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Environmentalists, Roar!

WSJ: China's errors push its neighbors closer to the US. Daily Beast: It's too early to get rosy eyed about the economy. FT: The West must start living up to its ideals.

China’s tactical error pushes its neighbors closer to the US

Barry Wain, writer-in-residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, writes in the Wall Street Journal that China’s overreaching with regards to the South China Sea has forced the United States to get involved in its dispute with its neighbors. He argues that this was a tactical error by China because it has pushed Southeast Asian nations closer to the United States.

QUOTE: While little is expected to come of Mrs. Clinton's offer to facilitate a multilateral dialogue on the complex claims, the promise of a more active US security role is welcomed, especially among the Southeast Asian claimants. They have been reluctant to upset Beijing by insisting that the China-ASEAN agreement be honored.

It’s too early to predict America’s recovery

Mort Zuckerman, chairman and editor in chief of US News & World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News, writes in the Daily Beast that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is too much of an optimist with regards to the American economy. Zuckerman argues that the United States faces an “unpredictable economic downturn” and families are only saving more because consumer confidence has dropped dramatically.

QUOTE: The combination of declining consumer sentiment, incomes because of unemployment, and consumer net worth, reflecting the decline in housing prices, are critical to the prognosis about our economic future.

Internet time accelerates the rise and fall of businesses and nations

Mallory Factor, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, writes in Forbes that the internet and technological developments have greatly sped up the pace of change in markets and businesses. He argues that this likely leads to the faster rise and fall of nations.

QUOTE: In an age when billions of dollars in securities are traded in nanoseconds, when a 24-hour news cycle seems long, why should national decline be exempt from what the Germans call Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age?

China demands that the US recognize it as a world power

Frank Ching writes in the China Post that as China launched large-scale military exercises, it called on the United States to recognize it as a world power. Despite its growing economy, Ching writes, China faces uncertainty and insecurity about its global role.

QUOTE: China evidently feels that its time has come. But China should not follow in the footsteps of previous world powers. It is right to expect respect but understand that responsibility goes along with the job. And it must not demand deference.

The West must live up to its ideals as global power shifts

Dominique Moïsi, a senior adviser at France’s Institute for International Relations, writes in the Financial Times that the current shifting of global power presents an opportunity for the West to reinvent itself. It should use what it does best – conceive of ideas, practice democracy and protect the rule of law – and create a universal message. The Western world should promote the moralization of capitalism.

QUOTE: Our goal must be to become a niche of excellence. Today this model of excellence is most visible in the “northern lights” of Scandinavia, where power is modest and honest, where women play a major role in society, where a human brand of capitalism is practiced, and where respect towards migrants is the rule.

America needs dramatic reforms to end economic insecurity

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, writes in the Washington Post that economic insecurity has been on the rise for years in the United States. The recession and now long-term unemployment have made it much worse. She argues that the country needs a dramatic change that involves reforming the education system, modernizing infrastructure and regulating finance.

QUOTE: What we need is an adult debate addressing those things vital to a successful, high-wage economy with a broad middle class.

Support small businesses to boost America’s economy

Columnist Harold Meyerson writes in the Washington Post that large corporations in the United States are doing well and making profits again. However, small businesses continue to suffer. He argues that the government must use public investment to increase consumer demand and give tax credits to small businesses.

QUOTE: Senate Republicans have also blocked [Democrats’] efforts to cut taxes and increase loans to small business -- even though such policies have long been GOP priorities and small business has long been considered a key Republican constituency.

Environmentalists must get angry about climate change

Bill McKibben, founder of and a Middlebury College scholar in residence, writes in the Los Angeles Times that environmentalists for years have tried to compromise in order to enact climate change policies in the United States. But their efforts have failed, and now they must get angry. He argues that environmentalists must explain to the public why climate change is so dangerous and enact a stiff price on carbon.

QUOTE: Fossil fuel is wrecking the one Earth we've got. It's not going to go away because we ask politely. If we want a world that works, we're going to have to raise our voices.

Research finds differences between Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs

Ryan Streeter, a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London, writes in the Wall Street Journal that studies have found differences between entrepreneurs in India and China. In India, entrepreneurs start their own businesses to be their own boss and because of family expectations. In China, they do it to make more money and because of state support. Streeter argues that the research can help direct policy makers as they try to build businesses in developing nations.

QUOTE: Our findings suggest entrepreneurship in India is marked by a kind of sustainability that is less evident in China. Because India's entrepreneurs have succeeded amid dysfunctional government and financial institutions by developing a kind of independent and experimental ingenuity, it stands to reason that the enterprising class would prosper even more were India to reduce barriers to business and clean up corruption.

Economists must focus more on the details

Tim Harford writes in the Financial Times that as the third anniversary of the credit crunch approaches, it is time to look back at the crisis. He argues that it demonstrated that government interventions are often necessary but often botched and inadequate. He also argues that many economists at the time, including himself, did not ask enough questions about the details of economic theories.

QUOTE: It is not the job of a clinical psychologist to study the history of banking crises, but it should be the job of an economist. It is all very well to believe that people respond to incentives, but we economists also need to ask what the incentives are.