Project Syndicate | The Daily Star
  • The literary magic of Harry Potter

    This summer, at literary festivals and bookstores around the world, readers celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the debut of the first book in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series—Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (re-titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States)—and with good reason.

  • Counting what counts in development

    To most people, “development” is best measured by the quantity of change – like gains in average income, life expectancy, or years spent in school. The Human Development Index (HDI), a composite measure of national progress that my office at the United Nations Development Programme oversees, combines all three statistics to rank countries relative to one another.

  • Data driven gender equality

    A key agenda item at this year's annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, under way this week, will be to assess global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN's consensus roadmap for solving the world's biggest challenges by 2030.

  • An American political tragedy

    US President Donald Trump's nearly eight months in office have been characterised by a series of disturbing political developments.

  • Ending the torture trade

    Shock belts, spiked batons, and electrified thumbscrews can serve no other purpose than to inflict pain on people. But despite the fact that torture is prohibited by international law, goods such as these are still produced and sold, finding their way to buyers around the globe.

  • Optimising decision-making in a dangerous world

    The United States and China have reached a precarious moment in their relationship. Ensuring a peaceful outcome will be the greatest geopolitical challenge of the twenty-first century. Are our leaders up to it?

  • A "China First" strategy for North Korea

    Most pundits agree that the least bad way to deal with North Korea's nuclear sabre rattling is a continued combination of tight containment and aggressive diplomacy. Fewer, however, have recognised that the least bad military option is a Chinese invasion, or regime change forced through China's threat to launch one.

  • Combating hatred with history

    After a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which anti-fascist campaigner Heather Heyer was killed, and many others injured, US President Donald Trump notoriously blamed “both sides” for the violence.

  • Trump's doomed Afghan strategy

    The implications of Trump's speech extend beyond America's policy in Afghanistan. The address also sharpened the contours—already limned during his May visit to Saudi Arabia and his July visit to Poland—of what might be called the “Trump doctrine.”

  • Why Stephen Bannon had to go

    Stephen Bannon wasn't particularly wise as a White House aide—he couldn't contain his inner peacock—and Donald Trump's ego is particularly fragile. Both are or were misfits in their roles.

  • Revenge of the experts

    The Brexit debate is an endless source of mirth for anyone with a dark sense of humour. My own favourite quote is from Michael Gove, currently Britain's environment secretary.

  • Are Nazis as American as apple pie?

    Is the United States threatened by Nazism? The short answer is no, notwithstanding the frightening events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • The wrong way to prevent nuclear war

    A vast majority of countries want to eliminate the existential threat of nuclear catastrophe, and rightly so. But achieving a world free of nuclear weapons is easier said than done, and there is a risk that some attempts to do so could prove self-defeating.

  • The new socialism of fools

    According to standard economic theory, redistribution only comes about when a country's exports require vastly different factors of production than its imports. But there are no such differences in today's global economy.

  • Making “women's work” count

    Over the next few months, the 12,000 employees based at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California will complete their move to an extravagant new campus.

  • Surviving in a post-truth world

    Despite the falsehoods that some politicians peddle, facts still matter, and getting those facts right is essential for survival. I know, because I regularly see the deadly consequences of getting facts wrong.

  • Helping the heroines of polio eradication

    In June this year, world governments and other donors pledged USD 1.2 billion to help carry the 30-year fight to eradicate polio over the finish line.

  • Why tax cuts for the rich solve nothing

    Although America's right-wing plutocrats may disagree about how to rank the country's major problems—for example, inequality, slow growth, low productivity, opioid addiction, poor schools, and deteriorating infrastructure—the solution is always the same: lower taxes and deregulation, to “incentivise” investors and “free up” the economy.

  • Britain En Marche?

    We live in a politically turbulent age. Parties barely a year old have recently swept to power in France and in the huge metropolitan area of Tokyo.

  • Turkey's year of turmoil

    It has been one year since the failed coup in Turkey, and questions about the country's future still abound.

  • Trump's surprisingly strong start with India

    Heading into the recent meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, expectations were modest.

  • India's botched tax reform

    On July 1, an eerie silence descended over many of India's teeming marketplaces. At midnight, a new national goods and services tax (GST)...

  • Faster than a Speeding Congressman

    It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Supra-politician. But, unlike a cartoon hero, when Supra-politician arrives in power, he or she probably won't save the day.

  • Asia's unhappy anniversary

    This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis—or, more precisely, of the event that triggered the crisis: the devaluation of Thailand's baht.

  • A G20 refugee agenda

    Every day, an average of some 34,000 people are forced to flee natural or manmade disasters.

  • The Macron Doctrine?

    French President Emmanuel Macron invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Paris as his first foreign guest, while US President Donald Trump will attend this year's Bastille Day celebrations.

  • The rebirth of the TPP

    When Donald Trump, in one of his first acts as president, announced that the United States would not participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many assumed that the mega-regional trade deal was dead. But such assumptions may have been premature.

  • Containing the Trump threat in Europe

    The political environment in Central and Eastern Europe is ideal for populists who refuse to participate constructively in the European project.

  • Trump and the truth about climate change

    Under President Donald Trump's leadership, the United States took another major step toward establishing itself as a rogue state on June 1, when it withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. For years, Trump has indulged the strange conspiracy theory that, as he put it in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” But this was not the reason Trump advanced for withdrawing the US from the Paris accord. Rather, the agreement, he alleged, was bad for the US and implicitly unfair to it.

  • The Russian-Roulette Presidency

    Trump's jumpiness whenever the Russia question comes up has only added to suspicions that he may have something to hide. It has also led him to make a series of mistakes.

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