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Showing posts from July 3, 2016

“Why Are Voters Ignoring Experts?”

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[Here, Sandwichman makes the point that the compensation principle (a.k.a. the Kaldor-Hicks criterion) has been thoroughly refuted, providing a second, rather different answer to the question "Why Are Voters Ignoring Experts?" *RON*]

Sandwichman, Angry Bear, 1 July 2016

That is the question Jean Pisani-Ferry asks at Project Syndicate. In the wake of the Brexit vote there is a veritable chorus of experts and economists asking the same question. One explanation I don’t expect to see very often is that the supposed experts systematically ignore their own critical literature. Hubris.

Professor Pisani-Ferry inadvertently presents an example when he suggests that economists should “move beyond the (generally correct) observation” that “if a policy decision leads to aggregate gains, losers can in principle be compensated.” This is not a “generally correct” observation. It is, in the words of I. M. D. Little “unacceptable nonsense.”

This “comp…

Why Are Voters Ignoring Experts?

Click here to view the original article.
[I'm presenting the same story here 'twice' as it were, because the author's perspectives give interesting counter-points. Here, Pisani-Ferry addresses what has become the common reaction to Brexit - how could people have possibly ignored such a strong consensus of expert opinion on the evidence? Some of his points are rather good - experts were well aware of the disruptive effects of free trade and open borders on local communities, but chose to be indifferent to them. But the posting that follows this one peels the hide off another one of his arguments: that it is an easy and simple thing to address the 'losers' of these arrangements using simple tools of economic redistribution. *RON*]
Jean Pisani-Ferry, Intercept, 1 July 2016

Jean Pisani-Ferry is a professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and currently serves as Commissioner-General of France Stratégie, a policy advisory institution in Paris.

PARIS – By …

Media Exaggerations of Apocalyptic Venezuela Plays into Regime Change Narrative

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[When a socialist experiment goes down in flames there is bound to be "motivated reporting" on both sides. I've posted stories here depicting the dire state of the Venezuelan economy; this presents a counter-view. In case you hadn't heard the term before, Chavism (Spanish chavismo) is a left-wing political ideology based on the ideas, programs and government style associated with the former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. People who follow this ideology are Chavistas. These academics argue that the apocalyptic failed-state narrative is being pursued by the American press to build support for active US involvement in regime change. *RON*]
Sharmini Peries, The Real News Network, 1 July 2016


Gabriel Hetland & Rachael Boothroyd say that the crisis in Venezuela is real, but the international media descriptions of horror stories are far from representative of the real situation on the ground

Gabriel B Hetland is an assistant p…

Here's How To Do Free Trade Right

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[Five simple points that would, literally, make a world of difference. *RON*]

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 1 July 2016


Jared Bernstein says that Donald Trump has a legitimate point about the problems with American trade agreements:
The process by which they’re negotiated is undemocratic, they uplift investor rights over sovereign rights, they reverse the order in which certain challenges should be tackled, and they fail to deal with currency issues. But globalization cannot nor should not be stopped. Done right, it delivers great benefits to advanced countries through the increased supply of goods, and it helps improve the living standards of workers in developing countries through profits made from trade with wealthier nations. Trump’s tariffs would undermine all of that. Most liberals agree with this criticism. Until Trump, in fact, opposition to trade deals was mostly limited to liberals—and still is, judging by the number of Republicans who opp…

11,431 Rape Kits Were Collected and Forgotten in Detroit. This is the Story of One of Them.

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[Absolutely horrifying. And, in the end, uplifting. Ardelia Ali was raped in 1995. Twenty years later, her rapist was convicted thanks to the tireless efforts of prosecutor Kym Worthy. *RON*]

By Anna Clark, Elle, 23 June 2016


It was nearing midnight, and the scent of grease still clung to Ardelia Ali's Burger King uniform as the city bus wheezed to a stop on Detroit's 7 Mile Road. It had been a long, lumbering ride in from the suburbs, where she sold Woody and Buzz Lightyear puppets with Kids Club meals all afternoon, and her head was ringing: Howdy, pardner. She stepped into the November chill, turned up the hood of her coat, and hurried over the cracked sidewalk, meaning to make it to her grandmother's warm bungalow before the cold sunk too deeply into her bones. It was only about a block from the bus stop, and when she turned the corner, she saw the yellow house lights shining, waiting for her. At first, the thump of his steps was…

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and renowned Holocaust survivor, dies at 87

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Click here to view the original article (and an interactive timeline of Wiesel's life).

[I think "Night" was the first book I ever read about the holocaust. Author and human rights activist made perpetuating the memory of the Shoah his life's work. *RON*]

By Ronen Shnidman, Haaretz, 2 July 2016

Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, prolific author and outspoken activist Elie Wiesel died Saturday at the age of 87. Wiesel was perhaps best known for his major role in promoting Holocaust education, and for perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust in the post-World War II era with his memoir “Night,” based on his experience as a teenager in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928 in the Romanian town of Sighet, to Sarah and Shlomo Wiesel. His maternal grandfather, Dodye Feig, was a member of the Vishnitz Hasidic sect; his strong influence over Wiesel was seen later in some of his writings. Wiesel received a traditional…