How might opposing schools of economic thought — from neoclassical and Keynesian to Libertarian and Marxist, view Christmas presents? Levity aside, the answer reveals the pompousness and vacuity of each and every economic theory.

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In Argentina and Brazil, one cannot understand recent political changes without reference to the corrupt antics of populist and semi-populist operatives. But that simple explanation does not fit Chile, where outgoing President Michelle Bachelet misdiagnosed the public mood.

Sebastian Pinera and his wife Cecilia Morel. Photo by Claudio Reyes/AFP/Getty Images.

Economists have always believed that previous waves of job destruction led to an equilibrium between supply and demand in the labor market at a higher level of both employment and earnings. But if robots can actually replace, not just displace, humans, it is hard to see an equilibrium point until the human race itself becomes redundant.

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Journalists are increasingly being targeted by Interpol arrest notices, as authoritarian regimes abuse a system meant to curb cross-border crime. Media advocacy groups warn that Interpol has a responsibility to guard against this type of misuse, or risk losing credibility as a legitimate crime-fighting agency.

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Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that every child should have access to free primary education. Yet, 69 years after that pledge, a record number of children — some 70 million — are caught in the crossfire of humanitarian crises that are denying them schooling and placing their futures in jeopardy.

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At this point, the best way to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table is to work to level the playing field. Because the US clearly won’t do that, the EU must take the lead, sending a message that is as forceful as it is necessary, by immediately recognizing the State of Palestine.

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The climate policies lauded in Paris at the One Planet Summit this month are essentially high-cost, low-effect gestures. While the EU will devote 20% of its budget this year to climate-related action, even fully achieving the accord’s emissions targets throughout this century would prevent just 0.053°C of global warming by 2100.

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“Carbon majors,” like big oil and gas companies, have long been the focus of efforts to curb climate change and stem rising temperatures. And yet, while energy giants like Exxon and Shell have drawn fire for their roles in warming the planet, the corporate meat and dairy industries have largely avoided scrutiny.

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Legal setbacks in the US have forced the tobacco industry to concede that its products are harmful, and that for decades cigarette producers deliberately misled the public about the health effects of smoking. But these “corrective statements” do not mean that the war with the industry is over.

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A chaotic Brexit, in which key questions about the relationship between the UK and the EU are left unanswered, may be avoided, but severe political and economic harm could still await both sides. What, then, accounts for the evident lack of urgency in taking the necessary steps to avoid such a scenario?

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