Central bankers have always carried a mystique far beyond justification, whether they are cast as malicious, incomprehensible, or all-powerful. Neil Irwin's new book on monetary policy during the financial crisis should dispel these myths once and for all.
See more in Global; Financial Crises; Monetary Policy
Thanks to a once-obscure law passed in 1789, foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers can use U.S. courts to sue their abusers. But the Supreme Court may soon ban such suits. That would be a shame, since they offer victims some measure of solace and give substance to underenforced human rights laws. The law should be upheld, and other countries should follow the U.S. lead.
See more in Courts and Tribunals; Human Rights; Global
Since their inception in 2000, The Millennium Development Goals have revolutionized the global aid business, using specific targets to help mobilize and guide development efforts. They have encouraged world leaders to tackle multiple dimensions of poverty simultaneously and provided a standard for judging performance. As their 2015 expiration looms, the time has come to bank those successes and focus on what comes next.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Poverty; Global
Every aspiring beauty-pageant queen knows what to say when asked what she wants most: "World peace." World peace is at least nominally what we all want most. But evidently, we are not very good at making it.
See more in Global; Peacekeeping
Coal combustion is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet. But the fuel isn't going away anytime soon, since demand for it is ballooning in the developing world. So instead of indulging in quixotic visions of a coal-free world, policymakers should focus on supporting new technologies that can reduce how much carbon coal emits.
See more in Coal; Global
As the global financial sector has swelled, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Three new books -- by James Galbraith, Robert Shiller, and Charles Ferguson -- come down differently on how much banks are to blame for inequality and what the government should do about it.
See more in International Finance; Financial Crises; Global
The link between crime and the state is neither as new nor as scary as Moisés Naím depicted it, argues Peter Andreas; after all, criminals have been corrupting governments for centuries.
See more in Global; Transnational Crime
Mafia states enjoy the unhealthy advantages of their hybrid status: they're as nimble as gangs and as well protected as governments, and thus more dangerous than either.
See more in Transnational Crime; Global
Recent advances have made wind and solar power more competitive than ever. Still, governments must redesign their policies and help renewables slash costs.
See more in Renewable Energy; Global
The main health threat in developing states today is not plagues or parasites but illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, noncommunicable diseases long associated with the rich world.
See more in Diseases, Noncommunicable; Global
Francis Fukuyama shot to fame with a 1989 essay called "The End of History?" which he expanded into a 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. His thesis was a reworking of the "end of ideology" argument propounded in the 1950s by Daniel Bell and others, with an even more emphatic twist.
See more in Wars and Warfare; History and Theory of International Relations; Global
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, articulates the idea that it is wrong to exclude any member of the human species from the circle of moral concern.
See more in Environmental Policy; Global
Nearly 90 percent of the world's economy is fueled every year by digging up and burning about four cubic miles of the rotted remains of primeval swamp goo
See more in Energy Policy; Oil; Global
Today's troubles are real, but not ideological: they relate more to policies than to principles. The postwar order of mutually supporting liberal democracies with mixed economies solved the central challenge of modernity, reconciling democracy and capitalism. The task now is getting the system back into shape.
See more in Americas; Global; Politics and Strategy; History and Theory of International Relations
Stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of contemporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies.
See more in Americas; Financial Regulation; Politics and Strategy; Global
Globalization is widening the gap between what voters demand and what their governments can deliver. Unless the leading democracies can restore their political and economic solvency, the very model they represent may lose its allure.
See more in Globalization; Global
Confidence in the dollar and the euro continues to falter, threatening the international monetary system.
See more in Global; Monetary Policy
Three new books look at poverty from the bottom up, painting a vivid portrait of the lives poor people live.
See more in Poverty; Global
Intervening militarily to save lives abroad often sounds good on paper, but the record has not been promising.
See more in Humanitarian Intervention; Global
The world cannot let the March disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant scare it into forgoing the benefits of nuclear energy—a cheap, reliable, and safe source of electricity
See more in Nuclear Energy; Global