The Idea Department is a space for the discussion of politics, economics, global affairs, ethics, international relations, and related topics - brought to you by the staff and interns at Project Syndicate.
In his latest commentary, Special Adviser to the UN on the Millennium Development Goals Jeffrey D. Sachs analyzes the growing disparity between children in the United States and those from high income countries around the world. The results, he claims, are startling and should rattle the nerves of both parents and the American government.
American children suffer far more from low birth weight (a major danger signal for later life); being overweight at ages 11, 13, and 15; and very high rates of teenage fertility. There are around 35 births for every 1,000 girls aged 15-19, compared to fewer than ten per thousand in the northern European countries.
Want more? Check out more of Sachs over at Project Syndicate.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has spent the past few months trying to reform the image of his government as less autocratic and more dedicated to achieving social justice. In order to do, he’s rolled out a simple, new slogan: “China Dream.”
Professor Minxin Pei comments on why this new found dream won’t last long.
Press censorship, repression of dissent, and the absence of organized opposition allow autocratic rulers everywhere to promise whatever they want, with no political consequences for failing to deliver. China has perfected this form of government over the last decade, as President Xi Jinping’s first months in power have shown.
Interested in learning what else Pei has to say about the potential for a complete Chinese agenda overhaul? Check out the article over at Project-Syndicate.
It’s safe to say that tensions have been pretty high in the Korean Peninsula and East Asia for the past month. There has been plenty of criticism from many of the leading global powers, but none more stinging than that from North Korea’s closest ally, China.
Professor Zhu Feng further discusses the “open disgust” that China holds towards the country, and how China will analyze and determine which actions to next take in the growing nuclear conflict.
For China, the Kim regime’s survival can be assured only if it follows China’s lead in reforming and opening up. But, faced with South Korea’s shining democracy and booming economy, the Chinese model is irrelevant to the North: following it would mean acknowledging the South’s supremacy on the Korean Peninsula, and thus an instant loss of legitimacy.
For more from Feng on this Chinese dilemma, read on at Project-Syndicate.
Climate Change— two words that have become a (literally) hot topic in the past decade due to melting glaciers, violent natural disasters and massively irregular weather patterns. For these reasons, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard adds some natural fuel to these debates by offering her impression on how the world’s leading financial institutions have failed in terms of funding new resources and sustainable energy projects.
…We are doing exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. Support for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources is lagging, while governments around the world spend hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing an incipient catastrophe. This must change.
Read more of Hedegaard and her argument for a more progressive environmental agenda over at Project-Syndicate.
As European leaders scramble to ease to the ongoing debt crisis on the continent, hedge-fund pioneer George Soros offers his solution in his new commentary. It’s so simple, he writes, that it can be summed up in a single word.
If countries that abide by the EU’s new Fiscal Compact were allowed to convert their entire stock of government debt into [blank], the positive impact would be little short of the miraculous. The danger of default would disappear, as would risk premiums. Banks’ balance sheets would receive an immediate boost, as would the heavily indebted countries’ budgets.
What’s his answer? To find out (hint: the title may be a good indication), go on over to Project-Syndicate.