Why you should care
Meet two movers and shakers, and find out if Russia is losing its grip.
When Shinzo Abe, head of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, decided to mount a political campaign premised on the radical restructuring of Japan’s economy, he placed a call to Yale professor emeritus Koichi Hamada.
One of the deans of the Japanese economics community, Hamada had been trying to persuade Abe and other Japanese politicians for years that only bold steps will help pull the country’s economy out of its two-decade malaise.
The 77-year-old professor finally found someone who was willing to listen. And now Japan is experiencing a stunning turnaround.
How do you say “help” in Russian? Hint: Don’t ask a young Turkmenistani.
In the 23 years since the fall of the USSR, Russia has lost its magnetic pull on Central Asia countries like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and nowhere is this shift more dramatic than in what language people speak.
Knowing Russian used to be a key to success in Central Asia, but it has taken the back burner to English and other languages. Why? The answer involves a sharp decline in ethnic Russians in the region, a pivot on education, energy independence and a war of words. Does it really matter? Actually, yes. The de-Russification of Central Asia could allow the region to dust off quite a bit of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence and affect his global pull.
Meet the newly anointed star of Canada’s Liberal Party. Freeland, 45, became a member of parliament in November and is already writing the Liberal Party’s economic agenda. She’s widely assumed to be gunning for — or being groomed for — a cabinet post, and probably something bigger down the line.
For Freeland, politics represented a way to address the issues she reported on when she was a journalist, and to “make the 21st century work for the middle class” — presumably, to shape the new New Deal she anticipates.
But what that looks like for her is largely unknown. Raising taxes on the rich? Investments in job creation? Rethinking labor laws? Trade protectionism? Note that for all her emphasis on inequality, Freeland claims to be a “capitalist, red in tooth and claw.”