Political risk must-reads

February 1, 2013

Eurasia Group’s weekly selection of essential reading for the political risk junkie – presented in no particular order. As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections @EurasiaGroup or @IanBremmer.

China has been all over the news this week, with the New York Times hacking episode dominating headlines. But recent stories related to China venture much further than cyberspace.


The resource race: China dips toes in Arctic waters” – Christoph Seidler, Spiegel Online

This piece outlines China’s new ventures to the Arctic—and how China’s diplomatic tactics are shifting.

China’s love affair with cars chokes city air” – Louise Walt, Associated Press

Over the last decade, the automobile industry has skyrocketed in China. Last year, 13 million cars were sold. But what kind of environmental impact will such a rapid shift have?

Making room” – The Economist

In 2010, there were roughly 4,000 cities with populations of 100,000 or more.  (China had about 400 of those.)  But between 2010 and 2050, the UN anticipates that the world’s urban population will double. This piece reviews a new book by Shlomo Angel called Planet of Cities—the book predicts how future urbanization will play out. Here’s an interesting rule of thumb: usually, a country’s biggest cities break down such that the largest city has twice the population of the second largest, three times that of the third largest…etc. 

Chinese labour pool begins to drain” – Jamil Anderlini and Ed Crooks, Financial Times

China’s working age population unexpectedly shrank last year—a trend that wasn’t meant to begin until later this decade. What do China’s shifting demographics mean for the economy?

Mexico: the new China” – Chris Anderson, The New York Times

Is cheaper always better? This piece highlights some of the advantages of using Mexican manufacturing from an American business perspective. Anderson argues that it allows for more product evolution, innovation, and customization—and Chinese labor is getting less and less cheap.

Editor’s note: This was originally published at ForeignPolicy.com. It is being reprinted with permission.

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