Science & Technology

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Analysis & Opinions

Iran Sanctions: How Deep Will They Bite?

| Nov. 12, 2018

In Iran, officials blame the sanctions for the economic crisis, while in the United States, officials blame the Iranian government. There is no denying that Iran’s economy has serious problems that have nothing to do with sanctions, but there is no doubt that the current crisis is the result of the sanctions. The same economy was able to expand by 18 percent in the two years that sanctions were partially lifted as a result of the 2015 nuclear deal. However, regime-change advocates in the United States who hope that sanctions will precipitate economic collapse will be disappointed. Economies do not collapse—they shrink. How far Iran’s economy will shrink and how Iran’s leaders and its people respond to the contraction are the real questions. Will the economy bottom out in 2019 or continue to slide for several more years? 

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

StockSnap/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

| Oct. 03, 2018

What the Iron Man-like character is claiming for his futuristic automotive company is not unheard of. On a systemic basis, mammoth institutional investment—especially from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—is flowing into start-ups and technology-oriented publicly traded companies. In this case, Saudi billions would help Mr Musk escape the pressures of being publicly listed. SWFs have invested large sums into high-growth start-ups promising innovation and financial returns. In fact, just this month, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a US$1bn investment in Tesla’s rival, Lucid, and a US$2bn stake in Tesla. The rise in SWF balance sheets and activity is having ramifications on global efforts to be more Silicon Valley-like, and on Silicon Valley itself.

President Donald Trump addressing the United Nations

Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Deep State Radio

Enough About My Solipsism, What Do You Think of My Solipsism?

| Sep. 25, 2018

We have the most solipsistic president in American history offering up the most solipsistic foreign policy ever at a time when the me-me-me generation are busy taking selfies and other pols the planet over are trying to play that self-centeredness to their advantage. Have we reached Peak Solipsism? And what does that mean for the international system. We discuss in honor of and in the context of this week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York City with David Rothkopf in New York, Ambassador Nicholas Burns in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Rosa Brooks in Washington, DC and Kori Schake in London, England.

Congressman Joaquin Castro in conversation with Ambassador Nicholas Burns

Harvard Kennedy School

Speech

A Conversation with Joaquin Castro and Nicholas Burns: Congress’ Role in Trump Era Foreign Policy

| Sep. 20, 2018

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro joined Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicholas Burns in a discussion concerning the role Congress should play in foreign policy in the era of President Trump. Castro discussed his upbringing and the civic conscious he gained at a young age alongside his twin brother Julian Castro, which encouraged him to eventually pursue a career in public service. The conversation covered a wide range of foreign affairs topics including immigration, trade, and terrorism. Castro took questions from the audience and voiced his concerns about a variety of global developments and threats and his believe that Congress should take a more active role in these issues.  

How sovereign wealth funds are inflating the Silicon Valley bubble

Flickr/Steve Jurvetson

Analysis & Opinions - The Conversation

How Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Inflating the Silicon Valley Bubble

| Aug. 21, 2018

Elon Musk jolted markets and shareholders when he tweeted his intention to take his electric car company, Tesla, private. Saudi billions, he proposed, could help the company escape the pressures of being publicly listed. In a blog post, Musk said that “the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund [had] approached [him] multiple times about taking Tesla private”.

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Journal Article - Middle East Institute

Sovereign Wealth Funds in Small Open Economies

| Apr. 24, 2018

The small open economies of the Gulf and Southeast Asia are pioneers in the establishment of

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). The SWFs of countries like Qatar and Singapore are among the

world’s largest in terms of total asset size relative to Gross Domestic Product. This article looks

at the different compulsions behind the setting up of SWFs by small open economies.

 

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Journal Article - Global Policy

The Case for Economic Development Through Sovereign Investment: A Paradox of Scarcity?

| Apr. 14, 2018

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have traditionally been created to recycle excess reserves from natural resource or non‐commodity revenues. However, in recent years funds are being established under conditions of capital scarcity with objectives to contribute domestic economic development, often through the buildout of national infrastructure programs. Such trends in new fund creation represent a fundamental shift in the sovereign wealth fund paradigm and raise serious questions about how these entities are to be capitalized and also the implications of capitalization models on their sustainability. This study examines the recent evolution of SWF models focused on economic development. Its analytic focus is drawn, in particular, to countries that are neither endowed with oil wealth, nor otherwise enjoy export surpluses to be used to capitalize a development‐oriented SWF. While this study is relevant to and expands the scope of the broad literature on SWFs, its specific contribution is as a focused analysis of how SWF funding sources impact achieving long‐term financial and socio‐economic development objectives.

Nov. 23, 2016, a train returns from transporting ballast used in the construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa railway

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

African Regional Economic Integration

| Winter 2018

The power of Pan-Africanism as a guiding vision for the continent’s development is widely studied, mostly as an aspirational phenomenon. At worst, Pan-Africanism has often been seen as a poor imitation of American federalism or European integration. Both of these perceptions do not reflect the profound nature of the role that the ideology of Pan-Africanism played in shaping the continent’s economic transformation.