Topic Category: World

“Syrians are everywhere,” an aid worker told me. “Everybody is poor now.” Well over a million Syrians are scattered across Lebanon, many in small “tented settlements.” Almost half live in sub-standard housing; many lack fuel and warm clothes for winter. The government spends upwards of $1 billion annually to care for refugees and local residents are losing patience with the influx. Nearly a third of the country’s population is made up of people fleeing one conflict (Syria) or another (Iraq, Palestine).

Topic: World
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The threat Islamic extremism and ISIS in particular poses to security and eventually to longer term business and investment conditions was underscored in November when parts of Paris were attacked by gunmen and suicide bombers. Some 129 people were murdered and hundreds wounded. The Paris incidents were preceded this year by numerous onslaughts.

Topic: World
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American voters face a dizzying array of 2016 presidential candidates — 21 at last count. Their positions on economic issues likely will command voters’ greatest interest. Historically, unless the country is at war, foreign policy has not been an issue of great interest during presidential elections. But this time may be different as two critical issues weigh on the minds of many Americans.

Topic: World
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When Minister Shinzo Abe opted for an early election in December 2014, he did so with the stated aim of affirming his government’s popular mandate to proceed with an ambitious program of reforms dubbed Abenomics. The reforms were designed to lift the economy out of the low gear in which it has been stuck for more than two decades.

Topic: World
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China’s stock markets and currency recently incurred precipitous declines. These problems are reflective of much bigger issues that have allowed many Chinese to confuse a rising stock market with a healthy one — and an economic system with a sustainable one. Moving forward, China’s brand of one-party capitalism will continue to incur inescapable difficulties. What does this mean for the future of China? And how does it impact the United States?

Topic: World
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China’s decision to abruptly devalue its currency against the dollar is being sold as a move toward a more market-determined exchange rate. But it is sure to infuriate those in Congress who have long argued that China is a currency manipulator. When Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Washington, he will face a more hostile Congress, even if the International Monetary Fund supports the new currency arrangement whereby market forces have a greater role in setting the daily central parity for the yuan-dollar exchange rate.

Topic: World
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Before this year, nobody would have mentioned Greece, Puerto Rico and Illinois in the same breath. At one time they had little in common. Now they are linked by failed economies. The modern Greek state, which was established in 1830 following the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece some 4,000 years ago.

Topic: World
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Many are unaware that Bloomberg predicts the Philippines to become the second fastest growing economy in the world in 2015 — a stunning achievement for a country that has for many years been considered an under performer. Since 2010, GDP growth under President Benigno S. Aquino III was an average of 6.2 percent — the highest in four decades, and coinciding with the Great Recession.

Topic: World
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The U.S. response to the ever deepening political and economic crisis in Venezuela, and the regime’s increasingly aggressive behavior toward its neighbors and the international community, is compelling evidence that the Barack Obama administration is sincere in respecting the sovereignty of nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, and allowing the region to address its own governance issues.

Topic: World
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Monetary policy has become a slave to boosting asset prices. Sound money has given way to speculative impulses as major central banks suppress interest rates and investors search for yield by taking on more risk. The disconnect between the real economy and financial markets is evident not only in China but in the United States, Japan and Europe.

Topic: World
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