Adrian-Ioan Damoc
Adrian-Ioan Damoc
Economist, Ph.D., the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, interested in international relations and economic diplomacy
Europe’s Paradigmatic Dilemmas amidst Pandemic Woes: How the Covid-19 Crisis May Reshape EU’s Geostrategy

Europe’s Paradigmatic Dilemmas amidst Pandemic Woes: How the Covid-19 Crisis May Reshape EU’s Geostrategy

The much-awaited vaccine has recently been announced and reignited hope that the coronavirus pandemic that has kept the planet in a tight grip for about a year now is about to end. Though the vaccine itself is not beyond suspicion as some question the methodology used to validate it (normally, vaccines are vetted after being tested over several years), the world is gasping for a glimmer of hope against a threat it has struggled to understand and contain with mixed success. After an initial wave in the first and second quarters of 2020 that brought most of the planet to a halt with businesses closing down, unemployment rising and trade plummeting, the lockdown measures succeeded in putting a damper on the spread of the virus, leading to a relaxation of the lockdown measures during the third quarter so as to breathe new life into the ailing economy. Yet, this has caused the virus to emerge once more, thereby sparking a new wave starting around the middle of the third quarter of 2020 and continuing to this day.  More


From the Queen to the Tsar: on Trump’s Travels to Europe

From the Queen to the Tsar: on Trump’s Travels to Europe

An eventful week passed from July 12 to 17 as US President Donald Trump made two high-profile visits to Europe: one to the United Kingdom where he met with the British monarchy and government officials, and one to Helsinki where he met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. These events occurred in a complicated geopolitical context: on the one hand, it appears we are witnessing a paradigm shift in US-EU relations, with increasingly divergent viewpoints on a number of key issues, most notably security in Europe’s Eastern flank and the Middle East; on the other hand, the suspicions of Russian involvement in the US elections in order to skew the votes in Trump’s favour are still alive in the eyes of certain US officials and part of the American electorate.  More


Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part I): An Overview of the Coronavirus Outbreak and Its Insights for Economic Theory

Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part I): An Overview of the Coronavirus Outbreak and Its Insights for Economic Theory

It is no longer a secret that the new coronavirus outbreak is the most significant issue troubling mankind at the moment, generating a level of panic and uncertainty with powerful effects on all level of society, politics and the economy. What began as a biological curiosity in the city of Wuhan in China soon spread throughout the rest of the world through the travels of infected individuals and the virus’ extremely contagious nature. By the time its characteristics and potential lethality became more obvious to authorities, the virus (“baptized” SARS-CoV-2, the “author” of the COVID-19 disease) had already spread outside of China and the Asian continent. The disease it causes is not yet fully understood and how it came to be is still unclear, though scholars tend to agree that the virus was initially confined to a few species of animals before making the jump to humans in China.  More


Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part II): Zooming in on Economic Decision-Making in the Time of the Coronavirus

Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part II): Zooming in on Economic Decision-Making in the Time of the Coronavirus

As we have reemphasized, neoclassical economics, with all its shortcomings, is still considered to be the mainstream wisdom and the reconciliating synthesis of ages-old advances in economic science. Behavioural economics, for its part, is a rather recent school of thought that aims at incorporating concepts from psychology, sociology and cognitive sciences in order to gain a better understanding of the decision-making process of economic agents, largely as a response to the limitations of some of the tenets of the neoclassical school, several of which it directly challenges. Below are some of its key concepts:  More


Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part III): Diagnosing the Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Risks of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Mutating Mindsets and Contagious Behaviours (Part III): Diagnosing the Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Risks of the Coronavirus Outbreak

In the previous parts, we argued why behavioural economics does a better job of explaining consumer and supplier behaviour in the time of the coronavirus outbreak than the neoclassical paradigm. Both approaches were discussed at a theoretical level and were then applied to the current situation as a case study. We can note that the common link between the demand-side behaviour and the supply-side behaviour is uncertainty – perhaps not so much with regards to the threat the virus poses for personal health, but rather towards the public policies and containment measures the authorities will implement which, decidedly, are not very transparent. More


Rumble in the Gulf – A Look at the Significance of the Saudi-Yemeni Conflict

Rumble in the Gulf – A Look at the Significance of the Saudi-Yemeni Conflict

Higher-order cognition in humans is one of the most commonly cited factors that separate us as a species from other life-forms on earth. It enables us to make sense of the patterns in our environment and the laws that govern nature, to think beyond our immediate sensory input and create art and beauty, to encode our knowledge, storing and preserving it, passing it down to further generations who would then use it to yield new knowledge as well as invent new tools and adapt the old into new, to reshape both the internal and the external world. Yet this gift does not come without its caveats, and human cognition is indeed often riddled with biases and shortcuts that, despite allowing us to simplify the complexity of our world, often dull our receptiveness to certain realities or, even more dangerously, offer the illusion of knowledge and understanding when, in fact, they are in short supply. More


The Grand (Binary) Chessboard: Security, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics in the Cyber-era

The Grand (Binary) Chessboard: Security, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics in the Cyber-era

For each age that we think to define, there are words that describe the aspects or characteristics that are thought to define it best. The mid-twentieth century was known as the ‘Atomic Age’, when the results of research into nuclear physics were brought to the forefront with the detonation of nuclear bombs. Shortly thereafter, it was succeeded by the Space Age, with the drive to explore outer space and the competition between the world’s superpowers to develop technology to that end. Somewhere from the 1970s, the Information Age is believed to have begun, sprung by the Digital Revolution, with information technology playing an increasingly greater role in human affairs on an ever-growing number of levels: the economy, society, culture, language and politics. Thus, geographic distance became less and less relevant in defining human interaction, and physical contact was no longer an imperative for relations between people. More


The Matter of Persia: Discerning Meaning from Strife and Unrest

The Matter of Persia: Discerning Meaning from Strife and Unrest

The year 2018 began with a renewal of some of last year’s main geopolitical clashes, the most prominent being the nuclear threats exchanged between North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping delivering grim speeches to his army, urging troops to be ready for war, and analysts offering generally gloomy forecasts for this year. One other significant event that has erupted near the end of 2017 were the unexpected and violent protests in Iran that have continued up to at least the first week of 2018, with mass demonstrations held both for and against the country’s current government and an uncompromising crackdown by Iranian police. More


À la recherche de l’identité perdue

À la recherche de l’identité perdue

In most contexts, the name Catalonia is typically associated with the world of culture, arts, architecture and sports. It evokes the splendour of the Sagrada Familia, the distinctive styles of Antoni Gaudi and Salvador Dali, the venerable Montserrat Caballé and, of course, the famous Barcelona FC. Yet, in the aftermath of the declaration of independence passed by the Autonomous Community’s Parliament on October 27, 2017, the name is now also associated with the increasingly prominent trend towards fragmentation that has defined socio-political dynamics in the Western world in recent years, in particular Europe. More


Corona-blues: A Brief Reflection on the Challenges of Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic

Corona-blues: A Brief Reflection on the Challenges of Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic

That the new coronavirus has taken the world by storm is no longer a surprise, causing significant casualties worldwide as well as civil unrest and disrupting economies, with ever grimmer prognoses. Much has been said about both the humanitarian impact as well the myriad effects it had on the political, social and economic levels. From a healthcare perspective, one might expect the world’s most developed economies to fare far better than their developing counterparts. Yet a quick look at the numbers reveals a rather intriguing picture: out of the world’s over 13.5 million confirmed cases of contamination, over 4 million come from some of the world’s most developed economies, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Sweden. These same countries account for more than half of the deaths caused by the virus. Of course, these are absolute numbers that we are talking about, but even if we switch to looking at relative measures, such as the number of deaths or infections per 1 million people, developed countries still rank at the top.  More


The Passions of France

The Passions of France

Monday, April 15th 2019, was the third day of the Holy Week for Catholic Christians, the week that commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ preceding His crucifixion and resurrection. The day followed another weekend of protests in France, when 30,000 people demonstrated in several major French cities against President Emmanuel Macron. It is therefore a most unfortunate coincidence that, on that day, one of France’s most recognisable monuments, the 850-year old Cathedral of Notre-Dame, caught fire and was nearly destroyed before the fire was eventually put out some 15 hours later. The cathedral’s spire was completely wrecked by the flames, and the building suffered notable structural damage; some of the artefacts stored within it were touched by fire and smoke to varying degrees. The incident took France and the world at large by storm, drawing strong reactions from the general public as well as from celebrities and world leaders. It did not take long for some of France’s wealthiest personalities to pledge vast sums to the reconstruction of the cathedral, while president Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral within five years. More


Blood Is Thicker than Oil: The Throes of Venezuela’s Crisis

Blood Is Thicker than Oil: The Throes of Venezuela’s Crisis

As the smoking gun of Venezuela’s unrest clears away, onlookers wonder whether it is about to be holstered back or cocked for another shot. To most observers, the socio-political crisis in Venezuela came as a big surprise, as if out of nowhere. Owing perhaps to its remote geographic location and the prominence of more spectacular geopolitical events, it is easy to overlook the fact that we are not speaking about a recent outbreak. Instead, the current presidential scandal is but the very latest addition to a long-lasting crisis that began somewhere in 2010 due to economic shortages and worsened with the upheaval of the existing political equilibrium following the death of long-standing president, Hugo Chávez, in 2013. Venezuela has been a powder keg for nearly a decade, as the country’s unsustainable oil-reliant economy has shown its unfortunate limits, which were further compounded by the government’s ineffectual policies, strongly influenced by the anti-Western leanings common to both Chávez and current president Nicolás Maduro.  More


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016