Finland traditionally celebrates the start of summer on 1st May (the 'Vappu' holiday), and UNU-WIDER currently basks in warm sunshine. At this point in the year the daylight lasts for 18 hours, with everyone taking advantage of the long, light evenings. In winter, the shortest days see only five hours of light. So there is a premium on enjoying the sunshine while it lasts.
Sunshine of course makes us all more optimistic--and is especially good for British pessimists like myself. The global economy is certainly not sunny. Europe's summer will be blighted by the euro crisis. While the euro is roughly where it was two years ago, it is now sliding. The Swiss talk of capital controls, not seen since the 1970s, to try and stem a stampede into the franc. The growth in China's reserves is slowing, resulting in less support for the euro as not all of the reserves are parked in dollars. A flight from risk triggered by a banking crisis in Europe could deliver a nasty shock to the smaller and more vulnerable of the world's economies.
But enough of pessimism. Turning to this month's Angle might cheer us up. The issues are serious, but the writing and commentary are lively. We lead off with Lucy Scott on what women's empowerment means, and how it links to development. Fundamentally, development should be about enabling more choice for women in how they live their lives. This sometimes gets lost in the obsession of economists with economic growth. Take a look too at Lucy's earlier articles in Angle on Bangladesh.
We then turn to a new venture for Angle, our upgraded slot for the views of folk from the UNU-WIDER network. This is now called GuestAngle. Andres Solimano gets us off to a good start with a piece on the Chilean development model. He questions the sometimes zealous focus on the 'free market', not as an instrument to achieve growth and poverty reduction, but as an ideological end in itself. Readers interested in Latin America's development trajectory over the last couple of decades should also check out our working paper series, which contain many papers on the...