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Must Reads of the Week: Inadequate Infrastructure, Uganda's Mercenaries, and More

Author: CFR.org Editors
May 13, 2016

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"Neglected Nation"
By Sam Fleming
Financial Times

"Inadequate infrastructure is far from unique to the US. Public investment has been trending lower as a share of GDP in economies including Japan, Germany and France in recent decades. The International Monetary Fund has implored governments with fiscal wiggle room to loosen constraints on investment to combat moribund growth. Anxiety about the topic in the US has become politically explosive. Economists such as Lawrence Summers, former Treasury secretary and Financial Times columnist, argue that increased public investment on infrastructure would essentially pay for itself via improved growth. That is strongly contested by Republicans who want to cut the role of the state as they sabre-rattle over public waste and a national debt of $19 trillion."

A mobile electronic street sign informs drivers of a detour ahead in San Diego, California.A mobile electronic street sign informs drivers of a detour ahead in San Diego, California. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)
"Uganda’s Top Export: Mercenaries"
By David Gauvey Herbert
Bloomberg Businessweek

"Although the country borders tumultuous South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda today is an island of relative political stability. The economy hums. Shopping malls bloom around the capital. Its people, to generalize, are deeply religious, family-oriented, and averse to profanity. Winston Churchill dubbed Uganda the Pearl of Africa in part for its friendly people. It’s also one of the leading providers of mercenaries—or ‘private military contractors,’ as the security industry prefers to call them. They are at once everywhere and nowhere."

"Persecution in Myanmar: Left for Dead (Part 1)" (Video)
VICE News

"In recent years, democratic reforms have swept through Myanmar, a country that for decades was ruled by a military junta. As the reforms took hold, however, things were growing progressively worse for the Rohingya, a heavily persecuted ethnic Muslim minority concentrated in the country's western state of Rakhine. In part one of our three-part series, VICE News correspondent Danny Gold travels to Myanmar to investigate the violence and discrimination faced by the country's Muslim minority. In part two, Gold speaks to a police informant in neighboring Thailand about the discovery of mass graves that have been tied to human trafficking. In the final part, Gold reveals leaked internal UN documents that suggest an effort to keep concerns about the Rohingya quiet, and speaks to a former UN human rights officer about the organization’s passive response to the situation in Myanmar.”

"Government Must Play a Role Again in Job Creation"
By Eduardo Porter
New York Times

"Epochal [labor force] transformations like these are complicated; difficult to understand, let alone manage; and driven not only by domestic forces but also by global dynamics over which American politicians have limited control. During much of the 19th and 20th centuries, government at multiple levels played an essential role in shaping the nation’s transition from farms and small towns to cities and factories. It could do so again. What has stopped it is not the lack of practical ideas but the encrusted ideological opposition to government activism of any kind."

"Heat of the Moment: Everyday Life on a Changing Planet"
WBEZ 91.5 Chicago

"Climate change will alter the lives of everyone on earth. It’s changing how people live and eat. It’s reshaping national economies. It’s wiping out species. We set out to collect stories from people who are already confronting these problems. This is a story we are all living."

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