Commentary, Environment

COMMENTARY: Climate Change and the Fishing Industry in Asia and Africa

Celestine Lindarto, University of Western Australia -- From around the mid-1990s to 2007, oceans across the globe took in over 30 billion metric tons of carbon from fossil fuel combustion, with the world’s highest sea level being recorded in 2022. Climate change has also resulted in increased ocean surface temperatures as well as heightened severity of weather events such as tropical storms. Due to these climatic events, the fishing industry is seeing changes in both the distribution and abundance of fish as they move away from equatorial territories and swim poleward to find cooler regions. 


COMMENTARY: Poverty Traps in Rural India: Why the NREGS Is Failing To Tackle Persistent Poverty

Hugh O'Reilly, University of Manchester -- India is home to the largest public workfare program to ever exist. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) employs between 21 and 55 million rural households every year and mandates employment as a legal right for adults. The aim is twofold: to serve as a safety net for the rural poor through employment insurance, particularly in the agricultural off-season, and to develop local infrastructure such as irrigation systems, roads, water networks, and environmental conservation.


COMMENTARY: El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption: The Great Cryptocurrency Experiment

Kyle Feinstein, Stanford University -- After much anticipation, Bitcoin City has met its end. The futuristic city was first announced at the 2021  Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference along with a 10 billion USD bond investment. This urban oasis was a symbol of El Salvador’s unprecedented decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. The metropolis was to be built at the base of the Conchagua volcano and serve as a hub for cryptocurrency mining and foreign investment. Bitcoin City’s strategic location offered a steady source of geothermal energy for bitcoin mining; to enhance its appeal, the city would also not collect income taxes. As a testament to El Salvador’s ambitious efforts to integrate cryptocurrency into the national economy, Bitcoin City had a circular layout, invoking the shape of a coin.


COMMENTARY: Qatar’s World Cup: Boon or Bust?

Jacob Ye, Boston College -- Every four years, all eyes turn towards a month-long competition in the world of soccer: the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup is considered the most prestigious prize in the sport, and boasts the title as the most watched sporting event. The 2018 Russia World Cup reached over half the world's population. Now, four years later, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup continues to impress with record-breaking viewership. The host of the World Cup receives billions of dollars in sponsorships, advertising, and merchandising. However, the host nation pays a steep cost. Indeed, the 2022 Qatar World Cup was the most expensive World Cup to date. Was it worth it? 

Commentary, Health Economics

LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: Saving the Lungs of 1.4 Billion: India and the Need for Air Pollution Control

Raina Talwar Bhatia, Stanford University -- Air pollution has become one of the most pressing issues of our time, both from a health and economic perspective. According to the WHO, air pollution is responsible for approximately seven million deaths globally. Nine out of ten humans currently breathe ‘polluted air’ (as per WHO guidelines), with inhabitants of low and middle-income countries feeling the greatest consequences. Although the health effects of air pollution are well-documented, much less attention is given to its economic consequences. The total global cost of air pollution in 2015 was $330 billion and is expected to rise to $3.3 trillion by 2060 based on the current trajectory. Alongside the healthcare costs, air pollution decreases agricultural productivity, increases absenteeism and reduces productivity in the workplace, and creates greater resident interest in emigration and immigration. While all low and middle-income countries are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, none draw the concern and attention of the international community and health experts like India.


LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: China’s Economic Decline is Imminent—Which Spells Trouble for Taiwan

Andrew Zeng, Stanford University -- Recent scholarship on the question of whether Taiwan will face an imminent invasion from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been divided into two diametrically opposing camps, with neither camp seemingly able to achieve a decisive advantage over the other. The problem stems largely from the fact that the Chinese political system is notoriously opaque; as a corollary, it is nigh impossible to extrapolate its intentions exclusively from its leaders’ speeches and public-facing communiques. So as Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders deny the statehood of Taiwan in increasingly provocative and aggressive terms, the central problem for American and Taiwanese policymakers is to deduce whether their statements are pretense or preparation.