By Fareed Zakaria
“The global economy is like a jetliner that needs all of its engines operational to take off and steer clear of clouds and storms. Unfortunately, only one of its four engines is functioning properly: the Anglosphere (the United States and its close cousin, the United Kingdom),” writes Nouriel Roubini for Project Syndicate.
“The second engine – the eurozone – has now stalled after an anemic post-2008 restart. Indeed, Europe is one shock away from outright deflation and another bout of recession. Likewise, the third engine, Japan, is running out of fuel after a year of fiscal and monetary stimulus. And emerging markets (the fourth engine) are slowing sharply as decade-long global tailwinds – rapid Chinese growth, zero policy rates and quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve, and a commodity super-cycle – become headwinds.
“So the question is whether and for how long the global economy can remain aloft on a single engine.”
“We will never be free of epidemics. We will always be at risk from newly discovered and emergent diseases such as Nipah and Hendra, as well as those dating back into antiquity, such as cholera, malaria, and influenza. It’s been estimated that there are on the order of 320,000 undiscovered mammalian viruses lurking out there. Some, certainly, will cause disease in humans,” writes Tara Smith for Slate.
“In many ways, we're about as limited in our options as our ancestors were when they had to deal with yellow fever, smallpox, or bubonic plague. Despite our success with medications, vaccination, and sanitation, the current Ebola outbreak shows that we are woefully unprepared for new infectious diseases. When they hit us at our most vulnerable, we resort to centuries-old practices to contain them: isolation, quarantine, and methods that rely on the most difficult challenge of all, modifying human behavior.”
“The price of oil has dictated Venezuela’s politics for decades,” writes Girish Gupta for the New Yorker. “In the nineteen-seventies, when prices trembled in response to the Arab–Israeli war, wealthy Venezuelans would make shopping trips to Miami, where they became known for the phrase ‘Dame dos.’ (‘Give me two.’) By the mid-eighties, a major global oil glut had emerged, crippling the country’s economy. Authorities imposed austerity measures that sparked major unrest. In 1989, violent protests in Caracas known as the Caracazo led to hundreds of deaths. The austerity measures also pushed a young Chávez to lead a coup attempt three years later. Though he was unsuccessful, it made him a household name and helped to launch him to the Presidency, in a landslide election victory in 1998.”
“Chávez understood that this revolution would depend heavily on high oil prices.”