March/April 2014

March/April 2014
93, 2

Comments

Comment
Jake Kendall and Rodger Voorhies

Most of the world’s poor lack a basic savings account, but the humble cell phone may change all that. Thanks to mobile finance, banks can now offer critical services to more people and in more places than ever before, helping them escape poverty for good.

Comment
Jan-Werner Müller

Ten years ago, eight eastern European states joined the European Union, seemingly locking them onto an upward developmental trajectory. But now this supposed triumph is in serious doubt, as most those countries are experiencing profound political crises.

Comment
Ira Trivedi

Last December, India's Supreme Court re-established a colonial era law prohibiting homosexual relations. That will mix poorly with an Indian society that has a long tradition of tolerance for sexual minorities.

Essays

Essay
Craig Mundie

The current approach to protecting individual digital privacy and civil liberties, focusing on limiting data collection and retention, is obsolete. The time has come for a new approach focused on controlling data use.

Essay
Jonathan Alter

Whether the Obama administration’s bungled rollout of HealthCare.gov will permanently tarnish the administration’s legacy is unclear, but it certainly offers important -- and depressing -- insights into the president’s operating style and the administration’s culture.

Essay
Clay Shirky

The HealthCare.gov fiasco is only the latest in a long line of government tech disasters. The key to preventing future ones is for the government to change its management practices, adopting what have long been best practices in the private tech sector.

Essay
Neil Gershenfeld and JP Vasseur

As “the Internet of Things” takes hold, everyday objects are starting to communicate with each other online -- a linking of the digital and physical worlds that will have profound implications for both.

Essay
Sarah Kreps and Micah Zenko

Armed drones are starting to rule the skies, but the United States’ monopoly over their use is fading. The Obama administration should nurture a regime to limit drone proliferation, similar to efforts to control nuclear weapons and missiles.

Essay
Jon Hoekstra

New technologies have given conservationists amazing new powers, and so for the first time they are starting to operate at the pace and scale necessary to keep up with -- and even get ahead of -- global environmental challenges.

Essay
Zachary Karabell

The notion that a few simple numbers such as GDP or inflation can capture today’s multifaceted economic systems is a myth worth abandoning. Instead, economists should ask specific new questions and embrace new ways of answering them.

Essay
Robert D. Blackwill and Meghan L. O'Sullivan

As the U.S. boom in shale oil and gas drives down global energy prices, energy-producing states that lack diversified economies will lose out, whereas energy consumers stand to gain. But the biggest benefits will accrue to the United States.

Essay
Bernard Avishai; Jalal Al-e Ahmad

In 1963, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, an Iranian writer popular with dissident Islamist clerics, traveled to Israel and wrote a surprisingly positive account of his trip. That a guru to the ayatollahs liked Israel now seems touching. But what he liked seems cautionary.

Essay
Robert D. Crews

Muslims in Russia have increasingly embraced different and competing religious orientations, even as the Putin government has worked hard to co-op the country’s Muslim population for its own political goals, both foreign and domestic.

March/April 2014

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Interview

Interview
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria's finance minister speaks with Foreign Affairs about the developing world's role in international financial institutions, the fight against corruption, and her mother's politically motivated kidnapping.

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Jack Shafer

In his new book, Rahul Sagar asks when it is legitimate for a government official to disclose secrets. Although conventional, his answer is far too restrictive -- as the case of Edward Snowden shows.

Review Essay
Minxin Pei

As the United States and China try to keep their relationship from exploding, one might think that leading technocratic experts in both countries would be a force for calm rather than conflict. A new collection of essays dispels any such hope.

Review Essay
Deborah R. Coen

A new book by Geoffrey Parker examines how the Little Ice Age of the seventeenth century contributed to an era of war and upheaval. But it offers a blinkered view of the implications for current environmental policy.

Review Essay
Jay M. Harris

A masterful new biography of Maimonides by Moshe Halbertal reveals why the medieval Jewish sage's work still matters: it represents a powerful bastion against the retreat from rationality.

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