Project Syndicate – Klaus Schwab / The great reconstruction
- We must recognize that we are living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in which businesses, economies, societies, and politics are being fundamentally transformed. Tinkering with our existing processes and institutions simply will not do.
- Although many countries are still trying to catch up to the previous industrial revolutions, they should recognize that the 4IR offers unique opportunities for leapfrogging to the newest innovations.
- Today, the global balance of power is being redistributed again – at incredible speed. Now that a single individual has the means to cause enormous destruction, we can no longer countenance a world divided between haves and have-nots.
- If the “Great Disruption” of 2018 is to be overcome, the world will need a new framework for global cooperation and, at a more fundamental level, fresh thinking about what free, fair, and inclusive economic relations would actually look like in today’s world.
- Financial Times – Niki Blasina / Davos 2019: What to watch for at this year’s World Economic Forum
Financial Times – The editorial board / France and Germany reaffirm their treaty vows
- Fifty-six years to the day after Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer signed a treaty of friendship and reconciliation between their two nations at the Elysée Palace, today’s French and German leaders will appear in the German town of Aachen to endorse a fresh bilateral accord.
- The Aachen treaty is largely an update that codifies habits of co-operation that have become routine over the decades. But there are some innovations.
- Frontier regions will be able to derogate from national law to facilitate cross-border infrastructure or environmental projects. The two countries will strive to create a Franco-German economic zone with harmonised corporate law regimes. And there will be deeper collaboration on research, particularly into artificial intelligence, as well as more cultural exchanges.
- A significant part of Tuesday’s treaty relates to defence. However, all in all, this pact lacks the operational detail of France’s Lancaster House defence treaty with Britain, a sign of continued German reticence.
The Guardian – Justin McCurry / North Korea: secret missile HQ uncovered as nuclear summit nears
- Experts have revealed an undeclared site that reportedly serves as the headquarters of one of North Korea’s ballistic missile programmes.
- The Sino-ri site, one of 20 North Korea is suspected of failing to declare, houses medium-range Nodong missiles that could be used in nuclear or conventional attacks, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
- Victor Cha, one of the co-authors of the report: “The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose. It looks like they’re playing a game. They’re still going to have all this operational capability” even if they destroy their disclosed nuclear facilities.
Project Syndicate – Ivan Krastev / The metamorphosis of central Europe
- In Central and Eastern Europe, why have people who still see themselves as wholly European endorsed a revolt against the European Union, while embracing xenophobia and nativism?
- Populism’s appeal is more psychological than ideological. For Central and Eastern European countries, adopting a foreign model of political economy turned out to have unexpected moral and psychological downsides. For the imitator, life becomes dominated by feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, dependency, and lost identity.
- Across the region, the combination of an aging population, low birth rates, and mass emigration has stoked a demographic panic, which has paradoxically been expressed as a fear of African and Middle Eastern refugees (hardly any of whom have actually ended up in Central Europe).
- This unavoidable sense of loss and inferiority explains why Poland has become the poster child of the new populism. The fact that the same country has also registered declining levels of inequality, rising standards of living, and the fastest growth in Europe between 2007 and 2017 hardly matters.
- Still, while Central Europeans have lost their appetite for imitation, they also know that the disintegration of the EU would be an epic tragedy for their countries. As a result, the region finds itself torn between reluctance to play the role of a pretender and fear that its own populist turn could precipitate a collapse of the EU.
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.