

With the right policies,

capitalist democracy can work better

for everyone, not just for the wealthy.

We do not need to abolish capitalism

or selectively nationalize the means

of production. But we do need to put

the power of competition back in the

service of the middle and working


OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The Global Economy’s Risky Recovery

By Joseph E. Stiglitz


year ago, I predicted that the most

distinctive aspect of 2017 would be

uncertainty, fueled by, among other

things, Donald Trump’s election as president

in the United States and the United Kingdom’s

vote to leave the European Union. The only

certainty, it seemed, was uncertainty – and

that the future could become a very messy


As it turned out, although 2017 was not a

particularly great year, it was far better than

many had feared. Trump proved every bit as

bombastic and erratic as expected. Anyone

who paid attention only to his incessant tweets

might think the US was teetering between a

trade war and a nuclear war. Trump would

insult Sweden one day, Australia the next, and

then the EU – and then support neo-Nazis at

home. And the members of his plutocratic

of interest, incompetence, and sheer nastiness.

There have been some worrisome

regulatory rollbacks, especially concerning

environmental protection, not to mention

the many hate-driven acts that Trump’s

bigotry may have encouraged. But, so far,

the combination of America’s institutions and

the Trump administration’s incompetence has

meant that there is (fortunately) a yawning

gap between the president’s ugly rhetoric and

what he has actually accomplished.

Most important for the global economy,

there has been no trade war. Using the

exchange rate between Mexico and the US as

a barometer, fears for the future of the North

American Free Trade Agreement have largely

subsided, even as trade negotiations have

stalled. Yet the Trump roller-coaster never

ends: 2018 may be the year that the hand

grenade Trump has thrown into the global


Some point to the US stock market’s

record highs as evidence of some Trumpian

economic miracle. I take it partly as evidence

that the decade-long recovery from the

Joseph E.


Joseph E. Stiglitz,

a Nobel laureate

in economics, is

University Professor

at Columbia

University and Chief

Economist at the

Roosevelt Institute.


downturn – even the deepest – eventually

comes to an end; and Trump was lucky to be

of his predecessor in setting the scene.

But I also take it as evidence of market

participants’ short-sightedness, owing to

their exuberance at potential tax cuts and

the money that might once again flow to

Wall Street, if only the world of 2007 could

be restored. They ignore what followed in

2008 – the worst downturn in three quarters

inequality that previous tax cuts for the super

rich have brought.

They give short shrift to the deglobalization

risks posed by Trump’s protectionism. And


tax cuts are enacted, the Fed will raise interest


In other words, the market is once again

showing its proclivity for short-term thinking

and pure greed. None of this bodes well for

America’s long-term economic performance;

and it suggests that while 2018 is likely to be

a better year than 2017, there are large risks

on the horizon.

It’s a similar picture in Europe. The UK’s

decision to leave the EU didn’t have the jolting

anticipated, largely because of the pound’s

depreciation. But it has become increasingly

clear that Prime Minister Theresa May’s

government has no clear view about how to

manage the UK’s withdrawal, or about the

country’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

There are two further potential hazards

for Europe. One risk is that heavily indebted


avoid crisis once interest rates return to more

normal levels, as they inevitably will. After

all, is it really possible for the eurozone to

maintain record-low rates for the foreseeable

future, even as US rates increase? Hungary

and Poland represent a more existential

50 2018 | OUR WORLD


The EU is being

tested, and there

are well-founded

fears that it will

be found wanting.

The effects of these

political tests on

next year’s economic

performance may be

small, but the longterm

risks are clear

and daunting.

An Artist’s rendering of the world in imbalance.


threat to Europe. The EU is more

than just an economic arrangement

of convenience. It represents a union

of countries with a commitment to

basic democratic values – the very

values that the Hungarian and Polish

governments now disparage.

The EU is being tested, and there

are well-founded fears that it will be

found wanting. The effects of these

political tests on next year’s economic

performance may be small, but the

long-term risks are clear and daunting.

On the other side of the world,

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and

Road Initiative is changing Eurasia’s

economic geography, putting China at

the center, and providing an important

stimulus for region-wide growth. But

China must confront many challenges

as it undergoes a complicated transition

from export-led growth to growth

driven by domestic demand, from a

manufacturing economy to a servicebased

economy, and from a rural to

an urban society. The population is

aging rapidly. Economic growth has

slowed markedly. Inequality is by

some accounts almost as severe as in

the US, where it is the fourth-highest in

the OECD (behind Mexico, Turkey, and

Chile). And environmental degradation

poses a growing threat to human

health and welfare.

China’s unprecedented economic

success over the past four

decades has been partly

based on a system whereby broad

consultation and consensus-building

within the Communist Party and the

Chinese state underpinned each set

of reforms.

Will Xi’s concentration of power

work well in an economy that has

grown in size and complexity? A

system of centralized command

and control is incompatible with a

as China’s; at the same time, we know

markets can lead an economy.

But these are all essentially longterm

risks. For 2018, the safe bet is that

China will manage its way, albeit with

slightly slower growth.

In short, as the advanced

economies’ post-2008 recession fades

into the distant past, global prospects

for 2018 look a little better than in 2017.


stimulative stance will reduce the need

for extreme monetary policies, which

almost surely have had distortionary

but also on the real economy.

But the concentration of power in

China, the eurozone’s failure (thus far)

to reform its flawed structure, and,

most important, Trump’s contempt

for the international rule of law, his

rejection of US global leadership,

and the damage he has caused to

democracy’s standing all pose deeper

risks. Indeed, they threaten not just to

hurt the global economy, but also to

slow what, until recently, had seemed

to be an inevitable march toward

greater democracy worldwide. We

should not let short-run success lull

us into complacency.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The Free Market

for the Next


By Eli Hazan

While the Free Market and

Capitalism have made our

world so prosperous, out of

this abundance has brought a magnitude

criticism of the economic system that has

brought so many people to places that they

had once never dared to dream about.

Many countries who have adopted this

economic system based on the Free Market

are experiencing the greatest economic

situations in history. However, sometimes

it seems that the more economic and

democratic success a country experiences,

more of its own people express

dissatisfaction, longing for a world that

only truly existed in their imagination. Add

to this a short-term memory and a lack of

perspective, and maybe we can understand

why people demonstrate on the streets in

order to retain the agenda that once caused

them harm.

Israel is an essential case study for

the “libel” of the Free Market: From the

establishment of the State in 1948 until

1977, Israel was ruled by the Left-Wing

Labor Party, which instituted a monopolistic

and protectionist government. At this time,

there was a fairly permanent economic

situation of the poor and the poorer. Were

there rich people? Yes, but not as we are

today. Since then, the Likud, the centre-


in a freer direction.

Although the Likud hasn’t managed to

institute a completely free economy, it is

Eli Hazan

Eli Hazan is the


Director of The Likud

Party. Previously

served as adviser

to the Minister of

Education, as well

as Parliamentary

adviser to the

Chairman of the

Likud faction and

the Coalition. He is

also a lecturer at the

S.I.D College.

quite fascinating to see what has been done

in the last 30 years: Israel’s population has

doubled in size and life expectancy has

grown substantially – placing Israel among

the top 8 nations in the world. The number

of vehicles per 1000 residents has increased

by 133%, the tax burden has dropped


from $8000 to $41000, while Israel’s GDP

has bypassed countries such as Britain,

France, Italy, and Japan. Foreign exchange

reserves have grown by 2700%, government

debt fell from 270% to about 60%. Total

exports grew tenfold, reaching $100 billion

this year. The number of students increased

by 351%, and unemployment fell to 4%.

However, Israelis still suffer from

two main economic problems that

hinder success: the cost of living is very

high, and there is an acute problem of

high housing prices. Nevertheless, the

political structure of the State prevents

Netanyahu’s government from improving

the situation. On one hand, labor unions

and big corporations continue to put a lot

of pressure on the government in order to

smaller competitors. On the other hand,

the bureaucracy is only growing stronger.

It is a recipe for a terrible stagnation.

In 2011, many Israelis partook in social

demonstrations on the streets. Along with

spontaneous demonstrators, populist

politicians from the Left exploited the

general population’s lack of interest and

understanding regarding the cost of living.

These dangerous politicians demanded the

greatest injustice a country could do to its

citizens: increasing government spending.

Not only did they deny the opening of the

market to competition, they added insult

to injury by demanding more power to the

bureaucrats. As time goes by, it seems that

these politicians are unwilling to learn the

lesson of what happened in countries like


Given the situation in which many of

Israel’s young people are not interested in

these issues, an ironic situation is created.

The recipe that led to Israel’s success is

52 2018 | OUR WORLD


Give me Capitalism or Give Me Death & Make Love not Capitalism. Two posters seen in the streets of New York City.


mistakenly portrayed as a failure,

and the recipe that led to the failure

of Israel is mistakenly portrayed as

a success. In fact, everybody asks

to receive from the State without

realising that they must work for it

and give back.

Thus, without understanding

the significance of these

actions, this situation may

cause this young generation to

sacrifice the next for their own

gain. We understand that in fact, the

great challenge of our generation is

to educate the present generation

and those who will come after; to

treat the free economy as Churchill

defined Democracy: “Democracy

is the worst form of government

... except for all the others.” The

story of Israel is not unique. We

OUR WORLD | 2018

power of parties such as the British

Labor Party led by Jeremy Corbyn,

or Bernie Sanders, who is one of

the leaders of the Democratic Party

in the United States, to understand

that the challenge is huge.

And that is the whole story in a

nutshell. If we do not educate the

next generation to believe in the

Free Market and to apply it, we may

quality of life of those who used to

live here two generations ago. If leftwing

politicians want to impose their

views on us, we should do everything

possible to prevent it by democratic


If we do not educate the next generation to believe in

the Free Market and to apply it, we may find ourselves

living in the poorer quality of life of those who used to

live here two generations ago.



Saving the Environment

and the Economy

By Edmund S. Phelps

Every country has national problems,

such as a dangerous loss of inclusion or

a costly loss of growth. We learn that a

solution does not happen without society’s

understanding of the problem and a wide

desire for action.

But with climate change, all countries have

a shared problem, too. And although experts

have gained understanding and reached a

consensus on the objectives to be sought,

these goals require wider support from society

than exists so far.

As everyone knows, most of the climate

change started with the burning of fossil fuels

brought by the industrialization that began in the

late eighteenth century and has been producing

rising levels of carbon dioxide ever since.

A major point is that the climate has already

deteriorated to such an extent that it has

become costly to society and even dangerous

to life: The violence of hurricanes has risen

following the rise of water temperature in

the Caribbean. Air quality is deteriorating

noticeably around the world. And rising sea

levels are threatening many low-lying cities.

In his recent book, Endangered Economies,


measures, public and private, taken to block

further climate change. A point introduced

by Heal is that the damage – in many cases,

the devastation – done to our natural world

has serious consequences not only for the air

and water we depend on for our existence,

but also for businesses, which have relied

water cycle, marine and forest ecosystems,

and more. Thus, preserving “natural capital”

would raise the rate of return on capital in

the business sector. Businesses would react

by investing more, thus boosting productivity

Edmund S.


Edmund S.

Phelps, the 2006

Nobel laureate

in Economics, is

Director of the

Center on Capitalism

and Society at

Columbia University

and the author of

Mass Flourishing.

in the economy. And with each such boost,

preserve still more of the world’s natural


The world, then, must give up aspiring to

economic growth so rapid that it is running

down the world’s natural capital. We want

economic growth that is “green” – without

damaging or destroying the environment. At

the same time, we want improvement of the

environment without stopping innovation and

economic growth.

In a series of powerful presentations and

interviews, the Columbia economist and

mathematician Graciela Chichilnisky contends

that mankind’s survival requires that we

remove the CO2 already accumulated in the

atmosphere and ensure that it stays out of the

atmosphere. To cover the cost, Chichilnisky

proposes a marketplace in which the captured

carbon is sold for commercial use.

Another possible solution is “regenerative

agriculture,” such as what the biologist Allan

Savory recently introduced in Patagonia.


create an incentive for private actors to undertake

carbon capture far beyond what a national


success will depend on whether “carbon farming”

supply, and thus falling prices.

We will also have to come to grips

with fundamental challenges such

as continuing population growth,

industrialization, and weak governance. And

we will have to strike a balance between

people still have lives that are worth living.

One might look at the growing body of

research into climate change and conclude

that we can rest easy: the experts have already

worked out what needs to be done. But the

experts themselves are not so naive. They know

that businesses will not police themselves,

and they recognize that much will depend on

for social good. The problem is that too many

people assume that businesses, households,

and policymakers will simply do what the

experts recommend: that all companies – out

54 2018 | OUR WORLD


of social pressure or threats from the

state – will pay for the damage they

cause; and that all governments will

eventually institute carbon taxes or

cap-and-trade arrangements to reduce

and eventually eliminate emissions.

Another problem is that much

environmental damage is not

straightforward to control. Even if large

pollution by, say, replanting rainforests

in Central America, the earth has come

to have a human population that is

huge and still rising. This presents

challenges. As the economist Dennis

J. Snower showed some years ago,

discrete individual activities – such as

or simply letting the water run – can

contribute significantly to pollution

and environmental degradation, but

go largely unseen by governments,

communities, and individuals. That

being the case, any program to

protect the environment must be

based on moral suasion: to call on all

individuals– not just corporations – to

summon whatever sense of altruism

they have and curb voluntarily their

own polluting.

Yet, another problem is that

many countries are still undergoing

industrialization. So, even if every

country on the planet could reduce

its per capita contribution to pollution,

the ongoing rise in the proportion of

the world’s population working in

countries that are now in the stage of

industrializing will pull up the global

average. Clearly, this demographic

phenomenon will make for tough

sledding as we pursue Heal’s proposed

measures to limit CO2 emissions.

We will also have to confront the

fact that not all governments are

able to stand up to vested interests.

Powerful companies can get away with

violating environmental restrictions

issued by the government, especially

if they are a major source of income

and jobs.

We want economic

growth that is ‘green’

– without damaging

or destroying the

environment. At the

same time, we want

improvement of the

environment without

stopping innovation

and economic


More difficulties arise if most

people are still poor but

determined to become

rich – as rich as the richest countries

in the West. In such a country, the

government might not be ready to cut

deep into carbon emissions or other

pollution lest it miss its growth target.

It has been estimated that 20% of the

world’s population accounts for 80%

of the world’s consumption of natural

resources. Because the right to survival

trumps any one country’s right to ruin

the environment in pursuit of growth,

climate change will have to be tough

with those that think the costs of

reducing emissions are too high.

Lastly, renewable energies could

pose new challenges for wages and

employment in the future. According

to the International Renewable

Energy Agency, the US wind and solar

industries have been creating jobs –

employing 777,000 people in 2016 –

while the coal industry has continued

to shed them. But this is not a useful

observation, given that employees

come from other industries, not

from some vast pool of unemployed

but well-suited workers. It would be

absurd to think that total employment

is raised by every newly arriving


Economic theory implies that

a new industry will expand overall

employment only if its method of

production is more labor-intensive than

the cross-industry average. However, I

have yet to see data for the renewables

sector that addresses this issue, and I

would not be surprised if the industry

became highly capital-intensive over


I have long emphasized not just

the material rewards of work – mainly

wage rates (from the bottom up) and

labor force participation rates – but

also the non-material side of work (the

various satisfactions that people get

from the experience of work). Now that

the imagination and ingenuity of our

experts and engineers have helped us

turn the corner, it will be important that

we get back to business: to conceive

of new products and methods of

production, test them in the market,

and strive for the new.

“Young America,” Abraham Lincoln

once said, “has a great passion – a

perfect rage – for the ‘new’.” It is time

for us all to be young like that again. As

the project to reclaim our environment

plays out and as the other international

challenges are being met and resolved,

also to revive an older conception

of work based on exercising one’s

initiative and using one’s creativity. The

good life must again be understood as

a personal voyage into the unknown,

through which one might “act on the

world” and “make your garden grow”

– in order to be “somebody.”

The worry – my worry, at any rate –

is that our national economies, many

of them already highly regulated in the

name of stability, will become much

more regulated in the name of a green

economy. Yes, many regulations may

be needed, but we must be careful in

do not strangle the sources of what

makes life worth living.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org







By Maurice Obstfeld


the state-mint in Rome, Italy.


The year 2017 appears to be ending

on a high note, with GDP growth in

much of the world continuing to rise,

marking the broadest cyclical upswing since

the start of the decade. Throughout Europe

and Asia, and in the United States and Canada,

growth expectations have risen, while some

important emerging economies that until

recently were shrinking – for example, Brazil

and Russia – have resumed growth.

Several countries continue to struggle,

including many fuel exporters and low-

or natural disasters, especially drought. But

faster recovery is benefiting roughly twothirds

of the world’s population.

These developments follow years of

geographically uneven, stop-and-go growth

following the global crisis of 2008-2009 and

the subsequent 2010-2011 rebound. As

recently as early 2016, the world economy

sputtered, driving the price of oil to near $25

per barrel (it is now around $60) and yielding

the weakest global growth rate since the

outright contraction of 2009. Thus, heading

into 2018, the sense of relief among many

economic policymakers is palpable.

Why has economic performance

improved? While there has been a marked

rise in indicators of consumer and business

sentiment, and with them, investment, it

would be wrong to attribute the recent

upswing entirely to happenstance or “animal

spirits.” Fundamental factors, notably



Maurice Obstfeld

is Chief Economist

of the International

Monetary Fund.

macroeconomic policies, have been at work

as well.

Monetary policy has long been and

remains accommodative in the largest

countries. Even though the United States

Federal Reserve continues to raise interest

rates gradually, it has been cautious, having

wisely responded to the turbulence of early

2016 by postponing previously expected

rate increases. The European Central Bank

has started to taper its large-scale asset

purchases, but has also signaled that interestrate

increases are a distant prospect.

As a result, financial conditions have

been easy, buoying both lending and asset

prices worldwide. Fiscal policy in advanced

economies has, on balance, shifted from

contractionary to roughly neutral over the

past few years, while China has provided

slowed at mid-decade, with important

positive spillovers to its trade partners.

remain relatively low – indeed, puzzlingly so

in the advanced economies – even as gaps

between actual and potential GDP have

narrowed or closed. Some might view the

of all possible worlds.

For many countries, however, longer-term

growth prospects are less encouraging. Aging

workforces, slower productivity growth, and

higher debt burdens since the crisis darken

56 2018 | OUR WORLD

the outlook. For example, annual

per capita growth in the advanced

economies averaged 2.2% in the

decade following 1995, and naturally

dipped following the crisis; but even

for the years between now and 2022,

annual per capita growth will reach

only 1.4%, according to International

Monetary Fund projections.

Absent some unforeseen

surge in productivity, the

current upswing in advanced

economies will inevitably moderate:

growth will slow as monetary policies

as countries are forced to consolidate

public finances strained by high

government debts and burgeoning

spending on pensions and health

care. In turn, slower overall growth

will make it harder to counter slow

wage growth, especially among the

unskilled, adding to the burden of

inequality and resulting resentments.

Many emerging-market and lowincome

economies will also face


Economic policymakers throughout

the world therefore face two major

challenges. First, can they act to

bolster output levels over the longer

term? Second, can they increase their

economies’ resilience and inclusiveness

while reducing the likelihood that the

current upswing ends in an abrupt

slowdown or even a new crisis?

These two challenges are closely

interrelated. Today’s favorable

economic conditions provide a

window of opportunity for policies

that can meet both.

The key to improving long-run

growth prospects and perceived

fairness is investment in people.

Educational investment increases

workers’ productivity and ability to

navigate structural transformation,

whether due to trade or technology.

Apprenticeship programs, moreover,

can save resources wasted through

high youth unemployment, while

counseling and retraining can

prolong working lives. Conversely,

failure here would be destabilizing,

as weak job prospects and income

inequities would fuel a stronger voter

backlash against multilateralism in

international relations and prudent

economic policies at home.

As essential as these investments

are, they require fiscal outlays. To

avoid inflating already-high publicdebt

burdens, governments will need

to reform tax regimes, enhancing

revenues without discouraging


Tax systems should be designed

to increase inclusion, not least by

promoting labor-force participation.

And citizens will have more

the channels for tax avoidance used

by big corporations and the rich are


Greater economic resilience is


wane, financial instability poses an

increasing threat. Many countries

improved their macro-prudential

frameworks after the crisis, including

by raising banks’ capital and liquidity.

The prolonged period of low interest

rates following the crisis has,

however, led to a search for yield and

global debt buildup that could prove

problematic for some borrowers

once interest rates rise.

Several economic studies,

including from the IMF, suggest

that even if debt booms are

associated with faster growth in

the short run, they often end in

tears. Some countries must rein in

excessive credit growth and reduce

issuance, while others still need to

address the bad loans left behind by

previous recessions. Countries should

strengthen financial oversight as


well as their international regulatory

cooperation, thereby avoiding a race

to the bottom in prudential policy.

Emerging and low-income

economies face some challenges

that resemble those in advanced


China’s leaders, for example,

have recognized the imbalances

in the country’s financial system

and are moving to address them.

But several challenges are distinct.

Notwithstanding the recent uptick

in commodity prices, commodityproducing

countries need to diversify

their economies’ export mixes to

support future growth.Because the

current upswing is broad, the moment

is also ripe for action on a range of

multilateral priorities. Probably the

most urgent of these is to slow longterm

climate change resulting from

dependence on fossil fuels.

IMF research shows how

vulnerable low-income countries are

to the likely temperature increase

over the rest of this century, even

if the 2015 Paris climate agreement

achieves its goal of holding the

increase to less than 2º Celsius above

pre-industrial levels. But advanced

economies are vulnerable as well,

including through the spillovers of

political instability and mass migration

originating in warmer regions. It is

in their interest to embrace more

ambitious emissions targets and aid

low-income countries’ adaptation


The bottom line is that reveries of

an economic sweet spot risk lulling

policymakers into a false sense of

security. Current good times are most

likely temporary – indeed, the forces

producing this upswing may not last

much longer. To make the recovery

more durable, policymakers should

seize the current opportunity and

reform while they still can. Otherwise,

the future may be closer than we


OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



Rediscovering Public

Wealth Creation

By Mariana Mazzucato

At the cusp of the new year, a decadesold

debate among economists is

heating up again: Does austerity help

or hurt economic growth? Broadly speaking,

the debaters fall into two camps: conservatives

who call for limited public spending, and thus

a smaller state; and progressives who argue

for greater investment in public goods and

services such as infrastructure, education,

and health care.

Of course, reality is more complex

than this simple demarcation implies, and

even orthodox institutions such as the

International Monetary Fund have come

around to the view that austerity can be

self-defeating. As John Maynard Keynes

argued back in the 1930s, if governments

cut spending during a downturn, a shortlived

recession can become a full-fledged

depression. That is exactly what happened

during Europe’s period of austerity after the


And yet the progressive agenda cannot be

just about public spending. Keynes also called

on policymakers to think big. “The important

thing for Government is not to do things which

individuals are doing already,” he wrote in his

1926 book The End of Laissez Faire, “but to do

those things which at present are not done at

all.” In other words, governments should be

thinking strategically about how investments

can help shape citizens’ long-term prospects.

The economic historian Karl Polanyi went

even further in his classic book The Great

Transformation, in which he argued that

“free markets” themselves are products of

state intervention. In other words, markets

are not freestanding realms where states

can intervene for good or ill; rather, they are



Mariana Mazzucato

is Professor in

the Economics

of Innovation

and Public Value

and Director of

the Institute for

Innovation and

Public Purpose at

University College


outcomes of public – not only private – action.

Businesses that make investment

decisions and anticipate the emergence

of new markets understand this fact. Top

managers, many of whom see themselves

as “wealth creators,” take courses in decision

sciences, strategic management, and

organizational behavior. They are encouraged


But if value is created collectively, those

who pursue a career in the public sector

should also be taught how to think like risk

takers. As it stands, they aren’t. Instead, public

policymakers and civil servants have come to

regard themselves not as wealth or market

at worst, as impediments to wealth creation.

This difference in self-conception is

partly the result of mainstream economic

theory, which holds that governments

should intervene only in cases of “market

failure.” The state’s role is to establish and

enforce the rules of the game; ensure a

infrastructure, defense, and basic research;

and devise mechanisms to mitigate negative

externalities such as pollution.

When states intervene in ways that exceed

their mandate to correct market failures,

they are often accused of creating market

distortions, such as by “picking winners” or

“crowding out” the private sector. Moreover,

the emergence of “new public management”

theory, which grew out of “public choice”

theory in the 1980s, led civil servants to

believe that they should take up as little space

as possible, fearing that government failures

might be even worse than market failures.

This thinking has caused many

governments to adopt accounting

mechanisms from the private sector, such

as cost-benefit analysis, or to outsource

functions to the private sector altogether, all


has not only failed to achieve its goals; it has

and left them ill equipped to work with

challenges such as climate change and

health-care provision for aging populations.

It was not always like this. In the postwar

58 2018 | OUR WORLD


period, two US government agencies,

NASA and the Defense Advanced

Research Projects Agency (DARPA),

created what would later become the

Internet. Both agencies were founded

in the 1950s, and were given ample

funding and clear goals. Their missionoriented

approach allowed them

to attract top talent, and their staff

were told to think big and take risks.

Similarly, the US Advanced Research

Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), set

up in 2009, has been responsible for

significant innovations in the field

of renewable energy, particularly

in battery storage. The National

Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded

the development of many blockbuster

drugs. In the United Kingdom, the BBC’s

ambitious computer literacy project

in the 1980s led to its investment in

the Micro computer. Procurement of

that device’s parts enabled companies

like Advanced RISC Machines, later

renamed Arm, to scale up and become

national powerhouses.

Today, the opposite is happening,

Public value does

not mean simply


existing wealth or

correcting issues

affecting public

goods. Instead, it

means co-creating

value in different


Monopoly money sits on the board of the popular table-top game.

with many mission-oriented public

institutions being weakened. NASA

increasingly has to justify its existence

in terms of immediate economic

value, rather than the pursuit of

bold missions. The BBC is also

evaluated according to increasingly

narrow metrics, which may justify

investments in high-quality content,

but fail to support public value

creation independent of the format.

Public value does not mean

simply redistributing existing wealth

goods. Instead, it means co-creating

value in different spaces. When

mission-driven public-sector actors

collaborate to tackle large-scale

problems, they co-create new markets

its direction.

But co-creating value and directing

growth require experimentation,

exploration, and trial and error. It

cannot work if civil servants are too

risk-averse, owing to fears that a

failed project might become frontpage

news, or are demotivated, owing

to the expectation that successes

will be interpreted as the work of

the private sector. While market


fundamentalists heaped criticism

on the US government for funding

the solar startup Solyndra, which

eventually failed, they never mention

the fact that the Tesla S, now a major

success, received roughly the same

amount of public support.

In this intellectual climate, it has

become much easier for politicians to

call for public-sector downsizing than

to defend public-sector risk taking.

Not surprisingly, US President Donald

Trump has targeted ARPA-E, and

congressional Republicans routinely

threaten the public broadcaster PBS.

In the UK, the BBC’s prestige has


The debate about growth in 2018

must include a focus on promoting

risk-taking and experimentation.

Such an approach can reawaken the

progressive agenda, making all actors

feel like they are in the driver’s seat

and preventing that narrow group

of self-acclaimed wealth creators

from simply extracting value. And

it will generate a more dynamic

conversation within civil society on

which missions might be the best

ones to bet on together.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org









By Jason Furman

The past year has witnessed several attacks,

including a few near misses, on the rules-based

global order that has undergirded prosperity in

the world’s advanced economies and the rapid growth of

many emerging economies. A lively debate has ensued

about whether the fundamental cause of such populist

attacks is economic or cultural. I suspect the answer is

a bit of both, especially because cultural explanations

raise the question of why now, whereas economic

explanations provide a ready answer: the significant

slowdown of income growth.

A tougher question is what can be done about it. The

challenge we face consists in the disconnect between

the economic aspirations of the discontented and the

policy tools we have at our disposal to meet them. And

in some cases, the tools themselves may be politically


Still, we must try, because surveys of life satisfaction

reveal some disturbing trends. Life satisfaction in the

United States, as measured by the General Social Survey,

peaked in 1990 and has been largely trending down, even

as household incomes have risen (albeit tepidly). Other

major economies have also experienced declining levels

of self-reported wellbeing, including Italy, where Pew’s

measure of life satisfaction peaked in 2002, and France

as well. President Donald Trump won the 2016 election

partly by promising to address the drivers of these trends

– promises that neither he nor anyone else could keep.

He promised to restore manufacturing jobs, even though

manufacturing employment is falling worldwide as

machines replace humans, propelling record production

without commensurate job creation.

Similarly, Trump promised to restore the coal industry,

which has also been declining for decades, not only for

some of the same technological reasons, but also because

of the fall in the price of natural gas and, to a much lesser

degree, increased regulation of coal-based energy. More

broadly, his promise of substantial job creation, wage gains,

deep factors, like demographic trends and slow productivity

growth worldwide, that are at the root of today’s economic


The right policy agenda is one that would foster

stronger, more inclusive growth. Although the details vary

from country to country, they generally include improving

education, increasing infrastructure investment, expanding

trade, reforming tax systems, and ensuring that workers

have an adequate voice in their economic futures.

But I worry that in advanced economies, all of these

policies combined would make only a small dent in today’s

problems. Developing countries can undergo large swings

in growth as a result of major policy and institutional

60 2018 | OUR WORLD



changes – witness China’s transition to a

market economy, India’s reforms to end

the license raj, or economic liberalization in

Latin America. But advanced economies are

all growing at very similar rates, and nothing

in the last several decades suggests that

structural policies can have a major impact

on medium- and long-term growth (in certain

circumstances, short-run demand policies can


If advanced economies did everything

right, their growth rate might increase by,

say, 0.3 percentage point. That is certainly

worth doing; much of economic policy is


our politics will change radically if the median

US or French household gets an extra $1,800

after a decade.

Similarly, we should be making a much


some countries, that means strengthening

workers’ bargaining power – higher minimum

wages and stronger unions would be a good

start – while tackling issues that weaken it,

like employer collusion and restraints on



Jason Furman,

Professor of the

Practice of Economic

Policy at the Harvard

Kennedy School and

Senior Fellow at the

Peterson Institute

for International

Economics, was

Chairman of

President Barack

Obama’s Council of

Economic Advisers

from 2013-2017.

employees’ ability to change jobs.

Policies that promote competition

and reduce inefficient rents also have an

important role to play. This includes more

reduce entry barriers, for example, by giving

people ownership of their personal data. But,

again, the plausible impact of such policies

would fall well short of overcoming people’s

concerns with inequality and slow income


Some other policies are economically

sensible, but may be politically

counterproductive. For example, while I

strongly agree with the widespread view

that a robust social safety net is needed

to protect the “losers” of globalization and

market-based competition, I worry that

creating one may be as likely to weaken as

to reinforce social cohesion. In the US, the


the largest expansion of the social safety net

in almost 50 years, and it is hard to imagine

another as large in the next 50 years. But

increased funding for health insurance and

the greatly reduced chance of becoming

uninsured have not dramatically changed

US politics or alleviated concerns about

job losses due to trade. If anything, the

Affordable Care Act may have increased

polarization, given that some of what fuels

populism is the resentment felt by those

to others at their expense.

Nonetheless, such economic policies are

the right steps to take, and they just might

help defuse a little of the anxiety. But we must

also be humble about our understanding of

which solutions could address our current

economic problems, particularly the need to

promote higher levels of employment.

In fact, the solution to our political

problems, in 2018 and beyond, may lie not

in any new policies or materially changed

circumstances, but in finding better ways

to communicate about the challenges we

face, the efforts being made to address

them, and the inherent limits that confront

all policymakers. There has to be a better

answer than just lying to people about what

our policies are capable of accomplishing.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org





Rue du Trône 4, 1000 Brussels +32 (0) 228 06 039 info@acreurope.eu www.acreurope.eu @ACREurope




Safeguarding Elections

in the Digital Age

By Jimmy Carter

Technology threatens to fundamentally

change the nature of elections and

democratic governance.

New media, including social media,

are fueling political polarization as people

communicate with general audiences and

narrowly focused groups, without the

deliberation typical of traditional forms of

communication. Hacking, misinformation,

“fake news” and cybersecurity threats

are expanding the power of a few while

of mass media and information. Politicians

are using detailed voter information to play

to their bases, allowing them to ignore the

rest of their constituents.

Democratization, which had advanced

steadily for decades, is now threatened by the

rise of authoritarian governments and the

closing of the political space to civil society,

journalists and others.

Advances in election technology are also

bringing new opportunities and new fears

— founded and unfounded — about the

security of the election process. Technology

is being introduced into electoral processes

to promote efficiency, but it also moves

voting and counting into the unobservable

digital realm. In the Netherlands, electronic

voting has been abandoned amid concerns

about foreign interference in elections.

During the 2016 presidential campaign in

the United States, Russian hackers broke into

the Democratic National Committee’s email

election’s outcome.

We must accommodate these changing

times while holding true to our unchanging

principles — equality, justice and freedom for

all. This means building political processes

that are inclusive and transparent and that

hold those in power accountable.



Jimmy Carter,

Former United

States President

Jimmy Carter

founded the


Center to advance

peace and health



which had advanced

steadily for

decades, is now

threatened by the

rise of authoritarian

governments and

the closing of the

political space to civil

society, journalists

and others.

In the United States, our path has been

nonlinear and riddled with failures, including

slavery, racial and sexual discrimination,

and abuse of indigenous peoples. The gap

between rich and poor has grown wider in

recent decades, while longstanding barriers

to voter participation, equal justice and

economic opportunities for all remain.

Nevertheless, we persevere, striving to

correct and improve our democracy.

Internationally, globalization has

contributed to increasing wealth, but billions

of people still struggle under crushing

poverty. We now face the threat of that

and subsequent government decisions.

Our society has worked to develop

global norms and an international system

to protect human rights for decades, from

the development of the United Nations and

the adoption of the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights in 1948 to current worldwide

efforts to secure political, economic and

social rights. At The Carter Center, we helped

strengthen the United Nations’ system.

During the course of observing more than 100

elections, we also worked to build consensus

on international election standards that are

66 2018 | OUR WORLD


rooted in human rights commitments.

Genuine elections are essential

for people to express their

political will, but elections

cannot guarantee democratic

governance. This will be even more

true as digital technology advances.

It’s essential that we manage

these changes within the broader

framework of strengthening our

commitment to human rights and

democracy — not to threaten selfgovernance,

but rather to safeguard it.

This means improving systems

for inclusive and effective political

participation, including full and

easy (or even automatic) access to

voter registration processes and


especially critical for groups that have

faced obstacles to full participation,

including women, racial and ethnic

minorities, indigenous persons, the

elderly, the disabled and those living

in extreme poverty.

Transparency in elections and

political processes is needed to build


must be able to freely examine key

information about governance and

about electoral processes and results.

For example, in the United States,

voting technologies should include



paper trails that can be audited;

there should be fewer barriers to

independent nonpartisan observers;

and the results of audits and reviews

should be readily available to the


Effective voter participation in

governance and policy making in

the digital era will require additional

protections for rights and freedoms

such as freedom of expression and

association and access to information

— including the internet. Citizens will

need better tools to assess the quality

and accuracy of information, such as

fact-checking apps that crosscheck

information against recognized

sources and databases.

We must also develop legal

frameworks and technological

systems that protect privacy and the

security of our personal information,

with processes for independent

oversight. People must be able to

learn what data is being gathered

about them and who has access to it.

We must understand how all of

this information is being used by

media, corporations, governments

and others to shape political views

and behavior, and develop and

implement standards and codes of

practice to ensure that this does not

undermine our common principles.

In these and other challenges, the

enduring principles of democracy and

human rights must be our guiding

lights, or the digital future could be

dark indeed.


OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Jimmy Carter. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate




challenges and


for our societies

The political

problem is that in

Europe we have

lost the bond

between people and


By Carlos Moedas

Our society is constantly changing.

Some of this change is a result of

the storm of crises we have endured

in the past few years. Financial shocks,

terrorism, refugees, and now the imminent



But some of the biggest changes in our lives

are the result of the keenest minds working

hard to give us fresh opportunities. These are

from today and who take it upon themselves

to make that future happen. Tim Berners-Lee,

the creator of the world-wide web once said:



need and he decided to make something that

nobody had ever seen before.

This is the power of research and

innovation – to create something where once

there was nothing. Europe has an amazing

opportunity to create its own future and


overcome two problems – a political problem,

and a technical problem.

The political problem is that in Europe

we have lost the bond between people

and science. The vast majority of articles

focus on the negative potential outcomes.

The same is true for driverless cars. Critical

innovations such as vaccines are now widely

Carlos Moedas

Carlos Moedas

is the European

Commissioner for

Research, Science

and Innovation. He

is a former member

of the Portuguese

Parliament and the

former Secretary of

State to the Prime

Minister of Portugal.

derided online, even while measles makes a

comeback across Europe. For me, a technooptimist,

this is shocking.

Because this link has been broken,


innovation. It is talked down as a priority.

EU investment in research and innovation

has fallen considerably behind other World

Regions. The US alone invests €150 billion

more each year, and without closing this gap,

Europe risks becoming a passive observer of

technological change.

The second problem, the technical

problem, is that Europe missed the second

wave of the internet.

Steve Case, one of the pioneers of the

internet, argues that there are three major


we built the infrastructure of the internet.


Tim Berners-Lee, and companies like Nokia,

Siemens and Ericsson.

In the second wave, entrepreneurs built

the applications on top of that infrastructure.

This is the world of Google, Facebook, Uber

and Twitter. This opened up many avenues

for innovation and opportunities for society.

To illustrate this, Robin Chase, CEO of Zipcar

remarked that now "your smartphone can be

your preferred mode of transport". However,

in this second phase Europe lost its edge and

fell behind.

68 2018 | OUR WORLD

Now we are moving into the

third wave. This is when

the digital revolution finally

moves to highly regulated sectors like


intelligence, genetics, blockchain, and

other highly complex science and

tech challenges, at the intersection

of the digital and physical worlds.

In this third wave I believe that

Europe has a great opportunity to

regain the initiative. Leaders and

policy makers can do a number

of things to help us to seize this


The first will be to practice

intelligent regulation. Jo Johnson,

the UK’s research minister, told me

a good illustration of this. He told

me about the laws in the UK in the

late 19th century, when cars first

arrived on British streets. They were

called the Locomotive Acts, and they

walk in front of cars that had more

than one wagon. The analogy for

bad, innovation-killing regulation is

perfect. A man carrying a red flag,

preventing progress. This must

not be us. We need to be smart, to

protect consumers, workers and

competition, while not standing in

the way of the development and

uptake of new technologies.

Secondly, research and innovation

profoundly affect our economy,

our society, and our lives. We have

to start to treat them with the

seriousness that they deserve, and

to put the discussion at the level of

Heads of State and Government.

Strong talk should be backed up by

strong investment – for fundamental

science, for market-creating

innovations, and by using public

loans to attract private money.

Finally, we also need to restore

the sense of purpose that was

once so central to publicly-funded

science. John F Kennedy knew

the uniting power of a common

scientific goal when he launched

the US’s quest to put a man on the

moon. We all remember the Human

Genome Project in the 90’s, and


how it captured out imagination. It

seemed incredible – to crack life’s

great code, to understand the very

core of our biological being and the

cause of so much that ails us. Dr

James Watson, co-discoverer of the

structure of DNA, rightly declared

it “a giant resource that will change

mankind, like the printing press.”

Fusion energy, the Human Brain

Project, cracking the secrets of the

universe in the Large Hadron Collider,

and defeating climate change by

invention and innovation – these

things and more we can achieve if we


we are courageous in accepting the


Barack Obama once said:

"Traditionally, wealth was defined

by land and natural resources. Today

the most important resources is

between our ears." In this way more

than any other Europe is truly rich,

I see it every day in my role. Our

society is bubbling over with great

ideas, now we need to be serious

about supporting them.

A laboratory

assistant takes a

carriage with test

tubes containing

cell cultures from

an incubator at

the Robert Koch

Institute in Berlin,



OUR WORLD | 2018



Tackling ‘digital’ at the

state level in a post-

DSM world?

By Krzysztof Szubert

As the year 2018 sets in, it’s a

are at building the Digital Single

Market and unlocking barriers for Europe’s

digital growth.

A number of proposed DSM-based

initiatives have already been adopted, while

others are still subject to negotiations. In


opening of publicly funded data and data

sharing, combating platforms-to-business

unfair practices, tackling illegal content

online, addressing the topic of boosting


However, while keeping up the work on

all the proposals on the table, we should

also take a closer look at the big picture.

We live in a world where almost every

aspect of daily and business life has a digital

component to it. This process is gathering

pace, and we will rely on digital technologies

even more in the future. To make full use

face derailing challenges that come our way

head-on at full speed.

We need to realise that we are dealing

with a complete alteration of the global

economy. Digitalisation has changed

the way businesses operate, states are

governed and the way people socialize and

communicate with each other. This is a

new reality and, as policymakers we need

to react accordingly. Technologies have a

way of evolving very fast. As such, they have

to be followed by prompt modifications



Krzysztof Szubert

is the Secretary

of State / Deputy

Minister of Digital


government of

Poland. He is

the Government

Plenipotentiary for

the Digital Single

Market. In the past,

he has served as

a member of the

Digitization Council

at the Ministry


Strategic Advisor

to the Minister

in the Ministry of


Plenipotentiary of

the Minister for


He holds his current

post since March


of regulations and policies that frame


profound transformation three decades

ago came with back-breaking experience

of generations. What came out of it can


As a country which had to transit from a

centrally-planned economy to a free-market

one in a short time, we could see the change

was necessary to go through if we wanted to


What Europe needs now is a stronger

than ever political will to tackle the hurdles

both in the way we cooperate and in what

we cooperate on. First comes the need to

have a coherent approach in managing

digital. To start with, there could be more

centralisation of digital management. Right

now not only many of the digital initiatives are

scattered across the European Commission,

but also different government bodies

coordinate their implementation at national

level. Establishing reliable mechanisms of

coordination, faster decision making and

swift implementation are then a must, if we

want to keep up with the rest of the world.

We do not have the luxury of waiting for the

administration to catch up; administration

should be one of the facilitators, rather

than resembling a passive pencil pushing

desk officer. The fairly slow-to-respond

system of dispersed entities overseeing the

digital dossier that we have now should be

replaced with a clear structure that, above

all, favours swift dialogue between the EU

institutions and EU Members. The European

Commission may be a good place to start.

The 2019 election opens a rare window of

opportunity to design a more centralized

digital commissioner’s dossier, so that there

is only one door out there to knock on. That

should be paired with the same move back

at national level. The Polish model of a

digital representative is one way to go here.

It was the decision of the Polish government

last year to appoint a plenipotentiary in

charge of overseeing the DSM strategy

and ensuring coherence in adoption of the

policies throughout government. It might

be considered as a good example to follow

for other governments as well. We remain

70 2018 | OUR WORLD


Bitcoin miner Huang inspects a

malfunctioning mining machine

during his night shift at the Bitcoin

mine in Sichuan Province, China

open to share our experience in this

regard. One of the most important

principles here is to make sure that

such a post is located as close as

and gets full support from the state’s


Secondly, there is an

unprecedented need for unity. With a

market of 500 million people, the EU

wins only if it stands undivided in the

political sense of the word.

The unique qualities of the digital

economy make a clear case for that,

as the truly European market needs

all barriers to be removed. The EU did

realize that with the Digital Agenda for

Europe, but it has never been more

true than today with the emergence

of the data economy and its immense

potential. The data economy simply

needs room for data to flow free.

Failing to deliver on that will leave us

missing our best chance of becoming

the global technological leader and

risks the Union itself crumbling apart.

We are already being left behind by

the US and China. We have to do

more than simply follow their lead.

OUR WORLD | 2018

The EU needs transformation as

well as courage to push smart ideas

forward. One of those was bringing

together the EU heads of states and

To make full

use of what


has to offer

is then to

face derailing

challenges that

come our way

head-on at full


governments in Tallinn last September

to discuss the digital agenda.

As one of the strong advocates

of digital summits, as well as one

of those behind the first meeting, I

am calling on the Presidency of the

Council of the EU to follow suit. There

are ideas to be explored - many of

them relating to data and how we

free it, make it accessible, reusable

and open. These tough questions lay

ahead, and we will need our leaders

as trailblazers.

The change needs to work for

everyone. This is true for a nation and

becomes critical for a union. Poland

wants a Europe that is truly united

and undivided, thus strong globally.

Here comes the all-embracing digital

revolution whose multifaceted

characteristic has been showing

us the potential unseen before in

economy, society, and politics.

Whoever learns to use this tool

and whoever shows the courage

to take the most of it, will benefit

in all three areas. As clichéd as it is,

to fully embrace this fact is to truly

understand the task before us.




How IT Threatens


By Kofi A. Annan

The Internet and social media

were once hailed for creating new

opportunities to spread democracy

and freedom. And Twitter, Facebook, and

other social media did indeed play a key role

in popular uprisings in Iran in 2009, in the

Arab world in 2011, and in Ukraine in 2013-

2014. Back then, the tweet did at times seem

mightier than the sword.

But authoritarian regimes soon began

cracking down on Internet freedom. They

feared the brave new digital world, because

it was beyond the reach of their analogue

security establishments. Their fears proved

unfounded. In the event, most social mediaenabled

popular uprisings failed for want of

and military organizations retained the

upper hand.

In fact, these regimes have begun to

wield social media for their own ends. We

have all heard the allegations that Russia

covertly used social media to influence

electoral outcomes in Ukraine, France,

Germany, and, most famously, in the United

States. Facebook has estimated that Russian

content on its network, including posts and

paid ads, reached 126 million Americans,

around 40% of the nation’s population.

We should recall earlier accusations

by Russia of the West’s role in fomenting

the “color revolutions” in Ukraine and

Georgia. The Internet and social media

surreptitious manipulation of public opinion.

If even the most technologically advanced

countries cannot protect the integrity of

the electoral process, one can imagine the

challenges facing countries with less knowhow.

In other words, the threat is global.

In the absence of facts and data, the mere

Kofi A. Annan



Annan Foundation,

and former

Secretary General of

the United Nations.

possibility of manipulation fuels conspiracy

theories and undermines faith in democracy

and elections at a time when public trust is

already low.

Social media’s ideological “echo

chambers” exacerbate people’s natural

biases and diminish opportunities for

healthy debate.

This has real-world effects, because it

fosters political polarization and erodes

leaders’ capacity to forge compromises, the

basis of democratic stability. Likewise, the

hate speech, terrorist appeals, and racial

and sexual harassment that have found a

home on the Internet can lead to real-world


But social media are hardly the first

communication revolution to challenge

political systems. The printing press, radio,

and television were all revolutionary in their

day. And all were gradually regulated, even in

the most liberal democracies. We must now

consider how to submit social media to the

same rules of transparency, accountability,

and taxation as conventional media.

In the US, a group of senators has

introduced the “Honest Ads Act,” which

would extend the rules that apply to print,

radio, and television to social media. They

hope it will become law before the 2018

midterm election. In Germany, a new law,

the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, requires

social-media companies to remove hate

speech and fake news within 24 hours or


As useful as these measures may be, I am

not sure that national laws will be adequate

to regulate online political activity. Many

poorer countries will not be able to put up

such resistance, and enforcement will be

data are stored and managed outside the

regulating country.

Whether or not new international

norms are necessary, we should

be careful that in seeking to curb

the excesses, we do not jeopardize the

fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Indeed, open societies should not over-react,

lest they undermine the very freedoms on

72 2018 | OUR WORLD


A young woman looks at Apple’s new iPhone 8 Plus at the Apple Store of Omotesando shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, 22

September 2017. Apple launched the iPhone 8 and the Apple Watch Series 3 on 22 September.


which they base their legitimacy.

But nor can we remain idle. A

few major players, in Silicon Valley

and elsewhere, hold our fate in their

hands; but if we can get them on

board, we can address the failings of

the current system.

In 2012, I convened the Global

Commission on Elections, Democracy,

and Security to identify and tackle the

challenges to the integrity of elections

and promote legitimate electoral


Only elections that the population

generally accepts as fair and

credible can lead to a peaceful and

democratic rotation of leadership,

conferring legitimacy on the winner

and protecting the loser.

Under the auspices of the Kofi

Annan Foundation, I will now convene

a new commission – this time, with

the masterminds of social media and

information technology, as well as

political leaders – to help us address

these crucial new issues. We will set

serve our democracies and safeguard

the integrity of our elections, while

harnessing the many opportunities

new technologies have to offer.

We will produce recommendations

that will, we hope, reconcile the

disruptive tensions created between

technological advances and one of

humanity’s greatest achievements:


Technology does not stand still,

and nor should democracy.

We have to act fast, because

digital advances could be just the

start of a slippery slope leading to

an Orwellian world controlled by Big

Brother, where millions of sensors in

our smartphones and other devices

collect data and make us vulnerable

to manipulation.

Who should own all the data

collected by our phones and watches?

How should such data be used?

Should its use by others require our

consent? To whom are those using

our data accountable? These are

the big questions that will shape the

future of freedom.

Technology does

not stand still,

and nor should


OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The Internet of Things

– Delivering a Connected World

By Karim Lesina

Consumers today expect to be

connected from nearly anywhere, to

just about anything. We’re moving

to a world that will require instantaneous

and ubiquitous connectivity. For AT&T,

that means investing to be the premier

integrated communications company in the

world. Around the globe, we’re making cars,

homes, machines, shipping containers, and

more, smarter.

Our industry has experienced a dramatic

shift over the past 10 years. The pace of

change and innovation has been incredible.

And the pace of new players entering the

market has been just as staggering. AT&T

is not only no longer defined as a voice


an edge provider, or an equipment maker;

but as an integrated communications

provider, we’re all of these and more.

The new reality is this: We are all in the

communications business. Now, legacy

voice companies provide video; legacy video

companies provide voice; and companies

that didn’t exist a few short years ago

provide both, and more. Innovation and

competition is all around us. And that’s great

for consumers, and great for the industry.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of

these key innovative and hyper-competitive

frontiers. IoT is transforming how we live,

and it’s enabling new businesses ventures

and new methods of service delivery—

driving innovation in established industries

such as automotive and package delivery.

With data derived from devices, the

IoT is helping enable better allocation

of resources, improved awareness, and

enhanced services including:

• asset tracking for businesses;

• environmental and livestock monitoring



Karim Lesina is

Vice President of

AT&T, covering



the European Union,

Caribbean, Central

and Latin America

Regions and in

charge of Trans-

Atlantic Relations.

for farming operations;

• smarter cities and communities

with monitoring of public infrastructure

resources – roads & transit, parking, utilities;

• healthcare monitoring and service


• wearables, activity monitors for

individuals; and

• improved safety and convenience of

connected cars.

Rapid change brings challenges

as well as benefits

Policy challenges. The issues engendered

by the IoT are as diverse and complex

as the ecosystem itself, presenting both

challenges unique to a particular industry

(e.g., automotive safety), and challenges

that apply across the board. Adapting policy

frameworks to the cross-jurisdictional and

cross-sectoral nature of IoT technologies

and solutions can have positive effects,


• Ensuring a coherent approach to the

IoT across various government agencies


• Ensuring a consistent and open

approach across countries to enable

global IoT solutions. First, with numbering


support continued permanent machine-tomachine

(M2M) roaming, without mandated

because International permanent roaming is

particularly suited to the global deployment

of M2M or Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

This approach is also critical to areas such

as regulatory approaches and data privacy

requirements. Privacy and security span

all sectors. We all have a shared interest in

promoting consumer trust in IoT.

74 2018 | OUR WORLD


• Encouraging innovation and

adoption of IoT within governments:

Government users/customers of IoT

– from Smart Cities to government

agencies – will be significant

beneficiaries of the IoT, but the

customary acquisition models are

often an obstacle.


balanced pipeline of licensed and

unlicensed spectrum to keep up with

the growing demand for spectrum

posed by the IoT.

Recommended policy

frameworks for IoT

1.Governments should encourage

a comprehensive and consistent

policy framework. In any individual

country, this requires coordination

across the dozens of agencies that

could have a role in regulating IoT.

In absence of a well-coordinated,

low-touch framework, there is a risk

OUR WORLD | 2018

that duplicative and inconsistent

sector-based regulation will impede

growth of IoT – especially as we

look to industries such as food

and drug, aviation, transportation,

communication, and energy.

Government agencies should work

cooperatively with one another and

with industry to coordinate process,

streamline regulation and avoid

duplication or inconsistency.

2. Promote international,

interoperable policy frameworks.

Many IoT solutions will only reach

their optimal economic scale if they

can operate around the globe. The

economics of IoT devices are very


It’s important that manufacturers

can achieve scale, so they can “build

it once, use it everywhere.” Foremost,

regulatory policy must also allow for

cross-border data flows and allow

IOT providers to choose from a range

AT&T’s ‘Flying COW’. Exploring the capabilities of LTE-connected drones in the

wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation will help temporarily restore connectivity



of business models, including ability

for IoT roaming that is optimal for

their business model.

3. Support voluntary, collaborative

initiatives to promote consumer trust.

Government and the private sector

have a shared interest in promoting


industry deeply understands that

consumer trust in security and privacy

is a critical component of commercial


As governments around the world

grapple with how best to address

cybersecurity and to promote trust

and security, it is important that they

engage in a transparent process that

looks to existing privacy and security

frameworks and standards that

support technological innovation

and growth that will ultimately lead

to better security. By collaborating

with the private sector and obtaining

cooperation and “buy-in” from all

stakeholders, governments can often

develop the best security policies and

can help ensure companies be vested

in developing highly secure systems.

4. Overall, adopt a light touch,

flexible regulatory regime that

protects innovation and facilitates

rapid market developments. Let’s

recognize ways in which IoT is

regulation to new technologies and


5. Apply regulatory requirements

and responsibilities consistently

to IoT services on an end-to-end

basis. Rules should be technology

neutral and not single out individual

companies, sectors or business


The critical goal for policymakers

is to address these issues in a way

that facilitates the progression of the

IoT to enable consumers, businesses,

and government institutions across

the globe to realize the economic



A Big



By Chelsea Manning

For seven years, I didn’t exist.

While incarcerated, I had no bank

statements, no bills, no credit history.

In our interconnected world of big data, I

person. After I was released, that lack of

information about me created a host of

problems, from difficulty accessing bank

and renting an apartment.

In 2010, the iPhone was only three

years old, and many people still didn’t see

smartphones as the indispensable digital

appendages they are today. Seven years later,

virtually everything we do causes us to bleed

digital information, putting us at the mercy of

invisible algorithms that threaten to consume

our freedom. Information leakage can seem

innocuous in some respects. After all, why

worry when we have nothing to hide?


We send emails. Tax records are used to

keep us honest. We agree to broadcast our

location so we can check the weather on our

smartphones. Records of our calls, texts and




Chelsea E. Manning

is an advocate

of government

transparency, a

transgender rights

activist and a former

United States Army

intelligence analyst.

In 2013 she was

convicted under the

Espionage Act for

documents about

the wars in Iraq

and Afghanistan.

Her sentence was

commuted by

President Obama in

January and she was

released in May.

our billing information. Perhaps that data is

analyzed more covertly to make sure that

of national security, we’re assured.

Our faces and voices are recorded by

surveillance cameras and other internetconnected

sensors, some of which we now

willingly put inside our homes. Every time we

load a news article or page on a social media

site, we expose ourselves to tracking code,

allowing hundreds of unknown entities to

monitor our shopping and online browsing

habits. We agree to cryptic terms-of-service

agreements that obscure the true nature and

scope of these transactions.

According to a 2015 study from the Pew

Research Center, 91 percent of American

adults believe they’ve lost control over how

their personal information is collected and

used. Just how much they’ve lost, however, is

more than they likely suspect.

The real power of mass data collection

lies in the hand-tailored algorithms

capable of sifting, sorting and identifying

patterns within the data itself. When

enough information is collected over time,

governments and corporations can use

or abuse those patterns to predict future

human behavior. Our data establishes a

“pattern of life” from seemingly harmless

digital residue like cellphone tower pings,

76 2018 | OUR WORLD


credit card transactions and web browsing histories.

The consequences of our being subjected to constant

algorithmic scrutiny are often unclear. For instance,

artificial intelligence — Silicon Valley’s catchall term for

deep thinking and deep-learning algorithms — is touted

by tech companies as a path to the high-tech conveniences

of the so-called internet of things. This includes digital home

assistants, connected appliances and self-driving cars.

Simultaneously, algorithms are already analyzing social

media habits, determining creditworthiness, deciding which

job candidates get called in for an interview and judging

whether criminal defendants should be released on bail.

Other machine-learning systems use automated facial

analysis to detect and track emotions, or claim the ability

to predict whether someone will become a criminal based

only on their facial features.

These systems leave no room for humanity, yet they


summer, I painfully discovered that they have no time for

them. I came out publicly as transgender and began

hormone replacement therapy while in prison. When I was

existing as a trans woman. Credit and background checks

automatically assumed I was committing fraud. My bank

accounts were still under my old name, which legally no

longer existed. For months I had to carry around a large

folder containing my old ID and a copy of the court order

declaring my name change. Even then, human clerks and

bank tellers would sometimes see the discrepancy, shrug

and say “the computer says no” while denying me access

to my accounts.

Such programmatic, machine-driven thinking has

become especially dangerous in the hands of governments

and the police. In recent years our military, law enforcement

and intelligence agencies have merged in unexpected ways.

They harvest more data than they can possibly manage, and


With no apparent boundaries

on how algorithms can use and

abuse the data that’s being

collected about us, the potential

for it to control our lives is evergrowing.

usually windowless buildings called fusion centers.

Such powerful new relationships have created a

foundation for, and have breathed life into, a vast police

and surveillance state. Advanced algorithms have made

this possible on an unprecedented level. Relatively

minor infractions, or “microcrimes,” can now be policed

aggressively. And with national databases shared among

governments and corporations, these minor incidents can

follow you forever, even if the information is incorrect or

lacking context. At the same time, the United States military

uses the metadata of countless communications for drone

attacks, using wireless pings emitted from cellphones to

track and eliminate targets.

In literature and pop culture, concepts such as

“thoughtcrime” and “precrime” have emerged out of


anyone who is flagged by automated systems as a

potential criminal or threat, even if a crime has yet to


becoming reality. Predictive policing algorithms are

already being used to create automated heat maps of

future crimes, and like the “manual” policing that came

before them, they overwhelmingly target poor and

minority neighborhoods.

The world has become like an eerily banal dystopian

novel. Things look the same on the surface, but they are

not. With no apparent boundaries on how algorithms can

use and abuse the data that’s being collected about us, the

potential for it to control our lives is ever-growing.

Our drivers’ licenses, our keys, our debit and credit cards

are all important parts of our lives. Even our social media

accounts could soon become crucial components of being

fully functional members of society. Now that we live in this

with society without surrendering to automated processes

that we can neither see nor control.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Chelsea Manning. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate




the Policy


for AI

Innovation and

Citizens’ Trust

By Naveen Rao

The positive impacts artificial

intelligence (AI) will have on our

society are nearly endless. AI is the

next big compute evolution, enabling

computers to perform tasks and make

decisions that normally require humans.

The benefits range from increasing

efficiency of agricultural production, to

and smarter automobiles.

While today much of AI involves codifying

relatively common skills into algorithms,

future advances will cause a seismic shift

within technology and within our society.

We should be proactive in thinking through

these implications as we encourage the

innovation to continue.

The innovation across the AI ecosystem,

including within my own company is

astounding. Intel’s technology is being used

to supply the compute from the data center

to the edge, enabling automated cars and


We are taking our decades of leadership

in developing the leading computational

hardware, and are now optimizing it for AI.

We recently introduced the Intel® Nervana

Neural Network Processor, purpose built

Naveen Rao

Naveen G. Rao is

Corporate Vice

President and

General Manager


Intelligence Products

Group at Intel


from the ground up explicitly for AI deep

learning training. These innovations will

support the next advances in AI applications.

Yet advances without accounting for

the societal effects are not sustainable.

We, as a society, need to create a public

policy environment that supports industry

also mitigating unintended consequences

and recommending regulatory solutions

where needed.

There is no doubt, for example, that

change the job market. We need to find

a useful framework to analyze the coevolution

of AI’s application along with these

employment concerns. Intel is a problemsolving

company; we don’t just raise the


To that end, last October we published

a white paper describing our AI Public

Policy recommendations, intended to

trigger discussions among policymakers,

technologists, academics, data scientists,

and the public.

represent the backbone of future public


78 2018 | OUR WORLD

1) Foster Innovation and Open

Development: To better understand

how impactful AI can be in our

lives and continue to explore the

spectrum of applications, policy

should encourage investment in AI


Governments should support

intelligent systems to help industry,

academia, and other stakeholders

improve AI systems.

2) Create New Human

Employment Opportunities and

Protect People’s Welfare: AI will

change the way many of us work.

Public policy in support of adding

skills to the workforce and promoting

employment across sectors should

enhance our workforce while also

protecting people’s welfare.

3) Liberate Data Responsibly:

AI is powered by access to data.

While maintaining security and data

privacy, machine learning algorithms

improve by absorbing more data

over time; data acquisition is

imperative to achieving enhanced

model development. Making data

accessible will help AI reach its full


4) Rethink Privacy: Many privacy

frameworks like the 1980s OECD

Fair Information Practice Principles

and industry approaches like Privacy

by Design have withstood the test

of time and the evolution of new

technology. We have had to “rethink”

how these models apply in the

new AI technology landscape. Data

security also has a major role to play

to protect citizens’ rights.

5) Require Accountability for

Ethical Design and Implementation:

The social implications of computing

have grown and will continue

to expand as more people have

access to smart systems. Policies

should work to identify and mitigate

discrimination in algorithms,

clarify the need for oversight and

OUR WORLD | 2018

explainability, encourage diversity,

mitigate data bias and include

different value systems in design


As a neuroscientist, processor

architect, and entrepreneur, I

am excited that the community

continues to deliver on the promises

of AI. I am mindful, however, that no

evolution comes without thoughtful


The more we can do now to

ease adoption and integration into

people’s lives, the better and more

successful we all will be. Artificial

intelligence is driving economic

progress while solving some of the


AI innovation is just beginning, it is

crucial now to shape the right public

policy environment for AI to bloom.

Our focus for 2018 will continue to

be twofold: continue to advance AI

technology and work closely with




…no evolution

comes without

thoughtful change.

The more we can

do now to ease

adoption and

integration into

people’s lives, the

better and more

successful we all

will be.



Making Social Media Safe for Democracy

By Samantha Bradshaw

and Philip N. Howard

In the run-up to multiple votes around

the world in 2016, including the United

Kingdom’s Brexit vote and the United States

presidential election, social media companies

like Facebook and Twitter systematically

served large numbers of voters poor-quality

information – indeed, often outright lies –

about politics and public policy. Though those

companies have been widely criticized, the

junk news – sensational stories, conspiracy

on through 2017.

While a growing number of countryspecific

fact-checking initiatives and some

interesting new apps for evaluating junk

news have emerged, system-wide, technical

the platforms. So how should we make social

media safe for democratic norms?

We know that social media firms are

serving up vast amounts of highly polarizing

content to citizens during referenda, elections,

and military crises around the world. During

the 2016 US presidential election, fake news

stories were shared on social media more

widely than professionally produced ones,

and the distribution of junk news hit its

highest point the day before the election.

Other types of highly polarizing content

from Kremlin-controlled news organizations

such as Russia Today and Sputnik, as well

as repurposed content from WikiLeaks and

hyper-partisan commentary packaged as

news, were concentrated in swing states like

Michigan and Pennsylvania. Similar patterns



and Philip N.


Samantha Bradshaw

is a researcher on

the Computational

Propaganda Project

at the University of

Oxford. Philip N.

Howard is Professor

of Sociology and

Director of the

Oxford Internet

Institute at the

University of Oxford.

occurred in France during the presidential

election in April and May, in the UK during

the general election in June, and in Germany

throughout 2017 as the federal election in

September approached.


to use social media as a conduit for junk

news has fueled cynicism, increased divisions

the broader media agenda. The “success” of

with which they have spread.


toward controlling a communicable disease

is to understand how it is transmitted. Junk

news is distributed through automation and

the proprietary black box algorithms that

determine what is and is not relevant news

and information. We call this “computational

propaganda,” because it involves politically

motivated lies backed by the global reach

and power of social media platforms like

Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

Throughout the recent elections in the

Western democracies, social media firms

actively chased ad revenue from political

campaigns and distributed content without

considering its veracity. Indeed, Facebook,


Trump’s digital campaign headquarters in San

Antonio. Foreign governments and marketing

firms in Eastern Europe operated fake

Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts, and

spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on

political advertisements that targeted voters

with divisive messages. To understand the

how pervasive these problems are, we took

80 2018 | OUR WORLD


an in-depth look at computational propaganda in nine

countries – Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Russia,

Taiwan, Ukraine, and the United States – and a comparative

look at 28 others. We have also analyzed the spread of

elections during the last year (and in the past, we have

studied Mexico and Venezuela). Globally, the evidence

doesn’t bode well for democratic institutions.

a significant role in political engagement. Indeed, they

are the primary vehicle by which young people develop

their political identities. In the world’s democracies, the

majority of voters use social media to share political news

and information, especially during elections. In countries

where only small proportions of the public have regular

access to social media, such platforms are still fundamental

infrastructure for political conversation among journalists,

civil-society leaders, and political elites.

Moreover, social media platforms are actively used to

manipulate public opinion, though in diverse ways and on


platforms are one of the primary means of preventing

popular unrest, especially true during political and security


Almost half of the political conversation over

Russian Twitter, for example, is mediated by highly

automated accounts. The biggest collections of

and Ukraine.


are actively used for computational propaganda, either

experiments on particular segments of the public. In Brazil,


her impeachment in early 2017, and amid the country’s

ongoing constitutional crisis. In every country, we found

civil-society groups struggling to protect themselves and

respond to active misinformation campaigns.

Facebook says that it will work to combat these

information operations, and it has taken some positive

steps. It has started to examine how foreign governments

use its platform to manipulate voters in democracies.

Before the French presidential election last spring, it

removed some 30,000 fake accounts. It purged thousands

more ahead of the British election in June, and then tens of

thousands before last month’s German election.


fundamental shift from defensive and reactive platform

tweaks to more proactive and imaginative ways of

A close-up image showing the Facebook app on an iPhone

in Kaarst, Germany, 08 November 2017 (reissued 31 January


supporting democratic cultures. With more critical political

moments coming in 2018 – Egypt, Brazil, and Mexico will

all hold general elections, and strategists in the US are

already planning for the midterm congressional election

in November – such action is urgent.

Let’s assume that authoritarian governments will

continue to view social media as a tool for political

control. But we should also assume that encouraging

civic engagement, fostering electoral participation, and

promoting news and information from reputable outlets are

crucial to democracy. Ultimately, designing for democracy,

in systematic ways, would vindicate the original promise

of social media.

Unfortunately, social media companies tend to blame

their own user communities for what has gone wrong.

Facebook still declines to collaborate with researchers

seeking to understand the impact of social media on

democracy, and to defer responsibility for fact-checking

the content it disseminates.

Social media firms may not be creating this nasty

content, but they provide the platforms that have allowed

computational propaganda to become one of the most

powerful tools currently being used to undermine

democracy. If democracy is to survive, today’s social media

giants will have to redesign themselves.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The End of Twitter


By Rob Worthington

Within the first few days of 2018,

Donald Trump had appeared to

threaten Kim Jong Un with nuclear

war, take credit for 2017 being the safest

year in commercial aviation worldwide, and

reassured his 46.3 million followers that he

was a “very stable genius”. Since beginning

his run for President, Trump’s late night social

media escapades have made for amusing,

concerning, and at times embarrassing

reading. With just a few characters, he has

insulted political heavyweights, undermined

entire countries – allies of the US, and

appeared to endorse right-wing extremist

sentiment in the US and beyond.

Twitter appears to be the President’s

sole communications method, with no

overarching strategy in sight. It’s been widely

reported that he refuses to engage directly

with media, with his last press conference

over 320 days ago; the Washington Post is

counting. He has shown little respect for

fundamental public relations principles,

with a shambolic interview given to the Wall

Street Journal. Similarly, his appointment

of Anthony Scaramucci, an ex-hedge fund

manager, as White House spokesperson

last year, shows little understanding for how


To ensure longevity however, in 2018

Trump would do well to expand and overhaul

his communications strategy. Taking a step

back from Twitter is not a bad way to start.

Establishing an echo chamber

Trump’s almost exclusive use of Twitter

as a communications tool does make some

sense, however. It’s a powerful interactive

tool that allows him to share his messages

directly with the public, side-stepping media

bias. As a seasoned salesman, he also uses



Rob Worthington

is a director and

head of both

Project Associates’s


Practice and Political

Advisory Practice.

Based out of the


is also responsible

for pan-European

activities and work

with the European

Union’s political

institutions. He has

specialist interest

and expertise

in advising on

and international

political trends, with

particular focus on

the European Union

and the Middle East.

Social media itself can

be used intelligently,

even put to good

diplomatic and political

use. Influential

leaders such as

Barack Obama,

Justin Trudeau, and

Emmanuel Macron

know this well.

Twitter to keep himself in the limelight,

control the news agenda, and establish an

endless echo chamber that confirms his

own preferences. Highlighting this, a graph

published by a user on Reddit last year

amusingly examines the link between the

frequency of Donald Trump’s tweets, and

the hours when he’s watching his favourite

morning news show, Fox and Friends,

widely considered to be a propaganda


his highest number of tweets, often praising

the show and commenting on its guests.

With these tweets, he sets the tone for the

day, and even the news agenda. Aware of

his allegiance to the show, Fox and Friends

closely monitor Trump’s tweets, allegedly

choosing their guests to align with Trump’s

own interests, feeding the cycle further.

Breaking the cycle

Social media itself can be used intelligently,

even put to good diplomatic and political

use. Influential leaders such as Barack

Obama, Justin Trudeau, and Emmanuel

82 2018 | OUR WORLD


A woman passes by a

banner depicting US

President Donald J.

Trump with logos of

Twitter, in Belgrade,

Serbia, 12 February



Macron know this well. Obama – or

rather his team of communications

experts – was responsible for the

most popular tweet of 2017. Macron

and Trudeau partnered last May

to validate rumours of a budding

bromance, shooting a viral video of


posted on Macron’s Twitter.

The French President is also a keen

Periscoper, broadcasting all his foreign

visits and important speeches live

online, sometimes to the detriment of

traditional TV crews who aren’t given


However, these leaders are not

popular because of their social

media presence alone. They have

carefully and painstakingly cultivated

public images through clever and

comprehensive communications

strategies. Importantly, they recognise

that Twitter is not the be all and end

all of external communications,

tune their political image. The use of

traditional communications tactics

cannot therefore be underestimated.

Social media, for all its immediacy

and people power, still does not

have the same gravitas as traditional

engagement with journalists. While

OUR WORLD | 2018

this has started to change among

younger generations, there is still

some way to go.

Macron may carry out headlinegrabbing

PR moments, but

he also supplements them

with the solemn staging of occasions

that he knows will help him build his

statesmanship, without attracting


most evident during the recent

funerals of two of the most loved


Jean d’Ormesson, and the rockstar

Johnny Hallyday. Both times, Macron

his sadness on Twitter in the middle of

the night. But he did not stop there,

and asked that national ceremonies

be organised, where he spoke at

length, as all French TV stations were

broadcasting live… He struck the

right tone to lead the French people’s

tribute; and it was a masterclass in

political communications.

Another case in point: at

the recent climate summit

in France, the French

created a big Twitter splash, with

#MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain trending

globally. But this was only one aspect of

the President’s communications plan.

He spoke passionately to national and

international news journalists about

France’s – and his position - in the

debate, showing the public and his

political counterparts how serious he

is about climate change. The story was

covered by publications all over the


2018 promises to be just as, if not

more, challenging for Europe and the

European project more than ever.

Brexit will test the European Union’s


Angela Merkel, still striving to pull

together a government is no longer in

the strong position she once was, able

to protect the European project as she

did. The pressure from immigration

continues, again putting the Union’s

reputation to the test.

More than ever, creative and

diverse communications solutions are

needed to overcome public scepticism

and counter the frivolity of Twitter


After all, diplomacy cannot be

made with a click, but it takes just

one to crush a reputation, end a

relationship, or destroy a nearly done




The Social Media Threat

to Society and Security

By George Soros

The current moment in world history is a

painful one. Open societies are in crisis,

and various forms of dictatorships and

Russia, are on the rise. In the United States,

President Donald Trump would like to establish

the Constitution, other institutions, and a

vibrant civil society won’t allow it.

Not only is the survival of open society in

question; the survival of our entire civilization

is at stake. The rise of leaders such as Kim Jongun

in North Korea and Trump in the US have

much to do with this. Both seem willing to risk

a nuclear war in order to keep themselves in

power. But the root cause goes even deeper.

Mankind’s ability to harness the forces of

nature, both for constructive and destructive

purposes, continues to grow, while our ability

now at a low ebb.

The rise and monopolistic behavior of the

giant American Internet platform companies is

contributing mightily to the US government’s

impotence. These companies have often

played an innovative and liberating role. But

as Facebook and Google have grown ever

more powerful, they have become obstacles

to innovation, and have caused a variety of

problems of which we are only now beginning

to become aware.


their environment. Mining and oil companies

exploit the physical environment; social media

companies exploit the social environment.

This is particularly nefarious, because these

companies influence how people think and

behave without them even being aware

of it. This interferes with the functioning of

democracy and the integrity of elections.

Because Internet platform companies are

networks, they enjoy rising marginal returns,



George Soros,

Chairman of Soros

Fund Management

and of the Open

Society Foundations,

is the author of

The Tragedy of the

European Union:

Disintegration or


which accounts for their phenomenal growth.


transformative, but it is also unsustainable. It

took Facebook eight and a half years to reach

a billion users, and half that time to reach the

second billion. At this rate, Facebook will run

out of people to convert in less than three


over half of all digital advertising revenue. To

maintain their dominance, they need to expand

their networks and increase their share of users’

attention. Currently they do this by providing

users with a convenient platform. The more

time users spend on the platform, the more

valuable they become to the companies.

Moreover, because content providers

cannot avoid using the platforms and must


of these companies is largely a function of their

avoiding responsibility – and payment – for the

content on their platforms.

The companies claim that they are merely

distributing information. But the fact that they

are near-monopoly distributors makes them

public utilities and should subject them to

more stringent regulation, aimed at preserving

competition, innovation, and fair and open

access. Social media companies’ true customers

are their advertisers. But a new business

model is gradually emerging, based not only

on advertising but also on selling products and

services directly to users. They exploit the data

and use discriminatory pricing to keep more

to share with consumers. This enhances their

services and discriminatory pricing undermine


Social media companies deceive their users

by manipulating their attention, directing it

toward their own commercial purposes, and

deliberately engineering addiction to the

services they provide. This can be very harmful,

particularly for adolescents.

There is a similarity between Internet

platforms and gambling companies. Casinos

have developed techniques to hook customers

to the point that they gamble away all of their

84 2018 | OUR WORLD


The signage of Facebook illuminated at the company stand during

the 2nd press preview day of the International Motor Show IAA in

Frankfurt Main, Germany, 12 September 2017.


money, even money they don’t have.

Something similar – and potentially irreversible – is

happening to human attention in our digital age. This is

not a matter of mere distraction or addiction; social media

companies are actually inducing people to surrender their

autonomy. And this power to shape people’s attention is

increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.


Stuart Mill called the freedom of mind. Once lost, those who


This would have far-reaching political consequences.

People without the freedom of mind can be easily

manipulated. This danger does not loom only in the future;

it already played an important role in the 2016 US presidential

election. There is an even more alarming prospect on the

horizon: an alliance between authoritarian states and large,

data-rich IT monopolies, bringing together nascent systems

of corporate surveillance with already-developed systems of

state-sponsored surveillance. This may well result in a web of

totalitarian control the likes of which not even George Orwell

could have imagined.

The countries in which such unholy marriages are likely


in particular are fully equal to the US platforms. They also

enjoy the full support and protection of President Xi Jinping’s

regime. China’s government is strong enough to protect its

national champions, at least within its borders.

US-based IT monopolies are already tempted to

compromise themselves in order to gain entrance to these

vast and fast-growing markets. These countries’ dictatorial

leaders may be only too happy to collaborate with them,

in the interest of improving their methods of control over

their own populations and expanding their power and


is also a growing recognition of a connection between the

dominance of the platform monopolies and rising inequality.

The concentration of share ownership in the hands of a few

individuals plays some role, but the peculiar position occupied

by the IT giants is even more important. They have achieved

monopoly power while also competing against one another.

Only they are big enough to swallow start-ups that could

develop into competitors, and only they have the resources

to invade one another’s territory.

The owners of the platform giants consider themselves

the masters of the universe. In fact, they are slaves to

preserving their dominant position. They are engaged in an

existential struggle to dominate the new growth areas that


The impact of such innovations on unemployment

depends on government policies. The European Union, and

particularly the Nordic countries, are much more farsighted

than the United States in their social policies. They protect the

workers, not the jobs. They are willing to pay for retraining

or retiring displaced workers. This gives workers in Nordic

countries a greater sense of security and makes them more

supportive of technological innovations than workers in the

US. The Internet monopolies have neither the will nor the

inclination to protect society against the consequences of

their actions. That turns them into a public menace, and it

is the regulatory authorities’ responsibility to protect society

against them. In the US, regulators are not strong enough


is better positioned, because it doesn’t have any platform

giants of its own.


from the US. Whereas US law enforcement focuses primarily

on monopolies created by acquisition, EU law prohibits the

abuse of monopoly power regardless of how it is achieved.

Europe has much stronger privacy and data protection laws

than America.

Moreover, US law has adopted a strange doctrine that

measures harm as an increase in the price paid by customers

for services received. But that is almost impossible to prove,

given that most giant Internet platforms provide a majority

of their services for free. Moreover, the doctrine leaves out

of consideration the valuable data that platform companies

collect from their users.

The EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe

Vestager is the champion of the European approach. It took

the EU seven years to build a case against Google. But, as

a result of its success, the process of instituting adequate

regulation has been greatly accelerated. Moreover, thanks



It is only a matter of time before the global dominance

of the US Internet companies is broken. Regulation and

taxation, spearheaded by Vestager, will be their undoing.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The logo of Google at the eigth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit.


The Self-Regulation


By David Ibsen

In 2018 the public and policymakers

will have to reckon with the evergrowing

power of the tech industry.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company,

is now valued at $730 billion (€605

billion), a little under the GDP of the

Netherlands. Facebook is valued at

$500 billion (€415 billion), and 66

percent of its two billion users rely

on the social media platform as their

daily news source. The power of these

companies and their potential for

misuse was on full display in 2017.

Incitement of terrorism and violence

by terrorists and racists, nefarious

manipulations of voters and the

democratic process, and the scourge

of fake news are just a few of the

problematic issues that have come to

be associated with these platforms.

So what should be done in 2018 to

protect the public from this rampant


Not much according to the tech

industry. In fact tech companies have

been pushing for a paradigm of “selfregulation”

wherein policymakers


and Twitter to address their manifold

problems independently and free

from the oversight and interference

of regulators. Such an arrangement is


Facebook, and

other tech firms

are for-profit

corporations first

and foremost.

And like every

other business,

they are driven

by market share

and profits.

86 2018 | OUR WORLD

deemed unacceptable for any other industry.

But for Silicon Valley and its admirers, the idea

that the most powerful companies in the world

should be left to their own devices makes

perfect sense. It is no secret that the tech

industry views itself as distinct (albeit superior)

to other business sectors. This self-image relies

not engaged in business activities per se, but

rather activities imbued with inherent social

benefit and positive progressive attributes

that transcend traditional business practices.

This self-belief is reflected in their slogans

taglines and statements. Alphabet’s (Google)

motto after all is, “do the right thing.” And

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in

February 2017, “Our job at Facebook is to help

people make the greatest positive impact…”

This is nonsense of course. Google,



other business, they are driven by market


Tech firms’ behaviour throughout 2017

bears this out. When faced with increased

scrutiny and skepticism from lawmakers in

the U.S. and EU, Facebook and Google reacted

like any corporation, i.e. they ramped up their

lobbying expenses. Facebook doled out €1.25

million (up nearly 79% from the same period in

2016), and Google spent €5.5 million (up 23%).

Similarly, when confronted with its corporate

tax obligations, Apple has sought ways to

exploit the tax code structures as published

a report showing that tech companies paid

less than half the tax of brick-and-mortar

businesses in Europe Google is no stranger

to this practice either.

Lobbying, influence peddling, and

unscrupulous tax-avoidance. In other words,

standard corporate behaviour.

There is one major way in which Silicon

Valley is different, it relies on the public.

Specifically, the public provides these

firms with their thoughts, pictures, videos,

jokes, insights—in essence their intellectual


and aggregate this information to sell it for

advertisements. Facebook would simply not

work if members of the public did not agree

to provide their content to Mark Zuckerberg

OUR WORLD | 2018

David Ibsen

David Ibsen serves

as Executive Director

for the Counter

Extremism Project

(CEP), which works to

combat the growing

threat of extremism

and extremist


Previously, David

served as a Policy

Analyst for the U.S.

Department of State

and as a U.S. delegate

to the United Nations.

Prior to the UN, David

worked as an advisor

for the United Nations

Children’s Fund



for free. But while the content is provided for

the tech companies. Meanwhile any fallout—

whether terrorism, incitement, or elections

interference—lies at the feet of the individuals.

This is simply inequitable and wrong.

Historically, whenever powerful new

industries emerged, the government

intervened and regulated to limit negative

externalities that impacted the public good. In

turn, corporations traditionally resisted such

evidence of a negative or dangerous impact

on society. Viewed in this context, resistance

to regulatory attempts and promotion of a

“self-regulatory” framework isn’t a surprise.

How many other industries would not wish for

the same, whether auto, tobacco, chemical,

As we look ahead into 2018, we cannot

give into tech’s demands for self-regulation,

especially when the consequences of

regulatory failure are so high. ISIS propaganda

materials readily available online have been

linked to real world tragedies in across the

globe. Surely there will be additional deadly

attacks in 2018 if appropriate action is not

taken to reign-in the misuse of tech services

and platforms by terrorists.

It is time for lawmakers and the public

to demand that these platforms finally

implement industry-wide standards and

policies that ensure the timely and permanent

removal of dangerous extremist and terrorist

material, especially content produced

by groups and individuals sanctioned by

the European Union, United States, and

United Nations, as well as individuals with

demonstrable links to violence. Additionally,

tech must establish measurable best practices

and transparently deploy proven technologies

to prevent the re-upload of materials already

determined to violate company policies. If

tech fails to act, then it is time for regulators

to promulgate measures to force the industry

to take necessary action to protect the public.

These platforms are in this business to

make money. It is up to regulators to protect

the public and ensure general welfare.

Allowing these companies to self-regulate is

not just unwise, but dangerous in this case.



Is this the end

of the era of


By Dr Rick Phillips

It is commonly said that those who do not

learn from history are doomed to repeat

it. In 1633, Galileo was tried and convicted

for his support of the theory that the Earth

revolves around the Sun. This theory, which

Galileo came to support as a result of his

the planets and moons in our solar system,

contradicted the doctrine of the day, which

said that humanity, and by extension the

Earth, stood at the centre of the universe.

After being found guilty, Galileo was placed

under house arrest until his death in 1642.

Thankfully, our attitudes towards science

and scientists are a little bit more enlightened

in 2018. Just as we stopped burning witches,

sacrificing animals and killing heretics, so

too did we stop persecuting scientists for

reporting facts about the natural world.

Indeed, most people nowadays believe

science is a force for good, which makes

many aspects of our lives easier and more

pleasant. However, we would be wise to learn

the lessons from how science was misused

in the past, lest we inadvertently end up

repeating them.

Policymakers in particular should be

careful to heed these lessons. Too often,

scientific evidence is ignored or distorted

by politicians for electoral purposes, and

a lack of transparency allows lawmakers

a politically favoured result. In the EU, this

problem is epitomised by the Comitology

process. Comitology is the mechanism for

passing secondary EU legislation, an outdated

and opaque procedure that has been badly

Dr Rick


Dr Rick Phillips is the

president and CEO

of Anitox, a global

leader in the control

of pathogens. He is a

poultry veterinarian.

year, and, if left unchecked, will seriously

undermine the status of science in the EU

for years to come.

A perfect example of this dysfunctional

system in action was in the Commission’s

recent handling of the authorisation of

formaldehyde in animal feed. People may

balk at “formaldehyde” as a scary chemical,

but in fact it is a highly useful substance,

especially for treating the dangerous

Salmonella bacteria. Often in science we

deal with substances and chemicals which

can be dangerous, but we all know how

useful substances such as bleach and petrol

can be safe as long as they’re used correctly.

Formaldehyde is naturally present in both

animal and plant cells. The science around

formaldehyde is likewise unambiguous: it is

the best treatment for Salmonella in animal

feed, and when used correctly poses no risk

to workers or consumers.

You shouldn’t just take my word for it: take a


The Commission’s food safety authority,

EFSA, found that the use of formaldehyde

in feed poses no risk to consumers. The

Commission’s body responsible for workers’

safety in handling chemicals, SCOEL, set

safe exposure levels for workers using

formaldehyde. These limits have been

incorporated into the Commission’s draft

revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens

at work Directive, the canonical piece of

legislation protecting workers from exposure

to carcinogens or mutagens in the workplace

in the EU.

Equipped with this scientific evidence,

the Commission backed a full 10 year

authorisation when formaldehyde’s

authorisation came up for renewal in 2014.

However, in the face of opposition from a

small number of member states who did not

use the product, and who wanted it removed

for partisan reasons, the Commission was

favour of the proposal.

Discussions on the proposal lasted almost

three years with no resolution. During

this time Poland denied authorisation of

88 2018 | OUR WORLD


A visitor looks at test tubes which are placed on magnetic stirrers, at the

Biotechnica trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

formaldehyde until the matter

was resolved in Brussels. Roughly

6-months post their decision to ban

formaldehyde use in feed, Poland

experienced a massive outbreak of

salmonella that affected many EU

member states. The majority of states

and political considerations began to


of standing by its evidence-backed

proposal, the Commission decided

to make a bold political move,

completely reversing its position and

proposing a denial of authorisation

remaining unchanged. Ignoring the

pleas from major feed manufacturers

and stakeholders throughout the EU

to perform an in-depth impact study

on the consequences of removing the

use of formaldehyde, the Commission

blindly pushed ahead with its proposal

for denial. This gambit, which

shocked the scientific community,

OUR WORLD | 2018


came to a head in December, when

the Commission put forward a

vote on the matter at its scientific

committee composed of member

state representatives (SCOPAFF).

With meetings closed to the public

and stakeholders and no transcripts

of the meetings available, a decision

with ramifications throughout the

food supply was made in secret.

We’ve obviously come a long

way since Galileo’s trial in 1633, but

the position of science in society

is still far from secure. With the

recent rise of movements seeking

to undermine science in the eyes of

citizens, from anti-vaccination groups

to homoeopathists, it becomes more

incumbent on our policymakers to

stand up for evidence and science in

politics. In 2018, it is high time for our

political leaders to learn the lessons

of the past. If they do not then they

are allowing us to slip back towards

the society that imprisoned Galileo

Just as we

stopped burning



animals and

killing heretics,

so too did we

stop persecuting

scientists for

reporting facts

about the natural


for pointing out what he could see

in the night’s sky, and which stifled

science in favour of superstition. For

the sake of all citizens in Europe, let us

hope the world in 2018 leans forward

and does not slip back into the social

consciousness of 1633.





The Fulbright Commission offers grants to EU citizens to study, lecture or research in

the U.S. on the development of the EU, EU policies, or the U.S.-EU transatlantic agenda,

either independently or in affiliation with American universities or other U.S. institutions

such as think tanks for a period between three months and one academic year.

Benefits include: a monthly stipend, a one-time travel allowance, sickness and accident

inssurance, J-visa sponsorship and membership to the prestiguous Fulbright alumni


The application cycle opens on September 15 and closes on December 1.

More info: www.fulbrightschuman.eu





The Energy Union

in 2018: the year

of engagement

By Maroš Šefčovič

We are living transformative times.

Only three years ago the Energy

Union was still a concept, a

political vision. Since then it has evolved

into a range of legislative proposals and

real commitments under five pillars –

enhancing our energy security, building

a fully-integrated internal energy market,

putting energy efficiency first, achieving

global leadership in renewable energies,

and investing in research and innovation.

But our work is not done. We are set to

make the Energy Union a living reality by

2019, when the mandate of the current

Commission draws to an end. Here’s how.

Aiming for the finishing

line on the legislative front

Back in the Energy Union Strategy of 2015,

we promised to provide every European

with secure, sustainable, competitive and

affordable energy. After less than three

years, the Commission has tabled nearly all

proposals and initiatives needed to make

this happen.

The last missing pieces which we will

present in early May concern mobility.

They include proposals on CO2 emissions

standards for lorries and on the future of

connected and autonomous driving.

Equally important, we would like to see all

the Energy Union legislation, which we have

already presented – turn into law before we




the Vice President

of the European

Commission. He is

currently leading the

project team Energy


the EU rotating presidency, which was taken

over by Bulgaria in January and will turn to

Austria in July. With their support we intend

pieces. Our ambition is crystal clear: Europe

should not only follow the global transition

to a smart, clean, and sustainable economy;

Going local

In order for the Energy Union to succeed,

it is not enough that we make decisions at

European and national levels. We need to

go local and increase ownership by all parts

of society. That is why we have decided

to make 2018 the Energy Union’s Year of

Engagement. Now is the time for all societal

actors to get involved.

Cities have an incredible potential in

the global fight against climate change

and we see more and more mayors acting

as forward-looking pioneers. Let’s not

forget that the majority of the world’s

population and two thirds of Europeans

live in cities. Urban innovation therefore

has the potential of smartening services,

improving life standards, and reducing our

environmental impact.

One of the main obstacles that local

assistance. They sometimes struggle to

improve the quality and bankability of their

investment plans and navigate them to the


is why the Commission and the European

Investment Bank have recently launched

the so-called URBIS, a dedicated support

service where cities can get a tailor-made


The shift to a clean energy economy

will require some tough choices along the

way. But we are set to ensure that during

this process no region is left behind. The

Platform for coal regions in transition is a

one concrete measure we are putting in

place to deliver on this promise.

In addition, we will soon launch an EUwide

Energy Poverty Observatory, which will

serve as a crucial tool for monitoring the

transition’s impact on consumer welfare

92 2018 | OUR WORLD


and respond in a way that protects

the most vulnerable.

Future-proof infrastructure

as a backbone of secure


By better interconnecting our

internal energy markets, we can

achieve much greater security of

supply, based on solidarity and trust

between Member States. This way

when supply of renewable energy is

low in one country, instead of turning

to fossil fuels, it can buy its missing

supply from its neighbours where

supply is high.

That is why we invested and

will continue to invest in concrete

projects on the ground. For example,

the Baltics countries, which were

almost entirely isolated from the rest

of Europe’s energy market, are now

making their ‘historic comeback’. The

gas (LNG) terminal, in the Lithuanian


regional hub for gas trade. And the

recent electricity connection between

Lithuania and Poland (through

LitPol Link) and to Sweden (through

NordBalt) ended the isolation of the

region. They were made possible

thanks to the Baltic Energy Market

Integration Plan initiative, or the socalled


Another emblematic example

is the High Level Group on Central

and South Eastern Europe Gas

Connectivity, better known as

CESEC. The Group was established


of Kavarna, Bulgaria, 15 September 2017. Saint Nikola Wind Farm brings 156

megawatts of electricity.


The Energy Union is no longer a

concept, a vision, or a mere idea. The

Energy Union is a living process which

is changing the lives of millions in

Europe and around the world.

order to facilitate cross border

gas infrastructure projects across

its 15 members, both within the

European Union and in our eastern


These efforts will continue until

the very last day of our mandate.

Key CESEC projects are ongoing,

connecting Bulgaria, Romania,

Hungary, and Austria through the

BRUA corridor, the Krk LNG terminal,

the gas interconnector between

Greece and Bulgaria, etc.

Of course, energy security also


of the most ambitious projects in this

regard is the Southern Gas Corridor

which will bring gas all the way from

the Caspian Sea to Europe’s shores by

route and the overall framework will

be tested, which will make it easier to

expand the Southern Gas Corridor

beyond the initial volumes of 10 bcm.

The Energy Union is no longer

a concept, a vision, or a mere idea.

The Energy Union is a living process

which is changing the lives of millions

in Europe and around the world.

Now is the time for you to be part

of that change, to play your role, to

be part of the European and global

energy transition.

OUR WORLD | 2018



A Year of Renewed

Climate Commitments

By Laurence Tubiana

For the growing share of the world’s

population that understands the

existential threat posed by climate

change, the beginning of 2017 brought a

sense of trepidation. In fact, collective angst

was already apparent at the 2016 United

Nations Climate Change Conference in

Marrakech, Morocco, which had just started

when Donald Trump was elected president

of the United States.

At that time, speculation was swirling

about what Trump’s election would mean

for the US and the world. But there was little

doubt that it would be bad for America’s

formal commitment to reduce greenhouse-

of climate change.

Throughout the course of 2017, questions

about what a Trump presidency would entail

began to be answered. And it turned out

that while Trump certainly holds the most

ordering military strikes, his power to refute

change, and to resist the global transition to

a green economy, is rather limited.

In Marrakech, the obstacles that Trump

would confront were already apparent.

Trump’s criticisms of the 2015 Paris climate

agreement were widely rejected, and all

countries in attendance reiterated their

commitment to the accord. They promised

to continue reducing greenhouse-gas

emissions, regardless of whether Trump

followed through on his campaign’s vow to

“cancel Paris.”

Of course, the question of whether Trump

would actually keep this campaign promise

of 2017, with a veritable soap opera – or

rather, a domestic farce – playing out in the

White House. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and



Laurence Tubiana,

a former French

ambassador to

the United Nations


Convention on

Climate Change, is

CEO of the European

Climate Foundation

and a professor at

Sciences Po, Paris.

If there was one

thing that 2017

made clear, it is

the devastation that

awaits us if we do

not do more.

her husband, Jared Kushner, reportedly

supported the Paris accord. But Scott Pruitt,

the administrator of the Environmental

Protection Agency, and his fellow climatechange

deniers convinced Trump to withdraw

the US from the agreement.

on June 1, it was certainly disappointing.

But it also gave new momentum to the task

at hand. Within hours, Washington state

Governor Jay Inslee declared: “We heard the

of surrender. We wanted to send a strong

message to the world: We’re not going to

surrender.” And in response to Trump’s claim

that he was “elected to represent the citizens

of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Pittsburgh Mayor

Bill Peduto announced that the “Steel City”

would be shifting to 100% renewable-energy

sources by 2035.

Peduto’s vocal rebuke of Trump opened a

window onto a quiet revolution that has been

taking place across the US. He, along with 382

other US mayors, is a member of the Climate

Mayors coalition, which represents 68 million

Americans. Similarly, 14 US states and the

hurricane-ravaged territory of Puerto Rico

have banded together to form the United

States Climate Alliance. All of these cities

and states are committed to implementing

the Barack Obama-era Clean Power Plan,


more than 1,000 US companies have vowed

to meet America’s commitments under the

Paris agreement.

This trend is not limited to the US.

President Xi Jinping of China, the world’s

largest producer of greenhouse-gas pollution,

94 2018 | OUR WORLD


also has reaffirmed his country’s

commitment to the Paris accord, and

is encouraging all other signatories to

do the same. At the Communist Party

of China’s 19th National Congress in

October, he reiterated that China is

in the “driver’s seat” of international

cooperation on climate change.

And in July 2017, all of the G20

governments, with the exception of the

US, signed a statement emphasizing

the importance and irreversibility of

the Paris agreement.

This declaration echoed an earlier

joint statement from the German,

Italian, and French governments,

issued in direct response to Trump’s

announcement in June. While

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

called Trump’s decision to withdraw

the US from the accord “extremely

regrettable,” French President

Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech

– in English, so that no American

would misinterpret him – describing

it as a dangerous “mistake.”

More important, governments

have gone beyond words, creating

facts on the ground. In October, India

and the EU strengthened a partnership

to develop clean-energy sources in

pursuit of the Paris agreement’s goals;

and Nicaragua and Syria announced

that they would join the agreement,

making the US the only country to

have spurned it.

Since Trump was elected, 66

countries – including Australia, Italy,

Spain, and, despite the disruption

caused by its Brexit decision, the

United Kingdom – have ratified the


Still, while the surge in diplomatic

support for the Paris agreement

should be celebrated, we must not

lose sight of the fundamental issue

at hand: global greenhouse-gas

emissions, which have effectively

flatlined for the past three years.

Unfortunately, this is nowhere near

the level of reductions that we need.

European Space Agency (ESA) undated handout artist impression of their

Environment Satellite, or Envisat would look like in space.

If there was one thing that 2017

made clear, it is the devastation

that awaits us if we do not do

more. With unprecedented intensity

and frequency, a series of hurricanes

laid waste to Caribbean countries,

Houston and the Gulf Coast of

Texas, and large parts of Florida.

In southern Europe, Australia, and

the American West, wildfires tore

across the countryside, claiming

lives and causing extensive property

damage. In South America, the Indian

subcontinent, and other regions, heat

waves, crop failures, and flooding

reached crisis levels. And at the poles,

ice sheets continued to collapse, as we

witnessed most dramatically with the

rupture in the enormous Larsen C Ice

Shelf in Antarctica.

Sadly, Trump seems unmoved by

either natural or economic realities. At

this point, the US economy has twice

as many jobs in renewable energy

as in the coal industry, which Trump

nevertheless insists on trying to prop


But whether Trump likes it or

not, the growth of the renewableenergy

sector is changing the course


not just of the US economy, but of

all economies worldwide. In 2017,

renewables were the top form of

energy to come online; and the shift to

electric cars continued to accelerate,

with almost every major automaker

announcing plans to move away

from internal combustion engines.

And around the world, the threat of

climate change is becoming a key

driver of infrastructure investment.

At the 2017 UN Climate Change

Conference in Bonn in November,

China and the EU continued to

fill America’s shoes, by leading on

global climate action. In 2018, we can

expect to see more evidence of the

impact of climate change, as well as


To be sure, these efforts will

have to be much larger and more

ambitious than in the past if we

are to meet the goals of the Paris

agreement. But, as we learned in

2017, those goals are still very much

within reach.

Trump or no Trump, the shift to

renewable energies is irreversible,

and it is driving change everywhere

– including the US.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



A Truly Global Response

to Climate Change

By Akinwumi Adesina, Suma Chakrabarti, Bandar M. H. Hajjar, Werner Hoyer, Kundapur Vaman Kamath,

Jim Yong Kim, Jin Liqun, Luis Alberto Moreno, and Takehiko Nakao

Climate action is not just about

controlling global temperatures. It

can also be a driver of development

and poverty reduction all over the world.

At the COP 23 Climate Conference in

Bonn, Germany, in November, multilateral

development institutions showed themselves

to be more committed than ever to the

urgent and central issue of supporting and


Today’s political climate is uncertain. But

climate change is not. Partnership around

the world must be maintained in the global

carbon and climate-smart development.

Multilateral development institutions have

never been more relevant.

Climate-smart development also makes

good economic and business sense,

particularly when it comes to sustainable

infrastructure. We have already witnessed

tremendous growth in renewable energy,

creating with it new business opportunities

and jobs. Many climate-smart investments

can also reduce air pollution and congestion.

Building resilience now saves money later.

We are committed to supporting a climatesmart


As multilateral development institutions,

climate agreement. Our role is to facilitate

Akinwumi Adesina

is President

of the African

Development Bank.

Suma Chakrabarti

is President of the

European Bank

for Reconstruction

and Development.

Bandar M. H. Hajjar

is President of the

Islamic Development

Bank. Werner Hoyer

is President of the

European Investment

Bank. Kundapur

Vaman Kamath is

President of the

New Development

Bank. Jim Yong Kim

is President of the

World Bank. Jin Liqun

is President of the

Asian Infrastructure

Investment Bank.

Luis Alberto Moreno

is President of the


Development Bank.

Takehiko Nakao is

President of the Asian

Development Bank.

part of the climate solution.

That is why, two years after the Paris

accord was successfully negotiated, we are

increasingly aligning actions and resources

in support of developing countries’ goals.

In July, the G20 Sustainability Action Plan

embedded the Paris agreement in G20

institutions is key to innovation and private

investment in climate action.

In 2016 alone, multilateral development

institutions committed over $27 billion in

up our work, determined to broaden the

private and public finance mobilized for

climate action at COP 23.

We commit to:

• Deliver on the promises that we made

in 2015 to increase our support for climate

investments in developing countries by

• Increase mobilization of private-sector

investment by supporting policy and

regulatory reforms. This includes aligning

price signals, making innovative use of

policy and finance instruments and, as

applicable, leveraging concessional (below-

96 2018 | OUR WORLD


Visitors looking at a giant world map during the open doors day of the new permanent exhibition of the International Red Cross

and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva, Switzerland, 18 May 2013.


up public and private investment

in climate projects.

• Strengthen international

efforts by working together

and with other development

finance institutions, to increase

transparency and consistency in

tracking climate finance tracking

and reporting greenhouse-gas


• Put climate change at the heart

of what we do, bringing climate

policy into the mainstream of our

activities, and aligning financial

• Support countries, cities, and

territories with their own climate

action plans and build the conditions

for an ambitious next generation of

such contributions; and

• Work with our clients to

support initiatives that protect the

most climate-vulnerable areas,

including small island developing

states, while mobilizing more

finance for developing countries

to build resilience and to adapt

their infrastructure, communities,

ecosystems, and businesses to the

consequences of climate change.

Each of these measures

supports our strong commitment to

the UN’s Sustainable Development

Goals. By pursuing them, climate

action will become a key part of

the international community’s

work to place infrastructure and

the rollout of new technologies

and policies for energy, water, and

mobility at the core of sustainable


This is a serious response to a

serious challenge. Climate change

poses a grave threat to the natural

environment, to economic growth,

and to the lives of all people

around the world, especially the

poorest and most vulnerable. It is

economies and to every person

on earth, and the opportunity

to counter it, should be tackled

with the backing of multilateral

development institutions. We call

on others to join us in placing

climate action at the center of

their business, stepping up climate

finance, and tracking its impact

around the world.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



A thermoelectric power station emits smoke in front of

the main building of Moscow State University, as the air

temperature in the Russian capital fell to minus 13 degrees

Celsius in Moscow, Russia, 03 February 2017. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Russian gas in Europe: new highs

and political intrigues

By Konstantin Simonov

Gas exports by Gazprom to

Europe and Turkey in 2017

were again successful. The


these positive results for propaganda

purposes. Yet, challenges are

growing, and a new high is unlikely

to be recorded. Besides, there will be

the Nord Stream-2 project.

According to the data Gazprom

posted in January 2018, last year

the company supplied 193.9 bcm of

natural gas to countries outside the

CIS. It was 14.6 bcm (8.1%) higher

than the previous maximum reached

in 2016. In 2016 Gazprom increased

gas exports to countries outside the

CIS by 12% to 179 bcm compared

to 2015. Gazprom achieved two

absolute highs for two years in a

row, which is impressive on the

background of permanent anti-

Gazprom propaganda in the West

and among some Russian experts

claiming that Europe does not need

gas of Gazprom. According to our

calculations, some 170 bcm of Russian

gas was delivered to the European

Union in 2017, which was 16 bcm

more than in 2016. Reverse supplies

from Europe to Ukraine rose just by

3.1 bcm. Therefore, net exports of

Russian gas to the EU advanced by

approximately 13 bcm. Increase was

almost equally distributed between

Northwestern Europe (deliveries

through Germany) and Southeastern

Europe (transit via Ukraine).

Competitors of Gazprom also

demonstrated good results in Europe.

Norway added 7.6 bcm (6.8%). LNG

98 2018 | OUR WORLD

imports went up by almost 7 bcm (14%).

Though, only piped gas supplies from

Northern Africa failed to reach the 2016 level.

The reasons are understandable – cheap gas

encourages its consumption in Europe, while

declining domestic output seriously increases

imports that reached a new absolute high of

382.6 bcm last year.

Very important story for European market

in 2017 was Explosion at Baumgarten gas

hub. The accident may make stakeholders


gas strategy that stipulates active

development of exchange trade, gas hubs

and the spot market, as well as focuses

on creation of alternative gas receiving

capacities. Interruptions of Russian gas

supplies to some European countries caused

by the explosion in Baumgarten provided a

of the new arrangement. However, the result

is absolutely opposite. The exchange trade

option did not work – it turned out there was

no extra gas at hubs during this unexpectedly

emerged peak demand. During abnormally

cold weather European consumers usually

address Gazprom for additional gas

quantities. It is the advantage of long-term

contracts – such a supplier guarantees

to cover seasonal peaks. There is no such

guarantor on the spot market; therefore,

there is nothing to cover the unexpected

demand with.

It is remarkable that the crisis occurred in


In addition to Russian and Norwegian gas,

Italy can receive the fuel from Northern

Africa, and it also has several LNG terminals.

piped gas supplies from Northern Africa

helped Italy on the day of the Baumgarten

blast, while spot prices jumped very


Therefore, the situation in Italy leads to the

a guarantee of gas availability, let alone lower

gas prices, and the new European gas market

arrangement has evident weaknesses. Spot

pricing becomes a potential pitfall, if there


accident that results in decline in physical

OUR WORLD | 2018



Konstantin Simonov

is a leading Russian

“new generation”

political scientist

and public expert

on energy. He

holds a PhD in

political science

from Moscow

State University

(MSU) and an MA

from Manchester

University. Currently

holding the title of

Associate Professor

at MSU, he has been

engaged in academic

research in the

and economic

studies for over 15

years. Simonov has

founded several

research initiatives

in the sphere

of international

relations, the latest

being the Russian

National Energy

Security Foundation,

established in 2006.

He is presently the

Director General of

the Foundation.


amounts of the fuel on the exchange sends

prices sharply upwards. And no additional

gas quantities appear at hubs.

A remarkable event happened in 2017.

After several years’ lull caused by political

pressure from Brussels on the system of

long-term contracts in general and on the

position of Russia as the largest supplier, a

new 10-year contract was signed with the

Croatian company Prvo Plinarsko Drustvo

for supplying 1 billion cubic metres of gas.

The agreement was reached as an extension

of a short-term contract signed in late 2016

for supplying 1.5 billion cubic metres over

nine months to Croatia. This means that the

Croatian company decided to have a longterm

contract for approximately half of its

annual gas import requirements, which is

also connected with a decline in the internal

gas production in the country that went down

by approximately 1 billion cubic metres from

2010 to 2016.

The situation on the Italian market would

be easier, if the Southern Corridor project

had been implemented and the ITGI gas

pipeline through Greece had been laid. This

is why at present Russia is ready to supply

gas through the Black Sea – resources and

the required infrastructure are already in

place in Russia.

The accident at the Baumgarten gas

hub in Austria gave an additional impetus

to a very acute struggle for and against

bypassing gas pipelines leading to Europe,

and correspondingly the struggle of some

Western elites for preservation of natural

gas transit via Ukraine.

From the very beginning, the project to

build an additional run of the Nord Stream

gas pipeline caused active resistance on the

part of the US, the European Commission,

and a number of European Union countries,

Poland and Lithuania taking the most

irreconcilable position among them. The

project participants – Gazprom and five

major European companies (Anglo-Dutch

Shell, Engie of France, OMV of Austria, and

Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall) – in 2016

were not able to circumvent the barriers put

up by the government of Poland that made it

clear that it did not intend, for political



…diversification of suppliers is not

a guarantee of gas availability, let

alone lower gas prices, and the new

European gas market arrangement

has evident weaknesses.

reasons, to give permission to set up

the Nord Stream 2 AG joint venture.

The project partners signed an

agreement in April 2017 in which

they made the commitment to

of the total cost of the project which

is estimated at €9.5 billion now. The

contribution of each of the European

companies will be up to €950 million.

In May last year the partners

signed an agreement on providing

Nord Stream2 a bridge loan for up to

6.65 billion euros (inclusive of interest)

is organised. A deficit financing

agreement was signed in June in case


The partners provided Gazprom

with mezzanine financing. This is

usually an unsecured loan that

gives the lender the right to buy a

certain number of shares or bonds

period or involves the use of another

mechanism giving the lender the right

to participate in the future success

of the project. The project will not

require funding in 2017 and project


All financing decisions were

passed and structured as US Congress

was actively discussing the bill on

expanding sanctions against Russia,

proposed by American senators in

early 2017. It was clear already that

in both houses the bill would be

passed by an overwhelming majority

that prevented Trump from using his

right of veto.

The new US President, Donald

Trump, introduced a new law in

August 2017 that directly states the

US intention to resist the construction

of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that

is said to act against the interests of

Ukraine because it will strip it of its

status as a transit country for Russian

gas going to Europe.

After Congress had passed the law,

there began rumblings of discontent

in Europe. Even Jean-Claude

Juncker, President of the European

Commission, said that imposing

sanctions on European companies

was unacceptable and would cause the

European Union to respond. German

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern

issued a joint statement criticising

the US interference in the European

energy policy. The politicians said the

US action was intended to support its

own energy industry and American

LNG export at the cost of worsening

the position of the European economy

and European gas users. Even German

Chancellor Angela Merkel, an active

critic of Russia’s foreign policy, made

a public statement in support of Nord

Stream-2. Much will be determined

for Turkish Stream in 2018 too. The

failed coup attempt in Turkey which

Erdogan fairly reasonably suspects

his NATO partners to have supported

made the Turkish leader accelerate

the normalisation of relations with


The potential for pressure on

Ankara was considerably reduced

for Washington and Brussels

thereafter, which had a positive

effect on the speed of the Turkish

Stream construction. There is a high

probability that as soon as next year

Turkey will start receiving gas along

the new route and the second run

of the gas pipeline may be launched

in 2019 that will enable supplying

Russian gas through Turkish territory

to the neighbouring countries,

primarily Bulgaria and Greece. The

infrastructure for that is already being

actively built with the support of the

European Union that has for a decade

considered the Southern Gas Corridor

through Turkey an important route

for diversifying its gas portfolio. At the

same time, the new sources of supply

are meagre enough.

The situation at the beginning

of 2018 looks quite positive for

Gazprom in the sphere of struggle

for the northern part of the European

market – statistical results are good,

and Germany continues to provide

political support to the pipeline

project. The Nord Stream 2 looks

economically substantiated on the

background of permanent attempts

of Ukraine to raise transit fees. Yet,

it does mean political risks of the

Nord Stream 2 are fully removed.

Therefore, the struggle will continue.

The situation will depend also on the

US stance and a political situation in

the European Union.

100 2018 | OUR WORLD


Gazing into the Energy

Crystal Ball for 2018

By Kostis Geropoulos

In 2018, crude oil prices are likely to move

between $55 to $70 per barrel depending

on the geopolitical tensions but also on

whether an ongoing deal between the

Organization of Petroleum Exporting

Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members

to cut production holds as rising US shale

production may prompt Russian companies

to boost output to defend their market


Chris Weafer, a partner at Macro-

Advisory in Moscow, told New Europe that

if the threats do not materialise and the

market quickly gets used to them, the oil

price would remain at current levels. If US

shale recovers rapidly then, prices would

slide back towards $55 per barrel. “If the US

output remains very modest and the threats

remain very credible or we see new threats

then I would say 65 to 70,” he said.

Weafer said he expects to see more

Russian output in the second half of the

year because the Russian companies are

losing patience with having to restrain their

new projects.

“If the Russian oil companies see

US output growing and gaining market

share, then they will move on with their

projects, they will not be restrained by the

government any longer. They have made

that clear that they are holding back on

new projects because the price of oil is

high. But their senior executives have all

made it clear that if they start to see US

price and therefore risking the future oil

price, then they will come in quickly with

their new projects and, of course, that will

guarantee that the price will go down,”

Weafer said.

OUR WORLD | 2018



Kostis Geropoulos

is the Energy &


Editor of New

Europe newspaper.

A recovery in US oil production after a

recent drop contributed to the recovery

of oil prices. “US shale has adapted from

the much lower price to find themselves

Stewart, director at Seven Investment

Management in London, told New Europe.

“Whether that means a significance

increase in production or not, I can’t see

that necessarily. Actually at the moment

start new shale operations, increasing

production would be quite expensive. So I

think we already had the shale increase at

expansion and I’m not see where this would

come from,” Urquhart Stewart added.

Meanwhile, Weafer noted that Kazakhstan

has been incorrectly regarded as being a

fringe player and being ignored and that

really isn’t the case anymore since the


in late 2016.

“That project is now viable and is

improving so after years and years of failure

and breakdowns. It’s up to 250,000 barrels

a day on average and should get up to

about 400,000 barrels a day by the summer

whereas a lot of traders have forgotten that

Weafer said.

The Macro-Advisory partner noted

that US energy giant Chevron is planning

approximately a $36 billion expansion of


would bring more oil into the market over

the coming years.

“You’re seeing strong growth in countries

like Kazakhstan, which they could easily add

a million barrels in the next few years over

what it was producing say two years ago,”

Weafer said.

He also noted that the Russian companies

from the low ruble and “they have new

production they are keen to bring on if they

see US shale rising”.

Weafer noted, however, that the deal

between OPEC and non-OPEC producers,

especially Russia, to cut oil production is

holding for now. “The Kremlin is playing



Oil production in Kazakhstan. The former Soviet republic could bring more oil

into the market over the coming years.


both politics as well as economics

and the political relationship in

particular is very important for the



history been able to establish a

good relationship with the Saudis

and they see that as very important

verses geopolitical strategy in the

years ahead,” Weafer said, adding

that “the Kremlin was willing to

twist the arms of the oil executives

to comply” with the deal and


“Clearly the Kremlin wants this

deal to continue because for them

it is very good politics having this

arrangement with the Saudis and

having this improved relationship

with Saudi Arabia. It helps Russia

refocus its geopolitical strategy

away from the West towards a

more global diversification the

Middle East, Asia and elsewhere,”

Weafer said.

Urquhart Stewart said, “It’s

fascinating that the policies that

we had of this year where the

agreement between OPEC and

Russia had broadly been sustained

would mean that actually the price

should stay roughly where it is.

However, it’s interesting to see

that the outages from Libya and

also from the Forties field have

pushed the price up. It just shows

how sensitive it is.

If the global economy keeps on

growing at the current rate - and

there’s a good reason to think that

it will do – actually there’s going to

be sustainability to the oil price.

I can’t see a push up to 80, but I

can see it standing at mid 50s with

spikes up into the mid 60s”.

In 2018, crude oil

prices are likely

to move between

$55 to $70 per

barrel depending

on the geopolitical

tensions, but also

on an ongoing

deal between the

Organization of

Petroleum Exporting

Countries (OPEC)

and non-OPEC


102 follow the author on twitter @energyinsider

2018 | OUR WORLD



A More



By Joe Biden


I’ve observed a simple truth: America’s

ability to lead the world depends not just

on the example of our power, but on the

power of our example.

American democracy is rooted in the

belief that every man, woman and child

has equal rights to freedom and dignity.

While the United States is far from perfect,

we have never given up the struggle to

grow closer to the ideals in our founding


The constant American endeavor to

live by our values is a great strength that

has drawn generations of strivers and

dreamers to the United States, enriching

our population. Around the world, other

nations follow our lead because they know

that America does not simply protect its

own interests, but tries to advance the

aspirations of all.

This has stood as the foundation of

American foreign policy throughout my

political career — until recently.

Around the world, including in the United

States, we are seeing the resurgence of a


President Trump keeps longstanding allies

such as Germany at arm’s length, while

expressing admiration for autocrats like

Vladimir V. Putin who thwart democratic


Rather than building from a narrative

of freedom and democracy that inspires

nations to rally together, this White House

Joe Biden

Joe Biden, a former

Democratic senator

from Delaware,

served as the 47th

vice president of

the United States.

He is the Benjamin

Franklin presidential

practice professor

at the University of

Pennsylvania, where

he also leads the

Penn Biden Center

for Diplomacy and

Global Engagement.

You cannot define

Americans by what

they look like, where

they come from,

whom they love or

how they worship.

Only our democratic

values define us.

— for the United States to succeed, others

must lose. Among the many problems that

plague the Trump administration’s foreign

policy, this line of thinking is perhaps the

most disturbing.

During a speech in July, Mr. Trump said:

“The fundamental question of our time is

whether the West has the will to survive.”

This statement divides the world into “us”

and “them.” Not since the period between

the world wars has a major American

political figure defined our interests so


Mr. Trump’s shameful defense of

the white nationalists and neo-Nazis

who unleashed hatred and violence in

Charlottesville, Va., further abnegated

America’s moral leadership. Not since the

Jim Crow era has an American president so

misunderstood and misrepresented our


Most recently, the Trump administration’s

order to rescind Deferred Action for

Childhood Arrivals — punishing young

people brought to this country by their

parents, many of whom know no home but

the United States — betrays an unnecessary

cruelty that further undermines America’s

standing in the world.

106 2018 | OUR WORLD

When Secretary of State Rex W.

Tillerson said that it’s important to

very thing that makes the United

States exceptional.

And at a time when democratic

values are under siege around the

globe — from populist attacks that

institutions to leaders who try to

bolster their power by closing the

space for civil society and rolling back

citizens’ rights — the world cannot


to illiberalism and intolerance.

Placing American democratic

values back at the center of our

foreign policy does not mean we

should impose our principles abroad

or refuse to talk with nations whose

policies run counter to them.

There will always be times when

keeping Americans safe requires

working with those whom we find

distasteful. But even when we must

make those hard choices, we can

never forget who we are and the

future we seek.

Reclaiming our values starts

with standing up for them at home

— inclusivity, tolerance, diversity,



respect for the rule of law, freedom

of speech, freedom of the press. If

these are the democratic principles

we wish to see around the world,



These are also the values that tie

us to our closest allies — the friends

we depend on to address major

global challenges. They must believe

that the United States will continue

to support them and to stand up for


Leading with our values also

means that we speak out when

nations violate their citizens’ rights.

If leaders repress their own people,

we must make clear that it constrains

our ability to cooperate with them.

We can meet our national security

imperatives without giving a green

light to dictators who abuse universal

human rights.

Finally, a foreign policy built on

foreign powers that celebrate a

perceived withdrawal of American

leadership as an opportunity to

increase their influence. Without

the United States standing as a

bulwark for global democracy,

illiberal powers like Russia will take

increasingly aggressive steps to

disrupt the international order, bully


their neighbors and return to a more

divided world.

From shaping the Marshall Plan

after World War II to our postwar

alliances in East Asia, leaders of

both the Republican and Democratic

parties have long embraced a vision

of American leadership that fosters a

more secure, inclusive and generous

planet. That ideal made the world

safer and more prosperous — for

Americans and everyone else.

The international community still

needs a strong, democratic America

leading the way. And the good news

is that the United States remains

better positioned than any other

country to shape the direction of

the 21st century. But to succeed, we

cannot abandon the tenets that we

fought so hard to defend over the

past seven decades — ideals that


produced the greatest increase in

global prosperity in human history.


what they look like, where they come

from, whom they love or how they

worship. Only our democratic values


in our conduct at home or abroad,

we jeopardize the respect that has

made the United States the greatest

nation on earth.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Joe Biden. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate



Agile Governance

for a Fractured World

By Klaus Schwab

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution

continues to reshape the global

political economy, many are

grasping for ideas about how to effect

positive systemic change. In a world where

technology is both a disrupter and the

driving force of progress, the best approach

may be to apply lessons from technology to

policymaking itself. Policymakers, like startups,

must look for more ways to iterate

what works and abandon what doesn’t.

To any observer of world affairs, it is

clear that after a relatively long period of

unprecedented peace and prosperity, and

after two decades of increasing integration,

openness, and inclusiveness, the pendulum

is now swinging back toward fragmentation,


Indeed, the post-world order has

already fractured in many ways. Ambitious

multilateral trade agreements have fallen

apart after key stakeholders walked away.

Unprecedented global cooperation on

climate change, embodied in the 2015

Paris climate accord, is being undermined.

Separatist movements are becoming more

vocal, as sub-national communities look for

sources of identity that will reestablish a

sense of control. And the president of the

United States has indicated that he will

pursue national self-interest above all else,

and that other national leaders should do


These developments follow decades

of globalization, which ushered in an

astonishing period of progress across

many dimensions, from global health and

national incomes to inequality between

countries. But today’s fragmentation is

not about sterile statistics. Rather, it is a

visceral reaction to forces that have driven



Klaus Schwab

is Founder and

Executive Chairman

of the World

Economic Forum.

a wedge between economics and politics.

In the space between, there is now tension;

but there is also an opportunity to push for

cooperation and shared progress.

The underlying economic drivers of

integration remain powerful. The revolution

in information and communication

technologies (ICT) has drawn people from

around the world closer together; changed

the relationship between individuals

and their communities, employers, and

governments; and set the stage for a new

period of economic and social development

unlike anything that has come before.

And yet the human drive for freedom

– the chance to build a life of meaning

and achievement for oneself and one’s

community – remains undiminished.

At the same time, there has been a

political backlash against the economic

and technological forces of change. Power

has been won by those promising to

protect traditional identities and slow or

reverse change, rather than accommodate

it. For such politicians, the narrative is

straightforward: the system is rigged

and alien forces are complicating what

were once simpler but more satisfying lives.

Of course, no one denies that a

technology-driven global economy creates

imbalances, or that greater efficiency is

often achieved without greater fairness. The

system that produced the past few decades

of growth has emphasized the rights of

shareholders over other stakeholders, thus

concentrating wealth and locking out those

without capital.

More open trade has brought about

a shift in employment patterns between

and within countries. And now that a new

wave of technological change is poised to

overwhelm existing economic and social

structures, the nature of work itself is


Still, many of those who have gotten the

diagnosis right have gotten the prescription

wrong. For starters, none of the overarching

technological and economic forces at

work today can be regulated away at the

national level. When the forces driving the

108 2018 | OUR WORLD

global economy are larger than any

one country or stakeholder, the

simply cannot work. In the Fourth

Industrial Revolution, policies must

account for the global, regional, and

inter-sectoral industrial systems

that are shaping our world, and

all stakeholders – whether in

government, business, or civil

society – have no choice but to act

together, through new, innovative

forms of collaboration.

The formula for building inclusive

societies is well known: invest

in education, reduce barriers to

social and economic mobility, and

encourage competition. But, as

always, the devil is in the details, and

one size does not fit all. Whereas

some countries will need more

training or wage insurance, others

might have a need for minimumguaranteed-income

schemes and

measures to narrow gender gaps.

Government, business, and civil

society must work together to

experiment in these and many other

areas; and citizens need reasons to

believe that their leaders are acting

for the common good.

To that end, policymakers should

heed the lessons of the technology

sector. Given the complexity of

modern economic and social

systems, the outcome of a single

action can hardly be predicted with

certainty. An invaluable trait for

any effective organization, then,

is agility. Policymakers should be

asking themselves when to act, and

when to discontinue an action. And

they should craft policy experiments

with clearly discernible outcomes, so

that they can determine whether a

policy has worked or should end.

This kind of dynamism defines

the technical and creative economy,

where a start-up that is not prepared

to pivot when necessary won’t be

Leadership in a fractured world means

looking beyond the current discord to a

new, shared future.



William Kass, Kurt Moses.


around for long. Those who are

successful understand clearly what

they want to achieve, and they reach

their goals by quickly adapting to

changing conditions.

Moreover, the technology sector

teaches us that collaboration

between stakeholders is the best way

an enabling, risk-taking environment.

Under perennially unpredictable

circumstances, leaders must be

willing to adapt, explore, learn,

and adjust endlessly. Leadership

in a fractured world means looking

beyond the current discord to a

new, shared future. It requires the

courage to try something novel, with

the knowledge that it might fail. We

have no choice but to take such

risks. The pendulum will not swing

back toward collective progress on

its own. We must push it, by showing

that stakeholder collaboration is still

possible, even in a fractured world.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org




Revolutionary Centrism

By Tony Blair

The center ground of Western politics is known

as the field of pragmatism, quiet reason, and

evolution, where political actors eschew extremes

and seek compromise. Because political centrists are

distrustful of loud-mouthed and divisive rhetoric, they

have taken a somewhat de haut en bas view of the way

the political world functions.

Now they are being overwhelmed. Populism of the

right and the left is rampant. The old rules no longer apply.


a few years back are now a passport to voters’ hearts.

Policy positions previously regarded as mainstream are

sneered at, and those regarded as outlandish are very

much inland today. And political alliances that have

endured for a century or more are breaking apart, owing

to profound social, economic, and cultural changes.

The right is fissuring. The prevailing sentiment is

nationalist, anti-immigration, and often protectionist,

giving rise to a new alliance. In the United Kingdom,

traditional Labour supporters in old industrial

communities and wealthy de-regulators and business

owners have united in their dislike of the way the world

is changing and “political correctness.” Whether this

coalition – and similar formations in other countries – can

survive its inherent economic contradictions is unclear,

though I would not underestimate the cohesive power

of a shared sense of cultural alienation.

But, as can be seen in the fighting within the

Republican Party in the United States, the Conservative


the right still sees itself as championing free trade, open

markets, and immigration as a positive force.

The left is also dividing. One part is moving to a much

more traditional statist position on economic policy, and

to a form of identity politics that is much more radical

on cultural norms. The other part clings to an attempt

to provide a unifying national narrative around concepts

of social justice and economic progress.

Of course, what used to be called the mainstream

of both the left and the right could take back control of

their political parties. For now, however, the extremes

are in charge, leaving many – socially liberal and in favor

110 2018 | OUR WORLD

of a competitive market economy alongside

modern forms of collective action –without

a political home.

Is this temporary, or are we at an

It is globalization that is changing

politics. The real division today is between

those who view globalization essentially as

an opportunity carrying risks that should

be mitigated; and those who believe

that, despite its apparent advantages,

globalization is destroying our way of life

and should be heavily constrained.

I have sometimes expressed this as

the difference between an “open” and

“closed” view of the world. But while that

language captures some of the essence


respect to the feeling that the “globalizers”

are ignoring genuine problems with the way

their creation is working.

The danger of Western politics is that,

without a broad and stable center ground,

The real division today

is between those who

view globalization

essentially as an

opportunity carrying

risks that should

be mitigated; and

those who believe

that, despite its

apparent advantages,

globalization is

destroying our way

of life and should be

heavily constrained.



Tony Blair, Prime

Minister of the

United Kingdom

from 1997 to 2007,

is Chairman of the

Africa Governance



the two extremes meet in uncompromising

confrontation. The degree of polarization in

both the US and the UK is frightening. In both

cases, the public is dividing itself into two

nations that don’t think like each other, work

with each other, or actually like each other.

This is dangerous, because if it persists,

democracy loses its appeal. Government

becomes paralyzed. The strongman model

becomes more attractive. When our

political and economic systems become a

competition animated by a winner-takeall

mentality, those who win at some point

begin to regard the losers as enemies,

rather than opponents.

Democracy has a spirit, not just a

form; and today’s level of polarization is

inconsistent with it. That is why we need

a new politics that seeks to build bridges

and bring people together – a politics that

in two respects.

First, we must understand the need for

radical change, not merely incremental

reforms. Technology alone will transform

the way we live, work, and think. We must

show those feeling left behind that there

is a way through the challenge of change

and that it is transformative. And we should

address their understandable anxieties

over issues like immigration, which are

complex and multilayered, and cannot

simply be dismissed as whining by nativist


In other words, we must show that

we have listened to the legitimate sense

of grievance about certain aspects of


Second, we have to acknowledge that

contemporary politics is not operating

adequately to meet the challenge. While it

remains taboo for politicians occupying the

center ground in traditional parties to work

to say what they really believe, and unable

to represent those who urgently need to be


In short, in these times, revolution is too

much the zeitgeist to be left to the extremes.

The center should also become capable of

exploding the status quo.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org


Reversing a



By Marina Silva

Brazil, a nation rich in natural

resources, fertile lands and cultural

diversity, has struggled for decades

with underdevelopment. Some blame

it on the “custo Brasil,” or “Brazil cost” —

the accumulated price, in cash, time and

other resources, of doing business here

— pointing to the weight of bureaucracy,

high taxes and poor investment. Others cite

science, technology and education.

The root cause of our struggle, however,

is a decay of democracy in the face of

systemic, institutional corruption. Our

representative system has been so far

removed from its raison d’être that the will

to govern has been replaced by the goal of

remaining in power.

Nothing better illustrates the complex

web of Brazil’s democratic decay than

operation Car Wash, the wide-ranging

investigation into corruption.

Our governmental structure is coalitionbased,

which makes it vulnerable to

corruption. With dozens of parties vying

to form a majority in Congress, elections

are bloated and prohibitively expensive.

Gaining power allows a political party the

chance to appoint executives at state-run

companies. Executives receive kickbacks

from contractors, and some of that cash is

funneled back to the party.

It is a self-perpetuating cycle: Fraudulent

elections generate public administrations

that promote corruption, and are operated

by politicians who create electoral reforms

Marina Silva

Marina Silva

is a teacher,


and former senator.

She was Brazil’s

minister of the

environment from

2003 to 2008, and

ran for president in

2010 and 2014.

to grant themselves more and more

power, resources and control. As a result,

Brazil’s main political parties, which have

taken uninterrupted turns in authority for

decades, are focused not on governing the

country, but on building alliances to stay

in power.Ministers, advisers, senators,

representatives and even members of the

judicial branch collaborate with private

interests to make decisions about public

investments and push for the approval of

in power.

Some of Brazil’s largest economic groups

exemptions and loans from the Brazilian

Development Bank, and their failures have

shaken the foundations of the country’s

economy. Development resources intended

to improve quality of life and reduce social

inequality have been drained in order to

enrich certain groups and companies that

have been hailed as “national champions,”


Through misguided economic policy and

the misappropriation of public resources,

they have cost more than 14 million people

their jobs.

Even President Michel Temer, whose

agenda eschews the public interest and puts

our natural resources at risk, was recently

charged with bribery and is actively trying

to thwart potential investigations into his

operations. At the end of August he tried to

abolish 11 million acres of a preserve in the

Amazon — about the size of Denmark — so

the land could be opened to mining. This will

further encourage deforestation, the loss of

water resources and violence against local

communities and indigenous peoples.

But operation Car Wash has shown that

we can punish politicians and executives

for their crimes. The investigation has

been integral in exposing the corruption

that permeates our country, revealing

billions of dollars in illegal payments, jailing

executives and bringing a sitting president

into court on charges of violating campaign


which corrupt businessmen and politicians

112 2018 | OUR WORLD

will fear justice because they know

that imprisonment may indeed be in

their future. The operation gives us a

glimpse of a possible political future

for the country — one that is less

conformist, has a high regard for the

values of citizenship and demands

equality for all.

Operation Car Wash also serves

as a warning for the business sector

and its deep-rooted practice of

influencing government decisions.

Businesses engaged in corruption

can now be dealt with by the justice

system, which will free us up to create

an environment in which competition

public works and services.

This tsunami sweeping Brazil

will allow space for a new political

paradigm founded on the principle

that justice means justice for all.

We’re not there yet, but operation

Car Wash is working, as evidenced

by the reaction of the political

establishment along the entire

ideological spectrum. A significant

number of political, party and

business leaders are using all their

assets to keep things as they are.

There are alliances between former

opponents aimed at stopping the

investigation, and there are attempts

to impose rules for the 2018 general

election that would guarantee

continuity for those currently in

power. Operation Car Wash’s main

task force was even shut down in

July, leaving the investigation to be

absorbed by a larger anti-corruption

division with a more limited scope.



Our hope of seeing Brazil

rejuvenated remains in the hands

of the press, the judicial branch and

the people. With a lot of pain, we are


be the 2018 elections, when voters

will be able to conduct the biggest

“wash” ever seen in Brazilian politics

— when they will have a chance

to clean out corruption and open

the door to a reconstruction of the

country’s institutions.

It is a self-perpetuating cycle: Fraudulent

elections generate public administrations

that promote corruption,and are operated

by politicians who create electoral reforms

to grant themselves more and more power,

resources and control.


OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Marina Silva. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate


What Makes Propaganda

More Dangerous Today?

By Samantha Power

When George Washington gave

his Farewell Address in 1796, he

urged the American people “to

be constantly awake” to the risk of foreign


in the 2016 election in the United States,

the president’s warning has a fresh, chilling


The debate in the United States about

foreign interference concentrates on who

the need for democracies to strengthen their

cybersecurity for emails, critical infrastructure

and voting platforms. But we need to pay

far more attention to another vulnerability:

our adversaries’ attempts to subvert our

democratic processes by aiming falsehoods

at ripe subsets of our population — and not

only during elections.

In the Cold War era, Soviet attempts

to meddle in American democracy were

largely unsuccessful. In 1982 Yuri Andropov,

then the K.G.B. chairman, told Soviet

disinformation operations — the socalled

active measures meant to discredit

adversaries and influence public opinion

— into their standard work. They had an

ambitious aim: preventing Ronald Reagan’s


in search of embarrassing information to

leak to the press, while Soviet propagandists

pushed a set of anti-Reagan story lines to

the Western media. Ultimately, they failed


defeated Walter F. Mondale, winning 49

states. Margaret Thatcher, who was similarly

targeted, also won re-election in a landslide.

What exactly has changed since then to make



Samantha Power

was the United

States permanent

representative to the

United Nations from

2013 to January


foreign propaganda far more dangerous


During the Cold War, most Americans

received their news and information via

mediated platforms. Reporters and editors

serving in the role of professional gatekeepers

had almost full control over what appeared

in the media. A foreign adversary seeking to

reach American audiences did not have great

options for bypassing these umpires, and

Russian dezinformatsia rarely penetrated.

While television remains the main source

of news for most Americans, viewers today

tend to select a network in line with their


the Pew Research Center has found that twothirds

of Americans are getting at least some

of their news through social media.

After the election, around 84 percent

of Americans polled by Pew described

in their ability to discern real news from fake.


The sheer quantity of shares that

misleading stories get on Facebook is

staggering. Using a database of 156 electionrelated

news stories that fact-checking

websites deemed false, economists from

New York University and Stanford University

determined that these false stories had been

shared by American social media users 38

million times in the three months before the

2016 presidential election.

Russia has keenly exploited our growing

reliance on new media — and the absence

of real umpires. Last year the Russian

government supplemented the growing reach

of its state-owned, English-language media

outlets — RT and Sputnik — by employing

a network of trolls, bots, and thousands of

fake Twitter and Facebook accounts that


Russia appears to have deployed similar

measures in Europe. Hackers’ attempts to



but interference has been widespread. In

Bulgaria, cyberattacks believed to originate

from Russia have hit the country’s electoral

commission, while in Sweden, Kremlin-

114 2018 | OUR WORLD

funded media outlets have been

accused of fabricating stories to

rally public opinion against NATO

membership. Russia has had time

overlooked disinformation campaigns

that accompanied Russia’s military

incursions into Georgia and Ukraine,

and the now-familiar mix of trolls,

bots and state-sponsored journalism

responsibility onto the United States

for the 2014 downing of Malaysia

Airlines Flight 17. In the United States,

is exacerbated by divisions within the

political establishment. During the

Cold War, the larger struggle against

communism created a mainstream

consensus about what America

stood for and against. Today, our

society appears to be defined by a

Democrats and Republicans alike. This

divisive environment can make the

media more susceptible to repeating

and amplifying falsehoods.

These days, the walls of our media

echo chambers are so soundproof

that, even after President Vladimir

Putin’s well-documented interference


in the United States election, and his

his favorability among Republicans

rose substantially between 2015 and

President Trump’s inauguration, from

12 percent to 32 percent.

Most worrisome, many Americans

are questioning not only whether they

are obtaining objective facts — 60

percent believe news stories today

are “often inaccurate,” according

to Gallup, a major increase from 34

percent in 1985 — but also whether

objective facts exist at all. The sense

of an epistemological free-for-all

provides an opening to all comers.

Another reason for concern is

— political campaigns, companies,

foreign governments — can harvest

data (location, age, gender, likes,

shares) on its target audience,

personalizing messages to suit

the taste of those it aims to reach

and employing this customized

propaganda to skew the political

debate. Kremlin-linked ads have likely

reached millions of Americans, and

some were geographically targeted.

Because of the attention to last

year’s Russian election meddling,


there is a risk that going forward we

mobilizing our defenses with a focus

on Russia or on the next election cycle.

But we must be on our guard toward

all adversaries at all times.

At the height of its military

successes, the Islamic State was

releasing 38 pieces of news and

propaganda on social media daily,

the majority of which was used to

attract potential recruits by falsely, but

persuasively, depicting utopian life in

ISIS-held territory.

The bipartisan Alliance for

Securing Democracy, meanwhile, has

begun tracking and exposing Russia’s

extensive disinformation efforts in

the here and now. For example, the

alliance documented how on the same

day in August when Mr. Trump signed

on Russia, the top story promoted by

Russian-associated Twitter accounts

concerned Hillary Clinton’s links to

foreign arms sales. More recently,

the alliance showed how Russialinked

accounts promoted alt-right

conspiracies about the violence in

Charlottesville, Va., as well as stories

that slammed those — like Senator

John McCain — who had criticized Mr.

Trump’s equivocal response.

This new dashboard is evocative

of a series of special reports by the

United States State Department that

in the 1980s sought to undermine

Soviet fake news by exposing

American public.

It is a testament to our times that

it now seems unthinkable that the

State Department — much less the

president — would publicly call out

the misinformation being spread.

But now that there is a genuine risk

of foreign powers who, in George

Washington’s words, “practice the

arts of seduction, to mislead public

opinion,” it is incumbent on the rest

of us to enhance our vigilance.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Samantha Power. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate


A Democracy

That’s Drowning

in Cash

By Celestine Bohlen

The tide of money swelling

around the American political

system continues to rise. In

2016, candidates running for federal


their campaigns, while lobbyists

spent $3.15 billion to influence the

government in Washington. Both

sums are twice that of 2000 levels.

So what does all that money buy?

No one seriously thinks that the

quality of American representative

democracy has doubled in value. Has

it instead become doubly corrupt?

The United States has long

maintained a freer approach to

democracies, in part because the

country is big, campaigns are long

and political advertising on television

is essential and expensive. In many

European countries, strict limits are

placed on campaign spending or

contributions, campaigns are kept

short and paid political advertising

on television is restricted or outright

banned. Since the Supreme Court’s

landmark 2010 ruling in the Citizens

United case, campaign spending in the

United States has become even more

unrestricted. Today, commentators in

Europe often describe the American

way as "legalized corruption." In the

United States, veterans of campaign

lost since the 1970s, when the

Watergate scandal ushered in a series

of controls on campaign contributions.

The flood of money unleashed

by the Citizens United decision has

swept away the effectiveness of

those controls, according to Fred

Wertheimer, president of Democracy

to campaign reform. He dismissed

as "illusory" the argument that

contributions from supposedly

independent groups known as “super

PACs” don’t corrupt the political

process because they don’t work

directly in concert with the campaigns

they support.

"The bottom line is we have

very serious problems with the

functioning of our democracy caused

seeking money into the elections," Mr.

Wertheimer said.

But is it corruption? Do the

gigantic sums doled out to campaigns

— and later lavished on elected

representatives as they are lobbied

for their votes — amount to attempts

to buy political power? Or is it, as

the Supreme Court agreed in the


Citizens United case, an exercise in

constitutionally protected free speech?

Transparency International, the

Berlin-based anti-corruption group,

entrusted power for private gain." In

light of that, perhaps the American

system isn’t so crooked after all. In

fact, the United States performed

well on Transparency International’s

176-country Corruption Perceptions

Index from last year, ranking 18th,

behind Denmark (1st) and Germany

(10th), but ahead of France (23rd) and

Russia (131st).

While the United States is fairly

strict in cracking down on practices

such as bribery and kickbacks, Mr.

Wertheimer said, the American

system has opened the door to a

whole other kind of corruption.

"The corruption in the U.S. does

money in their pocket," he said. "This

is systemic corruption of the process

itself. When you are dealing with

116 2018 | OUR WORLD

billions and billions of dollars, much of that

the system, and it is much harder to defend

against and maintain representation for

ordinary Americans."

Still, tolerance of quid pro quo

transactions, which is more common in

some other countries, is even worse than a

political system awash in cash, according to

Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on political theory

at Harvard University. In his view, the former

discourages economic investment, skewers

attitudes toward local government and

corrodes faith in the justice system.

But he agrees that the vast sums spent

on political campaigns in the United States

are amplifying the sense among ordinary


politically and economically. The notion

that "all politicians are corrupt" is an old

one, and present in other democracies,

Mr. Mounk said. But the idea that the rich

are getting richer while everyone else falls

behind is becoming more prevalent in the

United States. This perception is borne out

by research from Martin Gilens, a politics

professor at Princeton University, which

shows that American economic policies

virtually no relationship to the preferences

of poor or middle-income Americans."

"Some argue that there is no causal

relation, but as numerous former

case," Mr. Wertheimer said. "Huge amounts

of money are not being given for charitable


The American system’s addiction to money


Reuters, members of Congress can spend as

much time fund-raising as legislating — up to


Of course, it takes more than money to

win elections. In both the 2012 and 2016

presidential elections, the candidates who

spent the most money lost. And for every

candidate who loses, millions, even billions, of

dollars in contributions are spent for naught.

Nor are all contributions potentially venal;

they come in all forms — in support of causes



Celestine Bohlen is

a columnist for the

International New

York Times, and a

fellow this fall at

the Shorenstein

Center on Media,

Politics and Public

Policy at the Harvard

Kennedy School. She

began her career

at local papers in


and New Jersey,

and went on to

become a foreign


mostly for the New

York Times, but also

the Washington Post

and Bloomberg.

She has reported

from Moscow,

Budapest, Rome

and Paris, covering

the former Soviet

Union, Eastern

Europe, Italy and

the Vatican, Greece

and Turkey, France

and the European

Union. She lives in

Paris, France, and

for the past four

years has been an

adjunct professor

of journalism at

Sciences-Po, or the

Institute of Political



Each culture has its

own system of political

influence or, some

might say, corruption.

and issues, as well as corporate interests and

industrial lobbies.

Too sharp a focus on money also

overlooks the other ways politicians can be


favor which work in more subtle ways," Mr.

Mounk said. "You are influenced by the

people around you — who you spend time

with, who you have dinner with."

Each culture has its own system of political

influence or, some might say, corruption.

Throwing around money is the American way.

In Russia, the Kremlin doles out business to

its favorite oligarchs, who in turn are in thrall

to their political masters, a system that Mr.

Mounk says is the most pernicious of all.

In France, where paid political advertising

on television is prohibited, campaign

spending and contributions are limited, and

public campaign funding is available, voters

this year punished a presidential candidate

who had placed his wife in a no-show job

on the public payroll, a questionable but

not uncommon practice among France’s

political elite. In the United States, however,

the immense sums of money swirling around

politics and the proliferation of super PACs

have yet to stir protests from voters, and


that the threat to a healthy democratic

system isn’t real, Mr. Wertheimer said.

"The amounts are unprecedented and

provide an extraordinary advantage to the

very rich," he said. "When you are dealing

with huge amounts of money — and when

there are no laws to contain them — they

overwhelm the process in a way that small


OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Celestine Bohlen . Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate



Has dealing with Pride and Prejudice

become a challenge for media?

By Lieven Taillie


most moving event in 2017 was

when a crowd in Manchester, after a

minute’s silence to honor the memory

of 22 people killed by a terrorist bombing

following the concert given on May 22 by

US singer Ariane Grande in the Manchester

Arena, spontaneously began to sing the

Touching is also the comment given to The

Guardian’s reporter by the lady who struck


taken up by the crowd:

“I love Manchester, and Oasis is part

of my childhood,” she told the Guardian.

“Don’t Look Back in Anger – that’s what this

is about: we can’t be looking backwards to

what happened, we have to look forward

to the future.”

In 2017 mostly angry voices expressed in

separatist votes (Catalunya most explicitly),

politics of nationalists, shooting incidents,

terrorist attacks, populism …. came more

eminently to the forefront. One essential

element in nationalism in European

tradition is to revisit the past, to look back

and to capitalize on anger that comes out

of a lack of recognition.

“In traditional media we try to explain,

to see differences, but we have more

difficulty in understanding it.” It is the

interesting point of view Charlie Beckett

from Polis, media think tank of London

School of Economics(LSE), defends in an

interesting article http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/



In his eyes the journalism produced

is still very self-referential. This view

offers indeed a possible explanation for

the difficulties many correspondents

encounter to understand e.g. the success of



Lieven Taillie is

president of the

Belgian section of

the Association of

European Journalists

and writes this in his

personal capacity.

One essential element

in nationalism in

European tradition

is to revisit the past,

to look back and to

capitalize on anger

that comes out of a

lack of recognition.

Trump in the USA, the Brexit vote, the AFD

success in Germany, and so much more

that is emblematic for what is happening

today in (international) politics. For Beckett

there is a huge amount of innovation out

there with news brands moving onto new

platforms such as Instagram or Whatsapp

to reach out to where the public are having

their conversations and getting their

information. But even when it is done well

the primary motive for this engagement is

short-term commercialism.

Connect the user to your content in

the hope they stick around long enough

to sign up for a subscription. The danger

exists that, though journalists see the

potential advantages of understanding

what is going on in the streets of our cities

and in our communities, media give in to

a certain spirit of business that is pushing

and only as consumers, not as the more

complex persons they are. New evolutions

118 2018 | OUR WORLD

in big data and their use risk making

us, humans, objects rather than

subjects, a reduction into figures

and statistics for whom algorithms

preselect what is healthy, nice and

so much more that exists to make

us attractable and unique. Big

data was the buss word that is to

stay also in 2018 central in further

trends in the media and beyond. As

all innovations throughout history it

carries opportunities and risks that

impact on our living together and the

way we interact. But are journalists

conscient enough of the impact datagathering

has on the way they are

functioning? Do they not stick to

much in their own way into pride and

prejudices on the job?

Some among them do and stay

within their professional bubbles,

it, journalists in their majority, driven

by what is essential for a journalist,

maintain curiosity and openness

to what is happening, reporting

on it while it is happening. They

really are trying to adapt in the fast

changing media environment, as far

as working conditions are permitting

them to take the necessary time to

do so.

As the Responsible Data

Community mentions on its website

https://responsibledata.io : “In one

way or another, all data are shaped

by people and their decisions. How

we treat data, how we think about

what it tells us (or what it doesn’t),

how we choose what to collect and

what not to collect all have impacts

upon people.” This is certainly a

case to be considered by media

companies and even more in 2018

as on 25 May 2018, the General Data

Protection Regulation (GDPR) will

European Union. This regulation was


designed with the idea to give control

back to citizens and residents over

their personal data, and to create a

uniform data protection law across

member countries.

Journalists need to consider

how to reinvent the profession in

becoming more and more some kind

of news brokers working in team

with designers, artists, IT specialists

and other creative technicians to

bring people the news, the visuals

and the stories they deserve. It was

part of the discussion AEJ Belgium

organized with Gert-Jan Bogaerts of

Dutch public broadcaster VPRO in

Vilnius on the occasion of the AEJ

congress in Vilnius on big or thick

data, still to be consulted on www.

aej-belgium.eu .

Looking to the future is readiness

to open your mind, “to stand up

of Oasis…

Albert Rivera, the leader of the Spanish ‘Ciudadanos’ (Citizens) party, is framed by microphones pointed at him by reporters

as he addresses the media in Oviedo, Asturias, northern Spain, 20 October 2017.


OUR WORLD | 2018



Will the Center Hold?

By Lawrence Summers

The most important question facing

the United States – and in many

ways the world – after the events of

2017 is this: Will Yeats’ fearful prophecy that

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold”

come true? Will it continue to seem that “The

best lack all conviction while the worst are

full of passionate intensity”? It is hard not to

be concerned, but it is too soon to anticipate


The US now has a president who regularly

uses his Twitter account to heap invective

on leaders of nuclear-armed states, the

American news media, members of his own

cabinet, and religious and racial minorities,

while showering praise on those who traduce

the values of democracy, tolerance, and

international law.

Countries such as China, Russia, Turkey,

and Saudi Arabia are more authoritarian,

more nationalist, and more truculent on the

world stage than they were a year ago. And

then there is the surely more belligerent and

possibly more erratic leader of North Korea, a

country on the brink of developing the ability

to deliver nuclear weapons at long range.

Europe also faced trials in 2017. Aside from

the United Kingdom’s decision to proceed with

its withdrawal from the European Union, the

far right won seats in the German Bundestag

for the first time in decades, and far-right

parties and candidates did better than ever

in a number of European elections. In mid-

November, 60,000 people marched through

Warsaw demanding a “White Europe.”

So there is plenty of passionate intensity.

And much of it is directed at the traditions

and understandings that have made the

last several decades the best in human

history, in terms of living standards,

minimization of premature and violent death.

Will things stay together? Can some kind

of center hold? Financial markets offer a

Lawrence H.


Lawrence H.

Summers, US

Secretary of the

Treasury (1999-

2001) and Director

of the US National

Economic Council

(2009-2010), is a

former president of

Harvard University,

where he is

currently University


remarkably optimistic view. The US stock

market has broken one record after another

in the year since Donald Trump’s election as

president, while indicators of realized stockmarket

volatility and of expected future

volatility are at very low levels by historical

standards. And some stock markets around

the world have done even better.

While high equity prices and low volatility

may seem surprising, they likely reflect

the limited extent to which stock-market

outcomes and geopolitical events are

correlated. For example, Japan’s attack on

Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President

John F. Kennedy, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks

had no sustained impact on the economy. The

largest stock-market movements, such as the

1987 crash, have typically occurred on days

when there was no major external news.

Stock markets are buoyant because they

comprise individual companies, and, to a

have been both rising and predictable. How

is a risk that investors are increasingly taking

on leverage or pursuing strategies – such as

contemporary versions of portfolio insurance

– that will cause them to sell if markets

decline. It is worth remembering that, looking

back, markets do not appear to have been

remarkably bubbly prior to the 1987 crash.

There is also the question of financial


far better capitalized and far more liquid than

they were prior to the crisis, market indicators

of risk suggest we may not be quite as far

out of the woods as many suppose. Despite

apparently large increases in capital and

consequent declines in leverage, it does not

appear that bank stocks have become far less

capital had become abundant.

Financial markets are widely cited,

including by US President Donald Trump, as

providing comfort in the current moment. But

120 2018 | OUR WORLD

catastrophic political consequences,

sweeping into power even more

toxic populist nationalists. In such a

scenario, the center will not hold.

Beyond the kind of near-term

risks that markets price, there is the

question of an economic downturn.

The good news is that sentiment is


seems unlikely to accelerate out of

control and force a lurch toward

contractionary fiscal and monetary

policies. Most forecasters regard the

near-term risk of recession as low.

But recessions are never predicted

successfully, even six months in

advance. The current expansion in

the US has gone on for a long time,

and the risk of policy mistakes there is

very real, owing to highly problematic

economic leadership in the Trump

administration. I would put the annual

probability of recession in the coming

years at 20-25%. So the odds are better

than even that the US economy will fall

into recession in the next three years.

The risk from a purely economic

point of view is that the traditional

strategy for battling recession – a

reduction of 500 basis points in the

federal funds rate – will be unavailable

this year, given the zero lower bound

on interest rates. Nor is it clear that the

will exist. This means that the next

recession, like the last, may well be

protracted and deep, with severe

global consequences. And the political

capacity for a global response, like that

on display at the London G-20 Summit

in 2009, appears to be absent as well.

Just compare the global visions of

US President Barack Obama and UK

Prime Minister Gordon Brown back

then with those of Trump and Prime

Minister Theresa May today.

I shudder to think what a serious

recession will mean for politics and

policy. It is hard to imagine avoiding

a resurgence of protectionism,

populism, and scapegoating. In such

crisis, the center will not hold.

But the greatest risk in the next

few years, I believe, is neither a market

meltdown nor a recession. It is instead

a political doom loop in which voters’

conclusion that government does not

self-fulfilling prophecy. Candidates

elected on platforms of resentment

delegitimize the governments they

lead, fueling further resentment and

even more problematic new leaders.

Cynicism pervades.

How else can one explain the

candidacy of Roy Moore for a US

Senate seat? Moore, who was twice

dismissed for cause from his post

on the Alabama Supreme Court, and

who is credibly charged with sexually

assaulting teenage girls when he was

in his 30s, could enter the US Senate

as many of his colleagues look the

other way. If a country’s citizens lose

confidence in their government’s

ability to improve their lives, the

government has an incentive to rally

popular support by focusing attention

on threats that only it can address.

That is why in societies pervaded

by anger and uncertainty about the

future, the temptation to stigmatize

minority groups increases. And it is

magnify foreign threats.

We are seeing this phenomenon

all over the world. Russian President

Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep


Xi Jinping have all made nationalism a

central part of their governing strategy.

So, too, has Trump, who has explicitly

rejected the international community

in favor of the idea that there is only

a ceaseless struggle among nationstates

for competitive advantage.

When the world’s preeminent

power, having upheld the idea of

international community for nearly

75 years, rejects it in favor of ad hoc

deal making, others have no choice


but to follow suit. Countries that can

If a country’s citizens

lose confidence in

their government’s

ability to improve

their lives, the

government has an

incentive to rally

popular support by

focusing attention on

threats that only it

can address.

no longer rely on the US feel pressure

to provide for their own security.

America’s adversaries inevitably will

US retrenches.

Changes in tax, regulatory, or

budget policy can be rescinded –

administration. A perception that the

US is no longer prepared to stand

up for its allies in the international

community is much less reversible.

Even if the US resumes its previous

commitments, there will be a lingering

sense that promises broken once can

be broken again. And once other

countries embark on a new path, they

may be unable or reluctant to reverse

course. So, will the center hold? Will

the international order remain broadly

stable? The answer will depend on the

Trump administration’s choices and

other governments’ responses. But

as other countries watch America,

they will be looking at more than its

president, especially as his popular

approval continues to decline. That is

why it is more important than ever that

all Americans proclaim their continuing

commitment to democracy and

prosperity at home and to leadership

of the global community.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org







By Radosław Sikorski

Two cheers for US President

Donald Trump. Without him,

the West would still regard

populism as a problem unique to

Central and Eastern Europe. Yet

Trump’s presidency is as clear a

demonstration as there could be of

the fact that populism is not merely a

product of the alleged “immaturity” of

post-communist countries.

Leo Tolstoy supposedly said that

the further one is from events, the

more inevitable those events seem.

So it is with today’s populist surge. It

wasn’t inevitable that Poland’s Law and

Justice Party (PiS) would come to power

with 38% of the vote in 2015; nor was

it inevitable that Trump would win the

US presidency, despite having received

almost three million fewer votes than

his opponent. In both cases, luck and

the competition’s incompetence played

a role, just as they did in bringing

decidedly liberal forces to power in

France in 2017.

Still, as we head into 2018, we

should recognize that another year of

populist turbulence beckons. After all,

there is nothing new about populist

politics in democracies, whether young

or old. In the nineteenth century, the

“free silver” movement divided the

United States in much the same way

Right-wing populists demonstrate against Merkel in Berlin.

that Brexit divides Britain today.

Populists succeed by exploiting

citizens’ alienation from an

establishment that has failed or is

unable to respond to some salient

challenge – for example, low crop

the 1870s, or migration in the European

Union today. They usually propose

simple solutions to complex problems.

And once in power, they usually fail to

deliver on their promises, but only

after they have spent all the public’s

money. Wise establishmentarians

accommodate some populist

arguments within their own political

programs. After these concessions

are made, emotions tend to cool, and

social stability can be restored.

So, what are the foremost populist

grievances today? Judging by countries

like Poland and Hungary, there are

at least three: class resentment,

demographic despair, and threatened


identities. Each of these grievances has

a legitimate basis, and all need to be


Contrary to popular belief, none of

these grievances is strictly economic. In

Poland, incomes have been rising and

inequalities have been falling for 25

years. Yet at the same time, ordinary

people have become increasingly

Still, as we head

into 2018, we

should recognize

that another year of

populist turbulence


122 2018 | OUR WORLD

suspicious of elites “feeding at the trough”

while everyone else allegedly struggles to

make ends meet.

Part of the problem is that expectations

have outrun reality. When expectations go

unmet, people begin to suspect that the

social compact itself is unfair. It is this sense of

unfairness, far more than income levels, that

has fueled support for populist movements.

After all, one can earn much more than the

Polish minimum wage and still resent the

fact that the global rich are squirreling away

trillions of dollars in tax havens, or that

transnational companies routinely shirk their

tax obligations.

Moreover, populists, despite their racist

rhetoric on the issue of migration, are not

wrong to intuit that a generous welfare state

is incompatible with open borders. There

are a billion people on the other side of the

Mediterranean Sea who cannot be blamed for

wanting to live in a European welfare state.

Many of them live in countries with neither

welfare nor even a functioning state.

Europe cannot accept everyone. There are

legitimate discussions to be had about

tolerable immigration rates, Western

countries’ absorptive capacity, and border

controls. Moreover, it is fair to ask if there are

better ways than mass migration to address

the problems associated with an aging

and parental leave. What has been most

irksome to populists and their sympathizers

is that merely raising such questions exposes

one to accusations of intolerance, or worse.

As to the third populist grievance, it was

predictable that those left behind in the age of

globalization and meritocracy would fall back

on collective identities as a source of dignity.

And in Poland and the US, in particular, this

trend has been reinforced by a decline in

religiosity. Nationalism is the last refuge of

those who fear losing a way of life. It is partly

a reaction of endangered majorities that do

not want to become minorities.

Now, alongside this list of grievances,

consider the fact that, historically, every

communications revolution has led to a

political revolution. In a world of unregulated




is a former Polish

foreign minister.


social media, populist demagogues do not

have to do much to stoke the confusion,

paranoia, and cynicism that are already

smoldering within the electorate.

Looking forward, policymakers and political

leaders need to address the fundamental

concerns that populists have tapped. First,

we need to fix capitalism, by ensuring that

social contributions are rewarded more

appropriately than they are today. Even if we

contribution than doctors, are we really

expected to believe that they contribute a

thousand – let alone ten thousand – times

more? Likewise, it is time to freeze out

companies and individuals that maintain

accounts in OECD-designated tax havens.

The EU, for its part, is right to insist that

multinationals pay taxes wherever they do


Member states need to support the

Commission’s proposals for tougher controls.

Second, governments need to reassert

control over national – or, in the case of the

EU, supranational – borders. Citizens want

a say over who comes to live in their midst,

and under what conditions. And they want to

ensure that those who do come plan to be

good neighbors.

Third, politicians must stop mining cheap

nationalism for tactical electoral advantages.

They owe it to voters to explain why their

interests will be better protected through

multilateralism. This is especially true for the

EU, which needs to cultivate more European

patriotism, perhaps through joint military

action on the periphery.

Finally, the Internet, social media, and other

new technologies need to be regulated, either

by pressuring companies to police themselves,

or by enacting new legislation. Like any worldchanging

invention, digital technologies have

obvious downsides that cannot be ignored.

These are difficult but achievable goals.

Contrary to the defeatism that has become

rampant nowadays, we can, through

democratic means, enact legislation and

adopt regulations that address the problems

populists have identified. But we need to

hurry. If we don’t act, the populists will – and

with far more damaging results.

OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



The Venal Roots of

Political Turmoil

By Janine R. Wedel

In 2017, corruption became a byword for

politics on almost every continent, framing

as China, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. Corruption

and its attendant scandals toppled presidents

and prime ministers, cut down political

opposition leaders, and fueled “populist”

revolts worldwide. Without accounting for

of political turbulence simply doesn’t make

sense. In Brazil, investigations have been

ongoing into what one judge has described

as a “scheme of systemic corruption” between

public officials and the Brazilian oil giant

Petrobras. As a result of the investigations,

President Dilma Rousseff was impeached


former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was

convicted and sentenced to prison in July of

this year.

Similarly, in South Korea, a corruption

scandal led to President Park Geun-hye’s

impeachment and removal from office in

March, and to the imprisonment of Lee Jaeyong,

the heir apparent at Samsung, in August.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

was ousted by the country’s Supreme Court

in July. He is now facing corruption charges

for London real-estate purchases that he

companies and under his children’s names.

The assets had gone unreported until they

were revealed by the 2015 leak of the “Panama


In Russia under President Vladimir Putin,

corruption flourishes at the nexus of state

politics and big business, with loyal oligarchs

also reliably executing Putin’s political agendas.

But corruption is also being exported. Indeed,

Putin spreads his formula of illiberalism,

nationalism, and authoritarianism to former

Janine R.


Janine R. Wedel

is an American

anthropologist and

university professor

in the Schar

School of Policy

and Government

at George Mason

University and a

Senior Research

Fellow of the New

America Foundation.

She is the author of

several books and

many articles[1] on

some key systemic

processes of the


anthropologist to

win the Grawemeyer

Award for Ideas

Improving World

Order, an honor

typically reserved for

political scientists.

In many countries

nowadays, civic activism

may be absent on most

issues. But corruption

isn’t one of them.

People cared enough

about it to upend

politics in 2016 and

again in 2017.

Soviet states, Europe, and even the US.

And in Hungary, allegations of cronyism

have dogged Prime Minister Viktor Orbán,

who has strengthened his hold on power

by cultivating close ties with the country’s

oligarchs. As I have documented over the

past decade, corruption is not just about

graft or illicit transactions. It also includes legal

violations of the public trust, often committed

by “shadow elites” who assume a tangle

of roles in the public and private sectors,

sometimes simultaneously.


own interests and escaping accountability

has not been lost on ordinary people. In the

US, what I call the “new corruption” was a

central concern of both the Tea Party on the

right and Occupy Wall Street on the left. Both

movements objected to the 2008 Wall Street

bailout, and saw it as evidence of a rigged


In each of the last three years, Chapman

University’s “Survey of American Fears” found

that concerns about corruption weigh more

heavily on Americans’ minds than even

crime, terrorism, or deaths in the family.

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016

partly by exploiting these concerns. Yet

despite his promise to “drain the swamp,”

he spent 2017 expanding and deepening it.

All manner of Trump associates have found

work and increased their cachet on K-street,

Washington’s lobbying hub. Some have sought

work lobbying for foreign powers, even though

candidate Trump railed against his rival for

124 2018 | OUR WORLD


Then US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (C-L) poses with

campaign manager Kellyanne Conway (C-R) on stage at his 2016 presidential

Election Night event.


Trump assembled a team of advisers

sectors they are supposed to oversee,

as well as former lobbyists, including

some working for foreign regimes.

Trump himself has imbued public

unlike anything America has seen in

decades – if ever.

Among his many violations of

the public trust, Trump has

declined to fully divest from

his business holdings or release his

tax returns and has installed family

members in powerful official and


Moreover, some of Trump’s cabinet

members have tapped into public

resources for their own personal and


have been held accountable for this is

Tom Price, who resigned as Secretary

of Health and Human Services

in September, after news outlets

reported that he had billed taxpayers


Trump and his associates might

very well face serious corruption

charges eventually, depending on what


former FBI Director Robert Mueller

into Russian interference in the 2016

election. Already, Mueller has brought

charges against Trump’s former

campaign chairman,

Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s

longtime associate, Rick Gates. Many

observers doubt that the Trump

administration will last until the end

of its electoral term in 2020. But

citizens should be forewarned that

senior officials, a lengthy period of

uncertainty often follows. For example,

the vast anti-corruption investigation in

Brazil has won international praise, but

stability. On the contrary, according to

the Council on Foreign Relations, Brazil

is suffering “unprecedented voter

dissatisfaction,” with no obvious leader

to rebuild public trust.

What follows from anti-corruption

investigations depends largely on

a country’s political and economic

context. For example, because political

among family members, Sharif, upon

being deposed, tried to name his

brother as his successor. In September,

parliamentary seat.

In other countries, anti-corruption

probes have been used by authoritarian

regimes to neutralize opponents. In

July, Poland’s government, controlled

by the illiberal Law and Justice (PiS)

to subordinate the judiciary to political

control, arguing that the courts had

been corrupted by “elites.”

And in China, President Xi Jinping

has made savvy use of an anticorruption

campaign to purge political

rivals and settle scores – a campaign

that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman appears to be

power in his own hands. Owing to its

one-party system, China has been

able to keep up the appearance

of stability during its intensifying

crackdown. But some analysts argue

that widespread discontent is brewing

beneath the surface, and that endemic

corruption among the country’s ruling

elites is eroding the political system’s



this year: citizens pushing back

against corruption in all of its forms.

In Poland, widespread protests forced

the president to veto much of the

PiS’s attempted judicial power grab. In

Venezuela, protests against cronyism

were ongoing throughout the year.

And in Russia, thousands of citizens

took to the streets to protest Putin’s

kleptocratic regime – inspired, in part,

by the anti-corruption activist Alexei

Navalny, who has been mobilizing the

Russian opposition with his “crooks

and thieves” campaign targeting Putin’s

United Russia party.

In many countries nowadays,

civic activism may be absent on most

issues. But corruption isn’t one of

them. People cared enough about it

to upend politics in 2016 and again in

2017. There is no reason to believe that


OUR WORLD | 2018

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org



As more and more

countries shed their

deference to the

West, the continuing

resurrection of strong

nationalist leaders is


The New



By Kishore Mahbubani

The global spread of democracy,

a Western gift to the world, was

meant to result in the election

of liberal, pro-Western leaders. Instead,

a wave of strongmen rulers has been

elected, many of whom have clear non-

Western identities. This list includes

Shinzo Abe of Japan, Rodrigo Duterte of

the Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

of Turkey, Narendra Modi of India

and, looking back further, Vladimir V.

Putin of Russia. China’s Xi Jinping can

be added to this list, emerging as he

process within the 80 million-member

Communist Party of China.


a new chapter in history. For the past

200 years, the West has been unusually

powerful, dominating global history

even in the post-colonial era. However,

mistakes made by the West have given

rise to the sharp anti-Western edge of

leaders like Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Putin.

And as American and European power

recedes, a global resurrection of non-

Western attitudes is taking place. Even

pro-Western leaders, like Mr. Abe and

Mr. Modi, are asserting their non-

Western identities.

Europe humiliated Turkey for

decades. Under Mustafa Kemal

Ataturk, Turkey made the bold decision

to leave the Islamic world and join the

West. Turkey, a member of NATO,

applied to join the predecessor to the

European Union in 1987. The country

was denied, while smaller nations

like Slovakia, Latvia and Estonia


undermined the political standing of

the secular pro-Western Turks living in

and around Istanbul; they were seen

European insults.

The initial election of Mr. Erdogan in

2003 represented the Turkish people’s

strong desire for a leader who could

stand up to Europe, and his rule was

legitimized by solid economic growth.

While Mr. Erdogan’s popularity has

recently slipped — he barely won

the April 2017 referendum — he has

never been more politically powerful.

Mr. Erdogan has the ability to shape

Turkey’s future by moving it away

from its secular past and making its

Islamic identity more visible. Russia

suffered even greater humiliation

than Turkey. Mikhail Gorbachev’s

126 2018 | OUR WORLD

unilateral dissolution of the Soviet Union was

an unimaginable geopolitical gift to the West,

especially America. The Russia that remained

was a small shell of its former empire. After


West would have been wise to heed Churchill’s

advice: “in victory, magnanimity.” Instead, it did

the exact opposite. Contrary to the implicit

assurances given to Mr. Gorbachev and Soviet

leaders, the West expanded NATO to include

former member nations of the Warsaw

Pact, embarrassing Russia as its geopolitical

territory shrank. This humiliation has led to

an inevitable blowback.

After Mr. Putin was elected in 2000, the

West threatened to expand the Atlantic

alliance into Ukraine, even though eminent

American statesmen like Henry Kissinger

and Zbigniew Brzezinski cautioned against

the move. Their warnings were ignored, and

Mr. Putin was left with no choice but to take

back Crimea, which had been part of Russia

from 1783 to 1954. Even Mr. Gorbachev, a pro-

Westerner, supported Mr. Putin, saying that

the Crimean referendum showed that “people

really wanted to return to Russia.” Given a

choice, 95.5 percent of the voters elected to

join Russia.

The Crimean episode shows that there

is only so much humiliation any nation can


the Russian people. They wanted a strongman

who could stand up to the West. He did this

by invading Crimea and supporting President

Bashar al-Assad in Syria. There are no saints

in geopolitical games; if the West had shown

respect for Russia instead of humiliating it, Mr.

Putin might not have come to power.

Neither Japan nor India has been humiliated

by the West in recent times. Indeed, both

have drawn geopolitically closer to America

since the rise of China. Yet, even in these

countries there is a clear desire to support

strong leaders who can forcefully enhance the

nation’s identity.Outwardly, Mr. Abe appears

to be a pro-Western leader, especially with

his dapper Western suits. Inwardly, however,

he is an ardent Japanese nationalist. His

grandfather Nobusuke Kishi was accused as

a “class-A war criminal” after World War II. Mr.

Abe believes he was unjustly accused. Mr.



Kishore Mahbubani

served in


diplomatic service

for 33 years. He is

the dean of the Lee

Kuan Yew School of

Public Policy at the

National University

of Singapore and the

author of “The Great

Convergence: Asia,

the West and the

Logic of One World.


Abe has also allowed his fellow members of

parliament to visit the controversial nationalist

Yasukuni Shrine, drawing the ire of China and

South Korea. Outwardly, Mr. Abe maintains

deference to America. Inwardly, he is dying to

break free from his geopolitical shackles. For

example, even as America and Europe were

trying hard to isolate Moscow, Mr. Abe worked

behind the scenes in Moscow in April 2013 to

try to reach a private deal with Mr. Putin on

the disputed Kurile Islands, which Russia had

taken over at the end of World War II.

Mr. Modi’s forceful emergence on the world

stage demonstrates that India is no longer a

second-tier power. Mr. Modi has shed many

of the pro-Western trappings that the Indian

establishment was once so proud of. Despite

visit to the United States in September 2014,

Mr. Modi fasted for nine days in observance of

the Hindu festival of Navratri. Mr. Modi seldom

wears Western clothes and speaks mostly in

Hindi. His support of some loud right-wing

voices, including the chief minister of Uttar

Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, is worrying. But

Mr. Modi is no demagogue. He is a pragmatic

nationalist focused on economic growth. In

Mr. Modi’s mind, there is no doubt that we

are moving toward a G-3 world, with India

securing an equal place alongside America

and China.

While the Chinese president, Xi Jinping,

functions in a very different political

environment from that of Mr. Abe and Mr.


in his respective national identity. A hundred

years ago, Indian, Japanese and Chinese

leaders called upon their people to emulate

the West to move ahead. Voices like Sun Yatsen

in China and Raja Ram Mohan Roy in India

spoke of the need to mirror the West. Today,

such a thought wouldn’t even cross the minds

of Mr. Abe, Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi. Instead, all

three are telling their people to remember

their own glorious histories.

As more and more countries shed their

deference to the West, the continuing

resurrection of strong nationalist leaders is

inevitable. Our geopolitical future likely lies

with this new wave.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Kishore Mahbubani. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate


An artist’s rendering of a castle under siege.

Mirko Ilic

Why We




By Moisés Naím

In less than a decade, the world

went from worrying about financial

crashes to worrying about crashing

democracies. Starting in 2008, we

were distressed over which economy

would topple next, or whether the next

banking crisis would wipe out peoples’

savings. Yet the Great Recession was

not as prolonged as we feared — the

hardest-hit economies have recovered,

or are in the process of doing so.

What has not returned to precrisis

mode is politics.

Today political parties — essential

to strong democratic systems — are

becoming something of an endangered


The aftermath of the economic

downturn paved the way for the success

of nontraditional political leaders like

Donald Trump and made viable some

once unimaginable ideas, like Brexit.

Longstanding trends also took a

stronger hold in the West. As salaries

stagnated or even declined in the United

States, Britain and other economically

advanced democracies, the embattled

middle class blamed automation

and globalization. Immigration and

international trade were seen as costly

downsides to international integration.

Surprisingly, even emerging markets

with fast-growing economies and stellar

records of lifting people out of poverty,

like Brazil, faced challenges from angry

populations disappointed with their

governments and empowered by social

media and other new technologies.

In developing countries, it is

common for people’s expectations to

grow at a faster pace than the capacity

of the state to meet them. Money is

always short, and public institutions

128 2018 | OUR WORLD


of hundreds of millions of people in Asia, Latin

America and Africa are improving, that doesn’t

mean that people are content. And it became

clear that economic progress and prosperity do

not always buy political stability.

The global wave of political anger sweeping

many rich and poor countries alike is also fed

by a newfound impatience with corruption. In

the last decade, societies in which corruption

used to be treated as a fact of life developed

ousted once untouchable politicians. In Brazil

and India, Russia and Spain, people took to

the streets to denounce corruption by the


And too often those in power were also

leaders of traditional political parties. When

such leaders are caught stealing, it becomes

another stain on parties, whose prestige and

allure has been steadily waning. These days,

political parties are seen not as natural habitats

for idealists but for fast-talking and often

hypocritical opportunists and careerists.

The disdain for politics as usual — and

therefore for parties locked in the status quo —

is intense, widespread, global. This is why antipolitics,

the rejection of traditional politics and

its practitioners, is such a popular instinct today.

The case of Tiririca vividly illustrates

why. In 2010 Francisco Everardo Oliveira

Silva, known professionally as Tiririca the

clown, ran for a congressional seat in Brazil,

campaigning in costume. His message was

honest and straightforward: “I don’t know what

a representative in Congress does, but if you

send me there I will tell you.” He also explained

that his goal was “to help people in need in this

country … but especially my family.”

At the time, it was easy to dismiss Tiririca’s

run as an extreme anti-political gesture that

could happen only in a rowdy young democracy

like Brazil’s. But not for long. The sentiment

that propelled Tiririca to victory is similar to

that which drove the political success of the

comedian Beppe Grillo in Italy, or that of Mr.

Trump, a reality TV show host.

Both men were able to undermine the

power of dominant parties. While Mr. Grillo’s

Five Star Movement sought to displace Italy’s

political machine by positioning himself as a



Moisés Naím is a

distinguished fellow

at the Carnegie

Endowment for


Peace, Venezuela’s

former minister of

Trade and Industry

and author, most

recently, of “The

End of Power: From

Boardrooms to

Churches to States,

Why Being in Charge

Isn’t What It Used

to Be.


radical outsider, Mr. Trump took on traditional

politics as a radical insider, staging a hostile

takeover of the Republican Party.

Mr. Trump’s appeal to “drain the swamp” in

Washington. Mr. Grillo’s scorching denunciation

of the “caste” that in his view ran Italy to the

ground. Demonstrators’ banners in Brazil

imploring voters to “throw them all out.” These

examples resonate in similar ways.

These days, calls for a new political order

usually require the ouster of political parties

and elected leaders, and in many cases that

is the correct call. Corrupt and ineffectual


Yet many activists harbor the misconception

that the answer lies in nongovernmental

organizations, or in loose, nonhierarchical


Democracies, however, need political

parties. We need permanent organizations

that earn political power and govern, that are

forced to articulate disparate interests and

viewpoints, that can recruit and develop future

government leaders and that monitor those

already in power.

Political leaders need to have a stance on

preschool education and nuclear weapons,

health care and agriculture, and have wellarticulated

views on fighting terrorism and

regulating banks, among myriad other policy

issues. And political parties are the training

camps of these leaders.

To survive, political parties must regain

the ability to inspire and mobilize people —

especially the young — who might otherwise

disdain politics or prefer to channel whatever

political energy they have through single-issue

groups. Parties must be willing to overhaul their

structures, mind-sets and methods to adapt

to a new world. We also need to bring party

renewal to the foreground in any discussion of

contemporary politics.


everything we do — eating, reading, shopping,

dating, traveling and communicating — was

disrupted by new technologies and innovation.

Everything, that is, except the way we govern


We need a disruptive innovation that pulls

democratic parties into the 21st century.

OUR WORLD | 2018

© 2018 Moisés Naím. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate




to a New


By Francisco Jaime Quesado

The New Year is mostly about a New

Convergence. The Year in which


Competitive Advantage. In this way it´s

essential to learn the lessons that more than

ever emerge from a world that is trying to

its dynamic role in a complex and global

dimension. We must be reinvented in this

Year of New Convergence.

In the New Global Economy and


a central role to play towards a new attitude

connected with the creation of value and

focus on creativity. In a time of change,


a very demanding world, introducing in the

society and in the economy a capital of trust

and innovation that is essential to ensure a

central leadership in the future. The actors

from this world should be more and more

global, capable of driving to the social

matrix a unique dynamic of knowledge

building and selling it as a mobile asset on

the global market.

This Year of a New Convergence must be

supported by some strategic proposals that

demand a new operational agenda from all

the political, economical and social actors.

First of all, citizens and firms must know

how to integrate in a positive way it society.

Social cohesion is done with the constructive

participation of the citizens and it is more


be the right tool for this strategic ambition

for a New World.




Francisco Jaime

Quesado is the

General Manager

of the Innovation

and Knowledge

Society in Portugal,

a public agency

with the mission

of coordinating

the policies for

Information Society

and mobilizing

it through


research activities. It

operates within the

Ministry of Science,

Technology and

Higher Education.

Secondly, Innovation and Creativity

must be the “enablers” for competitiveness.

Universities and Companies must perform

a new strategic partnership centered in the

objectives of the added value, creativity and


This is the basis for a future effective

implementation of the New Strategy 2020.

Economy and society have still a strong

opportunity to implement an agenda of

innovation – the opportunity is more and


Thirdly, the excellence of the new world is

more and more the excellence of its regions.

The development of strategic projects like

the Poles of Competitiveness, Clusters

of Innovations and Knowledge Cities and


the basis for a new agenda in the world

depends on the capacity of its regions. A

New Time in the New Year is more and more

capacity of the local actors performing an



identity based on its strong culture. Culture

is a unique asset.


other global partners in the construction

of integrated projects focused on the

development of culture as a driver for

development. The reinvention of culture is

itself a very innovative way to involve more

and more the global actors in this project

for the future.

We need a New Year of the citizens.

Where people know who they are and have

a strong commitment with the values of

freedom, social justice and development.

This is the reason to believe that a new

standard of Democracy, more than a

possibility, is an individual and collective

necessity for all of us, effective global

citizens. Habermas is more than ever

the exercise of the capacity of the individual

participation as the central contribution to

the reinvention of the collective society.

This is a process that is not determined

by law. It is a real roadmap for a New Year

of Convergence.

130 2018 | OUR WORLD

The time beckons

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

There is an old saying that time and tide

waits for no man. Yet, there are some

to it and there are others who have the ability

to change it. People look towards leaders to

bring about this change. Every new year they

wish for a better life and a better society to

be in.

Consciously or unconsciously, people

hold the leaders responsible for the state

that they are in. Whereas often, leaders feel

that they are not in control of the factors

contributing to their challenges. And there

goes the blame game. In this ping pong of

responsibilities, both leaders, and the society

are at a loss. What to do in this situation, is a

question that weighs heavily on one’s mind.

While greed of a few and unethical practices

have caused economic turmoil in the world;

the arms and the pharmaceuticals lobbies

are further fueling unrest and compromising

peace. Egotistic attitude of power hungry

people has caused destruction for decades

and has inflicted immense suffering in the

lives of millions. Here, the political parties,

media houses, business enterprises, and faithbased

organizations, have a great role to play.

They can make a big impact, either positive

or negative, on the human psyche. However,

some political leaders thrive on creating alarm.

A few religious zealots prey on guilt. Negative

bias in society is further instigated by a section

of media selling sensationalism. Short-sighted

and profit hungry business approaches

compromise sustainable and inclusive growth.

In this divisive and self-serving atmosphere,

there are very few who are striving to uplift the

human spirit. It is hardly surprising then, that

our population is reeling in depression and

the opioid crisis – the two foremost challenges

facing us this decade. With this bleak picture

around, the onus of bringing hope lies on the

leaders. A leader has to maintain high levels

of enthusiasm and conviction to pull people


is indeed an uphill task. Leaders can only do

this, if they can tap into their inner strength.

There are many ways of doing so and I would

say making yoga and meditation part of one’s


help one to start each day with a clean slate,

OUR WORLD | 2018

Sri Sri Ravi


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

is a revered global


and a renowned

ambassador of


He is the founder

of The Art of Living

Foundation (1981)

and the International

Association for

Human Values

(1997), both active

in 155 countries

and engaged in

diverse humanitarian

projects including

trauma and stress

relief in crisis areas

and for victims of

violence, prisoner

rehabilitation and


care. He is also the

founder of the World

Forum for Ethics

in Business, which

regularly convenes