Congratulations to the TPP Eleven

The world is still getting better, even as America gets worse:

Danang (Vietnam) (AFP) – Ministers from 11 Asia-Pacific countries agreed Saturday to press ahead with a major trade deal without the United States, as the world’s largest economy seeks to go it alone under President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy.

Virginia Postrel points out that the new aluminum tariffs Trump just imposed will hurt US manufacturing but help the Russian economy.

All our intelligence services say that Russia meddled in the election.  We know that Russia meddles in the elections of lots of other countries.  But Trump says he believes Putin is telling the truth.  Russia is innocent.

Ever since George Wallace, I’ve had my doubts about the political judgment of Alabama residents.  But I always assumed that they knew their Bible stories.  So this raised an eyebrow:

State auditor Jim Ziegler is willing to admit the charges are true, but he doesn’t care. He cited the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph — “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus”— and concluded, “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

When I saw that Louis C.K.’s new film is being withdrawn, I was going to sarcastically ask if next we’ll be banning Woody Allen films.  But already did so–without the sarcasm:

As reports of firings and film cancellations have rolled through my newsfeed and into my inbox over the past few weeks, so too have invitations to screenings of Wonder Wheel, Allen’s latest film, which closed the New York Film Festival in October and is scheduled to open in theaters on December 1.

For now, Wonder Wheel remains untouched on the release schedule. If it stays there, I’ll be less convinced that Hollywood is ready to really deal with its demons, and more certain that money is still the loudest voice at the table.

HT:  Alex Tabarrok



35 Responses to “Congratulations to the TPP Eleven”

  1. Gravatar of Iskander Iskander
    11. November 2017 at 19:04

    When I went to Vietnam, the first thing the taxi driver said to me after leaving the (Japanese built) airport in Hanoi was “We used to be communist, now we use the free market”. People were really friendly, cities were great too.

    The UK by contrast seems like a society that’s given up. No decent politicians: fools like Corbyn/May or MP’s who are only there to support the extension of the nanny state, at least in rhetoric. No one able to sort out the lack of housing supply. No one able to sort out the education system.

    Then again we really shouldn’t be looking for a strong leader to fix our problems…

    P.S Bryan Caplan has his new book out for pre-order, looking forward to you announcing yours!

  2. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    11. November 2017 at 19:53

    Do you have an argument for why these films shouldn’t be boycotted?

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. November 2017 at 22:39

    Iskander, I’m sure Caplan’s book will be great. I look forward to reading it.

    Saturos, I was objecting to the view that the films shouldn’t even be released. People are free to boycott whatever they wish.

    I might even want to see these films.

  4. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    12. November 2017 at 06:21

    I’m assuming they the think the choice to withhold release of the film makes business sense. They (film studio / producers, etc) fear it would result in boycotts of their other films, etc.

  5. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    12. November 2017 at 06:35

    One defining feature of the zeitgeist nowadays is how network-effects have enabled social justice (political correctness) to have real market power.

  6. Gravatar of Alabamian Alabamian
    12. November 2017 at 08:20

    There are two parts to the Moore situation: (1) the nomination itself;
    and (2) the reaction and defenses to the WaPo story.

    There have been a number of national media outlets that have attempted to place Moore’s nomination within the framework of the Trump-Bannon-populist-and-bankrupt-GOP’s ascendancy, but that is a mistake. Moore’s nomination has two decades worth of back story and Alabama political context, and the forces at play really aren’t very closely related to those that powered Trump’s rise. If there is any parallel with Trump, it is that both nominations demonstrate the determinism of electoral structure over votes or ‘will of the people’. Moore is viewed with disdain even by most conservatives in the Alabama GOP, but he has a rabid [yet relatively small] base that makes him potent in low turnout primaries. His nomination is a screwball situation caused by a governor’s sex scandal, an oddly timed special election runoff, and the wildly incompetent campaign by his opponent.

    I think there is a much closer connection between the reactions to the Moore story and the Trumpian political environment. Trump’s assault on the media has given the license–and the mandate–for GOP officials and supporters to reject, undermine, and/or deflect any negative stories or coverage. There is no way Moore survives these stories in a pre-Trump world.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. November 2017 at 08:26

    Alabamian, Thanks, that’s interesting.

  8. Gravatar of Don Don
    12. November 2017 at 09:11

    The problem with intelligence agencies is that they are run by politicians. Politicians lie, cheat, and steal. I see political deception in many conclusions attributed to the agencies: Russian meddling, Benghazi was a simple protest, Iraq had a WMD program, Iran-Contra, … Our only remedies are whistle-blowers and the ballot box, which are weakened by careerism and a compliant media.

  9. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    12. November 2017 at 15:58

    Setting aside current and ridiculous hypocrisies –why are 40-year-old charges of sex wrongdoings (Moore) deemed credible?

    The accuser could be a good liar. I have no idea.

    So, going forward any candidate can expect the same treatment? Witch hunts are always PC at the time of the hunting…

  10. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    12. November 2017 at 16:09

    The world is getting better, Part II:

    On Saudi land and corruption by royalty–

    “The monopolization of this resource limited the amount of urban land available to the masses, pushing up land and home prices, which contributed to massive land and home shortages. Remedying this situation will reduce the cost of home ownership, thereby alleviating a major source of grievance among middle- and lower-class Saudis.”

    First Riyadh, then we take America…

    No I am not advocating land seizures. An end to property zoning…

  11. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    12. November 2017 at 18:58


    I’ll bite. For Louis C.K. (whom I don’t like), there seems to me to be no reason to not release and little reason to boycott because, frankly, he didn’t do anything particular bad. He didn’t assault anyone (despite absurd attempts by media outlets to portray it as “sexual assault”); he did something very weird and inappropriate, and he should apologize and promise not to do it again. But this, a career-ending thing? And the “victims” purporting to be “traumatized”? I can’t believe they’re sincere. Seeing someone’s genitalia unexpectedly is a bit disturbing, but it if you’re a well-adjusted adult, it isn’t traumatizing. Apparently this makes me a monster, but I just laughed when I heard about it, and I can only regard it as ‘no big deal.’

    On Woody Allen (whom I also don’t like), his supposed courting of his step daughter as a minor seems less forgivable. That said, is there any credible evidence he actually abused anyone or engaged in sexual activity with what’s her name when she was a minor? If not, though the relationship is weird and may suggest Allen is as neurotic as he portrays himself, but if it’s consenting adults, it is not remotely analogous to sexual assault. And non-releasing his films over legal, non-coercive sexual perversions seems unfair to all the people who worked on them, and whose careers may depend on them. The film companies aren’t the only ones suffer from these actions. The other actors and film crews suffer as well.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. November 2017 at 21:59

    Mark, I take it as a given that most artists are bad people. At least that’s the impression I get from the biographies I’ve read. So I’m not trying to defend anyone here (or attack anyone, as I haven’t followed Allen’s life closely enough to have an opinion.) But I see all this personal stuff as unrelated to the question of the art itself.

    Attitudes toward bad artists were very different in the past:

    and I think on the whole much healthier.

  13. Gravatar of Major-freedom Major-freedom
    13. November 2017 at 04:42

    The world of truth has passed Sumner.

    “All our intelligence services say that Russia meddled in the election.”

    No, that actually came from a single source, a corporation with direct ties to Podesta and Clinton, named Crowdstrike. The DNC never agreed to have the FBI analyze their servers for this so-called Russian interference. And of course they would not, since the hack was not by Russia, it was downloaded locally by Seth Rich who was later murdered.

    Remember that “14 agencies agree” narrative? Fake news.

    If anyone colluded with Russia, it was Clinton, the Podestas, McCain, FusionGPS, the fake dossier that everyone is pleading the 5th over because it was used to spy on a political candidate, and with Uranium One, with Clinton accepting millions in bribes to sell Uranium to Russia.

    The reason they started on the Russia narrative less than 24 hrs after the election was over was to precisely cover their own tracks in colluding with Russia.

    You are hopelessly put of touch.

    Sumner, your failure to even acknowledge the existence of PUBLICIZED evidence proves you are a purveyer of fake news. The only difference now is whether it’s intentional or unintentional. I think it is a combo. Purposefully not researching a topic and then using that as an excuse.

  14. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    13. November 2017 at 09:21

    “Mark, I take it as a given that most artists are bad people.”

    Lol, I wrote nearly the same a couple days ago. My take is entertainers are usually scum. That includes athletes, artists, singers, preachers, actors, politicians and of course, clowns.

  15. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    13. November 2017 at 09:22

    … oh, and writers, YouTubers and bloggers too! =)

  16. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    13. November 2017 at 10:18

    Is this significant?

    “The 2/10 Spread Drops to 10-Year Low”

  17. Gravatar of H_WASSHOI H_WASSHOI
    13. November 2017 at 12:17


  18. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    13. November 2017 at 13:22


    “But I see all this personal stuff as unrelated to the question of the art itself.”

    I would agree (one can even appreciate the cinematography of Leni Riefenstahl while simultaneously aware of its immoral purpose); but there is still a moral argument for private action (boycotting or not releasing, as opposed to state censorship) against even good art by morally bad artists. One could argue that that we should not subsidize bad behavior, as it will encourage bad behavior going forward, which would lead to more people being victimized by artists.

    I would just question whether many of the boycotts or other reactions will actually prevent bad behavior, or if the behavior they would prevent is actually dangerous and not just inappropriate. Or if the negative effects (harming people who didn’t do anything wrong, like the other actors and crew members) don’t outweigh the punitive effect on the bad behaving artist.

    Lastly, I don’t quite buy the stereotype that one generally has to be a bad person to be a good artist. The ways in which artists are commonly ‘socially dysfunctional’ I think are mostly fairly innocuous and just make them difficult to engage with personally. When talking about things like raping and killing and manipulating people, I don’t think this more egregious ‘bad behavior’ is so much related to being an artist as to being famous and powerful and living in a culture of amoral hedonism (which of course tend to overlap some with artistic communities); these are also common features of politicians, the entertainment industry (including non-artistic people, a la Weinstein), and European nobility. So, IMO, it’s not the art per se that tends to be concomitant with bad behavior.

  19. Gravatar of Matt Waters Matt Waters
    13. November 2017 at 14:35

    Chinatown is one of my favorite movies of all time. I also have enjoyed many Weinstein and Spacey films over the years. Hell, OJ Simpson was really funny in Naked Gun. And I saw it for the first time way after the murders.

    There’s not a good, clear moral answer. If nothing else, Polanski should not have been granted asylum by France. THAT is something that shouldn’t happen for anybody, of any artistic quality.

    But private boycotts? I don’t know, it’s really tough. The Allen case, at the end of the day, is only one accuser from the middle of a bitter divorce and without physical evidence. Bill Cosby, Weinstein, Spacey, etc. though? I would have a really hard time enjoying anything new they made.

  20. Gravatar of Alec Fahrin Alec Fahrin
    13. November 2017 at 14:57

    The CPTPP (the new acronym) annoucement has little bearing on the actual situation. The Japanese talked up the announcement beforehand and rushed it to try forcing the members into agreement or an embarassing situation.
    22 clauses were suspended, a few were dropped, and there are still five chapters that need to be renegotiated before they even begin the signing. They also likely lost the USA permanently in this deal by changing some of the clauses and, therefore, the significance of it (73% of the GDP).
    Furthermore, as long as the NAFTA negotiations continue, Canada will not agree to a final deal. The US is watching them and their offers.
    I’m happy to see it alive, but CPTPP is not TPP. I like to refer to it as TPP- because it’s far less meaningful than before. We will see when the sides agree to a final deal.
    Oh, and I’ve read a few articles today by very important former trade negotiators who believe President Trump will withdraw from NAFTA. Let’s not be too premature about the world always getting better.

  21. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. November 2017 at 15:43


    that’s what I read as well. TPP is a shadow of its former self. And even that future is completetly uncertain. It was supposed to counter the growing influence of China. The US held all the trump cards in one hand, until Trump threw them away. Negotiating with Trump is like playing chess – and then all of sudden he swallows his own king.

  22. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    13. November 2017 at 20:40


    “The US held all the trump cards in one hand, until Trump threw them away. Negotiating with Trump is like playing chess – and then all of sudden he swallows his own king.”
    Haha, I like that analogy.

    Speaking of TPP and NAFTA, I wonder what the next step is. Will Michigan try to impose tariffs on Alabama?

  23. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    13. November 2017 at 23:09

  24. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    13. November 2017 at 23:21

  25. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    14. November 2017 at 02:41

    The Fed as the tea-and-crumpets old lady society:

    “Fed may need ‘extreme’ policy to deal with future shocks: Evans

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans on Tuesday became the second Fed policymaker in recent days to call for a new approach to rate-setting that would allow the central bank to respond to shocks when interest-rate cuts alone are not enough.
    One option is so-called price-level targeting, Evans said in remarks prepared for a European Central Bank conference in Frankfurt.
    Under such a strategy, a central bank combats bouts of too-low inflation by allowing inflation to run too high for a time. Evans championed this policy in 2010 to deal with sagging inflation, but ultimately the Fed rejected such an “extreme” idea as too difficult to undertake during an economic crisis, Evans said on Tuesday.”


    Happy to see the topic raised, but egads, this is “extreme?

    My Aunt Gertrude used to throw “wild” Thanksgiving parties that raged until the high single-digit hours of the night! Some people had second servings of pumpkin pie—and don’t you know, there was a apricot liqueur in the pie!!! Some blue jokes were told in muffled tones, and I saw some of the older gentlemen wink at each other!

  26. Gravatar of Student Student
    14. November 2017 at 12:29


    Have you seen this?

  27. Gravatar of Student Student
    14. November 2017 at 12:30

    Oops, wrong link:

  28. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    14. November 2017 at 16:59

    6000 pedophiles arrested since jan 1.

    Saudi money cut off from bribing politicians.

    The country is getting better, not worse.

    Sumner, you are only communicating your own pessimism and depression.

  29. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    14. November 2017 at 19:22

    Coming up in the real news:

    The Fusion GPS dossier was not ‘oppo research’, it was actually an illegal, planned takedown of Trump by the Clintons that involved the contribution of an ex-MI6 spook & FSB (Russian spies)

  30. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    14. November 2017 at 19:23

    The Uranium One scandal gave Putin control over US uranium reserves via Rosatom, including an export capability, while an undisclosed $145 million flowed into the Clinton Foundation.

  31. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    14. November 2017 at 19:39

    100% guaranteed nobody on this blog knew of the way the Clintons promoted & protected Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk between 2009-2013.

    Punchik’s company, Pipeline, manufactured pipes for use in the oil & gas sectors. Between 2009-2013, Punchik was given free reign by US authorities to expand his pipe business illegally.

    Within the US, Pinchuk illegally dumped steel pipes on the natural gas extraction sector, causing prices to plummet. Victims? US steelworkers in Ohio & Pennsylvania. See

    Outside the USA, Pinchuk sold steel pipes to Iran, which was under severe US sanctions. Given that Interpipe USA was a subsidiary of Interpipe, this was illegal. In fact, the US has penalized non-US companies trading with sanctioned nations.

    During this time and despite the illegal activity, Pinchuk was also granted unprecedented access to the State Department. We are talking dozens of meetings with key officials.

    The SOS during this time? Hillary Clinton. Punchik’s price for pay to play? At least $10 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation, as well as pledges for an eye-watering $25+ million.

    To date, Hillary Clinton’s include AT LEAST tax evasion, money laundering, racketeering (RICO), bribery, obstruction of justice, mishandling of classified information, misappropriation of thousands of government records, breach of campaign-finance laws, perjury, bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

  32. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    14. November 2017 at 20:47

  33. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    14. November 2017 at 22:31

    “We know that Russia meddles in the elections of lots of other countries.”
    I will assume you made this up until a citation is provided. Russia is actually instinctively repulsed by any thought of regime change, even when it involves hostile regimes.

    No, the TPP is not a good deal.

  34. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2017 at 08:25

    Tom, You said:

    “oh, and writers, YouTubers and bloggers too! =)”

    Definitely, I’ve become a worse person since I started blogging. I spend less time with my family, for instance.

    TravisV, I don’t think it matters very much.

    Matt, You said:

    “I would have a really hard time enjoying anything new they made.”

    I don’t see why people would be happy watching their older stuff, but not enjoy something new they made. What’s the difference? I have no problem enjoying The Birds, even though I know Hitchcock abused Tippi Hedren. I don’t think about that when watching the film.

  35. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2017 at 08:30

    Student, Krugman has a point, although I don’t take his numbers seriously—he’s leaving out a lot of factors.

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