ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 10/01/2019

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The Economist / The retreat of global democracy stopped in 2018

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index rates 167 countries by 60 indicators across five broad categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties.
  • The index is stricter than most similar indices: it concludes that just 4.5% of the world’s people live in a “full democracy”. However, the overall global score remained stable in 2018 for the first time in three years.
  • Political participation improved more than any other measure on the EIU’s index. This is true even in advanced democracies such as the US, where voters are highly disgruntled.
  • Parts of Europe are suffering from a democratic malaise, with Italy falling from 21st to 33rd in the rankings. Turkey’s score declined for the sixth year in a row, and Russia’s deteriorated for the tenth year in a row.

Financial Times – The Editorial Board / A new president and new role for the World Bank

  • Absurdly, given the shifts of power in the global economy, the rich world maintains a reciprocal stitch-up: the World Bank presidency goes to an American, whereas the managing director of the International Monetary Fund is always a European.
  • Following Jim Yong Kim’s resignation as World Bank president, the fix will probably continue. It should not. Another president lacking broad-based political legitimacy would continue to weaken the credibility of an institution whose development function is being eroded year by year.
  • The bank will require a president with the clout to persuade member governments to shift financing towards the provision of global public goods such as managing water, combating pandemics, maintaining biodiversity and addressing the development impacts of migration and refugee crises.
  • The World Bank should also be able to maneuver in a new world where regional institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have increasing influence. Moreover, in a possibly protracted economic or strategic hostility with China, it must not be seen to be taking the American side.

Project Syndicate – Gordon Brown / Globalization at a crossroads

  • It is already clear that the 2008-2018 decade marked an epochal shift in the balance of economic power. Unless the West can find a way to uphold multilateralism in an increasingly multipolar world, China will continue to develop alternative financial and governance institutions.
  • While President Trump at least detects the growing threat to American supremacy, he has ignored the most obvious strategy for responding to it: namely, a united front with US allies and partners around the world.
  • There is a deep irony here. When America actually did preside over a unipolar world, it generally preferred to act through multilateral institutions. But now that the world is becoming more multipolar, the Trump administration is going it alone.
  • There is yet another paradox. Discontent over globalization has brought a new wave of protectionism and unilateralism, but addressing the sources of that discontent can only be accomplished through cooperation.
  • Yet we must hold out hope. The Cold War lasted four agonizing decades, not least because the Soviet Union refused to acknowledge the value of markets and private property, and eschewed contact with the West. The same cannot be said for China today.

The Guardian – Jason Burke / Congo election: opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi declared surprise winner

  • Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s main opposition party, has been declared the surprise winner of the 30 December presidential election in the vast central African country. The result means the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC.
  • The outcome will come as a shock to many observers who believed authorities would ensure that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, hand-picked by outgoing president Joseph Kabila to succeed him, would be the victor in the elections.
  • Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, one of Kabila’s top advisers, said he accepted the loss. However, opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who had a healthy lead in the pre-election polls, immediately rejected the result.
  • Domestic election observers say they witnessed serious irregularities on election day and during vote tallying, although a regional observer mission said the election went “relatively well”.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 



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