Winds of change after the pandemic

In the fight against Covid-19, health authorities around the world have been aiming to inoculate at least 40 per cent of the inhabitants of their countries by the end of this year and 60 per cent by the middle of 2022. According to two recent studies by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), […]

Good words but not major action at the G7

This week’s three-day meeting of the G7 group of countries in Cornwall on Britain’s southwest coast was strikingly different in character to recent precedents. At earlier meetings of the group, the gulf between the participants on some crucial issues seemed wider than the Atlantic. The 2019 summit ended without a joint statement because of the […]

Policies against climate change

I recently heard the famous quotation “the future isn’t what it used to be” used at a university commencement ceremony in the UK.  The speaker, a graduating student delivering the valedictory address, said that as pleased as she and her colleagues had been with their studies and academic achievements, they were more afraid than ever […]

Football and the economy

On the eve of the UEFA European Football Championship, a BBC reporter asked an English football fan which side he expected to win. The reporter prefaced his question by saying that “I know predictions are meaningless today, but I’m going to ask you anyway.” The fan then predicted that the English team would win because […]

Misinformation in the Information Age

An old maxim among traders on the stock exchange says “buy on rumours, and sell when on news.” In practical terms, this means that when there is a rumour that a company’s value will shoot up, speculators should not wait to corroborate it but instead should rush to purchase stocks in the hope that the […]

The future of money

In only a couple of years or so, central banks worldwide will start issuing digital currencies that we will carry in digital wallets on our mobile phones. Tangible paper and metal currencies will disappear. But whatever shape and form money comes in, it still needs to serve as a unit of account, a store of […]

Delusions of power

With the collapse of Kabul, 20 years after the US invasion of Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden informed the world that the purpose of the US campaign in Afghanistan had never been to build a state or create a democracy. A Taliban leader confirmed that the movement would never adopt a democratic system.  “Afghanistan is […]

Messages from beyond the river

“The lands beyond the river” conjures up the history of the early Islamic conquests of the area between the Jayhun (Amur Darya) River in the south and the Sihun (Syr Darya) River in the north of Central Asia. Today, this area roughly comprises the modern states of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan, and south Kyrgyzstan. The […]

Sustainability in practice

A Google search for the word “sustainability” gave 970 million hits in English and 12 million in Arabic. The difference between the two reflects much more than just disparities in levels of awareness and usage. In 1987, the UN defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations […]