Political risk must-reads
Eurasia Groupâ€™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 by tweeting at us viaÂ @EurasiaGroupÂ orÂ @ianbremmer.
â€śTaxis Vanish in Rain as Singapore Gets Congestedâ€ť â€“ Sharon Chen, Bloomberg
Singaporeâ€™s population has grown by more than a million since mid-2004 to 5.3 million today. The 1996 transport system white paper planned for a population of 4 million by 2030. All this growth is a good problem to haveâ€”but can Singaporeâ€™s infrastructure support it?
â€śSaudi Arabian Women Urged To Protest Against Driving Ban By Getting Behind The Wheel On October 26â€ť â€“ Sara C Nelson, Huffington Post
A petition is circling for a â€śday of defianceâ€ť where Saudi women will take the wheel in protest of a ban on their right to drive. The government seems to downplay the social importance of the ban — in 2005, Saudi Arabiaâ€™s Minister of the Interior said, â€śIt looks like some people want to make it an issue, but itâ€™s not.â€ť The petition has over 10,000 signatures that say otherwise.
â€śUkraine to become Chinaâ€™s largest overseas farmer in 3m hectare dealâ€ť â€“ Mandy Zuo, South China Morning Post
China just purchased a massive tranche of farmland from Ukraine. If certain conditions are met, the 100,000 hectares will expand to 3 million, or 5 percent of Ukraineâ€™s total land.
â€śUS and Iran: The art of the nuclear dealâ€ť â€“ Ali Gharib, Al Jazeera America
How much leverage does the Obama administration really have to cut a deal with the Iranians regarding their nuclear program? According to the International Crisis Group, only eight of the 31 U.S. and international sanctions against Iran can be reversed by order of the White House (the rest require votes by the U.N., the European Union or Congress).
â€śâ€™Get a boat!â€™ Venezuela flights booked full for monthsâ€ť â€“ Girish Gupta and Andrew Cawthorne, Yahoo News
Flights in Venezuela are virtually sold out for months in advance. US dollars now sell on the black market at a 7x markup from the government-sanctioned exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars to the dollar. How are these two trends interconnected? And what does it say about Venezuelaâ€™s deteriorating economic condition?
The Troubled Currencies Project â€“ Steve H. Hanke (director), Cato Institute and Johns Hopkins
Venezuelaâ€™s currency is not the only one thatâ€™s pegged at an unworkable exchange rate. This project tracks the worldâ€™s most troubled currencies, along with the warped exchange rates and inflation implications.