China, the economic superpower of the twenty-first century. For most economists, it is a question of when, not if, China will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy. Despite some very serious concerns about its housing and commodity sectors, China’s rise continues unrelentingly. What can we expect from a strong and confident China? Is a Sinocentric world really something new, or rather a natural rehabilitation?
Today the United Kingdom (UK) officially initiated their exit from the European Union (EU). After many months of anticipation, British prime minister Theresa May will now engage in a historical gamble: safely getting the UK out of the EU. She says the UK will leave the EU but that it wants to remain in Europe. It will take at least two years before we can see how this has worked out. I cannot stop to think: all this trouble… was it really necessary?
Over the past few weeks, the media have given us a welcome break from the all the drama in the White House. Suddenly there was something more interesting, and perhaps more important to talk about. On February 17, Kraft Heinz made a $143 billion takeover bid for Unilever. While possible takeovers of this size have an obvious economic impact, they increasingly trigger political responses as well. The reason is that governments are skeptical about the intentions of large foreign investment firms, these so-called ‘citizens of nowhere’. This skepticism is completely understandable, as it lies at the root of populist revolts around the world.
Although I graduated back in September 2016, one of the essays I wrote during my Research Master was recently published in the Erasmus Student Journal of Philosophy (ESJP). The essay is about the amorality of the global banking sector, in which I respond to the popular explanation put forward by Dutch anthropologist and author Joris Luyendijk. After three months of peer reviews, I can finally say my life as a student is (officially) over. During my studies, I have always tried to make dense philosophical arguments more accessible and enjoyable for a broader audience. This essay I one such attempt.
It has been almost a year since I started this blog. Now that the year is ending it seems like a good time to reflect on what I have written so far, and if all this writing has contributed to its purpose: sharing my thoughts on issues that matter and encouraging others to do so as well.
The unimaginable has happened. The world’s most powerful nation will soon be lead by an erratic, politically inexperienced clown. The question that is on everybody’s mind is what this clown will actually do as president. One can only guess. Many of us think other Western countries will follow America’s example in voting populists into power. After Brexit and Trump, anything is possible. It seems nothing is able to stop the rise of the populists. If we really want to defeat populists, we have to fight them with their own weapon: populism.
Last week, Dutch politics showed off some modest fireworks. On Prinsjesdag, the government presented their financial plans for the coming year and the King summarized the current state of Dutch society. For the next two days parliament engaged in a heated debate about the budget, which functioned as a first rehearsal for the upcoming elections in March. Nothing new under the sun, I thought. What struck me, however, was the heavy use of economic ‘facts’ amongst politicians to back up their arguments. While fact-free politics is clearly reprehensible, using forecasts about the economy as facts can be just as dangerous.