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On December 1, 2017, Michelle commented on Iran Air: Sanctions and Sanction Relief :

Thanks for sharing!

Economic sanctions are a very interesting topic… and the Iranian case illustrates several problems related to them.

– UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Often, economic sanctions have unintended and undesirable consequences. They hurt the targeted country’s population (by increasing poverty and scarcity) and can even benefit their regimes (by fueling an enemy/victim rhethoric). In this case, it is the Iranian civilian population that is affected, by restricting their air travel options and making them much less safe.

– EFFECTIVENESS. While they sometimes can help achieve foreign policy goals, economic sanctions are often ineffective – as has been the case in Serbia, China, Cuba, Libya… (details: https://www.brookings.edu/research/economic-sanctions-too-much-of-a-bad-thing/)

– IMPACT ON IMPOSING COUNTRY. Sanctions affect the imposing countries’ economy – for instance, limiting Boeing’s revenue.

On November 26, 2017, Michelle commented on Cuba Libre: Airbnb’s Approach to Diplomacy in Cuba :

Very interesting article! This is a fascinating topic – I backpacked around the island for a bit over a month in 2013, and would like to share a couple of aspects that highlight how difficult I think it will be for Airbnb to expand operations in Cuba.

(1) If you are going to more than one city in Cuba, you usually connect with the owner of one casa particular and they arrange everything for you with their own network of casas particulares across the country, with whom they work on a regular basis (and share commissions for sending tourists). Given that it is virtually impossible to access the internet during your stay, this is the most convenient approach. I imagine it would be hard to manage your Airbnb bookings while in Cuba, like you do when visiting any other country.

(2) I have had very bad experiences when it comes to truly authentic local experience-based interactions. If what you want is to connect with someone who will only provide you a service aimed at tourists (e.g. a salsa lesson), I believe Airbnb’s offer works well. However, if you want to go beyond that and also want to get to know the locals, it gets more complicated. At the time, I used Couchsurfing to connect with young Cubans, and the income disparity that you mention in your article, and the restrictions on free speech and political freedom made things very uncomfortable. On the one hand, tourists in Cuba as regarded as cash cows (which is understandable given the huge income inequality…), and everybody tries to take advantage of them. My experiences with Cubans were far from authentic because of this. On the other hand, in addition, Cubans cannot voice their opinions freely, so the conversation lacks authenticity.

(3) US citizens are not well received in many places in the island – in particular in less touristy towns. In fact, my ex boyfriend, who is American, told everybody he was Canadian to avoid problems. Cuba is a country where there are no TV channels, radios or newspapers asides from the official government-owned ones, so citizens have limited and biased information about what happens outside their borders. This leads them to sometimes have an unfounded very negative image of the US.

Interesting read! I share your concern about the impact of Arctic shipping on the arctic ecosystem, and agree that Sovcomflot should definitely assess the long-term implications. Another thing I would think of: what about the regulatory aspect? What rules will countries and international organizations develop to regulate this new space, and how will they affect Sovcomflot’s plans and the industry as a whole?

On November 26, 2017, Michelle commented on Where in the world will our wine come from? :

Another worried wine lover here! 🙂

Very interesting read…I agree with Noemie Renaerts’s last point: I believe climate change will drive innovation in the wine industry. Natural threats often represent opportunities – examples I am thinking about: use of botrytis to develop new flavor profiles in wine (and continuous innovations in that space, e.g. Verglas wine by Stoneboat Vineyards), or wine grafting to battle phylloxera. I am curious to see what solutions winemakers will develop.

On November 26, 2017, Michelle commented on Digitization at Pfizer :

Great article! I agree that digitization is a huge disruptive force that will bring tremendous benefits to the pharmaceutical industry – despite the difficulties that you and Regina Phalange (who commented above) highlight.

Regarding the problem of counterfeit drugs, which you mention in the first section of your article, Pfizer is doing some very interesting work using blockchain – here is a link to my article where I discussed it: https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/can-blockchain-help-solve-the-problem-of-counterfeit-drugs/.

Interesting article!

I disagree with CL’s comment above: Blue Apron’s supply chain does have a significant negative impact on the environment.

(1) Transportation/refrigeration of ingredients and distribution of kits: while it is true that Blue Apron purchases supplies directly from farms (in fact, it sources its ingredients from 100 different family-run farms), it delivers to most of country from 3 distribution centers nationwide. This means that, before you receive a Blue Apron box, it probably crossed a good part of the United States in a refrigerated truck.

(2) Packaging of meals: after cooking a Blue Apron meal, you are stuck with a ton of waste which is not as easily recyclable as one would hope.

Some interesting articles on the topic, with more details on (1) and (2): https://www.buzzfeed.com/ellencushing/these-are-the-trashy-consequences-of-blue-apron-delivery?utm_term=.tcjGBQkqP#.pqPVnkmOd, http://observer.com/2017/04/packaging-waste-blue-apron-meal-kits/

Great article!

In line with the previous comments, I think it is important to keep in mind that no system is perfect and free from errors, and some degree of oversight will always be required. Blockchain will need to find a way to address potential errors, fraudulent transactions or even bugs in the code. An interesting read on the editability of blockchain: https://www.accenture.com/t20160927T033514Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-33/Accenture-Editing-Uneditable-Blockchain.pdf#zoom=50.