W-T-W.org Women and Finance Cartoon of the Year 2016

Share

Dagmar Frank announces the winner of W-T-W.org Women and Finance Cartoon of the Year.  Congratulations to Marilena Nardi for fighting corruption with “Mani in Tasca” Hands in the pocket. On a website dedicated in part to the definition and exploration of corruption, Nardi’s subtle, portrayal of corruption’s insidious role in society highlights the problem with a cruel grace.Cartoon of the Year 2016
Second prize to Silvan Wegmann for the wonderful cartoon on “Women’s Day”
It’s A Man’s World.
Womens Day
Third prize to ZUNAR-Zulkiflee Anwar Haque for his self portrait “Cartooning in Malaysia”.
A Malaysian Political Cartoonist on Facing His Fears, and Prison, for Art.
Cartoon of the Month December 2016In an interview, Mr. Zulkiflee, 54, discussed how social media has become an increasingly important channel for political dissents, and why he continues to use his art to investigate corruption and injustice.

 

Top 20 Female Entrepreneurs To Watch In 2017

Share

The List of Top 20 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 highlights CEOs from medtech, edtech, spacetech, VR and fashion technology.

Every year, female entrepreneurs take their ideas and change the world around us and 2017 is going to be no different. CIO’s Top 20 list of female entrepreneurs to watch in 2017 employs thousands of workers and collectively have raised tens of millions of dollars for their companies. After the jump: CIO’s list of 20 female entrepreneurs you’ll want to watch in 2017:

1. Julia Taylor Cheek

Julia Taylor Cheek isn’t new to business but the Harvard Business grad’s new company is literally changing the way we live. Cheek’s company, EverlyWell (of which she is both co-founder and CEO) is simplifying health testing and putting it into words and charts that everybody can understand.

2. Esosa Ighodaro

Embracing the selfie movement, Esosa Ighodaro’s simple yet creative app COSIGN allows people to tag product information in their picture. This helps online shoppers cut corners while looking for the style they want, giving them almost immediate access to clothing, accessories, products and more.

3. Amanda Signorelli

If you haven’t heard of Techweek yet, you’re bound to at some point in 2017. Amanda Signorelli, CEO of Techweek, is building tech-based entrepreneurial communities in major cities across North America, helping local business break through.

4. Danielle Morrill
…….CIO.com

thinkstock

thinkstock

 

Mali Swept into World Terror Attacks

Share

Drug trafficking to Europe often passes through West Africa and Mali and proceeds provide part of the financing of terrorist organizations.  Home-grown terrorist MUJAO, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and Ansar Eddine in Mali.  Terrorism in West Africa

Background of terrorist activity in Mali:

  • October 2011: Ethnic Tuaregs launch rebellion after returning with arms from Libya
  • March 2012: Army coup over government’s handling of rebellion, a month later Tuareg and al-Qaeda-linked fighters seize control of north
  • June 2012: Islamist groups capture Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao from Tuaregs, start to destroy Muslim shrines and manuscripts and impose Sharia
  • January 2013: Islamist fighters capture a central town, raising fears they could reach Bamako. Mali requests French help
  • July 2013: UN force, now totalling about 12,000, takes over responsibility for securing the north after Islamists routed from towns
  • July 2014: France launches an operation in the Sahel to stem jihadist groups
  • Attacks continue in northern desert area, blamed on Tuareg and Islamist groups
  • 2015: Terror attacks in the capital, Bamako, and central Mali

ISIS: Horrifying and Baffling

Share

ISIS  An important review of two books by an ‘ananymous’ contributor who has been involved with ISIS.

New York Review of Books: The rise of Ahmad Fadhil—or as he was later known in the jihad, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—and ISIS, the movement of which he was the founder, remains almost inexplicable. The year 2003, in which he began his operations in Iraq, seemed to many part of a mundane and unheroic age of Internet start-ups and a slowly expanding system of global trade. Despite the US-led invasion of Iraq that year, the borders of Syria and Iraq were stable. Secular Arab nationalism appeared to have triumphed over the older forces of tribe and religion. Different religious communities—Yezidis, Shabaks, Christians, Kaka’is, Shias, and Sunnis—continued to live alongside one another, as they had for a millennium or more. Iraqis and Syrians had better incomes, education, health systems, and infrastructure, and an apparently more positive future, than most citizens of the developing world. Who then could have imagined that a movement founded by a man from a video store in provincial Jordan would tear off a third of the territory of Syria and Iraq, shatter all these historical institutions, and—defeating the combined militaries of a dozen of the wealthiest countries on earth—create a mini empire?  ISIS

Isis

Connection of Refugee Movement to Jihadists Complicates Welcome

Share

Nationalism and unity plays out in the EU

Ka Leers writes: When voters in both the Netherlands and France rejected a new EU constitution by referendum in 2005, governments across Europe were aghast. How could these voters come out in such numbers against the European Union, the machine that had so obviously ensured peace and prosperity for more than 50 years?

“Voters operate on the premise that they are the boss, not politicians,” says Hans Anker, a successful Dutch pollster who used to work with the famous American voter researcher Stan Greenberg. Anker was asked by the Dutch government to find out what the heck had happened.Extensive research and focus groups involving great numbers of Dutch voters after the referendum showed why many voters simply took it as an opportunity to slap the sitting government on the wrist. They felt that EU expansion – at the time the Union was on its way to adding 10 new member states – was being carried out without their permission.

Most voters in the referendum didn’t vote against the EU constitution itself, Anker found. Rather, they voted as they did because they felt that the European Union’s ever-expanding power was a train that kept moving forward – a locomotive commandeered by an elite that never asked them whether they approved of its chosen direction. “Nobody ever asked me anything; now I’ll show them.” That was the gist.

It appears that the refugee crisis is now driving this sentiment back to the fore, perhaps more than any other topic ever did – including the EU’s shock expansion in 2005. Wherever government leaders go against the grain and welcome refugees, as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel did, massive swings in the polls are seen. In countries such as Switzerland and Poland, political parties that take an explicit stance against refugees have scored landslide electoral wins. In Germany itself, the Alternative for Germany – until quite recently fading in the polls – is now back with a vengeance, picking up additional voters with each passing poll. This is scaring even Merkel into taking a step back. She now supports building refugee centers on Germany’s southern borders in an effort to stop the influx, a proposition she vehemently opposed just a couple weeks back.

The attack on Paris and its connection to refugee movement complicated the issue.

How Women on Boards Can Improve Corporate Governance

Share

Corporate boards are under pressure to deliver in quarterly frames which may not suit the longterm objectives and health of the corporation.  Morten Huse, Professor of Management in WItten, Germany and Oslo, Norway, discusses how women on boards can impact the long term goals of a corporation.

EU: Back to Nation States or Forward to a Community of Shared Values?

Share

Joshka Fischer writes: Until a few weeks ago, Europeans believed they lived in a kind of sanctuary, insulated from the world’s current conflicts. Certainly, the news and images of drowned migrants were dreadful; but the tragedy occurring south of Italy, Greece, and Malta, seemed a long way off.

Syria’s brutal civil war, which has been raging for years, seemed even farther away.

So, sometime this summer, when the last glimmer of hope of a return to Syria disappeared and an alternative to Assad and the Islamic State no longer seemed realistic, these people started heading toward Europe, which seemed to promise a future of peace, freedom, and security. The refugees came via Turkey, Greece, and the Balkan states, or across the Mediterranean to escape similar chaos in Eritrea, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.
In August, thousands of refugees became stranded at Budapest’s Keleti train station for days on end when Hungary’s vexed and incompetent government deliberately allowed the situation to escalate.

Eventually, thousands of men, women, and children – and even old and disabled people – started to make their way on foot toward the Austrian border. At this point Europe, witnessing an exodus of biblical proportions, could no longer ignore the challenge and the consequences of the crises in its neighboring region. Europe was now directly confronted with the harsh realities from which it had appeared to be a sanctuary.

The European Union lacked the civilian, diplomatic, and military tools needed to contain, let alone resolve, the crises and conflicts in its neighborhood. And, once the migrants headed for Europe, the EU’s common asylum policy failed, because the so-called Dublin III agreement provided no effective mechanism to distribute asylum-seekers among all members states after their initial registration in EU border states (in particular Greece and Italy). Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s call for European solidarity went unheeded.

Merkel took the brave and correct decision to let the refugees enter Germany. For this, she deserves wholehearted respect and full support, all the more so in view of the icy response of many within her own party.  But Merkel was not alone in embodying humane values at this decisive moment. Civil-society groups in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere mobilized to a hitherto unseen extent to meet – together with the public authorities – the enormous challenge posed by the influx. Without the public’s active empathy, the authorities would never have managed. With the support of such ad hoc coalitions, Europe should do whatever it takes to ensure the refugees’ successful integration.

The influx launched during the “refugee summer” will change Germany and Europe. The EU will be able to address the challenge – and seize the opportunity – of integrating the newcomers only together and in the spirit of European solidarity. Should unity crumble in this crisis, the consequences for all parties involved – especially the refugees – will be grave.

First and foremost, a new, effective system for securing Europe’s external borders must be established as quickly as possible. This includes a joint procedure for judging asylum claims and a mechanism to distribute the refugees among EU countries fairly. Moreover, if the EU wants to maintain its core values, including the abolition of internal borders, it will need to focus on stabilizing its Middle Eastern, North African, and Eastern European neighbors with money, commitment, and all its hard and soft power. A united approach will be crucial.

But Europe should avoid the kind of dismal realpolitik that would betray its core values elsewhere. It would be a grave mistake, for example, to sell out Ukraine’s interests and lift the sanctions imposed on Russia out of the mistaken belief that the Kremlin’s assistance is needed in Syria. Cooperation with Russia, however useful and advisable, must not come at the expense of third parties and Western interests and unity. Attempting to redeem past mistakes is not advisable when it means making even bigger ones.

To be sure, there is a risk that the refugee crisis will strengthen nationalist and populist parties in EU member states. But the renationalization of politics within the EU gained traction long before the summer of 2015, and it is not a result of the refugee crisis. At its heart lies a fundamental conflict over Europe’s future: back to a continent of nation-states, or forward to a community of shared values? Convinced Europeans will need to marshal all their strength – and muster all their nerve – in the times ahead.

 

Can Finance Save the Planet?

Share

Jean Pisani Ferry writes:  Most people hate finance, viewing it as the epitome of irresponsibility and greed. But, even after causing a once-in-a-century recession and unemployment for millions, finance looks indispensable for preventing an even worse catastrophe: climate change.
Action is urgently needed to contain global warming and prevent a disaster for humanity; yet the global community is desperately short of tools. There is not much support for the most desirable solutions advocated by economists, such as a global cap on greenhouse-gas emissions, coupled with a trading system, or the enforcement of a worldwide carbon price through a global tax on CO2 emissions.

Instead, negotiations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December are being conducted on the basis of voluntary, unilateral pledges called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Although the inclusion of voluntary targets has the merit of creating global momentum, this approach is unlikely to result in commitments that are both binding and commensurate to the challenge.
That is why climate advocates are increasingly looking for other means of triggering action. Finance is at the top of their list.

For starters, finance provides an accurate yardstick to gauge if deeds are consistent with words. In 2011, “Unburnable Carbon,” a path-breaking report by the nongovernmental Carbon Tracker Initiative, showed that the proven fossil-fuel reserves owned by governments and private companies exceed by a factor of five the quantity of carbon that can be burned in the next 50 years if global warming is to be kept below two degrees Celsius.
Reserves held just by the 200 top publicly listed fuel companies – thus excluding state-owned producers such as Saudi Arabia’s Aramco – exceed this carbon budget by one-third. And that means that these companies’ stock-market valuation is inconsistent with containing global warning.

This realization prompted a campaign to convince investors to divest from carbon-rich assets. Individuals and institutions representing a $2.6 trillion portfolio have already joined the divestment movement. Furthermore, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has highlighted the threat represented by potentially stranded carbon assets. Investors are being warned that, from the standpoint of financial stability, “brown” securities bear specific risk.
The amount of divestment may look big – and it is, particularly given that the campaign started recently. Yet $2.6 trillion amounts to less than 5% of global private non-financial securities. The trend is real, but it is still too little to trigger significant changes in fossil-fuel companies’ valuation and behavior.

A second reason why finance matters is that the transition to a low-carbon economy requires huge investments. According to the International Energy Agency, global investment in energy supply currently amounts to $1.6 trillion annually, and 70% of it is still based on oil, coal, or gas. Green investment amounts to only 15% of the total, and investment in energy efficiency – in buildings, transport, and industry – totals a meager $130 billion. Containing the increase in average surface temperature to two degrees requires developing clean technologies, and even more important, a four-fold increase in investment in energy efficiency over the next ten years.

The real hope among climate specialists is that innovative finance could help provide the planning clarity that is currently missing. To elicit the investments that are necessary to mitigate climate change and green the economy, the elimination of fossil-fuel subsidies and a credible, fast-rising path for the price of carbon are vital. But, because high fuel prices are unpopular with consumers and raise competitiveness concerns among businesses, governments are reluctant to take action today – and may renege on their commitments to act tomorrow.

To overcome such trepidation, advocates for climate action are turning to incentives. Some have recommended that governments issue CO2 performance bonds, whose yield would be reduced if companies exceed their carbon target. Another idea, put forward in a recent paper by Michel Aglietta and his colleagues, is to map out a path for an indicative price of carbon called its “social value” and provide green project developers a government-guaranteed carbon certificate representing the value of the corresponding emissions reduction. Central banks, they suggest, would then refinance loans to such developers, up to the value of the carbon certificate.

This would amount to a calculated bet. If the price of carbon in, say, ten years, actually corresponds to the announced social value, the project will be profitable and the developer will repay the loan. But if the government reneges on its commitment, the developer will default, leaving the central bank with a claim on the government. Failure to increase the price of carbon would result either in higher public debt or, in the case of monetization, inflation.

The idea is to force governments to have skin in the game, by balancing the risk of inaction on the carbon tax with the risk of insolvency or inflation. There would be no procrastination. Action against global warming would take place without delay. But a decade or so later, governments – and societies more broadly – would need to choose between taxation, debt, and inflation.
Undertaking massive investment now and deciding only later how to finance it looks irresponsible – and so it is. But not acting at all would be even more irresponsible.

Financing a Clean Planet

US, Russia and China Together

Share

The Rocky Road to Globalization:   At the UN in New York today, the heads of state of the US, Russia and China all meet and speak.  Syria is at the top of the list of concerns.  While the UN still does not have the political power to unite or even engage the entire world, it is a wonderful forum for discussion among friends and enemies.  The economies of every country in the world benefit when these leaders talk.

Obama talks about an integrated world.  He says that no nation can risk the forces of financial contagion.  No matter how powerful the US, or how strong the economy, the US cannot solve the world’s problems alone.  We need to work under the mantle of all nations we will fail as we did in Iraq.  Force and repression cannot set the stage of nations to succeed.

Obama calls for cooperation over conflict and sites the limitations on nuclear proliferation.  Laws and agreements mean something.  He points out that China and Russia and the US all participated in an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear power and to open the country for entrepreneurs and business people the world over.

US, Russia and China

 

EU’s Survivablity

Share

Ronald Tiersky writes:  Remembering history is crucial to understanding the present. Its lessons can be ignored or badly played, but a knowledge of history helps steer us away from exaggerated, immediate conclusions anchored in the flow of the quotidian.

European integration provides a stellar example. The history of this process frames the deal just reached between Greece and its creditors. It helps us to understand.

The European Union’s pattern has always been to make significant advances by crisis. After the trouble ebbs, a period of stability follows as the new order is established, until stagnation or some outside event leads to a new crisis, with a new solution that works more or works less but sets up the cycle anew.

Europe should take some comfort in the fact that in politics, nothing is absolutely certain, and nothing is forever. The euro currency, the European monetary system — indeed, even European integration itself — could always end in catastrophe. Yet if history is good enough of a guide, this is anything but a foregone conclusion.

Another truism: In politics nothing is ever permanently won or lost. European integration has been written off many times before yet it has survived — perhaps with different structures than intended, and with solutions that are less than perfect, but it has come a long way. (And as Charles de Gaulle wrote, “the future lasts a long time.”)

The most historically informed criticism of EU Economic and Monetary Union, which was set up in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, argues that the arrangement lacked the necessary precondition to be run effectively: that is, political union. Choices in macroeconomic policies are fundamentally political decisions. Absent the political concessions on national sovereignty necessary for decisionmaking, on the euro and on monetary policy in general, the euro currency would hit a mortal crisis and fail, and monetary union would collapse. EU Survivor