The 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have caused ordinary Japanese to reevaluate their trust in the food supply. Skeptical of government assurances, consumers turned to private actors, who stepped up their regulatory efforts to fill the trust gap.
Following World War II, the global economy moved rapidly toward further integration. Now, this process has stopped, and is in fact reversing itself. With countries increasingly engaging in economic nationalism, massive changes are coming, for economies big and small.
Carbon pricing has been widely considered for the past 25 years as a useful tool to help combat climate change. Adoption has progressed, but the pace has been glacial. As the U.S. retreats from climate change leadership, China, as shown by its embrace of emissions trading, is stepping in to fill the vacuum.
In reaction to a seemingly never-ending torrent of food safety scandals, an alternative food movement is growing in China.
It is well known that air pollution is harmful to human health. What is much less known is how it specifically affects people over the long term. China’s Huai River policy, which dispensed free coal to northern China for winter heating, has inadvertently revealed to us that air pollution literally shaves years off our lives. But China has made considerable progress in confronting this pollution.
The Dongjiang River, which supplies fresh water to almost 40 million people, is being threatened by pollution. But as new technology parks increasingly replace pig farms and other decaying industries, there could be an opportunity to invent more sustainable solutions—for Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and the world.
Many of the earliest of the great civilizations on Earth were centered on life-giving rivers, such as the Yangtze and the Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus. Rivers remain crucial to modern societies, but pollution is choking the life out of them. For humanity’s sake, governments must act to counter this. The good news is that they already have the tools.
Governments come and go. A country's vision or strategy tries to tie these governments' policies together to tell a story about how a country will progress economically, culturally, and socially. Auditors play a key, if little understood role, in these strategies' success. More of these plans, and the centers of government that oversee them, should be audited. Public audit reports can also attract research and practical interest in these plans' successes and failures.
Corruption has long been a prominent problem in the Asia-Pacific, but many countries have seemingly lacked the will to combat it. Until measures are enacted to increase transparency and accountability in governance, corruption will continue to gnaw away at economic gains.
Southeast Asians have dwindling confidence in traditional journalism. As a result, social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have become the main source of information for voters. A combination of wider access to the internet and declining trust in longstanding news sources is changing the dynamics of democracy across the region.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a popular topic, and many countries have provided incentives for corporations to contribute more to the public good. China has joined such efforts as part of its campaign to achieve sustainable growth. But more coherent incentives are needed to encourage Chinese businesses to join the party.
Wealth in Asia is growing rapidly, but philanthropy has not kept pace. Governments should improve regulation and change tax and fiscal policies to make it easier for Asians and corporations to give in a systematic way. They should also ensure donations can efficiently reach organizations working to meet society’s needs.
China has launched its "social credit system," hoping to increase social trust. But when value is calculated by opaque algorithms using vast amounts of personal data, what will happen to China, and indeed, what might it mean for the world?
In Myanmar, Buddhist nationalist groups have used Facebook to swamp public opinion with anti-Muslim speech. As elected representatives are pressed to follow these extreme views, Myanmar is showing the world how unreined social media can hurt democracy.
Technology is transforming epidemiology. However, algorithms, satellites, and drones offer no easy solution. Ethical and political issues need to be considered to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of these new technologies.