Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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How much do you know about sources of energy? [quiz]

Energy consumption is changing. Governments and businesses around the world are exploring low carbon options including biofuels, natural gas and wind in an attempt to achieve longstanding energy security. Production of new sources has led to controversies about economic and environmental impacts and the trade-offs they generate between food and fuel production, energy security and environmental quality.

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Amartya Sen on the Modi government, education, health care, and politics

“I had been out for a walk and got caught in the rain,” says Sen, smiling as he walks in to greet us. His knees do not permit him to pedal around Santiniketan as he once did. He is in a pleasant mood, in spite of the controversy surrounding his ouster from Nalanda University and his latest book, The Country of First Boys: And Other Essays, out next month.

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Jarzabkowski-Making a Market for Acts of God

Eroding norms in reinsurance trading: Can it cause industry collapse?

In the face of severe disasters, or ‘Acts of God’, society turns to reinsurance. It is a financial market that insures insurance firms, and thus trades in large-scale disasters. Reinsurance is therefore the backbone for economic and social recovery in times of unimaginable losses, such as Hurricane Katrina or the attack on the World Trade Centre, through enabling insurers to pay their claims.

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A fist-full of dollar bills

The next time you are slipping the valet a couple of folded dollar bills, take a good look at those George Washingtons. You might never see them again. Every few years, there is a renewed push for the United States to replace the dollar bill with its shiny cousin, the one dollar coin.

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Overfishing: a bigger problem than we think

Many of us probably tend to take fish for granted, as it’s a fairly sustainable resource—at least, that’s what we’d like believe. It’s difficult to imagine that we could even come close to depleting what seems to be limitless; after all, the earth is mostly covered in water. But as Ray and Ulrike Hilborn discuss in an excerpt from their book, Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, there is reason for concern in our flippancy towards our complex ecosystem.

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A look at the ‘Internet of Things’

Everyday objects are becoming increasingly connected to the internet. Whether it’s a smart phone that allows you to check your home security, or an app that lets you start your car or close your garage door from anywhere in the world; these technologies are becoming part of what is known as the Internet of Things.

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William Godwin on debt

William Godwin did not philosophically address the question of debt obligations, although he often had many. Perhaps this helps to explain the omission. It’s very likely that Godwin would deny that there is such a thing as the obligation to repay debts, and his creditors wouldn’t have liked that.

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Wickstead-Aid and Development

The future of development – aid and beyond

Just over a year ago, in March 2014, UNU-WIDER published a Report called: ‘What do we know about aid as we approach 2015?’ It notes the many successes of aid in a variety of sectors, and that in order to remain relevant and effective beyond 2015 it must learn to deal with, amongst other things, the new geography of poverty; the challenge of fragile states; and the provision of global public goods, including environmental protection.

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Maccoby-Strategic Intelligence

Can leadership be taught?

Leadership training has become a multi-billion dollar global industry. The reason for this growth is that organizations, faced with new technology, changing markets, fierce competition, and diverse employees, must adapt and innovate or go under. Because of this, organizations need leaders with vision and the ability to engage willing collaborators. However, according to interviews with business executives reported in the McKinsey Quarterly, leadership programs are not developing global leaders.

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Modern Greece Cover

Greece’s uphill battle: a weekend roundup

With the world bracing for Greece’s exit from the Eurozone, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, miraculously announced that a deal with the debt-crippled country had been reached. After nearly 17 hours of negotiations at the Euro Summit, Eurozone leaders extended a $96 billion bailout to Greece in what has proved to be the third bailout since 2010. As rumors continue to circulate regarding Greece’s next steps, Stathis Kalyvas, leading expert and author of Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs, joined the international conversation, responding to the announcement of the recent bailout via Twitter.

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The status of older people in modern times

The nineteenth century witnessed radical changes in the social and economic landscape, especially in Western Europe and North America. Social scientists observed that industrialized countries were becoming wealthier; more powerful and politically more stable. Yet, the changes that accompanied modernization were not altogether positive. There were also dramatic social changes such as the breakdown of the traditional extended family into nuclear families.

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Stathis Kalyvas imagines Alexis Tsipras’ speech to Greece

How does a leader address a country on the brink of economic collapse? In the wake of Greece’s historic referendum, many people around the world have engaged in fierce debate, expressing very different perspectives over its highly controversial outcome. Earlier today on Twitter, Stathis Kalyvas, leading expert and author of Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs to Know, swiftly responded to the political chorus, making a courageous foray into the world of social media. Here, he imagines his version of what Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ speech would have been using the hashtag #fauxTsipras.

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Rubenstein-Between Samaritans and States

What are the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of international donation?

The Nepal earthquake. The conflict in Syria. Malaria. More than two billion people in or near “multi-dimensional” poverty (Human Development Report 2014). While the world is getting better in some respects, massive needs and injustices remain. Many of us want to do something to help. For individuals in rich countries who lack personal ties to individuals or organizations in poor or disaster-affected countries, “doing something” often means donating to an international non-governmental organization (INGO).

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The Oxford Handbook of the Macroeconomics of Global Warming

Global warming and clean energy in Asia

Modern industry is foundational for contemporary society. Yet, its dependence upon fossil fuels, primarily, and upon other chemicals, secondarily, threatens to destroy that very same society. One should note, at the outset, that those industrial processes do not so much create greenhouse gases, as they are termed, but rather release them. Global warming threatens to restore our planet to an ancient equilibrium – an equilibrium that was home to tropical plants and dinosaurs, but not to man.

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The continuing benefits (and costs) of the Giving Pledge

The recent news about charitable contributions in the United States has been encouraging. The Giving Pledge, sponsored by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Jr., recently announced that another group of billionaires committed to leave a majority of their wealth to charity. Among these new Giving Pledgers are Judith Faulkner, founder of Epic Systems; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani Yogurt; and Brad Keywell, a co-founder of Groupon.

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The limits of regulatory cooperation

One of the most striking structural weaknesses uncovered by the euro crisis is the lack of consistent banking regulation and supervision in Europe. Although the European Banking Authority has existed since 2011, its influence is often trumped by national authorities. And many national governments within the European Union do not seem anxious to submit their financial institutions to European-wide regulation and supervision.

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