Stuff I liked this week:

If you follow American politics, the big deal this week was Obama’s State of the Union address. But what if we take this to a global level- how are we doing and where are we headed?

1.  Global inequality
Branko Milanovic (World Bank, Columbia University) tells us why and how global inequality is actually decreasing! He’s among the most knowledgable and respected economists in this area, so he’s worth listening to

On the other hand, Winnie Byanyima (Oxfam) announced that by 2016, the top 1% will have more wealth than the bottom 99%. The announcement comes at a tender time for the world’s elite, who are gathering in Switzerland for their annual World Economic Forum.

2. Our Future
Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, making bets for where the world will be at in 2015. Idealistic as ever, they wager that poverty will be wiped out and technology will transform health and banking for the poorest. Exciting predictions to read.

Politico magazine responded by interviewing 15 world renowned experts in various fields, asking for their predictions. Everything is in the cards; extraterrestrial engagement, biometric ID, a world without borders. For a reality check, skip ahead to Leslie Gelb, who asserts that “the world of 2030 will be an ugly place, littered with rebellion and repression.”

3. Just for Fun
Corporate Social Responsibility at its most transparent, a hilarious ad from my new favourite Max Joseph

What do you think? Do you fall on one side or the other of these two debates? Or did you just skip ahead to the last link, in which case- what’s your favourite ad?

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2 thoughts on “Stuff I liked this week:

  1. I also checked out Bill and Melinda’s thoughts this week. I tend to think like Bill, to a degree. I agree that technology seems poised to change the world in radical ways, and it feels like the poorest people in the world could be the ones to benefit the most. I think you can kind of feel it in the air. Unfortunately (?) technology doesn’t solve all of the ugly political problems in the world, and it doesn’t answer questions about “black swan” events that might or might not occur in the next 15 years. I’m also curious about whether the US financial system will run into serious trouble wrt debt, etc. Lots of unknowns. But those uncertainties aside, my intuition is that the next 15 years will continue to see some rather incredible changes due to technology, the Internet, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I recently read (somewhere) how its a lot easier to make predictions about technological progress because it tends to be pretty consistent, whereas political or economic change can be positive or negative (and very subjective). It’s interesting to look through the politico predictions to see how people’s field of expertise affect’s their view of the future. Still, the premise that the poorest stand to gain the most in the next 15 years is promising, and increasingly valid given the huge growth in emerging economies. I think the next 15 years are going to be exciting for India, where technology has really just started to take hold. They don’t let anyone forget that they are the world’s biggest democracy, and I think that holds promise for translating economic gains into social progress.

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