Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: December 2015

Art of a climate deal

The Paris conference on climate change was quite the cliffhanger. Even till the last minute, we were left wondering: Will Paris be another Copenhagen, where, famously, the deal had unravelled? Officials worked late into the wee hours, well past the official deadline, to cobble together a document on which 196 nations could put their signatures. Leaders who had staked their reputations on getting a deal done, from US President Barack Obama to French President Francois Hollande, hailed a planetary social contract of historic proportions. Even India, a petulant participant at the start, declared that “climate justice” had been done.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

“Crowd-sourcing an apology to Bangladesh” by Imad Ahmed (MIB ’11)

by Imad Ahmed (MIB ’11)

In 44 years, the state of Pakistan has failed to make an official apology for the war crimes committed by its armed forces against the people of Bangladesh in 1971. With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ recent denial of atrocities, it is unlikely one is forthcoming.

It is incumbent therefore upon self-respecting patriots to circumvent the official leadership. In the age of the internet, this couldn’t be easier. We have started to crowd-source an apology in order to offer it to the people of Bangladesh.

Read the full op-ed from MIB alumnus Imad Ahmed in Pakistan Today

“Algorithms of War: The dangers of using decision-making technology in sensitive international affairs”

Discussions of algorithmic accountability should not be confined to domestic and legal issues. Try as countries might to control the trade of technology through export agreements, algorithms are finding their way into the confusing realm of international affairs. Diplomatic protocol has developed over centuries to govern interaction between states, and now computer protocols are threatening to disrupt these processes—and if we are not careful, the results could be disastrous. Reliance, or even overreliance, on algorithms in international policy and security settings, in which every decision is subjective, should be provoking far more debate than the subject is getting.

Read the full piece by Fletcher student Miranda Bogen in Slate

Why I’m optimistic on climate change despite the impossible goals of the Paris talks

Only a few days into the UN climate summit, and it is already time to sing the Paris blues. The path to Paris was, unfortunately, paved with pessimism and imperfect accords: Rio, Kyoto, Copenhagen. In the meantime, carbon dioxide in the air has increased, raising the world’s average temperature by one degree Celsius relative to pre-industrial times.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti at The Washington Post

“The Course We Wish We Had Taken Years Ago” by Ignacio Mas & Kim Wilson

by Ignacio Mas & Kim Wilson

Most of us in the digital financial services space have had to learn about digital payments and digital financial services on the job. While there are business school courses in banking and supermarket distribution networks, they don’t prepare you for a career in building the basic 21st century infrastructure of Digital Money. Digital money is our term for any transaction that securely enables the sending, receiving, storing, or tracing of money on digital networks.

As a result, the increasing number of companies building out teams in the emerging Digital Financial Services space face severe capacity bottlenecks, especially in developing countries. Their employees may come to develop deep operational expertise in the specific aspect of the industry they are involved in, but often lack a broader perspective of industry trends and issues, and remain unaware of alternative models that exist elsewhere.

In order to address this, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), which was recently co-founded by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas, is partnering with the Fletcher School to create the first university-certified course in Digital Money. This is an intensive, 12-week online course, and it will be offered for the first time this February, in English (see the course brochure).

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“Nigeria’s Finance Minister Takes Aim at Government Spending” by Drew Hinshaw

The country’s new finance minister said she can save as much as $5 billion annually by cracking down on waste in more than 450 government agencies, a strategy that will determine how well Africa’s largest economy weathers its slowest growth spell since 1999.

Kemi Adeosun, who took office in November, offered an early glimpse of how Africa’s top crude exporter plans to navigate a crash in oil prices that has beset petrostates globally.

Nigeria’s government revenue has fallen by about 60% from the height of the oil boom more than a year ago, she said.

To compensate for those lost funds, the London-born former accountant and investment banker said she would scrutinize the prices government agencies pay for plane tickets, office supplies and other items…

…“There is no doubt that will bring in significant savings,” said Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy central bank governor and a professor of international business at Boston’s Tufts University. “But that in itself isn’t enough. You need some additional finance.”

Read the full article featuring Prof. Moghaul in the Wall Street Journal