Political risk must-reads

April 17, 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.

Japan: challenges and opportunities

The Incredible Shrinking Country” — D.M., the Economist

Japan’s population began shrinking in 2004; last year, it declined by 244,000 people. The population is also aging: 22 percent of citizens are 65 or older. Is there any way to reverse these trends?

Japan’s Profound Ambivalence Over Nuclear Energy” — Per Liljas, Time

A recent poll found that 69 percent of Japanese citizens want nuclear power to be phased out. So why has Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just unveiled a new energy plan that goes against the public’s preference?

Australia and Japan Conclude Free Trade Deal” — Anthony Fensom, the Diplomat

After seven years of negotiation, Australia and Japan have inked a free trade deal. Over the next twenty years, it should provide an estimated boost to GDP of up to 1.79 percent for Australia and 0.13 percent for Japan. Australia is Japan’s third-largest source of imports and tenth-largest export market.

America, China and India: jobs and economics

Jobs Report: Back to Where We Started” —  Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight

After six years, the United States’ private sector has restored all the jobs lost in the Great Recession. But the situation is not as rosy as it appears. Total payroll (including government employment) remains 400,000 below its peak and the adult population has expanded by 14 million over this time span.

Is the American Middle Class Losing Out to China and India” — Thomas Edsall, the New York Times

From 1998 to 2008, the middle class in China and India enjoyed an estimated 60 to 70 percent income growth, while growth stayed flat for the middle/working classes in the United States. Did China and India experience this growth at America’s expense?

The numbers that explain why Amazon and eBay are pouring millions into India’s e-commerce market” — Leo Mirani, Quartz

Last year, India’s 20 million online shoppers spent roughly $2 billion online. Some 280 million Chinese — half the country’s online population, more or less — spent $106 billion online in 2013. As India continues to play catch up on e-commerce, does it present an opportunity? Amazon set up shop in June.

Is China the Next Lehman Brothers?” — John Cassidy, the New Yorker

Since 1991, China’s inflation-adjusted growth rate has averaged roughly 10 percent a year. But China’s overall debts have risen from about 125 percent of GDP in 2008 to 200 percent last year. Do parts of China now resemble parts of the United States in 2007 — places like Florida and Nevada — with a real estate bubble about to burst? What would the impact on global markets be?


What Superheroes Look Like in 14 Countries Around the World” — Abdul Siddiqui, PolicyMic

What are some of the more obscure foreign superheroes — and how do they reflect the culture they come from?


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