Political risk must-reads

February 22, 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 denies it is world’s biggest trader despite data showing it passed US last year

By The Associated Press

With great trading comes great responsibility. For China, the bragging rights of being the world’s #1 trader don’t offset the perceived political obligations that come with it. What will this mean when China becomes the largest economy in the world overall? 

They Actually Plan to Mine Asteroids. Here’s How

By Daniel Bukszpan, CNBC

The space market is skyrocketing. First, take the black market that arose in the wake of the meteor striking Russia last week—even space debris is subject to the corruption and supply/demand forces at play in Russia. This article outlines how Planetary Resources, Inc. aims to mine asteroids that travel close to Earth. Says the CEO, “a single 500-meter LL chondrite has more platinum on it than has been mined in the history of humanity.”

Globalising giving

The Economist

Of the 1,223 billionaires in 2012, 102 have signed the Gates-Buffett pledge to donate half of their total worth over the course of their lives. Finding emerging market billionaires who’ll contribute has proven a lot more challenging: one Indian (out of 48) and no Chinese (out of 95) have signed on thus far.

No, Greenland does not belong to China

By Martin Breum and Jorgen Chemnitz, The New York Times

How has Greenland’s relationship with Denmark opened the door to foreign investment? What role will China play in the country—and by extension, the Arctic? Can Greenland, with a population of 57,000, handle the potential influx of 3,000 Chinese workers?

Longer Reads

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

By Michael Moss, The New York Times Magazine

“Today, one in three adults is considered clinically obese, along with one in five kids.”  Read this piece for the science—and the politics—behind junk food’s overwhelming success.

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

By Steven Brill, TIME

In the Obamacare debate, the main question has been, ‘Who pays?’ Through meticulous research and reporting, this piece takes a step back and provides answers to a more fundamental concern: ‘Why must anybody pay this much in the first place?’

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