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Tag Archives: International & World

The conferment of an honorary doctorate at Helsinki University: my speech.

This is a speech delivered to the staff of the University of Helsinki, and to hundreds of students awarded masters’ and doctorate degrees, on the auspicious day of 22nd May, 2022. One of the requirements of the conferment committee was that all speeches should include another language. I therefore began mine in Afrikaans. After the pause below, I summarise the content of the opening paragraphs, so bear with me… Ek wil net kortliks sê dit is n baie lang pad van die klein dorpie,...

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A War No One Can Win – Ukraine and the Weaponisation of Everything

This article first appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 19 March 2022. Russian Invasion of Ukraine The Russian invasion of Ukraine started on 24 February 2022. Since then, several thousand combatants from both sides and more than 500 Ukrainian civilians have died, bombs have ruined many cities, and more than two million Ukrainians, half of them children, left the country to become refugees. And the sweeping sanctions the West imposed on Russia in response not only...

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Rentier capitalism is profoundly risk-averse

The following article is based on my speech notes for a presentation to University College London’s Global Business School for Health on 22nd February 2022. The webinar was titled: Health Innovation through Capital and Private Equity Markets webinar. The question panellists were asked to address was this: “….whether capital and private equity markets are actually driving forward better and sustainable health innovation?” I argued that private capital and private equity markets – far from...

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Climate crisis, global debt, and the Fermi paradox – a proposal to the IMF

This article first appeared in the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly on 13 November, 2021. Fermi Paradox In a recent article, Yıldızoğlu (2021) reminded us of the Fermi Paradox, which can be summarised as: Although the probability of the existence of other forms of life in the universe is sufficiently high, why have we not met any? Enrico Fermi, the Italian–American physicist and the creator of the world’s first nuclear reactor, was probably not the first person who asked: “but...

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Billionaires & the pandemic: in happy alignment

There are two global forces positively thriving – despite today’s crises. They are the lethal coronavirus and the world’s billionaires – engaged in a form of ‘co-production’. Why are they thriving? And why do their interests align so happily? The ‘interests’ of a lethal virus are clear. The microbe’s supreme ambition is to spread as fast as possible, infect millions of humans, accelerate the process of transmission and evolve into a global pandemic. Never mind the consequences. How can this...

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Realizing the potential of Development Banks for sustainable, equitable recovery

The major challenges we face as we look to the coming decade – in particular urgently mitigating climate change, and reducing inequality – require major action. Development Banks, at national, regional or multilateral level, will be key to help finance recovery from the COVID crisis and achieve long-run structural transformation of existing economies to ones that serve people and planet far better. By providing financing and mobilizing private finance, Development Banks (DBs) need to...

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Realizing the potential of Development Banks for sustainable, equitable recovery

The major challenges we face as we look to the coming decade – in particular urgently mitigating climate change, and reducing inequality – require major action. Development Banks, at national, regional or multilateral level, will be key to help finance recovery from the COVID crisis and achieve long-run structural transformation of existing economies to ones that serve people and planet far better. By providing financing and mobilizing private finance, Development Banks (DBs) need to...

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COP26: system change to sustain life on earth

The UN’s conference takes place in November 2021and will be led by the British government. It is apparently committed to “uniting the world to tackle climate change”. It needs to achieve far more. To tackle climate change and protect the ecosystem that sustains life on earth, we need to do more than just bring down emissions, and reimagine the economy.  We must transform the current globalised financial system. Why? Because the spigot of (largely) deregulated global credit fuels global...

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Review: Trade Wars are Class Wars

The following review appeared in the Times Literary Supplement on 6th January, 2021.  Trade Wars are Class Wars presents an eagle-eyed perspective on the global economy, underpinned by close analysis and a remarkable clarity of exposition. The book is a terrific survey of the forces behind today’s global trade tensions and imbalances – even if the authors ultimately fall short of defining an alternative system. Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis contend that trade wars – such as currently...

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Karl Polanyi’s “Present Age of Transformation”: the Bennington Lectures 80 years on

 As 2020 draws to a close, and with a new US President due to take office in a few weeks, we want to mark – if a little late in the year – the 80th anniversary of Karl Polanyi’s five lecture series at Bennington College, Vermont, which he called “The Present Age of Transformation”.  PRIME is proud to have published these in pdf format back in February 2017, with the much appreciated consent of the college, which ‘houses’ the original lecture manuscripts.  We were particularly delighted that...

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