How the world changed in 2009

Perhaps it’s the end of a decade that gets you thinking about how things have changed, and are changing. This post just pulls together some of the articles and sites that I’ve enjoyed for giving a useful insight into the shifts happening in global economics and international relations, which you might find interesting too.

In global politics, Copenhagen cemented a seismic shift and global power and interplay, with Mark Lynas’ article in the Guardian; How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room as essential reading.

Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China’s century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower’s freedom of action.

Meanwhile, whatever you might think about Gordon Brown, his TED talk on the web and our growing interconnectedness is, I think, a fantastic 15 mins on showing how the growing power of technology is strengthening global humanity to fight poverty and injustice.  At the same time, Evgeny Morozov‘s RSA talk warning of how the internet is being manipulated to, at best, influence popular opinion and, at worst, to find, target and destroy dissenting voices is both compelling and terrifying.

The economic crisis has caused many to question whether a debt-fuelled money system is really the best way for the future, reinvigorating economic thinking in the effort to try, test and prove what might make things better. The New Economics Foundation, among others, are doing a lot of research in this area, and argue:

Money and credit have become disconnected from the real economy, from productive investment and sustainable growth. New, more democratic forms of money are required in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Amidst all the economic turmoil, some have looked at the paltry sums of money dedicated to development assistance and aid in the developing world and asked themselves what exactly is the point? Given no one any longer has much of a clue how to sustain growth in an unpredictable global economy, can development aid really make a difference? Yes, says development specialist and blogger Owen Barder in his excellent article on Open Democracy and on his blog:

Although the effect of aid on economic growth is uncertain, there can be no doubt that aid makes a huge difference to people’s lives.  Aid provides food, health care, education, clean water, financial services, and modest incomes which transform the lives of the people who receive them.

Finally, I loved the AP new’s picture of the decade. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Got any other interesting links, sites, pictures or articles that show us how the world is changing? Post them here.

4 thoughts on “How the world changed in 2009

  1. Ok, i never blog but i have a passion… having watched the GB TED and the ‘Human planet’ programme last night i need to comment.! We are not computers, we are all humans (with choices) and are evolving in our own pace. Yes we need to get involved otherwise all humans want to go thorough all the same mistakes we have already made and….on the other hand, that is all we can teach them – so let them find their own adjustments to their world – we already fucked ours up. There are other countries that are more mindful of long term goals (such as australia and many oriental countries) us ‘ruling countries’ need to show where we are NOW, not how we go here. Which to me as someone who grew up in one of the most naturally rich countries in the world- Brazil. I find that human/economic hold so hard to handle. In Brazil (now) even economics would dictate they are safe (because of their straightforward banking strategy) , however, they will bend over backwards for anything and anyone who comes from abroad, still!! Artists took refuge from ‘western induced’ military regime in the 80’s and that still resounds in song but in business?? It is all americanised (uk)/stantardized and super mac fries! It’s scary! I was recently in chaing mai and jericoacoara where modern european ideals of sustainability seem to have had a hold but … that will only be sustained til the area isn’t picturesque enough for those people to go there on holiday. Look up fernando de noronha – it seems to me that what started as all efforts to be an eco island are now failing because tourism has taken over. People go there to work on biology and come out as tourism officials – lets get back to basics and not shit in our doorsteps – animals don’t why should we? Ok, maslow’s hierarchy of needs – deel with the basics first – f00d, shelter, family…http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.pnglets
    This is no dig in particular but just someone a bit frustrated as to what to do in the light of so much close relationship as well as outside views.

    All the best! xx

  2. To conter act my little rant ( although it’s only a view of, developing to development) heres’ some good news…
    http://www.thetravelword.com/2010/02/05/understanding-the-spinner-dolphins-at-home-in-fernando-de-noronha-brazil/
    And.. some other news – i know it’s not people suffering from bullet wounds and human rights abuses but i sort of see things as a stepping stone – these are areas (like the amazon) where we can work to preserve before capitalism completely buys them out or takes their spirit. And then there are other areas where we can bring peace- -hopefully, a better future.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/sep/10/brazil.wildlifeholidays
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotourism

    This is just my inside view 🙂

    Much love to all xxxx and happy travels xxxx

  3. Loving the rant! I agree with your points and great links. This whole inter-connectedness thing is putting a huge strain on the environment and exaserbating the strength of various, often opposing, forces in terms of how to approach our relationship with the planet as a whole and the huge variety beings who inhabit it. Like you, I see hope in some areas, while in others (as you say, some places in Brazil) it just makes me sad that we can’t get our act together! That’s my rant 😉

    Hope you’re good love; feel free to comment any time! 🙂 xxx

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