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  • OPINION

    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).

  • OPINION

    Tarnishing a developing-world star

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 04/01/2019

    » Bangladesh under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina looks like a developing-world success story. Last year, its economy grew at close to 8% a year, faster than its neighbour India's. Its human development indicators, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen is fond of pointing out, are even better than its income level would indicate.

  • OPINION

    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.

  • OPINION

    Pakistan's army takes on wrong fight

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 16/07/2018

    » Nawaz Sharif -- dodgy businessman, convicted criminal and thrice prime minister of Pakistan -- showed on Friday, in his triumphant return to Pakistan, that he remains by far the country's most popular politician. Infuriatingly, he also represents Pakistan's best chance at becoming a "normal" country anytime soon. As he fights what looks very much like an attempt by the military to decide the next election, the rest of us should hope he succeeds.

  • OPINION

    Modi should fear strength of opposition

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 22/05/2018

    » As a politician, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is distinguished by his relentlessness. Every vote, every constituency, every election matters. Mr Modi has built his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into an electoral juggernaut that runs 21 of India's 29 states; 70% of India's population is ruled by the BJP at both the state and the federal level.

  • OPINION

    Poor need homes, not monuments

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 14/03/2018

    » Here in the City of London, you can step out of Bank underground station and walk a few hundred metres in any direction to see what Pritzker Prize-winning architects can do when they push themselves. At Bank intersection itself, breaking up the heavy imperial-era neoclassicism of Soane, Baker and Lutyens is James Stirling's Number One Poultry, whose postmodern curves softly echo the other buildings' grandiose lines. Stirling won the Pritzker, "architecture's Nobel Prize", in 1981; Number One Poultry, still controversial, is nevertheless now the youngest building to be officially protected, or "listed", by the British government.

  • OPINION

    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.

  • OPINION

    New tax system all tangled up

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 28/09/2017

    » India's new indirect tax system, which for the first time tries to standardise most taxes across this vast country's many states, is proving to be even more difficult and disruptive to implement than first feared. That speaks to the unnecessary complexity the government's introduced into what should have been the simplest of laws.

  • OPINION

    Modi's misguided economics will catch up with him

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 02/05/2017

    » It's been almost three years since Narendra Modi took over as prime minister of India -- but, in many ways, it feels longer. Mr Modi's domination of Indian politics, and of Indians' imagination, is complete; no alternative seems possible, every challenger has been defeated. But bad economics has a habit of catching up with its practitioners eventually. And for all his political success, Mr Modi's mismanagement of the Indian economy may yet be his downfall.

  • OPINION

    Modi's path forward is cleared, but still unclear

    News, Mihir Sharma, Published on 14/03/2017

    » When voters in the northern province of Uttar Pradesh delivered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party a landslide victory in elections to the state assembly, he cemented his place as India's most powerful leader in two generations. With every major competitor confused, defeated or in decline, there's simply no national alternative in sight to Mr Modi or his Bharatiya Janata Party. Oddly, however, this also means we are less certain than ever about what sort of leader he will be, and where he will steer India's economy.

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