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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Modi’s Reform Agenda, the WTO, and 2015 UN Development Report

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A labourer pushes a handcart loaded with sacks containing tea packets, towards a supply truck at a wholesale market in Kolkata, India, June 26, 2015. For years Indian businesses have lobbied for a nationwide sales tax, hoping to replace a chaotic structure that inflates costs and halts their trucks at state borders for duty payments, and to unify the country into one of the world's largest single markets. But after political compromises that finally got a goods and services tax (GST) bill before parliament, they have turned wary (Reuters/De Chowdhuri). A labourer pushes a handcart loaded with sacks containing tea packets, towards a supply truck at a wholesale market in Kolkata, India, June 26, 2015. For years Indian businesses have lobbied for a nationwide sales tax, hoping to replace a chaotic structure that inflates costs and halts their trucks at state borders for duty payments, and to unify the country into one of the world's largest single markets. But after political compromises that finally got a goods and services tax (GST) bill before parliament, they have turned wary (Reuters/De Chowdhuri).

Modi’s Reforms at Odds
A senior official in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pushing a corruption probe that threatens to derail his own party’s Goods and Services Tax (GST). A linchpin of Modi’s economic platform, the reform would replace numerous local and state taxes with a single nation-wide tax. The government expects GST to boost government revenue, attract foreign investment, and add up to two percent to GDP. With the corruption case’s targets—opposition Congress Party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi—denouncing the investigation as politically motivated, the fallout will likely halt Modi’s tax reform in India’s opposition-led upper house. As the Gandhi case advances, the GST may not, putting Modi’s ambitious pro-business and anticorruption agendas at odds.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: International Anticorruption Day, Corruption in Ukraine, and Elections in Venezuela

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Lilian Tintori (centre L), wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, celebrates next to candidates of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD) during a news conference on the election in Caracas early December 7, 2015. Venezuela's opposition won control of the legislature from the ruling Socialists for the first time in 16 years on Sunday, giving them a long-sought platform to challenge President Nicolas Maduro (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins). Lilian Tintori (centre L), wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, celebrates next to candidates of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD) during a news conference on the election in Caracas early December 7, 2015. Venezuela's opposition won control of the legislature from the ruling Socialists for the first time in 16 years on Sunday, giving them a long-sought platform to challenge President Nicolas Maduro (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

International Anticorruption Day
December 9 marked the United Nations’ thirteenth annual International Anticorruption Day, offering a chance to reflect on global anticorruption efforts this year—from successful antigraft cases to ongoing challenges fighting high-level theft. In commemoration, here’s what we’ve been reading:

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: G20 and APEC Summits

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Members of the Group of 20 (G20) wave during the traditional family photo at the G20 leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015. (Reuters/Aykut Unlupinar) Members of the Group of 20 (G20) wave during the traditional family photo at the G20 leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015. (Reuters/Aykut Unlupinar)

CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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Five Questions with Elmira Bayrasli

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
Software developers work on computer sytems at the Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) hub in the Yaba district in Lagos June 25, 2015. At first glance, Yaba is like many other parts of Nigeria's sprawling commercial capital: a cacophony of car horns and shouting street vendors, mingling with exhaust fumes and the occasional stench of sewage. But in between the run-down buildings in this seemingly inauspicious part of Lagos, a city of around 21 million, tech start-ups are taking root and creating a buzz that is drawing international venture capitalists and more established digital firms. (Reuters/Akinleye) Software developers work on computer sytems at the Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) hub in the Yaba district in Lagos June 25, 2015. At first glance, Yaba is like many other parts of Nigeria's sprawling commercial capital: a cacophony of car horns and shouting street vendors, mingling with exhaust fumes and the occasional stench of sewage. But in between the run-down buildings in this seemingly inauspicious part of Lagos, a city of around 21 million, tech start-ups are taking root and creating a buzz that is drawing international venture capitalists and more established digital firms. (Reuters/Akinleye)

Emerging Voices highlights new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges from contributing scholars and practitioners. This post features Elmira Bayrasli, the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted and a lecturer at New York University.

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This Week in Markets in Democracy: Election in India, Kenyan Corruption, End of BRICS

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Supporters of Janata Dal (United) celebrate after learning the initial results outside the party office in New Delhi, India, November 8, 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was heading for a heavy defeat on Sunday in a key election in India's third most populous state Bihar, signalling the waning power of a leader who until recently had an unrivalled reputation as a vote winner. Modi's second straight state election setback will galvanise opposition parties, embolden rivals in his own party and diminish his standing with foreign leaders amid concern he may not win a second term as prime minister (Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee). Supporters of Janata Dal (United) celebrate after learning the initial results outside the party office in New Delhi, India, November 8, 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was heading for a heavy defeat on Sunday in a key election in India's third most populous state Bihar, signalling the waning power of a leader who until recently had an unrivalled reputation as a vote winner. Modi's second straight state election setback will galvanise opposition parties, embolden rivals in his own party and diminish his standing with foreign leaders amid concern he may not win a second term as prime minister (Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: The Americas’ Refugee Crisis, Impunity in Journalist Attacks, and More

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A Salvadoran immigrant carries her son while standing in vegetation to hide from organized crime bands in Huehuetoca, near Mexico City, June 1, 2015. An increasing number of Central Americans are sneaking across Mexico's border en route to the United States (Reuters/Edgard Garrido). A Salvadoran immigrant carries her son while standing in vegetation to hide from organized crime bands in Huehuetoca, near Mexico City, June 1, 2015. An increasing number of Central Americans are sneaking across Mexico's border en route to the United States (Reuters/Edgard Garrido).
CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Indonesia Pledges to Join the TPP, Corruption in Venezuela

by Shannon K. O'Neil
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (L) shake hands after their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, October 26, 2015. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst). U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (L) shake hands after their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, October 26, 2015. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst).

CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Corruption in Honduras and an Election Timeline

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A supporter of former Tanzania's Prime Minister and main opposition party CHADEMA presidential candidate Edward Lowassa cheers during his campaign rally in Tanga October 21, 2015. Tanzanians will go to the polls on October 25 to elect their fifth president. (Reuters/Stringer) A supporter of former Tanzania's Prime Minister and main opposition party CHADEMA presidential candidate Edward Lowassa cheers during his campaign rally in Tanga October 21, 2015. Tanzanians will go to the polls on October 25 to elect their fifth president. (Reuters/Stringer)

CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: U.S. Fights Corruption, Preventing Mass Atrocities, and More

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General addresses a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York, September 25, 2015. More than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit from September 25-27 at the United Nations in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda a press statement by the U.N. stated. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters). Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General addresses a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York, September 25, 2015. More than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit from September 25-27 at the United Nations in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda a press statement by the U.N. stated. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters).

CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) Program highlights noteworthy events and articles each Friday in “This Week in Markets and Democracy.” 

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This Week in Markets in Democracy: What We Are Reading

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A vendor selling flowers hands over change to a customer in Kunming, Yunnan province, August 19, 2015. China's currency devaluation should give a shot in the arm to global foreign exchange volumes as traders take advantage of and protect themselves against the surprise surge in volatility, but its longer-term impact on market activity may not be so benign (Wong Campion/Reuters). A vendor selling flowers hands over change to a customer in Kunming, Yunnan province, August 19, 2015. China's currency devaluation should give a shot in the arm to global foreign exchange volumes as traders take advantage of and protect themselves against the surprise surge in volatility, but its longer-term impact on market activity may not be so benign (Wong Campion/Reuters).

This Week in Markets and Democracy will return on August 28. Until then, here is what CSMD is reading this week.

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