Thursday, 23 August 2012

Powerful South Sudanese military leader dies

Historians describe Matip as a man driven more by ambition during the war than by ideology. 
He was "the quintessential freebooter, willing to ally himself with God or the devil, depending on which would supply him with the resources to sustain his panache and his private army," Sudan historian Robert O Collins wrote. 
One of his main interests during the war was protecting and developing a "small trading empire" based on cattle and sorghum in the areas near Bentiu, capital of Unity State, according to historian Douglas Johnson.

Drone strikes work

Patrick B Johnston from RAND concludes that decapitation works:
My study of leadership decapitation in 90 counter-insurgencies since the 1970s shows that when militant leaders are captured or killed militant attacks decrease, terrorist campaigns end sooner, and their outcomes tend to favor the government or third-party country, not the militants.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

When economies are commodity-intensive

Estimating this more formally in a recent report, we find that an economy’s growth typically becomes more ‘commodity intensive’ when it reaches per capita GDP of around $3,000 (in constant purchasing power parity 2011 dollars). At that point demand for commodities typically takes off. Conversely, we find that commodity demand tapers when economies reach per capita GDP of around $20,000.

- From the excellent blog beyondbrics in the Financial Times