Václav Havel

Václav Havel, playwright and former Czech president, passed away this weekend. He was widely recognized for his struggles on behalf of democracy and human dignity. The New York Times remembers Havel: A shy yet resilient, unfailingly polite but dogged man who articulated the power of the powerless, Mr. Havel spent five years in and out of Communist prisons, lived for two decades under close secret-police surveillance and endured the suppression of his plays and essays. He served 14 years as president, wrote 19 plays, inspired a film and a rap song and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist […]

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Ellen, Leymah, and Tawakkol

At the ceremonies last night three women took center stage to accept the 2011 Nobel Peace Price. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, 73; Leymah Gbowee, 39, a social worker and a peace activist; and Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist and a political activist who, at 32, were all recognized for their non-violent struggle against injustice, sexual violence and repression on the backdrops of the Arab Spring and democratic progress in Africa. In her address, Mrs. Sirleaf said: In its selection this year, the Nobel Committee has brought here three women linked by their commitment to change, and by their […]

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Russia Will Join the European Union, Predicts Goldman Sachs

In his forecast for the next 10-40 years, Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs defies the critics of Russia’s continued membership of the Bric team and it’s future economic growth: Russia doesn’t need dramatic growth rates. It just needs to avoid crises. Russia is often singled out as the Bric country that doesn’t belong in the Brics. Critics say that with its aging population, dependence on oil and gas and widespread corruption, it’s not in the same league as its dynamic rivals – Brazil, India and China Jim O’Neill, the Brics’ inventor, disagrees. In The Growth Map, a book marking the […]

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Africa’s Middle Class is Booming

Optimism about Africa needs to be taken in fairly small doses; most Africans still live on less than two dollars a day. But some countries on the continent are doing extremely well, thanks to a boom in commodities: Over the past decade six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere’s slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia. Africa now […]

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Democracy in China by 2017

Few countries with per head incomes of more than $10,000 a year survives as autocratic/authoritarian/totalitarian nations except for oil exporters. Charles Robertson of Renaissance Capital boldly predicts China could be a democracy by 2017: China, on about $7,500 and growing fast, is approaching the income level when democratic change often begins. There are powerful arguments about why both countries might be permanent exceptions to the democracy rule. […]

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Jim Was Right about Bric

Ten years ago Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs predicted the four growth economies – Brazil, China, India and Russia together would lead the World’s economic development. And he was right: A quick look at the MSCI indices for the four Brics since 2001 shows that they have comfortably outperformed the S&P 500. If you invested $100 at the time of O’Neill’s report in November 2001 in each of the four Brics, you would now have $674 from Brazil, $451 from China, $459 from India and $414 from Russia. Your 100 S&P bucks? Worth $112. […]

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The Massive Workforce in China & India

The emerging world, long a source of cheap labour, now rivals the rich countries for business innovation, says S.D. Shibulal, CEO of Infosys: In recent years China and India have led the way in becoming the new hubs for growth, innovation and talent. They produce close to 700,000 engineers every year. The availability of such a large pool of talent is the much needed fuel to power the growth of industries across sectors in these countries. This has been complemented by the presence of a large middle-class population (160m in India and 230m in China) with rising disposable incomes. China […]

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Bric Acronym Turns 10

The Bric acronym celebrates it’s 10th anniversary. The world as we know it today is quite different from what it was a decade ago. To sustain growth, the world’s poor must be included in the development, as S.D. Shibulal, CEO of Infosys puts it: […] the biggest challenge that faces the Bric countries is quite unique in that they are countries of contradiction. Countries like India and China in particular, despite leading the Bric growth story, are no different. Take a look at India. It has had average growth of 8 to 8.5 per cent in recent years – but […]

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