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Politics & Society

The Geopolitics of TikTok

Once the domain of teenage dancers, pranksters, and aspiring influencers, TikTok has become a lightning rod in disputes among global powers. The Chinese video app is in the crosshairs of policymakers whose options to move against Beijing are limited.

Future of Work

American Workers Need More Than Just Another Stimulus

Today, July 9th, American workers awoke to improving jobs news, with unemployment rising less than expected to 1.4 million new claims. In June, payrolls rose by 4.8 million and unemployment fell to 11.1 percent. Still, lashed by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn, 45 million Americans have lost jobs and filed for unemployment at some point during the pandemic.

Democracy

Cyber Democracy

Regulating the 21st Century Internet

As the debate regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act highlights, tech platforms, left to their own devices, are in many ways helping to codify what is increasingly an internet bifurcated by political and philosophical beliefs: you’re either in the “Dorsey” or “Zuckerberg” camp.

Politics & Society

COVID-19 and Germany’s Political Transformation

In February, a political earthquake in the small eastern state of Thuringia sent shockwaves across Germany.[1] After the state-level Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) broke political taboo by collaborating with the populist far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), public outcry erupted throughout the country. German history had forbidden until then any political cooperation between mainstream parties and those on the far right.

Future of Work

How Can Automation Accelerate Economic Recovery from Coronavirus?

As COVID-19 courses through the United States, technology and automation are often touted as primarily positive forces that unlock home grocery delivery and the flexibility to work from home. But for many low-wage workers, COVID-19 has catalyzed a pernicious chain reaction that will impact their lives long after the virus has been suppressed.

Politics & Society

EU Enlargement Talks Stalled by COVID-19

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron shocked his European Union counterparts by vetoing the start of EU accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania. It was a bitter pill to swallow; both countries have been waiting for over a decade since applying for EU membership to proceed to negotiations over the 35 chapters of the acquis.

Politics & Society

Grassroots Tech Offers Hope in the Age of Coronavirus

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, more than 500 million people worldwide were infected with the virus and around 675,000 people died in the United States. More than a century later, we are in the middle of another pandemic that has already infected 4.2 million people worldwide, killed over 80,000 Americans in less than 3 months, and resulted in disastrous unemployment for tens of millions of Americans. Pandemics shake world economies, destroy hope and alter the social fabric and norms of nations.

Democracy

Remote Control

Legislating in an Empty Chamber

The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the habits of ordinary citizens the world over. We don masks and gloves in supermarkets, and follow one-way arrows up and down the aisles in search of that elusive box of pasta. We interact with pixelated versions of our families, friends and colleagues on 14-inch monitors. And we are still workshopping the least awkward alternatives to a handshake. But as we adapt to this “new normal”, the US House of Representatives struggles with finding its own procedures that strike the right balance between preserving tradition and responding to the challenges of a global health crisis. Fortunately, the House need not start from scratch. The European Parliament has already set a path for Washington to follow.

Future of Work

COVID-19’s Future of Work Wrecking Ball

As COVID-19 cuts its path across the world, attention is shifting away from the immediate need to contain a public health crisis and toward the crisis’s long-term impact on jobs, workers, and the “future of work.” What was once a long-term, wonk-dominated discussion centered on upskilling and vulnerability to task automation has devolved into how to best staunch the loss in jobs, incomes, and livelihoods.

Digital Economy

The US-German Economic Relationship

Trends in bilateral trade and investment

According to the realist school of thought, the world is a brutal, dangerous arena. It is anarchical. No government of governments enforces rules. The motives of other countries are unpredictable, and the threats they pose are potentially existential. In such an environment, one country cannot afford to depend on another. Any cooperation should be understood as ephemeral, lasting only as long as specific interests coincide.

Politics & Society

Privacy and Pandemics

In bucolic China, a child has braved cold temperatures for some fresh outdoors air. Overhead, a drone hovers. Its loudspeaker, a haunting combination of human direction in the machine age, chides him for being outdoors. “Hey kid! We’re in unusual times… The coronavirus is very serious… run!!” it barks. “Staying at home is contributing to society.”

Democracy

Third Parties Won’t Win the White House

But They Could Decide the Election

Given the polarized state of American politics, it can be easy to assume that Americans have a binary decision to make this November. They do not.

Democracy

Common Enemies

Coalition Building in America’s Major Political Parties

In countries with parliamentary systems, like Germany, consensus is built after the election. Parties work together to form coalition governments and craft platforms that represent their values. In the United States, the elections themselves are consensus building exercises, as the parties undergo a less formal – and far messier – process of carving out platforms that attempt to appeal to broad swaths of their base, while not alienating others.

Politics & Society

Battle Won, War Lost?

The Downward Trend of Germany’s Social Democrats

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) triumphed in the recent Hamburg state election, held last Sunday, February 23. However, this victory is no reason to celebrate for Social Democrats across Germany. While the party has won a battle, it is losing the war – and pretty severely.

Politics & Society

Trade War 2020

What Iowa Tells us About Trump’s Chances in the Presidential Election

The United States’ ongoing trade war could be President Donald Trump’s biggest liability in the 2020 elections. Many of those bearing the brunt of the conflict are Trump supporters, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, which could impact his chance of reelection later this year.

Politics & Society

E3 in the Middle

Europe’s Awkward Position between the U.S. and Iran

Though it may be hard to remember how close we felt to the brink of war earlier this month in the wake of the American-ordered assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, tensions between the United States and Iran are far from resolved. Conflict could flare back up at any moment, making an examination of Europe’s precarious balancing act between its long-term alliance with the United States and its strategic interests in the Middle East a useful exercise.

Politics & Society

Powerfrauen?

How Germany’s Political Parties are Approaching the Question of Female Representation

This weekend, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans were named the new leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) after a runoff election against Klara Geywitz and Olaf Scholz. The candidates partnered up in male-female duos as part of the center-left party’s efforts to address longstanding gender imbalances.

Politics & Society

Edge of a Precipice

Understanding French President Macron’s EU Vision

In an interview with The Economist released November 7, French President Macron laid out a grand strategic vision for the EU. He called for the creation of an EU military, stronger technological sovereignty, and reforms to deepen the political unity of the EU instead of just growing the single market. Other European leaders immediately pushed back, especially against his strong critique of the purpose of NATO today. However, the timing—in the midst of a flurry of events that put Macron in the spotlight—gives his statements a particular potency, even if his ideas are controversial and somewhat contradictory. Macron chose his moment well, and the coming months will show if he can nudge the path of the EU to match his vision, or if Brussels will push back harder.

Politics & Society

Trick or Treat

The Rule of Law Comes Knocking

In a week dominated by ghouls, goblins, and the forces of darkness, there is some reason for optimism on the streets of Washington and London. For the better part of three years, President Trump has sidelined norms and legal precedent to further his stated objective to “make America great again.” Across the Atlantic, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to leave the European Union by Halloween, and “would not be deterred by anybody.” Both men, however, are now being haunted by their own pronouncements, as the rule of law arrived on the doorsteps of the White House and Number 10 in recent weeks.

Politics & Society

Shared Values No More?

Climate Change and the Transatlantic Relationship

Pundits have wrung their hands about the deterioration of the transatlantic alliance, as U.S. President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum and attacked the Federal Republic for its limited defense spending. However, the alliance may be careening toward another – and likely much larger – challenge: competing approaches to climate change. Both Germany and the United States are currently among the world’s top greenhouse gas producers. However, as German voters become more engaged on climate issues, this may change.

Future of Work

Britain’s AI Power Play

In the 1980s British sitcom Yes Minister, civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby remarks that diplomacy is about surviving until the next century, whereas politics is about surviving until Friday afternoon. Sir Appleby’s wry observation rings especially true today, with U.K. watchers caught up in the “politics” of no deal Brexit scenarios, Boris Johnson’s ascension to Prime Minister, and the sudden ouster of the U.K.’s Ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch.

Democracy

Six Steps

Recommendations for Building Resilient Democracy in the 21st Century

In April 2019, the Bertelsmann Foundation convened two dozen international leaders from the fields of business, politics, nonprofits, and the arts for the Washington Symposium, which asked how to make democracy resilient enough to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Politics & Society

A Transatlantic Perspective on China’s Belt Road Initiative

At the end of World War II, the U.S. Embassy in Prague requested that General Eisenhower permit U.S. troops to proceed fifty miles further east to liberate Prague. Caving to congressional constituent requests that their boys come home for Christmas, Eisenhower deferred, and Czechoslovakia welcomed the Soviets rather than Americans as liberators. Despite a geographic location that would prove central to Cold War politics, the mischaracterization of Czechoslovakia as relatively unimportant to the West proved costly for decades to come. This one miscalculation based on lack of foresight changed the course of world history, from trade and democracy to security and human rights.

Democracy

Liquid Democracy

Transforming Democracy for the Digital Age

In the recent European Parliament election, the influence of populism was once again evident. It remains a worrying force, just as it has been in a slew of other elections in the last several years, and is a major threat to the functioning of liberal democracies around the world. While many in the U.S. and E.U. are working on policies to mitigate the issues that have driven voters to populist leaders, there are also a few contemplating the future of the very structure of democracy.

Politics & Society

Red Notice in Rip City

For NBA player and Turkish national Enes Kanter, life used to be simpler. There was a predictable routine: pass, dribble, shoot, defend, repeat. But as the lines between entertainment and politics continue to blur, there are occasions in which the two collide, drawing attention to issues that would have otherwise been ignored. And for many, this collision occurred on live TV against the backdrop of the 2019 NBA playoffs.

Democracy

The Populist Uprising and its Victims

There is a famous passage in The Economic Consequences of the Peace1 where Keynes, writing a year after the end of World War I, paints a vivid picture of a globalized world at the pinnacle of the gold standard. He nostalgically reminisces of the time when his countrymen, through the convenience of the telephone, could order various commodities around the world, invest in foreign lands, purchase precious metals, and arrange for foreign travel. In a post-war era, Keynes was afraid of a period of economic turbulence and rising protectionism among countries. History would prove his concerns valid.

Democracy

Alexa, Is Democracy Dead?

Five generations ago, in 1879, Thomas Edison introduced a technological innovation – the electric light bulb – that would change the world. At the time, few believed that anything could reliably replace gas-powered light, and in an October interview that year the New York Times illuminated the public concerns by questioning Mr. Edison about the cost, safety, and sustainability of his device. Fast forward to 2019 and a similar debate is raging over another generation-defining invention.

Democracy

Democracy and Disinformation

Imagine this: Suddenly, everybody was an author. Everybody could publish; everybody could write. The men who had controlled access to information were now irrelevant; the establishment was crushed in a flood tide of new publications. New ideas multiplied; so did new conflicts. Violence followed – and so, eventually, did war.

Democracy

Democracy

An Aristocratic Spirit

“The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This conclusion by Saint Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, as simple as it is wise, explains why in our own time so many great words have been so emptied of meaning that we no longer have any idea what they refer to, or continue purely out of habit to believe in things that are in reality nothing, because the letters conceal the fact that the spirit has dwindled.

Democracy

Democracy 101

An Introduction

“Our democracy is dead.” I’ve heard this phrase uttered all across the world after the passage of a restrictive voter law, the closure of an independent news outlet or the results of a questionable election. Friends and acquaintances over the years have lamented: Because of x, my country is no longer a democracy.

Politics & Society

Incoming!

Germany’s Thrifty Defense Budget Under Fire

NATO’s current infighting would probably have shocked even the reportedly unflappable Lord Hastings Ismay, the alliance’s first Secretary General. He famously declared that NATO’s mission was to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Seventy years later, the first two objectives are surprisingly topical, but when it comes to the Germans, these days most NATO allies strongly suggest that their former enemy should spend billions more on tanks, fighter jets, and guns.

Politics & Society

Unclear on U.S. Trade Policy?

President’s Proposed Budget Has Clues

In a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Wyden (D-OR), the ranking Democrat, called trade one of the “least known and biggest issues” facing the country. Amid United States Trade Representative (USTR) opaqueness and a lack of details in recent congressional testimony, the Trump Administration’s 2020 budget proposal, released in March, provides some indications about what to expect following two years of tumultuous American trade policy. Reactions to the budget proposal have concentrated on its sweeping cuts, which include reductions of nearly a third to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a quarter to State Department and USAID budgets. On trade, however, the administration seeks increased funding, signaling a recalibration of certain policies after two years of an unorthodox trade agenda.

Politics & Society

The Green New Deal

Revolutionary or Recycled Policies?

In early February 2019, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) released their Green New Deal (GND), a non-binding Congressional resolution that argues for “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.”

Democracy

Love Triangle

Italy, France, and Germany Ahead of the European Parliament Elections

In mid-January, two of the European Union’s largest economic powers met in Aachen to commit to closer cooperation and continued friendship. The treaty signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron strengthened the two nations’ economic and security partnership, solidifying both the Franco-German alliance and their commitment to deeper European integration. The two nations promised to “enhance cooperation in European policy with the goal of strengthening the unity, performance, and the cohesion of Europe, and at the same time keeping this cooperation open to all member states of the European Union.”

Democracy

Democracy – Its Substance and Meaning

Can One Size fit All?

This article was written in preparation for the 17th Trilogue Salzburg and is an original piece of research. The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bertelsmann Foundation or its employees.

Democracy

Arts and Culture - Part 2

Keeping Democracy Alive or Entertainment for the Establishment?

This article was written in preparation for the 17th Trilogue Salzburg and is an original piece of research. The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bertelsmann Foundation or its employees.

Democracy

Arts and Culture - Part 1

Keeping Democracy Alive or Entertainment for the Establishment?

This article was written in preparation for the 17th Trilogue Salzburg and is an original piece of research. The opinions and views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bertelsmann Foundation or its employees.

Future of Work

This Is Your Office on AI

The future has arrived and it’s your first day at your new job. You step across the threshold sporting a nervous smile and harboring visions of virtual handshakes and brain-computer interfaces. After all, this is one of those newfangled, modern offices that science-fiction writers have been dreaming up for ages.

Democracy

Disrupting Democracy

The Story of Italy’s 2018 Election

Italy’s 2018 election proved to be the latest shock to western democracies. By wide margins, Italians voted for populist movements at the expense of traditional parties. In May, the populist Five Star Movement and the right-wing Lega Party reached a tentative agreement to form a new governing coalition. Why did Italian voters risk putting their future in the hands of untested populists? From youth unemployment to a slumping working class and a simmering migration crisis, this documentary by the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Samuel George goes inside a country at a crossroads.

Future of Work

Artificial Intelligence and the Transatlantic Alliance

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to transform economies and touch virtually every aspect of our lives in the coming years. Until recently, its potential was framed almost exclusively in economic terms, with boosters estimating it would contribute $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Politics & Society

Globalization Report 2014

Who benefits most from globalization?

The increasing economic, political and social interconnectedness of the world is ubiquitous. It is evident in the steadily rising sales of German mechanical construction companies beyond the country’s borders as well as in the fact that more Asians use Facebook than North Americans and that the United Nations now has almost as many members as there are sovereign states. As different as they may seem, all of these developments are manifestations of a worldwide phenomenon – globalization.

Politics & Society

TTIP Negotiations: A Summary of Rounds 4 and 5

Maintaining Momentum

The framework for a potential agreement is coming to the fore following the fourth and fifth rounds of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. Negotiators have begun crafting language for a final document now that the path towards an accord is becoming clearer. But hurdles remain and to overcome them US and EU leaders will have to exert more political will.

Democracy

Did Washington Lose The European Elections?

Europe has voted, and the future European Parliament (EP) undoubtedly reflects a new political landscape across the continent. But the impact will go far beyond the western shores of Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. The trans-Atlantic relationship is also about to embark on new challenges to its unity.

Politics & Society

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

On Track but Off Message?

On June 17, 2013, US President Barack Obama, along with the presidents of the European Council, European Commission and the prime minister of Britain, announced that the United States and European Union would begin negotiations to establish what would be the world’s largest free trade area—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In an economic environment where the US and Europe are both looking for ways to spark sustainable growth, expanding trade and investment between the world’s two largest economies appears to be a deficit-neutral path forward to create jobs and foster a stronger recovery.

Politics & Society

TTIP Negotiations: Stock-Taking Summary

US Trade Representative Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht met February 17–18 to discuss the progress of TTIP negotiations, a so-called stock-taking exercise. Both agreed on specific issues on which negotiators can move forward in upcoming talks. Points of contention, however, continue to outnumber areas of agreement. The two officials nevertheless pressed negotiators to intensify their efforts as upcoming rounds will be increasingly challenging.

Politics & Society

Cowboys in Krakow

A Short History of the Transatlantic Relationship

Politics & Society

After Michael: Swing State Florida, Episode 3

Florida's Panhandle and the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael

Democracy

Germany’s Basic Law

An Introduction to the German Government's Founding Document

Politics & Society

Liberty City: Swing State Florida, Episode 2

The Legacy of Miami's Segregated Past

Digital Economy

No Collar Economy Africa

Apps for the Informal Market

Politics & Society

The Fields of Immokalee: Swing State Florida, Episode 1

Immigrant Laborers and Florida's Agriculture

Politics & Society

Whatever it Takes

Germany and the US Tackle Economies on Lockdown

Digital Economy

Putting Villa 31 on the Map: Bridging the Digital Divide

How Villa 31 in Buenos Aires Was Mapped

Digital Economy

The Curious Case of Billyjack Buzzard

When a Coal Miner Learns to Code

Democracy

How the U.S. Presidential Election Works

A Primer on the U.S. Presidential Election from Primaries to Election Day

Future of Work

Future of Work | Weinheim

Germany's Educational System Prepares for the Future of Work

Politics & Society

Migration | Aachen

Views of Migration in the Germany City Aachen

Politics & Society

East-West Divide | Frankfurt am Main

The Lasting Impact of Divided Germany

Democracy

The Troubles with Brexit

What Brexit Means for the Irish Border

Democracy

Harmony

Latvian Democracy at Russia’s Doorstep

Democracy

How the European Parliament Works

An Explanation of the Institutions of the European Union

Future of Work

The Future of Work: Riverside

The Inland Empire Faces Technology and Automation

Future of Work

The Future of Work: Las Vegas

How Automation Will Impact America's Playground

Democracy

The Fight for West Virginia

Revival, Recovery, and Richard Ojeda

Democracy

The Story of Italy’s 2018 Election

The Rise of Five Star and Lega

Democracy

How the German Government Works

A Short Introduction to German Government

Politics & Society

How Laws are Made in Germany

Follow Legislation in Germany's Federal Government

Politics & Society

TikTok's Mixed Signals

Politics & Society

Pandemic Politics in Germany

Politics & Society

Who’s Helping the Western Balkans with COVID-19?

Future of Work

Flattening the Unemployment Curve

Digital Economy

Profiting in the Age of COVID-19

Politics & Society

Germany’s Political Shake-Up

Digital Economy

E-Commerce vs. Digital Trade

Politics & Society

EU Enlargement

Politics & Society

What Do Europe’s Right-Wing Parties Want?

Politics & Society

2020 Senate Races Overshadowed by Trump

Future of Work

Will Technology Take Your Job?

Democracy

Building Resilient Democracy in the 21st Century

Politics & Society

China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Democracy

Democracy’s Canary in a Coal Mine

Politics & Society

NATO at 70 Military Spending

Future of Work

The UK’s AI Play

Digital Economy

Who Will Wire the World?

Politics & Society

A Shred of Doubt Brexit’s Future

Future of Work

Filling the Reskilling Gap

Democracy

The Many Shades of Democracy

Future of Work

Geography of Gain or Pain

Democracy

Fresco or Fiasco

Future of Work

Game On or Game Over?

Future of Work

The Future of Work and the Trans-Atlantic Alliance Infographic

Politics & Society

12 Days of Christmas in Europe