Saturday, 22 February 2014

Masdar City: The Answer To Sustainable Economic Growth?

By Shivani Maru

Masdar City: the future of sustainable living. Initiated back in 2006, Masdar City (located in Abu Dhabi) is a city that will only run on renewable resources. Although some may argue that this initiative will be ineffective as it is surrounded by ‘some of the world’s most unsustainable developments,’ Masdar City is helping to correct this. Masdar City is another way of raising awareness to residents of the UAE and the world about green technology.

Sustainability is very important for the economy, especially for the future. What’s the use of producing goods from natural resources that will eventually run out? Especially, when natural resources are being consumed faster than they are being produced. They are going to run out, and also considering that Abu Dhabi is a net exporter of oil, this raises questions as to the sustainability of the country. Often, governments use higher taxes on petrol as a way of becoming more sustainable. However, the truth is is that we need these resources regardless. Therefore, it’s better to look at renewable resources as an alternative.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Shifts and the Shocks: Lessons of the Global Financial Crisis

"In economic terms, the only other disaster that matches this is a world war. [...] This wasn't some minor event. We will be living with the consequences of this possibly forever."

The quote above is from Martin Wolf, the associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, specifically from the highly passionate and immensely thought-provoking lecture he delivered at the University of Birmingham on Wednesday (5th October). Mr Wolf is, as his Wikipedia page puts it, 'widely considered to be one of the world's most influential writers on economics' and so it was with great excitement that I came to listen to him speak on what he is most passionate about: the financial crisis of 2008. I was not disappointed.

In outlining the key arguments which shaped his lecture, I will follow the same structure which he did by looking first at where we are post-crash, then how we got here, and finally what we should learn. Along the way I will insert my own comments and also some references to books, videos and ideas which I feel have already contributed well to the existing debate and which you readers may want to look into. In an effort to keep this article of a moderate rather than excessively long length, I have taken the liberty to condense Mr Wolf's arguments as much as possible, so please do forgive any ambiguity present. Comments are, as always, very welcome and I will be delighted if you make the effort to share your thoughts with me.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why is Venezuela Running Out of Toilet Paper?

By Shannon Wade

My friend and I used to play an “impromptu-speaking” game where we would switch turns throwing out a word and having the other person speak for a minute on that topic. One night when I was having a sleep-over at my friend’s house, we decided to play this game. It was about 12 am at night so we were both in that goofy, sleep-deprived, second-wind stage. My friend decided to give me the word – toilet-paper. Really? I have to speak for one entire minute on toilet-paper?!! My response went something like: “Well, toilet-paper is thin white bathroom tissue, sometimes with little designs on it, used by individuals in bathrooms to…um…wipe…It is a very good thing to have!! If you didn’t have toilet-paper, you would have to… *ahem, let’s skip that part*…Anyways, it is useful and found in sanitary countries…hopefully…” I then proceeded to ramble on for about 40 more seconds about things only vaguely reminiscent of toilet-paper. The one description of this product that did not enter my speech was the fact that some wealthy countries don’t have enough toilet-paper. Like Venezuela. It was something I never even thought possible. Until now.