Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Tag: op-ed (page 1 of 5)

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

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

The Future Of Work Isn’t All Bleak For Women. Here’s Why.

Many workers who have been displaced are experiencing the early signals of how technological change will transform the way we work, what work we do and who gets to work. With AI and automation creeping into our daily existence in that Macbethian “petty pace from day to day”, if all the tech chatter is right, humans will be handing tasks over to machines at a scale that boggles the mind. The degree to which the mind is boggled depends on which pundit you believe. While the OECD projects that only 14 percent of current jobs will be affected, the European think tank, Bruegel places the displacement factor at 54 percent. The McKinsey Global Institute offers a more nuanced view: 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated with variations across geography and occupation; about 15 percent of activities on average would be displaced by 2030, with some occupations at risk of a third of all constituent work activities being automated.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

The Countries that Trust Facebook the Most are also the Most Vulnerable to its Mistakes

Whatever solutions the good folks at Facebook devise – or have thrust upon them by regulators and lawmakers – must work not just for the more recently outraged American or the already skeptical European user. The solutions must work for the world from where Facebook picked up its second billion users, and is looking to pick up its third.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Conversation

There’s a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone

We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.

But the gender gap problem doesn’t stop there. There’s also a shortage of women using some of the industry’s products. The International Telecommunications Union reports that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9% in the least developed countries. And even when a woman gets on a phone or is online, she might face additional hostility. A World Wide Web Foundation report says “women around the world report being bombarded by a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation.”

What this speaks to is an opportunity for the tech industry — both to address internal diversity issues and to address how companies think about the products they create around the world.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Memo to the World Bank: India should be rated even higher in the ease of doing business rankings the next time

Pop the champagne and pass the mithai — for it is, indeed, the epoch of belief, the season of light in the world’s largest democracy. After languishing in the World Bank’s league tables, India is, finally, getting its due: It has been admitted to the top 100 nation club for Ease of Doing Business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one giant step closer to fulfilling every Indian’s dream.

It is now time to plot the next big move — to break into the top 80 nations club. With all the hard work already behind us, this next step should be a piece of cake. Here is how.

Read the full piece in The Indian Express

Britain’s Digital Advantage

No wonder then that there is much anxiety among Brexit-watchers about the UK making a clean break and rejecting the ‘four freedoms’ that EU members enjoy − free movement of people, goods, capital and services. I would argue that there is a fifth freedom that negotiators ought to keep in their sights, one that may hold the key to re-balancing the terms of Brexit. This freedom has to do with the free movement of data.

Data matters because it is the fuel − and exhaust − of a critical part of the overall economy: the digital economy.

When one considers the digital economies of the UK and that of the EU, the latter would be losing a genuine star if barriers to UK-EU data flows were to be erected.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti on the Chatham House website

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