One of the biggest buzzwords in politics and government studies is governance. In almost every developing country in the world, it has become a prominent term. However, the definition of governance and how it should be used has never been settled. This isn’t helped by the fact that several ideas are associated with governance, including transparency, accountability, capacity building and clean government.
Last week, China announced that it had mastered the art of making ballpoint pens. Don’t laugh: It was a years-long effort that cost millions of dollars and required the leadership of a state-run corporate colossus. It was front-page news, widely discussed on talk shows and celebrated on social media.
On a windy day in Busan, South Korea, I stood before the Gamcheon Culture Village. Streams of tourists tirelessly roam the community where colourful tiny houses pack the entire valley, as well as a nearby hill.
Japan, China and the rest of East Asia enjoyed rapid development and rising living standards by opening up their economies and becoming integral parts of the global trade and economic system. The openness was underpinned by international commitments, like signing up to the WTO, and joining regional agreements that were supported by and reinforced that global system. Globalisation is now under threat.
When Donald Trump won the United States’ presidential election in November, he had a lot of Chinese fans. But Trump’s popularity has since plummeted, owing to his statements – often via Twitter – on contentious issues, such as Taiwan and the South China Sea. This isn’t the first time China’s view of a US leader has deteriorated rapidly.
Over the past year, we’ve seen the life-altering effects of the Zika virus on newborns. Images of babies with abnormally small heads and other birth defects have been shown in newspapers and on TV broadcasts around the world. These images often show the hands of their parents feeding, bathing and comforting them, or the hands of doctors or nurses caring for them. These hands represent the intensive, potentially lifelong support that many of these children will need.