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  • News & article

    US reign at World Bank must end now

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 08/02/2019

    » In many ways, David Malpass, whom US President Donald Trump nominated to head the World Bank, is an unsurprising choice. He's a senior Treasury official overseeing international affairs. Plus, his background absolutely screams "Trump nominee": He isn't a woman (Indra Nooyi, formerly of PepsiCo Inc, was being considered). He is an outspoken critic of the institution he is now to head (recall Scott Pruitt's tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency). And he has a controversial Wall Street background (he was chief economist at the ill-fated Bear Stearns), as well as some embarrassing calls in his past (he wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2007 insisting that the housing market couldn't pull down the broader economy).

  • News & article

    China should remember its old friends

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 19/12/2018

    » Nobody can know if, when Deng Xiaoping launched his strategy of "Reform and Opening Up" 40 years ago, even he could have predicted the near-miraculous transformation of the Chinese economy that would follow. In the years since then, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of abject poverty and into the ranks of the global middle class; China's industrial heartland became the workshop of the world; and the People's Republic has muscled its way into the first rank of global powers.

  • News & article

    China's Sri Lankan push for power

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 31/10/2018

    » Most people in the island nation of Sri Lanka and its Asian neighbours were stunned last week when President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the populist strongman who had ruled Sri Lanka for a decade before the scrappy alliance between Mr Sirisena and Mr Wickremesinghe forced him out of power in 2015.

  • News & article

    Belt and Road hits a pothole in Pakistan

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 12/10/2018

    » Pakistan's government has finally admitted it needs help. Finance Minister Asad Umar says he will be meeting officials of the International Monetary Fund in Bali this weekend. There he'll try and work out the terms for a bailout that would cover a US$10 billion (328 billion baht) hole in Pakistan's financing needs.

  • News & article

    Hole at heart of China's Silk Road

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 09/08/2018

    » Nobody pretends the People's Republic of China is an entirely benign power, least of all its leaders in Beijing. Yet, even by the standards of what continues to be a remarkably repressive state, the stories that are emerging from behind the Great Firewall about the crackdown on Xinjiang's Uighur Muslim population are deeply disturbing and deserve more of the world's attention.

  • News & article

    China's Silk Road isn't so smooth

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 12/07/2018

    » You may not have noticed, what with the outbreak of trade war with the US and all, but China's economic diplomacy has had a bad few weeks. The country's flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is dealing with ever-greater resistance, slowing a momentum that once seemed unstoppable. In fact, I'd argue that the BRI is stalled.

  • News & article

    Indians' skills don't match up -- yet

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 16/11/2017

    » If India is to live up the expectations of its own people and become a successful middle-income country in a few decades, the country has multiple problems to solve -- its sclerotic politics, its clogged infrastructure, its choked judicial system, its lack of investable capital, its interfering and inefficient state. But perhaps the greatest hurdle is its poor stock of human capital. Without better education, health and skills, India won't be able to build a middle class and its efforts to become the next China can't succeed.

  • News & article

    How India can win from big cash bust

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 09/11/2017

    » Almost exactly one year ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on national television to announce that, in a few hours, existing 500- and 1,000-rupee notes (255 and 510 baht) would no longer be legal tender. This came as a complete shock to most; the weeks and months that followed featured long queues at bank tellers as hapless Indians tried to exchange old notes for new, and at ATMs where they tried to withdraw enough cash to keep going. The sudden drought of cash made it increasingly difficult for small- and -medium enterprises to operate, as they relied on piles of cash for working capital. Many estimated that economic growth would slow as a consequence and events seem to have borne out this point of view.

  • News & article

    India and China learn how to turn down the heat

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 30/08/2017

    » As summer reached the high Himalayas this past June, one corner of the mountains turned hotter than expected. On a small plateau called Doklam, close to where the India-China border meets the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, two of the largest armies in the world faced off against each other. Chinese soldiers, convinced they were on Chinese territory, had brought equipment to extend a road; Indian soldiers, who viewed the land as disputed, blocked the earth-movers. For three months, the armies camped just metres away from each other, the Indians on the higher ground and the Chinese in a little valley. Neither government seemed to know how to back down.

  • News & article

    India's states will pay for populism

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 14/07/2017

    » Things only seem to get worse for India's farmers. They'd barely recovered from two years of drought when they were hit by the government's decision last autumn to declare 86% of India's currency illegal. They struggled through that, and the consequent crash in prices, in hopes that this year's monsoon would be healthy. And, although forecasters insisted enough rain would fall, an "unexpected dry spell" is now threatening to ruin their summer crop.

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