The Friday Fish

This week’s haul from behind the headlines at

No. 20: Female Poverty in Japan; Whistleblower Protection; Saudi Arabia's National Transformation Plan; Ocean Economy; the Bosses of Brussels.

Female Poverty in Japan

Japan’s economy is consistently one of the biggest in the OECD, but young women – particularly young and single mothers – is a growing population among the nation’s poor. One high school girl summed up Japan’s underlying poverty as a question of pride – and shame. “I would never tell my friends what my life is really like, because saying those things aloud would only drive home further how different my life is from theirs,” she said.

Whistleblower Protection

Most OECD countries have at least some kind of protection for whistleblowers built into their legal systems. Under closer inspection, though, the protections are in place only for public employees. That needs to change and the OECD’s recommendations for whistleblower protection highlights how.

Saudi Arabia's National Transformation Plan

An announcement by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad this week of the Kingdom’s plan to end its dependence on oil by 2030 has inspired some debate – and scepticism. The National Transformation Plan recognizes the inefficiency, corruption, and need for change in Saudi Arabia’s economic model (nine-tenths of the country’s revenues come from oil exports). Along with big plans for the energy sector, Saudi Arabia also wants to increase women’s participation in the workforce, spend more on domestically-made arms, and open up national oil company Aramco as a “global industrial conglomerate. Will the Kingdom succeed?

The Bosses of Brussels

Who really runs European countries in foreign policy – heads of state or ambassadors? It depends on a few things, like personal and diplomatic alliances and agendas, experience and reputation, and personality. Some European countries even rely on brute strength and size for negotiating power in their foreign relations on the continent and abroad.

The Ocean Economy

Can you put a pricetag on the world’s oceans? If you consider the ocean as the new economic frontier, as the OECD has done in a new report, “The Ocean Economy in 2030.” A new report from the OECD values the world’s oceans at USD1.5 trillion, or 2.5% of the world gross value added, not to mention as a major provider of jobs across the globe.  Emerging ocean industries like offshore energy (wind, oil, gas), fish processing, and shipbuilding will employ 40 million full-time jobs by 2030. But with so many fish in the sea, how can we make the growth of the ocean economy both environmentally and economically sustainable? The OECD’s report answers what measures will be necessary. 

The Friday fish #20 ©OECD Observer, 29 April 2016

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