Political risk must-reads

By Ian Bremmer
April 3, 2014

Political risk must-reads

Eurasia Group’s 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 via @EurasiaGroup or @ianbremmer.

China and the environment

Traveling to China? Consider ‘Smog Insurance’” — Emily Rauhala, Time

The largest online travel agency in China may offer tourists a rebate if they should visit China’s major cities on days when pollution is severe — which is quite often.

China deploys drones to spy on polluting industries” — Jennifer Duggan, the Guardian

China has a novel use for drones: policing polluting industries. Offending companies cannot anticipate a drone flyover as readily as a conventional inspection trip. According to China Daily, drones have helped the ministry of environmental protection “resolve” over 200 environment-linked cases.

China Hits a Big Green Milestone” – the American Interest

For the first time, China is producing natural gas from one of its deep water fields. China aims to increase the percentage of natural gas in its energy mix from around 5 percent today to 10 percent by 2020; this will help it cut down on coal, which is far more environmentally unfriendly than natural gas. China accounts for about half of the world’s coal consumption.

The United States’ 1 percent

A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth” — Eduardo Porter, the New York Times

The richest 1 percent of Americans have amassed a fifth of the country’s income. What are the global implications if that number grows to half?

America’s democracy is fit for the 1%” — Edward Luce, Financial Times

In his recent op-ed, Edward Luce argues that America’s 1 percent economy is something to worry about — but the wealthiest Americans’ ability to capture the democratic system and shape the political agenda is far more troubling.

Geographies of Tech Wealth: San Francisco to ‘Silicon Border’” — Luis Flores, Berkeley Planning Journal

What happens when an industry can generate massive profits without a commensurate workforce? As wealth and income distribution start falling along tech lines across the United States, it will be interesting to see how tech wealth affects income inequality globally.

Venezuela: two sides of the coin

Venezuela’s Failing State” — Leopoldo Lopez, the New York Times

Venezuela: A Call for Peace” — Nicolas Maduro, the New York Times

The jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez penned an op-ed in the New York Times. Not to be outdone, President Nicolas Maduro did the same. The two pieces are night and day. Lopez highlights the incomprehensible suffering of the Venezuelan people at the hands of the government. Maduro points to huge advances in poverty reduction and pins the blame for recent violence on the opposition.

Bonus

The Breakfast Squeeze: Why Orange Juice, Bacon, and Coffee Are Getting Pricier” — Gail Sullivan, the Washington Post

The famous All-Star Breakfast at Waffle House may be getting a little more expensive. Thanks to a pig epidemic, a Brazilian drought and misused fungicide, the prices of bacon, coffee and orange juice are being squeezed simultaneously. Expect grocers and restaurants to pass increased prices onto the consumer as the international markets adjust to these higher commodity prices.

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