Can we talk about ‘better’ alternatives to cigarettes?

According to American Cancer Society estimates, cigarette smoking accounts for nearly one in five deaths in the United States alone, whereby deaths resulting—whether directly or indirectly—from smoking has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. Relatedly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by

Take initiatives to fix the state

Executive has collected different initiatives recommended to enhance state output and economic performance, with the primary sources being the Lebanese government, multilateral development institutions, and the McKinsey economic vision. The corresponding table reflects the state of the initiatives roughly one year after Lebanon presented its Capital Investment Plan at CEDRE in April 2018. Some progress

Misplaced trust

Through discussions with Lebanese citizens about the space for free speech in the country, we have found that many Lebanese say they take solace in the belief that despite the government’s failure to provide even the most basic services, they at least are free to say, write, and joke about their predicaments, and criticize those

Gemmayze 2.0

Beirut’s traditional Gemmayze quarter is witnessing a hospitality renaissance. A quick walk (or a slow drive) down the newly-paved Rue Gouraud and its less populated cousin, the lower and parallel Rue Pasteur, reveals a changing landscape of restaurants and coffee shops, design and art spaces, modern boutiques, and offices—almost all of them new faces, save

(Not) drowning their sorrows

Although it is commonly believed that in hard times people turn to alcohol to ease or forget their problems, this does not seem to have been the case this past year in Lebanon. Despite all the issues the country has faced, 2018 did not translate into greatly increased sales for the country’s spirit distributors. In

Seeking climate consensus

The Paris Agreement, adopted in early 2016, aims to reduce the global man-made emissions that are trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing a cascade of extreme weather events due to variations in temperature. The agreement sought to keep the increase in global average temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius, while attempting to limit it to

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

Energy ministers from Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority took an important step toward establishing an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on January 14, in Cairo. According to the declaration that followed the meeting, the EMGF will, among other things, assist in the creation of a regional gas market, ensure the

Currency conundrum

Two major topics are keeping economists, politicians, academicians, journalists, and others busy nowadays. The first topic is the real value of the Lebanese lira and if the nominal rate must be de-pegged or moved to a lesser pegged value in order to relieve us from our current monetary, economic, and financial misery. The other topic

Advocating true wisdom

In Executive’s view of things that happened locally in January 2019, three incidents testified to the presence—and the perils of—irrational expectations. Such expectations actually work in two directions, with different attendant risks: The first direction is that of excessive enthusiasm, very well-known to the economically literate from the last global exposure to “irrational exuberance,” in

An accumulation of economic woes

Executive met with then-caretaker Minister of Economy Raed Khoury to discuss McKinsey & Company’s economic vision (commissioned by the government in late 2017 and published in early January), the ministry’s progress in regulating private generation of electricity, and the political and economic situation of Lebanon ahead of mid-January’s Arab League Economic and Social Development summit,

Lebanon’s parliamentary productivity

At first glance, the legislative output of the Lebanese Parliament impresses with its extreme volatility. To full understand the matter of legislative productivity requires a contextual view that takes political environment into account. The election of Michel Aoun as president in October 2016 ended almost two and a half years of vacancy in the post,

An uninspiring economic vision

In January, Lebanon published slides outlining McKinsey’s economic vision—the outcome of a report commissioned by the Ministry of Economy and Trade in late 2017 following government discussions. The 1,274-slide document was developed over the first half of 2018, and outlines an economic vision produced by the consulting firm and owned by the government.    If

Here we go … again

We have a new government and even the most skeptical among us is relieved. Of the 30 ministers, a handful are promising, young, dedicated men and women who have honorable records. It is our hope that these new faces will be able to maintain their untarnished reputations and demonstrate their ability to deliver what is needed in

E-banking lands in Mar Mikhael

A walk in Mar Mikhael reveals that it has become the hub of hospitality for millennials in Lebanon; during the day, its appealing restaurants and quick snacks attract those who work in the area, while in the evening, it’s a destination for gatherings with friends over drinks or bistro dinners. As such, Banque Libano-Française (BLF)

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