It’s the econ­omy, stupid

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT & ANALYSIS -

He helped cre­ate the Bri­tish ven­ture cap­i­tal in­dus­try. Now Sir Ron­ald Co­hen is look­ing to help solve one of the world’s most stub­bornly in­tractable con­flicts. One does not need to be a fi­nan­cial ex­pert to ap­pre­ci­ate that if it is pos­si­ble to mo­ti­vate peo­ple through lu­cra­tive in­cen­tives, then the im­pe­tus for con­flict must de­crease. It is also supremely log­i­cal that cre­at­ing the con­di­tions where peace is pos­si­ble must be the task of civil so­ci­ety as much as of gov­ern­ment. Amid the cor­rupt pol­i­tics of the Mid­dle East, the chal­lenge re­mains to en­sure that the funds pro­vided by the Port­land Trust are of di­rect ben­e­fit to the in­di­vid­u­als they are in­tended to help. Yet un­like many so-called peace ini­tia­tives, Sir Ron­ald’s schemes — such as a mi­cro­fi­nance loans of un­der £3,000 for small busi­nesses — are bring­ing mea­sur­able re­sults. This is con­flict res­o­lu­tion and peace-mak­ing de­liv­ered in the cool, calm lan­guage of eco­nomics. It is to Sir Ron­ald’s credit that he is pre­pared to take the risks of in­ter­ven­ing in the com­plex­i­ties of Mid­dle East­ern pol­i­tics in the hope of an ul­ti­mately far more valu­able re­turn. Af­ter all, that is how the most as­tute ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists cre­ate the great­est of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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