Martin Khor

The revelations of data collection on a massive scale by the United States’ security agencies of details of telephone calls and internet use of its citizens and foreigners are having reverberations around the world.

Much of the responses have been on the potential invasion of privacy of individuals not only in the US but anywhere in the world who use US-based internet servers.

Also revealed is a US presidential directive to security agencies to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks.

This lays the US open to charges of double standards and hypocrisy:  accusing other countries of engaging in internet snooping or hacking and cyber warfare, when it has itself established the systems to do both on a mega scale.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arjun Jayadev

The Indian Supreme Court’s refusal to uphold the patent on Gleevec, the blockbuster cancer drug developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, is good news for many of those in India suffering from cancer. If other developing countries follow India’s example, it will be good news elsewhere, too: more money could be devoted to other needs, whether fighting AIDS, providing education, or making investments that enable growth and poverty reduction.

But the Indian decision also means less money for the big multinational pharmaceutical companies. Not surprisingly, this has led to an overwrought response from them and their lobbyists: the ruling, they allege, destroys the incentive to innovate, and thus will deal a serious blow to public health globally.

Read more at Project Syndicate

Sunita Narain

Supply issues comprise one part of the energy conundrum, as we discussed last fortnight. The cost of energy and our ability to pay for it is the other. The matter gets vexed because the rise in price of raw material of all energy sources is accompanied by huge inefficiency in distribution and accounting. But importantly, we remain a poor country where cost of energy is a factor in its availability and accessibility for all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Matias Vernengo

Paul Krugman has recently pointed out a very pessimistic, but very provocative paper by Robert Gordon, about the possibilities of long run growth. Gordon suggests that the “rapid progress made over the past 250 years could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history.” In his view, long-term stagnation is a very possible outcome. He asserts that the reasons for this are the effects of technical progress on investment.

Read the rest of this entry »