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This post originally appeared as a column in India’s Business Standard.
Narratives matter. Not just for creating and sustaining nationhood as Isaiah Berlin famously argued. They also matter critically in international negotiations. At the moment, India is not winning the battle of the narrative on climate change. And that's a worry.
This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.
This week The New York Times Magazine is dedicated to a single theme: women. The main attraction of this special issue is a stirring essay by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who write passionately about the great moral, national security and economic development imperatives of investing in the world’s women and girls. The “women’s crusade” they call for seems already to have begun. A few pages beyond, an interview with Secretary Clinton heralds the start of a “new gender agenda” at the highest reaches of the U.S. foreign policy. Also noted is the growing philanthropic attention to the cause of women and girls – a trend that will be further evidenced next month, when the issue headlines at the annual (Bill) Clinton Global Initiative meetings in NYC.
Last week Secretary of State Clinton, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, and other U.S. government officials were in Nairobi at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, making new and improved promises about the commitment of the United States to African development. I was in Nairobi last week too to moderate our fifth consultation meeting for the CGD Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group.
We tend to think of globalization in the following way: the rich world exports financial capital, technology, sophisticated goods, and entrepreneurial and managerial skills in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing countries; the latter, in turn, export people, resources, and low-skilled goods to the rich world.