Who needs the rule of law, anyway?

The Pudong area of Shanghai, as seen from the Bund (Source: Flickr: mclcbooks)

China is not always known for its adherence to the rule of law.  The judiciary is controlled by the Communist Party, and criminal trials, which 98% of the time result in convictions, “often amount to mere sentencing announcements”, according to Freedom House.  The law that exists is flouted with impunity; provisions against torture do little… Continue Reading ➤

Prostitution, Drugs, and GDP: does the Reality Check Pay Off?

[source: Wikimedia]

The European economic recovery seems to have found an unlikely helping hand. The UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Finland are among the nations now moving to include illicit activities in their calculations of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the most widely-used measure of goods and services output across an economy. By one estimate, the UK could… Continue Reading ➤

Anonymou$

British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission [source: Wikipedia]

Above a certain amount, cash ceases to be useful. Anyone making serious profits from criminal activity needs the money in a less suspicious, more amenable form—in a bank account to start with, and then perhaps invested in something more exciting: a helicopter (Arnoldo Aléman, corrupt ex-President of Nicaragua), or a $15 million New York apartment… Continue Reading ➤

Inflating another Bubble?

[source: wikimedia]

Since the 2008 recession, journalists and politicians have spilt much ink arguing over the nature and sustainability of the economic recovery in the UK. Pessimists first lamented a prolonged period of GDP flat-lining as the economy tinkered on the edge of a double-dip recession. Now that the UK is poised to be the fastest growing… Continue Reading ➤

Dubai: an economic paradox?

[source: Beth Swords]

Dubai has seen eight bear markets, in which the daily stock market has declined by 20% or more, in the past six years.  On June 30th, the benchmark DFM General Index lost 26% in value. But Dubai is still considered one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Volatility is often considered an impediment… Continue Reading ➤

Fair Trade?

Maxhavel/German Wikipedia under Creative Commons License

In 2001, leaders from 143 member states of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met in Doha, Qatar to begin a new round of talks. The aim of these talks, known as the Doha Development Round, was to reduce global barriers to trade, a mission in keeping with the increasingly globalised economy of the 21st century…. Continue Reading ➤

Bon Appétit: Capitalism, with a Side of Fair Trade

fairtrade

Recognizing the “fair trade” certification symbol on a favourite supermarket food item is often cause for a mental pat-on-the-back for more ethically-minded consumers. This is because this symbol often comes along with a Fairtrade Association promise that the item in your basket has been produced with “better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair… Continue Reading ➤

Uneconomical Nomads in the Negev

Wadi al Na'am, a Bedouin Village [Source: Eliyahu Hershkovitz]

In September 2011 the Israeli government embarked on a five-year economic development programme aimed at the Bedouin: a traditionally nomadic Middle Eastern people with a significant population in the country’s Negev Desert. It claims that the Prawer-Begin Plan will raise living conditions, improve access to services, and help the long-term prospects of what has long… Continue Reading ➤