Analysis News

The Space Race — Is it worth it?


On July 29th, 63 years ago, the US Congress passed the legislation, which established NASA, otherwise known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is a government established agency that is responsible for the technology and science related to space and air. As you may know, NASA’s purpose is not only to analyse and explore space, in case of Earth’s demise, providing alternative approaches to human survival beyond our atmosphere but also to protect the human race from the harms of space. An example of this would be detecting asteroids that could pose a threat to human existence if the trajectory proves to be heading towards Earth. However, it is questionable as to the necessity of space exploration. Annually, the US government provides NASA with a budget of $22.629 billion, and this number is ever-increasing. Although this only represents around 0.48% of the total of the US government spending, it is highly debated as to whether spending this amount of money is necessary, and could instead be directed to other means, e.g. building renewable energy sources to help reduce climate change. 

Applications of space research

However, it is important to recognise the necessity of space exploration for proving/disproving scientific theories that have previously been developed on Earth. These theories have brought us insights into gravity, the atmosphere, fluid dynamics, the geological evolution of other planets and most importantly it has shown us the connection between the sea, sun and moon. Thanks to Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery in 1687, we now know that tides are very long-period waves that move throughout the ocean in response to forces exerted by the moon and sun. Fishing, recreational boating, and surfing all rely on tidal data. Commercial and recreational fishermen alike rely on their understanding of tides and tidal currents to boost and improve their catch rates. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global fish farming market generated $271.61billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $376.48 billion by 2025, witnessing a CAGR of 4.7% from 2018 to 2025, and is therefore a staple part of our global economy. 

The Space Race and Jeff Bezos

Nevertheless, It could be argued that the race to space has become glorified, being used as an anchor for the economically elite to exhibit their wealth. The last century’s space race was a competition between the world’s great powers and a test of their ideologies. It would prove to be a synecdoche of the entire Cold War between the capitalist United States and the socialist Soviet Union. Has this desire to be deemed most rich and powerful continued into the 21st Century? On the 20th of July, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, alongside three other passengers (his brother, Mark Bezos; Wally Funk, a storied aviator; and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old fresh out of high school), made the trip to space and back. Bezos stated that by going first, he wanted to prove that his technological advanced vehicle was safe, and that Blue Origin is finally ready to make its 11-minute suborbital trips, an experience people can buy. The $5.5bn journey raised the question as to whether this accessible technological advancement was a step in the right direction, or whether its consequence will lead to an even greater division between the top 1% and the remainder of the population.



The G7 Summit in Cornwall

What is the G7?

The G7 is a political establishment, founded in 1975, that addresses current and potential future challenges that can affect the growth of the global economy, including the impacts of fluctuating oil prices and of emerging markets. The G7 is made up of some of the wealthiest economies across the world — the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan (China is not a member of the G7). The organisation is not an official, formal entity and therefore has no legislative or authoritative power to enforce policies or laws around the world. However, due to the powerful nature of the countries involved, policies can be introduced within said countries, helping to resolve global issues.

What is the purpose of the G7? 

The intergovernmental organisation meets periodically to assess economic and monetary issues that have developed throughout the world between each summit. They discuss and sometimes act in order to assist in resolving global issues, particularly those that concern the global economy.  Their efforts have allowed the organisation to launch initiatives, which fund issues and relieve crises, including several aimed at relieving debt within developing nations. For example, the establishment provided $300 million in 1997 to help construct the containment of the reactor meltdown at Chernobyl, following the nuclear disaster. 

What did they discuss in Cornwall last week? 

As expected, the main topic of conversation was resolving the current global crisis, COVID-19. The leaders within the establishment debated the importance of a stronger global health system and reviewed a potential plan of action which could reduce the global health inequality that could protect us from future pandemics.  Their agenda further included discussion on actions taken towards climate change, e.g. the unsuccessful Paris Agreement of 2015, and trade agreements. This was a big topic for Britain in particular, since talks regarding Brexit began in 2016 when Britain decided to leave the European Union.

What were the outcomes of the meeting? 

The meeting had three major outcomes: “A Billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine (1)”, “no more coal (2) ”, and “tech giants and tax havens targeted (3)”.

  1.  The leaders at the conference pledged to deliver over 870 million vaccine doses to the developing world, on top of the 250 million already promised by the US and the 100 million from the UK. This action will not only allow the HIC’s to recover from the pandemic but allow LIC’s to recover, also. This will have a rather large impact as the lower-income countries are more at risk of an unrecoverable economic depression than higher-income countries. 
  2. There was a unanimous agreement in which the G7 leaders pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation at home and reduce/end funding for new coal-burning power plants in the developing world. Furthermore, the leaders committed to offering developing nations $2.8bn to help them switch to cleaner fuels. These plans will not only help reduce carbon emissions but will consequently reduce climate change. A large issue within climate change is that developing countries do not have funding to provide renewable sources of energy. Therefore, this initiative is of great importance as it will allow countries to take a global stance against global warming.
  3. The summit agreed to take steps towards dissuading MNC’s (multinational co-operations) from shifting profits to low tax-havens. The leaders signed up to levy a minimum 15% corporate tax rate. This will help boost economies especially following the pandemic, which has caused severe economic instability globally. Furthermore, the leaders have also moved to help protect the global financial system from the impact of climate change by agreeing on rules which require companies and financial institutions to disclose the extent to which their business is exposed to climate change risks.




The upcoming market that is destroying livelihoods


Sand is the second most used natural commodity, whose relative importance in the global market has increased drastically in the past half a century, due to the substantial increase in demand for materials in which sand is a major contributor. The number of people living in urban areas has more than quadrupled since 1950, to over 4.5 billion today. The UN predicts that another 2.5 billion people will join the 4.5 billion people already living in cities within the next 3 decades.

The increasing demand for sand

Therefore, the demand for sand has increased. An example of this is within the construction industry, where sand is used to provide strength to materials such as asphalt, mortar, and concrete. However, due to the world’s ever-increasing population, there is forever an increase in the demand for sand-based materials used to increase supply for buildings and infrastructure. To meet these demands, many billions of tonnes of sand are used worldwide annually, so much so that a UN report estimated that the global sand use in 2012 alone could have created a concrete wall 27m high by 27m wide around the equator.

Effects of increasing demand for sand

Although sand is associated with its trivial use of constructing sandcastles on holiday as a child, or in the play area at your local park, it is a necessity to keep global river systems intact, a resource that we certainly take for granted. As innocent as sand may seem, the incredible demand for it is causing loss of livelihoods, loss of ecosystems, and is even a cause of death around the world.

As described by an article written by the BBC, in Kenya, the over-dredging of the local riverbeds in poor, rural counties such as Makueni, is leaving some communities without access to drinking water, subsequently leading to the eventual deaths of many locals. Kenya, alongside many other African countries, is known for its seasonal, sand-filled rivers due to its desert biome. When heavy rainfall occurs, the sand allows water to percolate, and therefore acts as a natural store for water flow, providing a water source for the surrounding villages. However, once these rivers are dredged by companies and governments who wish to sell this commodity, only the bedrock — a relatively impermeable surface — remains, causing no water to be stored and surrounding land to be flooded.  It is important to understand that many thousands of people rely on such natural resources of water to live. While companies continue to exploit indigent areas, many are left without the means to survive. 

Furthermore, the increased demand for sand has led to it becoming a highly desired commodity, which subsequently has encouraged unofficial markets to emerge. An example is India’s black market for sand harvesting, which is operated by violent sand mafias. There have been many reports of killings, in a growing wave of violence sparked by the global desire to own one of the worlds’ most under-appreciated commodities. Many hope to purloin sand, through methods of violence in order to export this product in unofficial markets. Based on the law of demand and supply, when there is increased demand, there is an increase in the price. As the price elasticity of demand for sand is relatively elastic this provides mafias and other rogue organizations the power to gain significant funds from the export of such product. 

For some, sand is just a means to an end; a way to exploit yet another non-renewable resource (a skill our population has, sadly, acquired profoundly), but for many, sand protects their village, their livelihood.


BBC, September 2017. How the demand for sand is killing rivers. Available at (Accessed May 2021)

Analysis News

The US Department of Defence’s Plans to Win the War on Global Warming

Who is the Department of Defence?

The Department of Defence is an executive branch of the department of the federal government, charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and all the United States Armed Forces.

Global Warming and how the US is affected by it

Currently, the US contributes around 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of activities including industrial activities, the burning of fossil fuels, and many more. The question remains, will the USA’s future plans allow this figure of 15% to be reduced significantly? The United States is a region of the world that is highly susceptible to natural hazards, which have only been intensified by the developing issue of climate change. Therefore, the US has a strong need and desire to reduce the impacts of climate change. In 2019, over 90 natural disasters were reported in America alone. Although the US is a developed, High Income Country (HIC), these natural disasters cost the US government billions each year, money that authorities can’t afford to lose, but more importantly the hazards can destroy whole communities and livelihoods. For example, in 2017, the government spent a record $306 billion following three hurricanes, extreme wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, and droughts – each of the 16 disasters exceeded a billion dollars in reparation costs.

The Plan of Action

The US Department of Defence has developed a ‘huge appetite’ for renewable energy sources, as described by President Biden, working alongside the Department of Defence, has assured the media that over $2 trillion of the governments’ budget will be directed into the expansion of clean energy, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and build resilient facilities over the next four years. However, the ambitious plan will need the approval of Congress, an audience that is likely to show resistance to the plan, due to the strong views of the Republicans, who aim to block any ‘green’ plans. The Department of Defence is one of the United States’ biggest contributors to carbon emissions and that is why this plan of action is imperative. Many people believe that the way to reducing climate change is by individually reducing our own carbon footprint. While this may be true, there is a limit as to how much individuals produce as companies and organizations such as the Department of Defence produce the vast majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Although the Department of Defence’s plans are not yet complete, their aims and intentions are in favor of helping reduce climate change, a plan that may take many years, but a small step today is still a step in the right direction.


Analysis Discussion

Spatial Inequality – A Conversation That We Need To Start


By definition, spatial inequality is the unequal distribution of resources and services across different areas or locations, such as healthcare, welfare, public services, household income, and infrastructure. The distribution of such characteristics over space can be described in terms of proximity, distance, clustering, and concentration, according to Wikipedia.

Why Spatial Inequality is a Problem

Over time, spatial inequality has led to strong divisions, not only across borders but also within local communities. Currently, in Nairobi, over 60% of the population lives on less than 5% of the land- creating large economic disparities. The poorer population lives with inadequate living standards, which includes minimal access to important services such as healthcare and education. Most would agree that this is a direct result of colonialism, where colonizers segregated people by race, level of income, and many more factors. 

Causes of Spatial Inequality

However, it is arguable that income inequality and economic disparities have been one of the main driving forces behind spatial inequality. In Nairobi, for example, more than 65% of the population (around 3.5 million people) live within the informal sector. The advantage of the informal economy is that it provides income and employment to people, regardless of education and experience. These are qualities that the formal economy is deemed to be reliant on. However, the informal economy has costs, also. Many of those who are forced to work within the informal sector — in jobs such as street vendors, flea, and food markets — have had to rely on this unstable source of income, a result that can be traced back directly to unequal access to services such as education. 

The densely populated slum communities within Africa are the home of millions of citizens throughout the continent. However, since these homes have been set up quickly, without building regulations and without being previously planned by the city councils, important services were not set up. These important services could potentially cater to the new settlers, educating them so that one day they can acquire a job within the formal sector, thus removing them from this constant cycle of poverty.

Efforts to Combat Spatial Inequality

Currently, schools that have sprouted within slum settlements are being bulldozed, as the local government aims to rid cities of “informal settlements.” Unfortunately, they are failing to do so miserably. In 2018, the headline “Schools for 2000 children in Kenya’s Kibera slum bulldozed to the ground” hit the media and news outlets, showing the world that rather than helping combat income and spatial inequality, governments were willing to destroy livelihoods in an attempt to rid the city of the ‘problem’ — namely, the informal sector.


It is important to understand the risk and the impact that both spatial and income inequality can have on the livelihoods of those who live within these make-shift settlements. It is imperative that we combat this issue, in similar ways that one would address racial or gender inequality. I hope that one day we can live in a world where no parent has to worry about being able to feed their children; a world where children can dream about what they want to be when they grow up; a world where home is not a temporary shelter, but a place where love and happiness can thrive.



Has the British history education system been ‘white-washed’?

Throughout my education, I was given a wealth of knowledge, or so I believed, surrounding many influential and pivotal moments within history. However, on reflection, I noticed that the whole story had not been told, whether this be a missing key person that influenced a decision that changed history or an unknown warrior that helped fight for Britain, one way or another.  The British education system focuses mainly on the achievements of those who are Caucasian. Therefore, I believe that not only is our education system failing us, but it is also one of the reasons that systemic racism exists in such a progressive time period. I hope that we can one day live in a world where everyone and their achievements can be celebrated equally, no matter their race, ethnicity or background, a world where equality is commonplace. 

Today I leave you with this poem by John Agard, who wrote “Checking out me history”, to remind us to explore the influence of a variety of people, to fill the gaps, that our education system left out so carelessly.

Checking Out Me History:

Dem tell me
Dem tell me
Wha dem want to tell me

Bandage up me eye with me own history
Blind me to me own identity

Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat
Dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat
But Toussaint L’Ouverture
No dem never tell me bout dat

A slave
With vision
Lick back
And first Black
Republic born
Toussaint de thorn
To de French
Toussaint de beacon
Of de Haitian Revolution

Dem tell me bout de man who discover de balloon
And de cow who jump over de moon
Dem tell me bout de dish ran away with de spoon
But dem never tell me bout Nanny de Maroon

See-far woman
Of mountain dream
Fire-woman struggle
Hopeful stream
To freedom river

Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson and Waterloo
But dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu
Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492
But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too

Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she lamp
And how Robin Hood used to camp
Dem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soul
But dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole

From Jamaica
She travel far
To the Crimean War
She volunteer to go
And even when de British said no
She still brave the Russian snow
A healing star
Among the wounded
A yellow sunrise
To the dying

Dem tell me
Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me
But now I checking out me own history
I carving out me identity


Nord Stream 2 – A step in the wrong direction

Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline, that carries non-renewable natural gas into the European Union, from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin, Germany. According to Nord Stream AG (the operator of the project), the overall costs of the construction of the 764 mile long pipeline are estimated to total around 9.5 billion euros (which is enough money to fund the construction of over 6000, 800kW wind turbines, in Britain). The gas that the pipeline is to carry, lies in northern Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, which holds nearly 5 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, according to the Nord Stream 2 consortium. The aims of the transportation of the natural gas are to enhance the security of supply, to strengthen the internal market, and to relieve pressure on other sources within the EU that previously supplied all the non-renewable resources since the EU’s domestic gas production is in rapid decline. However, it is debatable as to whether relying on other sources of natural gas is the best way forward for our economies and for our planet. Currently, the EU has committed to finance projects worth 168.7 billion euros, of which 21%  will go to measures to address climate change. Why spend this much money on reversing the effects of climate change, if Nord Stream 2 is to be built? 

Over the past decade, we have seen a drastic increase in the demand for the use of renewable resources, in response to the ever-increasing climate change issue. As we all know, climate change will not only affect the weather and temperature of our planet, but it will also hinder human life and activities in a variety of ways. A simple example of this would be the increase in global food insecurity and reducing crop productivity, which feeds our ever-growing population. Over time, farmers have adapted to the weather patterns, planting crops accordingly, however, climate change is altering temperature and rainfall patterns, potentially affecting which crops can be planted at which times throughout the course of the year. I believe that we struggle to understand that climate change can be positively impacted by the individual efforts of the human race, as many wrongly-believe that this global issue could, and should have been resolved by our governments, therefore deeming the global political system incompetent. While it is true that governments should increase the focus surrounding reversing climate change, individual countries and their citizens must cooperate, to reduce their overall carbon footprint; something that will be very difficult to do with the influx of natural gas delivered by Nord Stream 2.


Brexit – Another issue that the British Government must resolve?

Brexit, as many will know, is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a motion that has caused a dramatic divide within the British Public, one that will not be healed for many years to come, due to the overwhelmingly negative economic impacts of the deal. As the LSE Blogs correctly states, “The more the UK distances itself from the EU’s economic institutions and policies, the greater the increase in trade barriers and the higher will be the costs of Brexit.” It is debateable as to whether the British government can afford the cost of Brexit, especially when this economic crisis has been exacerbated by the current pandemic, which has caused irreparable damage to the British economy.  When discussions about leaving the European Union sparked, the HM treasury analysis on the immediate economic impacts concluded that within just two years: the GDP (gross domestic product) of the UK would decrease by at least 3%; Britain would experience a year of negative growth, placing the country into a recession and most importantly, over half a million of jobs would be lost. Knowing this, why did the British government go forth and encourage this plan of action? Many would argue that this was a simple answer . Polls conducted by the British government concluded that those who voted ‘Leave’  believed “the principle that decisions about the UK should be made in the UK’ and that leaving ‘offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders’, a social, economic and political issue that had been debated in parliament for many years. But how has Brexit changed these immigration laws? Previously, EU laws stated that one of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens was the free movement of workers. This meant that workers could move to a country within the EU, with his/her family, taking up another job within said country. This was a key issue that the majority of the British public opposed. When Britain left the EU on December 31st 2020, the government finally put an end to the act of free movement, via the Immigration Bill.  As stated on the governments website, the Bill consists of 7 clauses and three schedules which apply to entire UK population. While the Bill would repeal free movement in UK law, it would not set up the future UK immigration system. The future system will be implemented in the Immigration Rules. Although this movement would potentially create jobs for the British public, it is not without its economic challenges. A study conducted by Warwick Business School concluded that the UK economy relies on migrants, many of which fill low-skilled, but necessary jobs around the country. Migrants from the 10 central and eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 made a net contribution of almost £5billion to the UK economy in a decade- money that the UK government cannot afford to lose in such pressing times. The economists who conducted the study claimed that the South East would be the hardest hit due to the fact that 35% of all UK migrants live in London.  The WBS website states that “the Government could have to abandon austerity and its cap on housing benefits to convince people to move from the north to the south of the UK, or introduce more draconian benefit sanctions to force workers to relocate” in order to accommodate for the loss of the working immigrants. Now that Brexit has “resolved” the important conflict of immigration laws that the British government opposed so strongly, it is up for debate as to whether the UK citizens are relieved and still agree that leaving the EU was the best plan of action for Britain.


On this day

On this day, 73 years ago (January 12th 1948) Mahatma Gandhi began his final fast in an effort to persuade Muslims and Hindus to work towards peace- a reoccurring theme, demonstrated throughout his life. Previously, Gandhi committed himself to 18 fasts, after his vow to “fast unto death”, in order to protest the British government’s decision to colonise the Southern Asian country of India. Throughout his life, Gandhi was the leader of a plethora of non-violent civil disobedience campaigns, ranging from the Dandi Salt March in 1930 to the “Quit India” movement of 1942. The majority of his campaigns stemmed from encouraging the British to allow India to gain its independence as a country, once again. A goal in which he achieved in 1947. Through colonial rule, the British had  exploited India’s raw materials, caused cultural upheaval and abused their political power within the country- Gandhi dedicated his life to changing this. In recognition of his selfless acts, I would like to take a minute to remember the unequivocal changes that Gandhi implemented on this Earth, positively influencing millions of people around the globe, causing a conversation that was continued by many famous figures of history including Martin Luther King JR, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. During his many peaceful political protests, Gandhi taught the concept of “satyagraha”, a Sanskrit word which closely translates to “insistence of the truth”. This concept was shown through this extraordinary leader’s actions, to free the oppressed, to obstruct and prevent discrimination and to gain India’s rightfully deserved political, economic and social independence, for the benefit of all. Through the incredible life that he led, Gandhi proved,  to all, that one determined man (or woman), has the power to successfully take on an empire.


Will Russia’s New Political Party encourage a new way to Russian Politics?

Currently, in Russia’s political system, the President of Russia, Vladamir Putin,  is head of state and of the multi-party system, with executive power exercised by the government. The government is further headed by the Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, who is appointed by the President, with Parliaments approval. Recently, Russian citizens have been introduced to the ‘New People’s Party’, which was registered with authorities during March 2020. By August, the party saw a staggering 300,000 Russian’s signing nomination papers for their candidates, with the party aiming to put up 100 candidates in 13 of Russia’s regions. The party was originally founded by Alexey Nechayev, a businessman who is also the founder and driving force behind the beauty and apparel company, Faberlik.  The parties ideologies include Reformism, Communitarianism, Direct Democracy and Liberalism, all of which have grasped the attention of the Russian citizens. New Peoples Party has now become the most successful political project among the vast variety of new parties that emerged simultaneously around a year ago. After the election on September 13th, the New Peoples Candidates won seats in four regional parliaments and the city council in Tomsk. Nechayev says “[they] barely failed to make the cut in Krasnodar, falling short of the 5 % barrier needed to be elected a city council by a hair”.  The party signals hope and candour within the country, as they aim to do politics, ‘the normal way’, by rejecting the ‘one-size fits all’ traditional Russian policy. The Party’s programme calls to make small but necessary improvements including: doubling the salary and improving social insurance packages for police officers, combatting low level corruption; keeping taxes low for the self-employed and many more. The party has, however caused tension and feelings of unease to rise throughout the political system, leading to the recent attempted murder of Alexey Nechayev himself. Many of his supporters have blamed the Kremlin, however all accusations have been denied. Should the Kremlin feel threatened by this new and upcoming party?

Comment what you think!