IT WAS a shocking disclosure that made headlines around the world. An American intelligence professional revealed the existence of a secret American bureau, which obtained, decoded and read the private messages of nearly 20 foreign governments. He disclosed methods of surveillance and subterfuge, describing a clandestine world of pilfered telegrams, forged wax seals and invisible inks. Laws had been broken and the privacy of many intruded upon. Telecommunications companies had co-operated secretly with the government. America’s past and future enemies learned how their encrypted messages had been read. When in 1931 Herbert Yardley spilled the secrets of America’s eavesdropping programme, he may well have endangered national security. But, unlike Edward Snowden, he was no mid-level whistleblower shocked at the excesses of a lawless surveillance state.
Negotiations are difficult by nature. Managing negotiations between 195 countries in order to arrive at a legally binding agreement, on the other hand, is nearly impossible. This was the problem that United Nations officials faced over two weeks at this month’s climate-change summit in Paris. To solve it, they brought in a unique management strategy. The trick to getting through an over-complicated negotiation comes from the Zulu and Xhosa people of southern Africa. It’s called an “indaba” (pronounced IN-DAR-BAH), and is used to simplify discussions between many parties.
ANKS failed, unemployment soared, house prices slumped and American politics was transformed by the emergence of the Tea Party. Given the drama created by the 2007/08 financial crisis, one might have expected it to play a bigger role in popular culture. But Hollywood directors and commercial novelists have all struggled with the world of finance. Financiers are not easy heroes, though they make great villains. Gordon Gekko (as played by Michael Douglas) was the most charismatic character in “Wall Street” in 1987. More recently, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), may have tried to demonstrate the utter cynicism of share pushers, but the film revels in the hedonism of Leonardo DiCaprio and his sidekicks. More often, financiers and businessmen are shadowy off-screen presences, manipulating politicians and the environment for short-term gain.
Source: Short and sweet | The Economist
Imagine you are some deity about to create a new universe from scratch, including all of its stars and planets, mountains and oceans, plants and animals. You’ll probably start with a handful of subatomic particles, a sprinkling of energy, and give it all a good mix together. If, as is more likely, you are a […]