Economics & Policy articles

Let’s have a serious talk about drugs

Let’s have a serious talk about drugs

The cannabis debate never completely goes away in Lebanon. This is not surprising, given that the country is a major producer and consumer of the psychoactive plant. Everyone who is anyone has an opinion on the drug, usually expressed through impactless sound bites. The discussion was reignited on June 18 by an Internal Security Forces

Refugee rights not up for debate

In the past month, Lebanon has seen a number of troubling developments regarding the presence of Syrian refugees, with leading politicians heightening calls for the return of refugees to Syria and making unfounded accusations of an international conspiracy to settle them in Lebanon. As countries around the world have turned their backs on refugees, Lebanon

Inside the global economy

In publishing a “practical guide” to the global economy, American economic researcher Andrew Vonnegut provides a toolset for better understanding the ways in which it is prone to be influenced by “big shifts.” According to Vonnegut, such shifts can be demographic or ecological, but can also involve issues related to inequality, information technology, and emerging

No growth without reform

Within a period of six weeks last spring, Lebanon received an attentive treatment from the international community. On March 15 in Rome, an international meeting was held to support Lebanon’s armed and security forces. Afterwards in Paris on April 6, world leaders convened to offer Lebanon substantial foreign aid to bolster its economy at the

Aphrodite’s blues

As the final preparations for the May 8 trilateral summit between the heads of state of Cyprus, Israel, and Greece were being laid out—the fourth such summit in just over two years, with so far, more words than actions—news broke that Cyprus and Israel might resort to international arbitration to resolve a dispute over Aphrodite,

Securing our energy future

Worldwide electricity consumption is estimated to grow from  around 20,000 terawatt hours (TWh) today to 35,000 TWh in 2030, putting energy security at the forefront of future planning. While in the past, energy security was largely focused on oil supply, and natural gas supplies were not globally integrated, today a global market in natural gas

Better to have than to have not

A legal challenge of the 2018 budget law taken to the Constitutional Council, Lebanon’s highest court, threatened to cancel what was the country’s second state budget passed in the last six months, on the back of no budget at all for almost 12 years. Parliament ratified the 2018 budget without approving an audit of public

Closing the infrastructure gap in Lebanon

With the world’s population expected to grow by 2 billion—reaching almost 9.5 billion by 2040—one of the major structural changes that would need to keep pace is the development of infrastructure. The world is expected to need close to 100 trillion dollars worth of infrastructure investment by 2040, mainly in developing countries, according to estimates

Don’t get caught up in the hype

It is tempting for resource-poor countries to overestimate the promise of newly discovered hydrocarbon resources, particularly in times of need. Cyprus’ experience after the discovery of the Aphrodite gas field in late 2011 is revealing. Back then, during a time of economic crisis, many placed unrealistic expectations on this potential offshore wealth, hoping  it would

The illusion of change

Lebanon is set to elect 128 Members of Parliament (MPs) on May 6, based on a long-awaited proportional system. Proportionality, in theory, ensures better representation of the population by allocating for each list a number of seats that is proportional to the number of votes it received. This is a clear step up from the

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