These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Middle-Class Heroes: The Best Guarantee of Good Governance
The two economic developments that have garnered the most attention in recent years are the concentration of massive wealth in the richest one percent
of the world’s population and the tremendous, growth-driven decline
in extreme poverty in the developing world, especially in China. But just as important has been the emergence of large middle classes in developing countries around the planet. This phenomenon—the result of more than two decades of nearly continuous fast-paced global economic growth—has been good not only for economies but also for governance. After all, history suggests that a large and secure middle class is a solid foundation on which to build and sustain an effective, democratic state. Middle classes not only have the wherewithal to finance vital services such as roads and public education through taxes; they also demand regulations, the fair enforcement of contracts, and the rule of law more generally—public goods that create a level social and economic playing field on which all can prosper.
Humanitarian reform: What's on - and off - the table
As pressure mounts to come up with concrete proposals for the future of humanitarian aid, horse-trading and negotiations have begun in earnest behind the scenes in the lead-up to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), to be held in Istanbul in May. The release this week of the UN secretary-general’s vision for humanitarian reforms marks one of the last stages in a multi-year process that has seen consultations with some 23,000 people around the world on how to improve crisis response. (See: Editor’s Take: The UN Secretary General’s vision for humanitarian reform) Hundreds of ideas are floating around. Which are now rising to the top? And which are being pushed to the side? Here’s our take on the emerging trends: