January 25, 2023

Analysis

Militarized Adaptation

War, energy, and NATO’s new climate framework

This essay first appeared in GREEN, a journal from Groupe d’études géopolitiques. When NATO held its two-day summit in Madrid in June 2022, the Spanish government deployed ten thousand police officers to cordon off entire parts of the city, including the Prado and the Reina Sofia museums, to the public. A day before the summit…

Longform

January 21, 2023

Analysis

Unmaking Orthodoxies

The reputational limits of central banks

After a decade of low or negative interest rates, central banks are back in the business of fighting inflation. One of the clearest signs of the change in monetary policy stance is the largely synchronized tightening across high-income countries—last year,…

January 18, 2023

Reviews

Cold Controls

On Daniels and Krige’s “Knowledge Regulation and National Security in Postwar America”

In an effort to stymie “indigenous” chip development in China, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) introduced new controls on semiconductor technology exported to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) last October. Targeting high-performance and advanced memory chips,…

January 7, 2023

Interviews

Sectional Industrialization

An interview with Richard Bensel

Few scholars have done more to elucidate the relationship between democracy and economic development in the United States and its corresponding regional—or “sectional”—antagonisms than Richard Franklin Bensel, the Gary S. Davis professor of government at Cornell University. Among Bensel’s published…

January 4, 2023

Analysis

The Nokia Risk

Small countries, big firms, and the end of the fifth Schumpetarian wave

In the early 2000s, Finland was the darling of industrial and employment policy analysts everywhere. This small country with a population of 5.5 million and a GDP roughly equal to the state of Oregon experienced what looked like a high…

December 22, 2022

Analysis

Facts on the Ground

Uncertainty and information in the global energy system

Assessing the crisis The energy system that underpins contemporary life is marked with blindspots. Take the fossil fuel sector. Facing simultaneous existential and geopolitical vulnerability—due to Russia invading Ukraine, advances in renewable energy, and the climate imperative—there is profound uncertainty…

December 20, 2022

Analysis

Indian Big Business

The evolution of India’s corporate sector from 2000 to 2020

“The systemic, long-term nexus between the political elites and big business will not go away anytime soon,” wrote journalist M. K. Venu  in 2015. Writing in the aftermath of Obama’s second visit to India, Venu suggested that “crony capitalism” had…

December 17, 2022

Analysis

Droughts and Dams

The troubled future of World Bank-funded hydropower in Zambia

Most of Zambia’s grid electricity is generated by hydropower. Over the past decade, recurring droughts—in 2015, 2016, 2019, and now again in 2022—have exposed the deep vulnerabilities in the system. These droughts have unleashed unprecedented power outages, with low reservoir…

December 8, 2022

Analysis

Money and the Climate Crisis

COP27 and financing the green transition

The conclusion of COP27 reflected persisting uncertainties around coordinated global action towards decarbonization. Major agreements—including the establishment of a loss and damage fund—were reached, but the burden of mounting debt among global South countries continued to limit climate ambition. The…

November 30, 2022

Interviews

Bittersweet Tides

Chile, Brazil, and the future of the Latin American Left

The recent victories of left parties across Latin America—most recently the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil—have prompted comparisons with the Pink Tide of the early 2000s. But with narrow margins of victory against far-right opponents,…

November 19, 2022

Analysis

The Wall Street Consensus at COP27

The derisking roll-out at COP27

At COP26, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry sanguinely declared the need to “de-risk the investment, and create the capacity to have bankable deals. That’s doable for water, it’s doable for electricity, it’s doable for transportation.” UN Special Envoy…

Shortform

January 26, 2023

Analysis

Don’t Say “Scramble for Africa”

Debt and diplomacy on the African continent

Debt, diplomacy, and the risks of a new Cold War.

January 14, 2023

Sources

This week, Ghana’s government reached an agreement to raise public sector salaries by 30 percent in response to rapidly rising inflation, now at 54 percent. In addition to demanding wage increases, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC)—the nation’s largest labor organization—has rejected certain austerity measures proposed by the government,…

January 14, 2023

Analysis

The Dollar and Climate

How US dollar hegemony fuels the climate crisis

The climate crisis offers a new angle from which to evaluate US dollar hegemony, since carbon emissions are tied to economic activity.

January 12, 2023

Analysis

Inflation and Energy

Can clean energy reduce inflationary pressures?

There has been little research into the inflationary implications of either climate change itself, or of responses to climate change. The majority of work on central banking and climate change is concerned with topics like firm-level or macroprudential regulation, collateral requirements, and asset-purchasing…

January 12, 2023

Interviews

Emergency Prices

An interview with Isabella Weber

In How China Escaped Shock Therapy (2021), Isabella Weber analyzes how China applied market reforms selectively, avoiding the broad agenda of liberalization advocated for in the West. Retaining oversight of prices for critical goods was key to this strategy.  Recently,…

January 7, 2023

Sources

In response to escalating industrial unrest, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s newly proposed anti-strike legislation threatens to impose “minimum service levels” in key public sectors. The laws constitute the latest in a longrunning history of state intervention in workplace disputes.

December 17, 2022

Sources

Over the past year, Phenomenal World has inspired discussion across spheres of political economy, publishing on topics including the politics of debt and climate, the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and its policy responses, and pivotal elections…

December 15, 2022

Analysis

Europe’s “Leap Into the Future”

Do exceptional crisis-fighting policies signal the arrival of an interventionist Europe? 

In 2020, as demand for liquefied natural gas boomed in Asia, the shippable fuel was an afterthought in Europe. But when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 imperiled the continent’s energy supply, Europe panicked and spent the intervening year…

December 10, 2022

Sources

This week’s Mercosur summit exposed rifts between the trade bloc’s four members—Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay—with Uruguay stating the intention to form trade partnerships outside the bloc, and Argentina pushing for a renegotiation of the 2019 EU-Mercosur agreement.

December 3, 2022

Sources

After months of negotiations, US congressional lawmakers are desperately trying to avert a national strike on the country’s railways. With nearly half of the workforce rejecting the Biden administration’s earlier proposals, pressure on business and trade union representatives is rising.


Series

Series are collections of works published by Phenomenal World on a single subject or area of research. Series are commissioned to analyze particular issues or historical moments, and are either ongoing projects or collected as one-time volumes.

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