Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Category: News (page 1 of 12)

Congress Should Set the Fed’s Inflation Target—Ideally at Zero

The Federal Reserve’s relentless pursuit of 2% inflation creates more problems than it solves. The 2% target has become gospel for central bankers. But as former Fed Chairman Paul Volckerpoints out in his new memoir, no economic theory or evidence supports the claim that a little inflation greases the economic wheels or reduces the risks of depressions. In fact, monetary policies that aim for 2% inflation risk contributing to financial bubbles that can trigger real economic collapse when they burst.

Read the full op-ed from Prof. Amar Bhidé  in the Wall Street Journal

Competing in the Huge Digital Economies of China and India

The global digital economy crossed an important milestone recently: the number of internet users in two countries — China, with just over 800 million users, and India, with 500 million users  – surpassed the aggregate number of internet users across 37 OECD countries combined. In both countries, users spend more time on the internet than the worldwide average of 5.9 hours per day. They also have room to grow; China has just under 60% of its population online, while India, with one of the lowest rates of internet penetration in the world, has under 25% of its population online.

While it’s tempting to group China and India together as a block of emerging digital markets, they offer several important distinctions, especially for international entities and countries looking to invest

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Five Ways for Facebook to Help its Next Billion Users

Embedded in [Facebook’s] still stratospheric valuation is the stock market’s expectation for continued growth. But such growth isn’t coming from the U.S. and Europe. At the Fletcher School at Tufts, where I teach, we call that the “Digital North.” The emerging Asian, African, and Latin American markets, the “Digital South,” will instead be the source of Facebook’s growth. Users here not only spend more time on the mobile internet, but an average user spends more time on social media than one in the Digital North—almost 4 hours a day in the Philippines, for example, versus 48 minutes in Japan.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Techonomy

The End of Digital History

One of the digital planet’s many pleasures is that it has many distinct mountaintops. Different locations have offered different advantages: The US, Europe, China and India. But that era might be coming to an end. We may be en route to digital unipolarity as all the others cede the high ground to China. Chances are, we are witnessing a phenomenon I shall call the end of digital history.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Impact investors can gain real feedback from their portfolio companies’ customers. Do they want it?

Prof. Alnoor Ebrahim

“The single most important feature of Lean Data is its focus on listening to customers in order to serve them better,” writes Alnoor Ebrahim, a professor Tufts’ Fletcher School. Acumen’s Lean Data methodology is no silver bullet, he says, and “is better seen as a complement to evaluation approaches such as randomized control trials rather than a substitute.”

Read more in the ImpactAlpha “Measure Better” series, including from Prof. Ebrahim

Who’s Afraid of a Digital Planet?

On one hand, these are the worst of times. We are confronted with unprecedented challenges. Critical indicators have been breaking records — for example, the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air and the extent of human displacement — exacerbated by refugees fleeing conflict, drought or floods, and other calamities.

On the other hand, these are the best of times. Expectations of what can be accomplished with technological innovation and its impact are at an all-time high in some of the most influential quarters — from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and even in many government offices worldwide. Technology enthusiasts at the annual gatherings at Davos remain routinely enthusiastic about the possibilities of a “fourth industrial revolution” — a blurring of the lines between physical, digital, and biological innovations. The optimism of many business leaders remains undented even as increasing vulnerabilities have caused citizens worldwide to question their trust in the emerging technologies.

There is great trepidation about digital ecosystems right alongside great enthusiasm.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Techonomy

As Emerging Economies Bring Their Citizens Online, Global Trust in Internet Media is Changing

Digital technology was dreamed of as the ultimate connector and leveler, the ideal destroyer of borders and boundaries. The digital community that assembled itself around this summer’s FIFA World Cup shows one example of a true global village, in which people share the same obsessions on the digital planet. That’s a significant contrast to the online communities leaning toward nativism and anti-globalization.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Conversation

A Lynching in the Digital South

 The fervour of the lynch mobs was largely facilitated by social media, which efficiently delivered rumours to solidify a “common cause”. Among these, WhatsApp is the prime carrier, with over 200 million Indian users in a given month. WhatsApp, of course, is an important part of the largest digital media enterprise on earth: Facebook. It has captured the attention of Indian users like no other app, has become an addictive and efficient spreader of forwarded “good morning” cheer, Santa-Banta jokes, pictures of newborn grandchildren — and, without question, venomous rumours that can whip up a digitally orchestrated frenzy.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Technology May Seek To Flatten The World, But The “Digital South” Will Chart Its Own Course

With trade wars, anti-globalization rhetoric and nationalist politicians hogging headlines around the world, mercifully, there are two things that can still bring the world together: viral messages on digital media and the FIFA World Cup. In fact, the real magic happens when the two global obsessions intersect. A quarter of the world’s active Internet users had planned to watch the games online; with over 4 billion online, that counts for a lot of people who are then poised to instantaneously pour their emotions onto social media. Once the World Cup final gets done on Sunday, July 15th, however, we might be back to digital virality carrying the flag solo to battle the forces of de-globalization.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Growth in the Machine

Without question, the race for AI dominance is between the US and China. However, despite its junior status — and this might come as a shock to some — there are, indeed, AI-relevant advantages unique to India. Three are particularly worth noting and give me reason for hope.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

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