Policy wonk digest – Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Dubai Emiratis receive extraordinary financial support from the hereditary monarchy that governs them including free land when they marry and cash bonuses when they produce children. Citizens of other emirates get some support too, but generally not as much. This is an important example of the United Arab Emirates functioning more like seven fiefdoms than … Continue reading Policy wonk digest – Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

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Policy wonk digest – Kazakhstan

The drink driving limit here is zero. You cannot drink any alcohol before you drive. Apparently this is widely observed because getting out of a conviction involves a big bribe. Sometimes people have problems when they have drunk mare’s milk – a traditional beverage – because it’s is fermented and a glass or two can … Continue reading Policy wonk digest – Kazakhstan

Policy wonk digest: Mao not the red sun in our hearts edition

Fiona’s has just finished a great biography of Mao. It’s a hefty tome. As Fiona read I would ask her “what’s Mao up to?” It was always something dastardly. Here are some highlights. Mao was Maoist in the sense that he was all about Mao. But there’s scant evidence that he was ideological, and he … Continue reading Policy wonk digest: Mao not the red sun in our hearts edition

Policy wonk digest – China Round 2

There’s too much of interest to leave to just one policy wonk digest for China. So here’s round two. Central planning of housing The government is commissioning residential developments in second tier cities (like Kunming) in an effort to encourage their growth rather than the overpopulation of the first tier cities (like Shanghai). Unfortunately there … Continue reading Policy wonk digest – China Round 2

Policy wonk digest – China

Outnumbered In Chinese culture some numbers are auspicious, especially the number eight. The government therefore sells street numbers that are especially auspicious, like eighty eight to whomever pays their price rather than the eighty eighth property on the street. This is not a policy that we are especially fond of when trying to find a … Continue reading Policy wonk digest – China

Policy wonk digest: Hong Kong

Tap water is generally drinkable in Hong Kong. Where there are problems it isn’t with the city owned infrastructure, but the systems in some aging apartment buildings where the metal piping is degrading into the water supply. The apartment systems aren’t regulated, but, as an alternative, the government offers to certify the health of the … Continue reading Policy wonk digest: Hong Kong

Policy wonk digest: Argentina

There’s a proposal being mooted here to make motorcyclists wear their numberplate on their jacket and helmet. They say that’ll make them feel like prisoners. We saw them campaigning in a very effective (and loud) protest. True we’ve only seen their pamphlet, and not the government spiel. But we’re sympathetic to their cause. They could … Continue reading Policy wonk digest: Argentina