Bylined Articles

Ruchir has contributed to a number of publications. Click on the following links for a sampling of his work:

Recent Articles:

Financial Times – How the US tech giants could fall
The world’s tech giants have embedded themselves so deeply in the popular imagination that few people can picture a digital world led by any other names. But this assumption overlooks how quickly capitalism can cut giants down to size.
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Financial Times – ‘Greenflation’ threatens to derail climate change action
The world faces a growing paradox in the campaign to contain climate change. The harder it pushes the transition to a greener economy, the more expensive the campaign becomes, and the less likely it is to achieve the aim of limiting the worst effects of global warming.
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Financial Times – This is as good as it gets for the US economy
Driven by the success of America’s vaccine rollout and massive government stimulus, the US economy is expected to grow as fast as 7 per cent this year and is currently leading the world recovery. The commentariat is talking up an “American Renaissance” as the nation marks its 245th Independence Day.
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Financial Times – Latin America isn’t booming, but that could change
For all the Marquezian dramas of civil and class war, colonialism and corruption that have wracked Latin America, history shows that its economic fate rises and falls with just one thing: the prices of oil, iron ore, copper and other commodities.
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Financial Times – The Bubblets of 2021
Amid much loose talk of “bubbles” popping all over the financial markets, it’s worth pausing to consider if these upheavals really qualify as bubbles. If so, what does history tell us about how far they might deflate from here? It turns out the answers are quite a few, and quite far.
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Financial Times – The Billionaire Boom
Over the past two decades, as the global population of billionaires rose more than fivefold and the largest fortunes rocketed past $100bn, I started tracking this wealth, not for the voyeuristic thrill, but for warning signs. Rising inequality was becoming ever more of a political issue, threatening to provoke popular backlashes against capitalism itself.
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Financial Times – Technology will save emerging markets from sluggish growth
Emerging economies struggled to grow through the 2010s, and pessimism shrouds them now. People wonder how they will pay debts rung up during the pandemic, and how they can grow rapidly as they did in the past — by exporting their way to prosperity — in an era of deglobalisation.
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The New York Times – Is Vietnam the Next ‘Asian Miracle’?
Within days of China’s announcing the first case of Covid-19, Vietnam was mobilizing to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Using mass texts, TV ads, billboards, posters and loudspeakers, the government exhorted the nation’s 100 million citizens to identify carriers and trace contacts, contacts of contacts, even contacts of contacts of contacts. Rapid isolation of outbreaks has kept Vietnam’s death rate among the four lowest in the world — well under one death per million people.
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The New York Times – Is the Stock Market Rooting for Trump or Biden?
For months the S&P 500 rose this year — despite a deadly pandemic, the resulting economic devastation and the rise of a Democratic Party increasingly sympathetic to democratic socialism. Then, this month, with Joe Biden doing well in the polls, stock prices finally stumbled.
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The New York Times – Is Gaming the Future of the Virtual World?
Even before the pandemic and the lockdowns, digital games were fast emerging as one of the world’s favorite pastimes. But when live entertainment came to a halt, the virtual kind just took off.
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The New York Times – Why Is Everyone Buying Gold?
Gold bugs — investors perpetually bullish on gold — have long been seen as a paranoid fringe of the financial world, holding the shiny asset as a hedge against a disaster they always think is near. But lately they appear to be on to something. This year gold is the best performing traditional asset in the world. Its price just topped $2,000 an ounce for the first time. From serious investors to newly minted day traders, everyone is talking up its virtues.
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The Wall Street Journal – The Rescues Ruining Capitalism
Modern society looks increasingly to government for protection from major crises, whether recessions, public-health disasters or, as today, a painful combination of both. Such rescues have their place, and few would deny that the Covid-19 pandemic called for dramatic intervention. But there is a downside to this reflex to intervene, which has become more automatic over the past four decades. Our growing intolerance for economic risk and loss is undermining the natural resilience of capitalism and now threatens its very survival.
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The New York Times – Which Country Will Triumph in the Post-Pandemic World?
Imagine a country, a major Western economic power, where the coronavirus arrived late but the government, instead of denying and delaying, acted early. It was ready with tests and contact tracing to “flatten the curve” swiftly and limited its death rate to orders of magnitude lower than that of any other major Western industrial nation. Containing the virus allowed for a brief and targeted lockdown, which helped limit unemployment to only 6 percent.
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The New York Times – Small is the New Big Thing
I landed in Delhi on a work trip in mid-March and just over a week later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced what was soon recognized as the world’s strictest lockdown. He warned Indians to imagine “a sacrosanct line” around their homes, not to be breached for work or travel of any kind, not even a walk outdoors. Evoking the 18-day war described in the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, Modi said it would take 21 days to win the war on the coronavirus.
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Foreign Affairs – The Comeback Nation
As the 2020s dawn, it is hard to find any member of the U.S. foreign policy establishment who does not believe that the United States is in decline, and that the waning of its influence has accelerated under a president who seems to revel in attacking U.S. allies and enemies alike. The debate is not over the fact of American decline but over how the United States should manage its diminishing status.
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The New York Times – How Coronavirus Can Bring Down Zombie Companies — and the Economy
Though the Federal Reserve moved over the weekend to slash rates and buy treasuries, markets around the world fell on Monday anyway. The coronavirus threatens to set off financial contagion in a world economy with very different vulnerabilities than on the eve of the global financial crisis, 12 years ago.
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The New York Times – Small is the New Big Thing
After the turn of the millennium the United States suffered its weakest decade of economic growth in the post-World War II era, and served as ground zero of the global financial crisis. Extrapolating from recent events, as they often do, forecasters began predicting a long American decline. Instead, over the course of the 2010s, the United States staged a comeback as an economic superpower and, even more, as a financial superpower.
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The New York Times – Why Wall Street Loves Strongmen
Wall Street has long existed as a parallel universe where leaders cast by critics in the media as autocratic villains can be feted as heroes, if their actions bode well for the economy. Lately, this split has reached new extremes.
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The New York Times – What’s Wrong With the Global Economy?
Just about every year for a decade, the world has been seized by bouts of despondency over slumping economic growth, and last week brought the latest episode. Wall Street trembled over signs that trade wars are slamming growth in Germany, China and even the previously Teflon-like United States.
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The New York Times – Why We Should Fear Easy Money
To widespread applause in the markets and the news media, from conservatives and liberals alike, the Federal Reserve appears poised to cut interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis a decade ago. Adjusted for inflation, the Fed’s benchmark rate is now just half a percent and the cost of borrowing has rarely been closer to free, but the clamor for more easy money keeps growing.
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Times of India – East Asia Is No Model for India
There was a lot of buzz about how India should follow the East Asian model even before the Modi government explicitly embraced it in its latest Economic Survey, which argues that the rise of East Asian economies demonstrate that heavy investment and export manufacturing offer the clearest path for India, too, to achieve a long run of 8 percent growth.
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The New York Times – When Dead Companies Don’t Die
The United States’ recovery from the Great Recession recently turned 10 years old, matching the longest American expansion since records were first kept in the 1850s. The global recovery will also turn 10, in January, if it lasts that long — and that, too, would be a record.
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The New York Times – I Wanted Ronald Reagan. India Kept Electing Bernie Sanders.
Like many global investors I am leery of big government. But I did not come to this view on Wall Street. It came to me growing up in India, watching lives ruined by the broken state, including the public hospital that hastened the death of my grandfather by assigning an untrained night aide to attempt his emergency heart surgery.
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The Washington Post – As Modi Discovered, India’s Economy Will Never Look like China’s
When Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, one hope was that he would do for the country what he had done as chief minister in the state of Gujarat: build a fast-growing economy with an efficient bureaucracy and advanced factories attracting billions of dollars in investment from multinational corporations. A Modi-led India was even touted as the next China.
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The New York Times – Trump’s Dangerous Obsession with Markets
From Day 1 in the Oval Office, President Trump showed a unique obsession with the financial markets, tweeting that high stock prices proved he was making America great again. But a new chapter opened in October, when the market dropped sharply, and Mr. Trump began making critical presidential decisions with an eye to pushing stock prices back up.
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The New York Times – Should We Worry About A Slowing Economy?
Last year looked like the time when President Trump had delivered on his promises to strengthen the economy. His tax cuts appeared to juice growth above 3 percent, a pace the United States had not topped since 2005. But on Thursday the Commerce Department revised 2018 growth downward to below 3 percent, even as forecasts for 2019 were also trending lower, toward 2 percent. It all has triggered another wave of disappointed commentary about doggedly “slow” growth in the United States.
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Foreign Affairs – No Country for Strongmen
Like most national elections in India, the one coming this spring will be decided in the mofussil. Originally a colonial term for any town outside the commercial capitals of the British Raj, mofussil now refers to the provincial areas beyond the burgeoning megacities of Mumbai and New Delhi, that is, to the rural and impoverished stretches where two out of three Indians live.
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The New York Times – Casting Their Votes by Voting Their Caste
When I was growing up in India in the 1970s and 80s my father’s job as a naval officer took our family from one big city to another, from Bombay to Singapore. But every summer, we spent a month with my maternal grandparents in Bijnor, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and one of its poorest states.
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The New York Times – When the Bubble Bursts, Consider the Anti-Bubble
After a decade of extraordinary gains, the American stock market has come unhinged in recent weeks, with the technology sector leading the rapid decline. American tech giants are down on average 25 percent from recent peaks, and it appears the big global bubble of the 2010s is bursting. The question on everyone’s mind is what comes next.
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The New York Times – How The Next Downturn Will Surprise Us
After the fall of Lehman Brothers ten years ago, there was a heated public debate about how the leading American banks had grown “too big to fail.” But it overlooked the larger story, about how global markets where stocks, bonds and other financial assets are traded had grown worrisomely large.
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The New York Times – Worried About Turkey’s Economic Problems? China’s Could Be Worse.
Falling back on a standard excuse of besieged strongmen, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is blaming traitors and outside powers for his nation’s financial crisis, and describing the strong United States dollar as among “the bullets, cannonballs and missiles” foreigners are using to wage “economic war” on his country.
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The New York Times – The Coming Tech Battle With China
Arriving in Beijing last month, I knew I would not be able to access Google, Facebook or Uber. As strange as it was to go without these staples of online life in the west, it was even stranger to find that local Chinese didn’t seem to feel deprived at all. They search through Baidu, get their social media fix on WeChat, hail rides on Didi, curate news through sites like Toutiao. And while they know Beijing is watching, they accept this surveillance as normal.
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The New York Times – The Millionaires Are Fleeing. Maybe You Should, Too.
Tracking the rich has become a voyeuristic global industry, a form of celebrity worship. But it can also provide serious clues about where countries are headed.
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The New York Times – Actually, It’s Not the Economy
With Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron visiting Donald Trump this week, much of the commentary has focused on how wildly different the staid German chancellor and the globally minded French president are from the mercurial American president. But the three do share one trait: They are all unpopular at home despite the good economic times.
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The New York Times – A Tiger Abroad, Putin Plays a Cautious Economic Game At Home
There was never much suspense about whether Vladimir Putin would win the election on Sunday, but there is at least some question about which Putin will show up for his fourth term as Russia’s president.
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The New York Times – Is Trump About to Start a Trade War?
The announcement that President Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, plans to resign after losing a battle over raising tariffs ratchets up concern that the White House is turning sharply toward protectionism. The deepest fear is that the planned steel and aluminum tariffs will echo the mistake of the infamous Smoot Hawley tariffs of 1930, which provoked a global trade war and helped start the Great Depression.
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The New York Times – The Stock Market Is Volatile Again. Get Used to It.
The fear generated by Wall Street’s sharp fall has been greatly magnified by the calm that preceded it. Before the eight percent decline in United States stocks over the past week, the S&P 500 had gone two years without suffering a drop that large. Spoiled by this unnaturally placid stretch, many Americans had forgotten what a routine market setback even looks like.
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Foreign Policy – Where The Next Global Downturn Could Come From
Nine years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the recovery has spread to every major economy, and the consensus among financial analysts is that nothing can trip things up in 2018. So widely shared are the expectations of accelerating global growth that former doomsayers have turned into hopeful converts. As Bloomberg Businessweek’s Nov. 6 cover story gushed “Even the skeptical Germans sound happy.”
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The New York Times – Why Experts (Always) Get It Wrong
To borrow from Yogi Berra, it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future. But 2017 was particularly difficult. On many of the biggest forecasts — global growth, inflation, the trajectory of the big powers — the experts got the year wrong.
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The Wall Street Journal – In 2017 Markets Rose Above Politics
As Donald Trump and other populists sent TV viewership and news readership soaring this year, commentators cast these new-age leaders as a threat to world peace, democracy, Western civilization, the postwar order, race relations, women, the free press, the open internet and more.
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The New York Times – Which Nation Does the World Trust Most? (Hint: Follow the Dollar.)
There is a popular narrative these days that President Donald Trump is undermining America’s standing in the world and ceding the mantle of global leadership to China. By insisting that America should act like any other country and put its own interests first, these declinists say, Mr. Trump is demoting America to the status of any other country and straining its postwar alliances to the breaking point.
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The New York Times – To Grow Stronger, China Has to Grow More Slowly
When President Xi Jinping of China took power in 2012, digital cash hardly existed. Last year, the Chinese made $9 trillion in mobile payments, 80 times more than Americans. Chinese consumers pay for 25 percent of their purchases with digital cash delivered by a mobile phone app, and about one in seven carry no paper currency. In big cities like Shanghai, it’s hard to use paper to pay taxi fares or restaurant bills.
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The New York Times – No, That Robot Will Not Steal Your Job
The recovery from the crisis of 2008 has been one of the weakest on record, but never in postwar history has so little growth created so many jobs. The unemployment rate in the developed world is down to 5.5 percent and approaching a 40-year low. This flies in the face of all the dire warnings about a “jobless future.”
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The New York Times – What Trump Can Do to Prevent the Next Crash
Arguably no government agency has more influence on the daily lives of Americans than the Federal Reserve, and in the coming year President Trump has a chance to appoint or replace five of the central bank’s seven governors, including the vice chairman, Stanley Fischer, and possibly the chairman, Janet Yellen.
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The New York Times – Is the Tech Bubble About to Burst?
At the height of a market mania in 1967, the author George Goodman captured the mood perfectly, comparing it to a surreal party that ends only when Black Horsemen burst through the doors and cut down all the revelers who remain. Though the guests know they must bolt before it is too late, “The music and wines are so seductive that we do not want to leave, but we do ask, ‘What time is it? What time is it?’ Only none of the clocks have any hands.”
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The New York Times – The Next Economic Powerhouse
If getting rich is hard for individuals, it is harder still for nations. Of more than 190 countries tracked by the International Monetary Fund, fewer than 40 count as wealthy or advanced economies. The rest are known as emerging nations, and many of them have been emerging forever. The last large country to make it into the advanced class was South Korea, 20 years ago.
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The New York Times – Throw the Bums Out, Global Edition
Only a few weeks ago, much of the global commentariat still saw the rise of right-wing populism as the defining trend of our times, but recent election results upend that notion. This month an old-fashioned socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, scored an unexpectedly strong showing in Britain. On Sunday, the new-school centrist Emmanuel Macron won a parliamentary majority in France. And conservative, Wall Street-friendly reformers are gaining momentum in, of all places, Latin America, once a hotbed of anticapitalist radicalism.
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The New York Times – Why There is No Trump Slump on Wall Street
After a brief stumble, the stock market returned to its upward march last week and hit another high. This optimism has left many people confused, even infuriated. Why isn’t Wall Street being affected by all the crazy news — including rumors of impeachment — coming out of Washington? Where is the Trump Slump?
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The New York Times – America Needs Immigrants to Be Great Again
What makes America great? The standard answers point to qualities that the United States is said to have in greater abundance than its peers in Europe and Japan. There are the innovations that pour out of Silicon Valley companies and elite universities, the flexibility of a work force relatively unconstrained by union rules, the dynamism of entrepreneurs less hamstrung by an oversize welfare state and of a more mobile population willing to move to where the cutting-edge jobs are mushrooming.
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The New York Times – How Macron Would Fix the French Economy
The world keenly watched the first-round vote for president in France last Sunday because of the rise of Marine Le Pen, who wants to take the country out of the European Union and shut immigrants out of France. But she came in second to a centrist, Emmanuel Macron, who positioned himself as anti-Le Pen and “anti-system.” He attributes the nation’s woes not to outsiders — European officials and immigrants — but on France’s own “sclerotic” and unsustainable welfare state.
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Foreign Affairs – The Boom Was a Blip
The global recovery from the Great Recession of 2009 has just entered its eighth year and shows few signs of fading. That should be cause for celebration. But this recovery has been an underwhelming one. Throughout this period, the global economy has grown at an average annual pace of just 2.5 percent—a record low when compared with economic rebounds that took place in the decades after World War II.
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The New York Times – A Strongman Strengthened
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is a mesmerizing orator, in the way of a talk-show host with an acerbic tongue, and this month a campaign crowd of more than 50,000 showed up in Deoria, a hardscrabble town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, to hear his story. They knew and loved the part about how this son of a tea seller rose through the party ranks with no help from family connections. But the rest of his rags-to-power tale is changing fast.
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The Wall Street Journal – Mexico’s Bad Luck Gets Even Worse
If Trump pushes America’s neighbor into a slump, no wall will be high enough to keep the immigrants out.
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The New York Times – Why Trump Can’t Make It 1981 Again
As if Donald J. Trump’s victory wasn’t surprising enough, the economic reaction has been even more stunning. Despite forecasts of a stock market meltdown if he won, the market registered one of its strongest postelection rallies in more than a century. Now the euphoria is spilling into the wider economy, with business confidence skyrocketing and consumer confidence hitting a 15-year high. Much of this excitement is inspired by a growing consensus that Mr. Trump could be the most-business friendly president since Ronald Reagan.
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The Washington Post – Robots won’t kill the workforce. They’ll save the global economy.
Across the world, the labor pool isn’t growing fast enough to support our needs.
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The New York Times – When Borders Close
The age of globalization generated great prosperity. As the flow of goods, money and people across borders surged, millions benefited. But the elite gained the most. And as inequality rose, it stirred pockets of fierce resentment among those left behind. When the great shock came, the discontented turned to nationalist firebrands, who promised to impose controls on free trade, global banks and immigrants. Globalization stalled. A new age of deglobalization hit full stride.
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The Wall Street Journal – Trump Tees Up a Necessary Debate on the Fed
Sixty percent of stock gains since the 2008 panic have occurred on days when the Fed makes policy decisions.
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The Wall Street Journal – The Dollar—and the Fed—Still Rule
Americans may think the U.S. is in hock to China, but Beijing’s economic fate lies in Washington’s hands.
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The Guardian – Globalisation as we know it is over – and Brexit is the biggest sign yet
“In the shock after the Brexit referendum vote the risk of contagion was raised. Analysts asked which EU country might leave next and whether this unravelling could shatter the postwar European order.”
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The Financial Times – Putin is the Model of Economic Sobriety
“President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy has sparked a global backlash. Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine led to international sanctions, its internet hackers stand accused of interfering in elections in the US, and its state doping program has gotten many Russian athletes banned from the Rio Olympics. At home, however, Mr. Putin has been playing a surprisingly quiet and effective game of defense on the economic front.”
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The Wall Street Journal – Beware the Economic Allure of the Strongman
China’s example has led some to believe that authoritarians are better for growth. The evidence favors democracies.
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Time Magazine – The Anti-Incumbency Wave Is Changing the Politics of Latin America
“In April last year I caught up with Chile’s richest man, Sebastian Piñera , in the surprisingly modest Santiago office to which he returned after leaving the presidential mansion. A billionaire who made his money in the credit card business, Piñera served as president from 2010 to 2014, and he reflected on the defeat of his party after he stepped down, limited by law to one term. His center-right government had presided over an economic boom, with growth averaging 6 percent, yet his party was driven from power amid street protests against rising inequality. ”
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The New York Times – How China Fell Off the Miracle Path
“For years now, Donald J. Trump has been sounding the alarm on China, calling it an economic bully that has been “eating our lunch.” The crux of Trump’s attack is that Beijing manipulates its currency to keep it cheap and give Chinese exports an unfair advantage. But that narrative is so last decade. China is now a threat to the United States not because it is strong but because it is fragile.”
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The Wall Street Journal – Impeachment Won’t Save Brazil
“Brazilian investors and citizens alike are happily anticipating the arrival of “anybody but Dilma.” Since late January, despite the country’s crushing recession, Brazilian stocks are up more than 50% in dollar terms, inspired by the campaign to topple President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached on Sunday by the lower house of Brazil’s Congress for allegedly violating financial responsibility laws.”
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Previous Articles

• TIME Magazine (January 20, 2014)
• The New York Times (April 25, 2012)
• The Washington Post (June 24, 2012)
• TIME Magazine (May 14, 2012)
• TIME Magazine (April 23, 2012)
• Foreign Affairs (January/February 2014)
• Foreign Affairs (September/October 2013)
• Foreign Affairs (November/December, 2012)
• The Wall Street Journal (January 21, 2014)
• The Wall Street Journal (October 30, 2013)
The Wall Street Journal (June 26, 2013)
• The Wall Street Journal (February 28, 2013)
• Bloomberg (July 28, 2013)
• Bloomberg View (May 6, 2013)
• The Atlantic (August 3, 2012)
• The Atlantic (April 16, 2012)
• (January 28, 2013)
• (June 5, 2012)
• The Huffington Post (July 10, 2012)
• The Globalist (August 11, 2012)

• The Times of India (January 29, 2014)
• The Times of India (December 10, 2013)
• The Times of India (August 28, 2013)
• The Times of India (August 25, 2013)
• The Times of India (May 7, 2013)
• The Times of India (April 1, 2013)
• The Times of India (November 12, 2012)
• The Times of India (April 15, 2011)
• The Economic Times (January 29, 2014)
• Outlook Magazine (May 7, 2012) – Cover | Excerpt
 The Mint, India (June 15, 2012)
• The Economic Times (October 8, 2012)
• The Economic Times (May 14, 2012)

• The Financial Times (January 27, 2014)
• The Financial Times (December 8, 2013)
The Financial Times (August 25, 2013)
• The Financial Times (July 1, 2013)
• The Financial Times (May 20, 2013)
• The Financial Times (March 27, 2013)
• The Financial Times (December 18, 2012)
• The Financial Times (June 24, 2012)
• The Financial Times (May 6, 2012)
• The Financial Times (September 19, 2012)

• Business Day, South Africa (June 12, 2012)
• Daily Financial Times, Sri Lanka (May 10, 2012)