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4 November 2016
Georgia and the politics of personality - How the West should punish Putin - Don’t fear the population explosion, human ingenuity will feed us all - Is social media creating a Stasi capitalism?
Georgia's recent election may have been hailed by the EU and OECD as "free and fair", but at heart it was a power struggle between the country's exiled former president and an opposition bankrolled by the country's richest oligarch. Georgia's democracy may be the best of a bad bunch, but if it wants to play a full role in the Western-based institutions it aspires to join, it will have to move beyond the grasp of its two leading men.
The talk of a new Cold War ignores one salient fact - one of the superpowers is missing. Militarily and economically, Russia is a shadow of its former self, which is why the Kremlin now has to rely on tame Western bankers, craven media outlets and naked bluff to advance its interests. To confront Russia, we don't need troop build-ups and aircraft carriers - just some backbone.
Tom Hanks may be a fan of Malthus, but his prophecy of overpopulation wreaking havoc on the world is as wrong today as it was 200 years ago. This is thanks to new farming methods which has succeeded in producing more food on less land. Population doom-mongers may always be with us, but history shows their pessimism is no match for human ingenuity.
An insurance company has publicised a new service which it hopes will analyse the Facebook posts of first-time car owners, looking for evidence that they’re well-organised, and conscientious and therefore safe on the roads. Human beings have an innate aversion to being watched by machines. But more than that, it is alarming way of thinking to connect a person's driving capabilities and habits to their use of exclamation marks online.
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