Measuring happiness internationally

One reasonable way of thinking about the most fundamental goal of international economic development is to increase the level of human happiness in all countries, and to reduce the degree of inequality of happiness within and across countries. But, as Aristotle asked several millennia ago, what is happiness? And how can we measure it, either …

Global inequality

image: scenes from Mumbai, April 2016 Inequalities of wealth and income throughout the world have generated a great deal of attention in the  past several years, in both the media and the scholarly world. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century gave this set of debates a huge impetus when it appeared in 2013. Branko …

Tyler Cowen on global inequality

Tyler Cowen sounds a bit like Voltaire's Pangloss when he argues, as the New York Times headline puts it, that we are living "all in all, [in] a more egalitarian world" (link). Cowen acknowledges what most people concerned about inequalities believe: "the problem [of inequality] has become more acute within most individual nations"; but he shrugs this off …

The global city — Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen is the leading urban theorist of the global world. (Here are several prior posts that intersect with her work.) Her The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo (1991) has shaped the concepts and methods that other theorists have used to analyze the role of cities and their networks in the contemporary world. The core ideas …

The talent supply chain

The talent supply chain I had an interesting discussion with a senior executive of Kelly Services that provided some very striking new perspectives on the world of work. Kelly Services is a global workforce solutions company, providing temporary and medium-term workers with a very wide range of specialized skills (link). One thing that was particularly …

Is justice a security issue?

Most people would probably say they would prefer to live in a more just world to a less just one. There is a strong moral basis for preferring justice. But is this a consideration that states and large international organizations need to take into account as they design their strategies and plans for serving their present …

Civil society in a globalizing world

An important component of western political theory since Locke and Rousseau is the notion of civil society—the idea of a society in which members have a variety of cross-cutting activities and associations, and where the state is not the sole source of social power. On this conception, a civil society is one that is characterized …

Food and water

  It seems likely enough that one of the largest global security issues in the next fifty years will be food and water.  There is a brewing food crisis underway already, with prices for staple grains rising world wide, and poor countries are beginning to experience the consequences.  But a crisis in fresh water seems …

Thinking cities darkly

Image: frame from West of the Tracks Cities capture much of what we mean by "modern," and have done so since Walter Benjamin's writings on Paris (link). But unlike the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, much of our imagining of cities since the early twentieth century has been dark and foreboding. A recent volume edited by Gyan …

Super-high-density Shanghai

Shanghai is a city approaching 20 million people, and it is arguably the most economically dynamic city in Asia.  This concentration of population and economic activity surely has important long-term consequences.  There was an interesting piece in the Shanghai Daily recently by Nate Stein, called "Sky's the limit for well planned city of Shanghai."  Stein makes a …

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