Sixteen random articles

1. More signs that Brexit isn’t working out as intended:

These were perhaps the most depressing few days in a crisis that has evolved from a curiosity into a political nightmare. Since the start of the year, 38,000 people have made the trip across the world’s busiest shipping lane, the maritime equivalent of sprinting across a motorway. Small boats pose an intractable problem for every part of the political spectrum. They reveal a miserable tale of incompetence, cruelty and complacency.

The crisis is most humiliating for the government. Politicians such as Ms Braverman have repeatedly pledged an era of stronger borders, lower immigration and more sovereignty. They have achieved the opposite. As a member of the eu, Britain had the right to deport asylum-seekers if they had previously been registered in another of the bloc’s member states. But Britain left the scheme when it left the club. Instead it tried to recreate a harebrained version, paying Rwanda to accept asylum-seekers on its behalf. The courts have so far stymied this idea. In short, the government replaced a scheme that was practical, moral and legal with one that is impractical, immoral and probably illegal.

2. Don’t call it containment:

For their part, American officials deny that export controls are a bid to contain China. Their denials refer to specific, cold-war definitions of containment, recalling George Kennan’s strategy of countering all forms of Soviet influence worldwide. In reality, America has come to see domination of high-end semiconductor manufacturing as vital to national security, says Gregory Allen, a former Pentagon official specialising in ai, now at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank in Washington. America aims to slow China’s technological progress not wreck its economy, he says. But an unspoken goal is “to preserve our ability to destroy their economy at a later time, should we need that tool.”

3. Putin’s trying to turn Ukrainians into Russians. It seems he’s doing the opposite:

In the very country where Mr Putin’s soldiers are killing Russian-speakers on a daily basis, the trauma has led Ukrainians, even those brought up in Russian, to switch languages en masse. Friendship groups are increasingly opting to converse in Ukrainian. Poets and academics have changed the language they use professionally. Refugee children in Russian-speaking families are making the extra effort to play in Ukrainian. Companies are changing, too. Oleg Gorokhovsky, a co-founder of Monobank, announced that the app would be switching to Ukrainian, saying: “The Russian language is associated with those who murder, rape, steal.”

4. Funny how nationalism never seems to work out as intended:

Like their counterparts in China and Europe, politicians in America want to lessen their country’s dependence on foreign chipmakers, in particular tsmc, which manufactures 90% of the world’s leading-edge chips. In response, America, China, the eu, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan together plan to subsidise domestic chipmaking to the tune of $85bn annually over the next three years, calculates Mark Lipacis of Jefferies, an investment bank. That would buy a fair bit of extra capacity globally.

At the same time, prospects for offloading the resulting chips are darkening as a result of America’s restrictions on exports to China. Many American firms count the Asian giant, which imported $400bn-worth of semiconductors in 2021, as their biggest market. Intel’s Chinese sales made up $21bn of its total revenues of $79bn last year. Nvidia said that an earlier round of restrictions, which curbed sales of advanced data-centre chips to Chinese customers and to Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, would cost it $400m in third-quarter sales, equivalent to 6% of its total revenues.

The new controls, which target Chinese supercomputing and artificial-intelligence efforts, are a particular concern for manufacturers of chipmaking tools. Three of the five biggest such firms—Applied Materials, kla and Lam Research—are American. The share of the trio’s sales going to China has shot up in recent years, to a third.

This is an odd way to help our chip industry.

5. The Economist says we should legalize cocaine:

Half-measures, such as not prosecuting cocaine users, are not enough. If producing the stuff is still illegal, it will be criminals who produce it, and decriminalisation of consumption will probably increase demand and boost their profits. The real answer is full legalisation, allowing non-criminals to supply a strictly regulated, highly taxed product, just as whisky- and cigarette-makers do. (Advertising it should be banned.)

Legal cocaine would be less dangerous, since legitimate producers would not adulterate it with other white powders and dosage would be clearly labelled, as it is on whisky bottles. Cocaine-related deaths have risen fivefold in America since 2010, mostly because gangs are cutting it with fentanyl, a cheaper and more lethal drug.

Legalisation would defang the gangs. Obviously, some would find other revenues but the loss of cocaine profits would help curb their power to recruit, buy top-end weapons and corrupt officials. This would reduce drug-related violence everywhere, but most of all in the worst-affected region, Latin America.

What would happen if Colombia were to legalize cocaine? Perhaps that big bully Russia would stop them? Or maybe illiberal China? They are always trying to bully other countries. According to The Economist, the real danger lies elsewhere:

In a paper in 2016 Dr Caulkins, the Carnegie Mellon professor, examined what might happen were cocaine to be legalised in Latin America. He concluded that, although it might generate a legal cocaine market worth “somewhere between hundreds of millions and low single-digit billions per year,” the price would be that the country in question would become an “international pariah”. Dr Caulkins reckons America and others would impose sanctions in retaliation.

It’s not enough to screw up our own country; the US seems determined to create chaos everywhere.

6. New Zealand was the first country to allow women the right to vote, and in 2020 voted almost 2 to 1 to legalized assisted suicide in 2020. But an initiative to legalize pot was narrowly rejected:

Yet when it came to another, non-binding, question on their ballots, about whether to legalise cannabis, Kiwis curiously found limits to their open-mindedness: just over half appear to have voted against the proposition. That might seem strange. New Zealand is one of the easiest places in the world to get a toke, and Ms Ardern’s admission of having smoked weed elicited little more than a national shrug. More than half of those aged between 15 and 45 say they’ve done the same. . . .

Such arguments are understandable. But they miss a point that Maori community workers and others make: Maori are far more likely than pakeha to be charged with possession and cultivation of marijuana. And the disproportionate number of Maori banged up for small-fry drug offences feeds into the pathology of Maori gangs that blight indigenous life. Even the most progressive societies have their blind spots.

7. India continues its downward spiral into Hindu nationalism:

At the most extreme end of the Hindu-nationalist spectrum, speakers at public rallies across northern India in recent years have launched bidding wars of threats against Muslims, from mass rape to mass expulsion. On May 7th Hari bhushan Thakur Bachaul, a bjp politician in Bihar, in eastern India, declared that Muslims should be burned alive just like effigies of the Hindu demon Ravana.

All but a tiny portion of Hindus regard such talk as madly over the top. Yet in part because of the reluctance of either Mr Modi or his rss mothership to intervene, the demonising tone has become commonplace, and not just regarding the Muslims minority. Other groups such as Dalits, leftist activists (dismissed as “urban Naxalites”) and liberal do-gooders (smeared as “libtards” and “pseudo-seculars”) have become the targets of digital troll armies and, dismayingly often, of the law.

The large Christian (35m) and Sikh (25m) minorities are not spared, either.

8. China has its own version of the alt-right:

Sai Lei, a blogger behind some of the loudest recent campaigns, declared China House’s founder an er guizi, a contemptuous term for collaborators with Japanese occupiers in the 1930s and 1940s. Reposted by the Communist Youth League, his video has to date been viewed 5m times.

A veteran of the ngo world calls this the worst time for Chinese civil society since 1989. Yet this atmosphere of fear was not triggered by new government policies, or by a wave of arrests. Instead, disconcertingly, some of the most damaging attacks came from previously little-known social-media entrepreneurs. Still more shockingly, the secret weapon of these bloggers is to make anti-foreign bigotry fun. Their core audience is young men aged 18-25. If followers are initially hooked by videos denouncing “anti-China traitors”, their attention is kept with nationalist memes, conspiracy theories and dark in-jokes.

9. The Economist discusses a natural experiment in Indonesia showing the effect of criminalizing prostitution:

Even as Malang embarked on its crackdown on prostitution, brothels in two nearby districts remained open. That presented researchers with a control group. Comparing indicators from Malang and its neighbours, Lisa Cameron of the University of Melbourne, Jennifer Seager of George Washington University and Manisha Shah of the University of California, Los Angeles found that within six months of criminalisation, sexually transmitted infections (stis) among sex workers in Malang had risen by 58%, even as they remained stable in the control group. Nor was the policy effective at reducing prostitution: though the sex market initially shrank, it grew back to its original size after five years.

Public-health measures suffered as a result of the ban. Many prostitutes in Malang lost access to the sti checks and cheap condoms that non-profits and local health officials used to provide. Some organisations stopped administering services to sex workers because they were wary of aiding a criminalised trade. Those that continued have had a harder time locating sex workers because they are no longer centralised in brothels. Condom prices tripled as subsidised ones disappeared. As sex workers’ earnings fell, some compensated by offering clients unprotected sex, for which they can charge more.

The findings fit into an existing body of evidence that suggests criminalising sex work leads to bad outcomes. 

10. People often ask me to define wokeness. The Economist has as good a definition as any:

This credo still lacks a definitive name: it is variously known as left-liberal identity politics, social-justice activism or, simply, wokeness. But it has a clear common thread: a belief that any disparities between racial groups are evidence of structural racism; that the norms of free speech, individualism and universalism which pretend to be progressive are really camouflage for this discrimination; and that injustice will persist until systems of language and privilege are dismantled.

11. The new FT interview of Brad DeLong has some good quotes:

The US is now an anti-globalisation outlier. And this is a bad thing for the dominant economic power to be.

But this observation really caught my eye:

The transformation of China from oligarchical collectivism into monarchical collectivism is unlikely to work. Xi Jinping may well live for a very long time and I do not think his judgment is terribly good on a huge number of questions. . . . I look at my Republican no-longer friends here in the US. Nearly all of them are desperate to somehow get Donald Trump out of the picture as the great helmsman. And that’s precisely because they’re hoping to benefit massively from the positions they will have when he does depart, all of them being essentially in the position of the rest of the Chinese elite during the Cultural Revolution. “This is a crazy man who’s doing enormous damage, but we cannot move against him. If only we hang on and frantically do his bidding as long as we can, we’ll get through it all right, at least personally.” Never mind that it’s a disaster for the cause we supposedly all espouse.

12. One of the saddest aspects of the modern world is the decline of free range kids (in the US, other countries remain much freer than the US.) Here’s Reason:

Heather Wallace’s oldest son, 8-year-old Aiden, was driving his two brothers crazy in the car as they all returned from karate one afternoon in October 2021. Wallace asked Aiden to walk the rest of the way home—half a mile in quiet, suburban Waco, Texas—so that he could calm down.

For this she was arrested, handcuffed, and thrown in jail.

She was charged with endangering a child, a felony carrying a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.

When I was young, I never knew that my mom was an evil criminal.

13. Tyler Cowen recently argued that the biggest difference between classical liberals and the New Right is their attitude toward the “elites”. In a recent Reason magazine article, Ilya Somin points out that the New Right is fine with elites, as long as they implement right-wing policies. He then suggests that the real difference is attitudes toward nationalism:

If anti-elitism is not the main factor dividing libertarians from the New Right, what is? I would suggest it is the conflict between the cosmopolitanism of the former and the nationalism of the latter. As Cowen notes libertarianism (or classical liberalism) is a cosmopolitan worldview committed to liberty and equal rights for all, regardless of background. That includes a commitment to free trade and free migration, among other things. By contrast, the New Right—especially in its “national conservative” manifestation—are exactly the opposite. They are European-style ethno-nationalists who view foreign cultures and people with suspicion, often descending into xenophobia.

14. Another Reason article discusses how one elite member of the New Right is imposing his views on a local government:

The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is suing the city of Gainesville to stop its legalization of new small apartment buildings in all residential areas. Allowing more housing in existing neighborhoods will worsen housing affordability, the state argues, while straining infrastructure and upending established neighborhood character.

More supply raises prices? The new GOP combines socialism with stupidity.

15. This tweet caught my eye:

The death rate from alcoholism is more than 20 times higher in Belarus than in Bulgaria or Georgia. It’s also more than 20 times higher in Denmark than in Italy or Greece. That’s a lot! There’s something to be said for having a culture that has been drinking wine for thousands of years.

16. And finally, Nancy Qian has a brilliant article pointing to the (ironic) fact that the youth in China are both the most pro-government cohort, and the most likely to protest:

The Covid protests showed that the full effects of two decades of propaganda and censorship are much more complex. The relative innocence of young Chinese insulates them from fear of extreme reprisals. Having little appreciation for just how violent the Party can be, some may underestimate the risks of speaking out. They know that they may be arrested briefly, or perhaps they or their family members might lose their jobs. But the type of violence demonstrated by the Party in the past is a foreign and abstract notion.

Similarly, the sincerity of their belief in Party ideology may actually encourage some young Chinese to protest. Many are truly convinced that the Party exists to “serve the people,” a slogan promoted by Chairman Mao that’s still popular in schools. So the young feel particularly betrayed by the way officials have implemented Xi’s Covid Zero policies — locking up families in their homes without food, blocking the ill from reaching hospitals, perhaps even leaving people to die in fires such as the one in Urumqi.

Read the whole thing.



25 Responses to “Sixteen random articles”

  1. Gravatar of Aladdin Aladdin
    9. December 2022 at 10:50

    “America aims to slow China’s technological progress …”

    I dont know if I’m crazy or not, but that statement is the height of arrogance, bully tactics, immorality, and cruelty, and I feel like I’m shouting into the void about this. Like America gets to tell a billion people what their level of technological progress is? What?

    If we are concerned about military conflict we spent hundreds of billions on the military specifically so we don’t have to be.

    Then people wonder why the rest of the world gets pissed at us.

    How on earth did “let’s take targeted actions to oppose the CCP” which are good! became “if you happen to be born in China we, a foreign power, are going to kneecap your ability to make money for we are afraid of you and your government, even if you make that money in a capitalist manner, which we claim to like, and even if you did not get a say in that government”

    Its just so absurd and ridiculous. At what point does it become racism? Like at least in the Cuban sanctions our goal was to bring down the Cuban government, that’s not our goal here is it? Unless we want nuclear war?

    And yeah, containment, but the soviets weren’t willing to trade anyway, and ever single expert seems to have stated containment will lead to a much poorer world … and many proposed better counters! But it seems like they are doing containment and everywhere we were warned about is coming to pass.

    And it just makes me sad.

  2. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    9. December 2022 at 19:44

    A bit surprised to see Ireland with one of the lowest alcoholic death rates in Europe. Maybe they just know how to be drunks without dying from it.

    Not at all surprised about Eastern Europe.

  3. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    10. December 2022 at 02:38

    Years ago you predicted China would likely avoid the middle income trap. Has your view changed in light of the leadership of Xi in recent years?

  4. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    10. December 2022 at 04:03

    It should be clear that China is a global threat. The CCP setup police agencies on our own land in NYC to kidnap Fulan Gong practioners.

    Their model of governance (which sumner loves) is not compatible with classical liberal values. Call it containment. Call it a cold war. Call it an attempt to destroy them. I will happily accept all three, because Xi Jinping and his band of thugs, along with NATO and the WEF, are the greatest threats to world peace since Nazi Germany.

    I dont want to live in a plutocracy. I dont want to live in a world where utilitarian apparatchiks, like Sumner, spew vitriol and hatred day in and day out towards anyone who might vote for a populist, or for borders, or for drugs to be removed from their community, or for permitting states to determine abortion laws, or for not spending billions on crusades in Ukraine when the people in Donbas want nothing to do with them, or for asking for individual soveriegnty which includes protection from bio fascists and big pharma.

    And quite frankly, I don’t want to live under a Sumner tyrant who screams about “doing more” to save people in Donbas from the big bad Russia (another babyboomer rant), when the people living in Donbas acfually prefer Russia.

    Bolsonaro is Sumners latest target. Millions of people in brazil, living under the tyranny of drug lords, who support the radical left, prohibited people from voting in the election. To normal people that is textbook interference. But to the Sumner globalists, its “necesarry” and therefore “justified” to achieve their end. The thugs were out there with weapons, threatening people to vote for anyone besides Bolsonaro who was trying to stop them. Clearly, that is not democracy.

    There is an old saying that birds of the same feather flock together. Sumner likes drugs. He likes radical leftists and their ideas (e.g. packing courts, voting without ids, open borders, etc). And he wants to destroy the constitution by packing the supreme court and jailing dissenters (he calls dissenters terrorists which is the same language xi jinping uses), but then he claims that its not really him (the old communist tactic) but its actually the constitution loving right wing that is the “threat to democracy”. Sumner is a sickle holding, hammer holding, sententious, sanctimonious, utikitarian thug.

    In addition to his overall degeneracy, which should be clear by now. Sumner also has this weird fascination with efficiency. He seems to equate GDP with standard of living. He also wrongly equates this to happiness. As RFK said many years ago, there is so much more to a country than its GDP. Sacrificing tradition, values, morality and ideals for a few more bucks isnt going to end well.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. December 2022 at 06:23

    Aladdin, You said:

    “I don’t know if I’m crazy or not, but that statement is the height of arrogance, bully tactics, immorality, and cruelty, and I feel like I’m shouting into the void about this.”

    I’m crazy too, but we are in the minority. Both political parties are on the warpath.

    Michael, Not yet. Their economic policies haven’t changed enough to make much difference in the trajectory of growth. Parts of the east coast are already upper income, and it’s gradually spreading across the country.

    Sara, “Their model of governance (which sumner loves)”

    LOL, I stopped reading right there.

  6. Gravatar of Xu Xu
    11. December 2022 at 03:26

    Drugs should never be legal.

    If you need to get high to feel good about yourself, and if a government or political party is encouraging you to get high, then one must ask themselves why on both accounts. The first account is clearly a sign that your life is miserable. The second account might be because the government wants to pacify you, wants you to become submissive because that’s what drugs do.

    And I do wonder whether Scott still believes his “diversity utopia” is practical.

    Moroccan’s living, working, and residing in France burned down French buildings yesterday after their futbol team beat Portugal at the world cup. A few days ago an Arab rape gang, prowling the streets at night, raped a woman in a wheel chair because she was “white” and “deserved it”

    And I’m sorry, but I don’t want 50M white people moving to China. Does that mean I’m racist? Does that mean I’m part of the Chinese hard-right?

    Or is it just common sense?

    And for your information, I study in London. I have a white boyfriend. I like tourists.

    But I don’t want 50M of you coming to my country and staying their permanently. It’s not your land. You don’t belong there.

  7. Gravatar of Jim Jim
    11. December 2022 at 06:26

    Aladdin, Scott:

    Only a few years ago the Odiot admin was happily railroading US co’s to give away US technology to China, while China was conducting a massive espionage program to steal US technology. Then China was marketing low cost internet communications gear to infiltrate every aspect of communications world wide. Oh, then China was crushing dissent in Hong Kong. Somewhere back in the early Obrainless admin, it was cranking out solar panels below cost to soak Europe for the subsidies the fool Europeans were giving for solar production. (note how long it takes for Europe to “get it” with anything, they’re still not totally on with protecting Ukraine)

    Oh, and at the outset of the Ukraine war was loudly hinting that a similar war by it against Taiwan would be entirely justifiable.

    I’m not sure if Bidumb’s slip of the tongue regarding protecting Taiwan was much of a deterrent on the Taiwan situation. The real deterrent was the wild success of US weaponry in Ukraine and the strong US policy response.

    Left to his own devices Bidum would be sucking up to china like a vacuum cleaner, busily using China to make the US economy look good in the short term while forcing US co’s to transfer technology. Fortunately, he’s been embarrassed and cornered by Republicans into a taking a strong, “bullying” if you want to call it that, line.

    I strongly support bullying China – that’s what the CCP understands.

  8. Gravatar of Randomize Randomize
    11. December 2022 at 08:06

    Good digest. I could go for more of these!

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. December 2022 at 10:24

    Xu, You said:

    “And I do wonder whether Scott still believes his “diversity utopia” is practical.”

    The US is one of the most diverse place son the planet. Must be a real hellhole. On the other hand, North Korea’s not very diverse.

    “Drugs should never be legal.”


  10. Gravatar of dw dw
    11. December 2022 at 14:33

    i suspect the main reason the US wants to encourage local production of goods, is that we just went through a supply chain crash. and no the supply chain hasnt been fixed, and wont be unless some one tries to force it (since its international not sure who could do that as so much of that is in private hands, and in addition isnt in any country that will actually make an effort to fix the crash). just trying to spread out the supply chain wont actually fix it, cause what we went through in 2020-2022 (and continuing) impacted the whole world not just us. and inflation isnt just a US problem, seems its impacted the whole world.

  11. Gravatar of d w d w
    11. December 2022 at 14:37

    and i do wonder, why is it that when inflation (or what ever ‘economic threat’ arises) that the solution always and inevitably means punish those in the lower 90% of the incomes in the US? it never fails to amaze me that that is the first thing is done. with no exceptions

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2022 at 10:40

    dw, Yup, the shortages of 2020 had almost nothing to do with our reliance on imports. In a few cases that reliance might have hurt us, but in many others it helped us.

    There might be some goods (masks?) that should be stockpiled.

    As far as inflation, a sound monetary policy helps all income levels.

  13. Gravatar of John M. John M.
    12. December 2022 at 16:01

    (1) Economically, it doesn’t make sense for England to be part of Europe. You don’t have to give up your autonomy to Brussels in order to successfully trade. Switzerland and Norway have always known that.

    (2) ?????

    (3) If you believe that Bosnia can be a nation after declaring their unilateral exit from Serbia, then why can’t Donbas declare independence from Ukraine?

    (4) It doesn’t work? Are you sure? How do you think states became states? Do you think that people who shared similar values and had similar visions might have tried to setup checkpoints and security perimeters that protected themselves from those who didn’t share those values? And what do you think was the cause of war? Do you think the cause were physical borders or people trying to encroach on those perimeters and threatening through sanctions or otherwise?

    (5) You failed to mention that the majority of people in Colombia don’t want to legalize cocaine. The entire criminal network in Colombia and Brazil is run by far left Marxist groups who turned to drugs to fund their resistance in the 70’s. I’m not sure giving these radical groups legitimacy and billions of dollars is a great idea.

    (6) Possession is a statutory crime that falls under strict liability. People must accept the risk of their actions. Smuggling drugs is a great way to earn money. It’s also a good way to end up in jail. The person doing it must weight the pro’s and con’s. Some succeed, some don’t, but drugging up the entire society and enriching radical marxist groups in charge of supply chains doesn’t sound very smart.

    (7) Oh my goodness, demonizing tone? Oh, no…
    It’s not up to Modi to intervene in every affair. He has more things to worry about (like China on his border) and other foreign affairs then what a tiny percentage of radicals are saying online. There are as many muslim radicals as hindu radicals in India. That’s a local problem, not a national problem. India is a federal republic, not a unitary state.

    (8) Soon you’ll be calling the falun gong, Jimmy Lai, and the Epoch Times “hard-right.” Is Ron DeSantis hard-right? Is Ted Cruz “hard-right?” Is believing in borders and a constitution “hard-right?” If I wave my flag at a soccer match because I have pride in my country does that mean I’m “hard-right?” Does it mean I’m a nationalist? Or does it mean I’m patriotic and feel that I’m in solidarity with the values and memories of my ancestors? If I ask immigrants to go to the embassy in their country to secure proper visas does that mean I’m “hard-right?” Is, for example, Jordan Peterson (despite claiming to be left of center) hard-right? Is Vladimir Putin, a former KGB communist “hard-right?” Really? Do you see how nonsensical your musings are? Coherency requires defining terms.

    (9) Indonesia is trying to stop the millions of “sex tourists” from China, Europe and America who go their to get laid. One of Thailand’s biggest problems is that it has 40M tourists now per year (more per capita than any country in the world) and 50% are there to have sex with Thai women. Indonesia recognizes this problem (as do Thai’s) and both are trying to fix it. Outlawing the discipline is one method. Legalizing, again, gives a lot of power to dark money groups, and places tremendous pressure on the culture and integrity of the state.

    (10) Very nice, but that’s not your definition.

    (11) So because we are an economic power we must terrorize everyone else? This is nonsensical. Engaging in every dispute will bankrupt and isolate the country. Nobody appreciates the U.S. meddling in their internal affairs. And it’s also immoral to force the U.S. tax payer, without their permission, to lower their real wages to fund involvement in a foreign conflict that has no bearing on U.S. security. We have the weapons to destroy anyone, from anywhere. We don’t need to go to Europe.

    I got bored, so I won’t respond to the last three…but I’d say your thoughts are way off the mark.

  14. Gravatar of Alex macdonald Alex macdonald
    13. December 2022 at 04:31

    While it’s clear Brexit hasn’t made it any easier to control immigration: the point about Dublin in The Economist is a myth. Britain had no such right. Under the Dublin Convention only a tiny fraction of requests were ever granted and Britain was always a net receiver.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. December 2022 at 08:47

    John, De facto, Switzerland and Norway are practically members of the EU. They abide by its rules. The UK case is very different. I don’t think you are well informed on the issue.

    “then why can’t Donbas declare independence from Ukraine?”

    LOL, another Russia troll! I stopped reading here.

    Alex, Thanks for that info.

  16. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    15. December 2022 at 06:21

    Twitter is also guilty of Sumner’s line of thinking: that is, conspiracy.

    The lawyer for Twitter said she thought the words “American patriots” in Trumps post might be “code words.”

    This is precisely what leads to tyranny. This type of conspiracy theory that leads one to believe all the jews are against them, or that the very term “American patriot” suddenly means the same thing as the word “terrorist”, or a phone call to Ukraine is a secret attempt to steal the election, or even though he said he wanted people to march peacefully at the capital he really meant something else because the words are “coded”.

    In other news, it appears more American men will die because Kiev couldn’t accept the MINSK agreement. Sending them over there is absolutely wrong. Biden has lost his mind. We might now being heading to WWIII because of these babyboomers.

    Guys, we’ve got to get rid of them. If they’re scared of Russia, vote them out of office. If all they talk about is the big red scare, vote them out. Remove them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, humanity is doomed.

  17. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    15. December 2022 at 09:57

    Jacinda Ardern has always been really anti-liberal on certain issues. Just remember her stance on Covid. You write about cannabis, but the really extreme law was passed a few days ago by her government majority: Tobacco smoking is now completely banned for the young generation, their whole life, even when they are adults! How hypocritical can one be, her generation is allowed to smoke, but the younger generations are not. This is a pretty unique law worldwide. “Congratulations” to New Zealand.

    I find the massive differences in alcoholism hard to believe. Alcohol dependence is largely genetically determined. The genetic differences between these European countries are not that great. I would be curious to know how these data was collected. As a GP, I have to say: the real causes of death are massively incorrectly recorded. So really, where does the data come from?

    The graphic looks like a big pile of nonsense. Interpret the data from Spain, Italy, Greece as, “We are extremely bad at statistically reflecting our deaths from alcohol.”

  18. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    15. December 2022 at 11:59

    I know I am jumping the gun on your next essay. But Powell is unbearable. I have no idea what he is solving for. But the closest I can think of—-is “if the markets want it, he doesn’t”.

  19. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    15. December 2022 at 20:44

    “Putin’s trying to turn Ukrainians into Russians. It seems he’s doing the opposite”

    Putin started doing this in a big way in 2014. Kotkin has pointed out how Russian-speaking Ukrainians who were fond of Russia as long as it stayed on its own side of the border became Ukrainian patriots in a big way when it didn’t, *back then*. Putin’s biggest blunder in this whole war was still being deaf, dumb and blind to that last February.

    “This is an odd way to help our chip industry.”

    The purpose is not to help the chip industry, it is to secure a strategic resource judged to be at risk, “lessen their country’s dependence on foreign chipmakers”. The idea may be stupid or not, but be fair, it’s not like the subsidy for soybean exports.

    “The Economist says we should legalize cocaine.”

    The Economist has been saying this since I first started reading it, like 40 years ago. I suppose the argument seems new to every new generation.

    “New Zealand was the first country to allow women the right to vote…”

    Dooming us all. It’s all their fault.

    “China has its own version of the alt-right: ‘… this the worst time for Chinese civil society since 1989. Yet this atmosphere of fear was *not triggered by new government policies* … the secret weapon of these bloggers is *to make anti-foreign bigotry fun*'”

    Yeah, I’m sure Xi’s policy of sending out his Wolf Warriors to loudly, grossly insult foreigners in all dimensions …
    … has nothing at all to do with it. Neither does the likes of China’s consul general in Manchester UK, storming out of the consulate onto the street with his minions wearing riot gear(!) to attack legal protestors, dragging one back inside the consulate grounds for a beating. Said consul then proudly proclaiming on TV that that was his job to do, and getting kudos from his government and state media. With the Chinese gov’t today damning the British for the incident. No, nothing at all to do with the new, dangerous, “anti-foreign bigotry fun”! Couldn’t be!

    “FT interview of Brad DeLong … [ludicrously comparing Repubs & Trump to the CCP & Xi] ‘This is a crazy man who’s doing enormous damage, but we cannot move against him'”

    When Xi is out of office for years and trying to scratch his way back in, let us know! Meanwhile, Politico and The Hill the last two days: “Trump Flounders”, “DeSantis decidedly leads Trump in primary poll”, “Big GOP Donors Leave Trump”, “Trump Mocked for Selling NFT Trading Cards of Himself”.

    I was e-mail friends with DeLong back in the early days of his blog. Then he became one of the worst exemplars of Internet Derangement Syndrome I’ve ever known.

    “One of the saddest aspects of the modern world is the decline of free range kids.”

    Worse than sad. This was Texas! The very sinews of our society are shredding. Toxic feminist SJW victimization social fear is eating through all. No wonder Putin thinks he can win! I blame the Kiwis.

    “The new GOP combines socialism with stupidity.”

    Shockingly, NIMBY appears in politics in Florida! As opposed to my NYC NIMBY (rent control added!) which combines socialism with stupidity with no Repub this side of the horizon. Your complaint is … the old GOP had been immune to NIMBY? The new GOP is worse than my Dems on NIMBY?? … please don’t go DeLong on us.

    “This tweet caught my eye”

    Italy, Spain, Ireland … kudos to the Catholics, who know how to enjoy their alcohol without killing themselves.

    “There’s something to be said for having a culture that has been drinking wine for thousands of years.”

    And then there is vodka …

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. December 2022 at 21:08

    Christian, It’s worth noting that life expectancy in the Mediterranean countries is a few years longer than in Denmark. Why? Denmark is richer and has good health care.

  21. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    15. December 2022 at 21:42

    “Like America gets to tell a billion people what their level of technological progress is? What?…

    “we, a foreign power, are going to kneecap your ability to make money for we are afraid of you and your government, even if you make that money in a capitalist manner, which we claim to like, and even if you did not get a say in that government”

    Weelll… I see that point, though in hindsight, maybe back in the day, IBM actually shouldn’t have done so much to help the Germans manage their Jewish and military problems, you know, ghetto statistics, concentration camp capacity, train traffic management, military logistics, etc.

    Even though it did help a lot of Germans make money in a capitalist manner, which we liked. (Hey, we weren’t afraid of their government!)

    So in our time, when Google chose to pull out of China rather than censor searches for the CCP and contribute to the social credit system, I felt that was the right thing to do, a good thing — even if it did cost both Google and Chinese “capitalists” the chance to make money.

    And when during the recent protests in China, Apple released an unannounced China-only “bug fix” that suppressed the ability of the protestors the communicate with each other…

    … I felt bad about that. Not happy. Though it does keep Apple and the Chinese making a lot of money together.

    I see grey areas in all this. Trade offs. Cases where maybe only time will tell — though in time it may be too late. (We wound up bombing trains that IBM equipment scheduled.)

    You see it black and white? IBM and Apple yea! Google, boo! Make the money, don’t think about anything else! Okay….

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. December 2022 at 08:41

    Jim, Ah, the Nazi analogy. Always helpful in clarifying things.

  23. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. December 2022 at 10:39

    Christian, It’s worth noting that life expectancy in the Mediterranean countries is a few years longer than in Denmark. Why? Denmark is richer and has good health care.

    That’s exactly my point, Scott. Have you never critically asked yourself how that can be? Is it the genes, is it the food, is it the weather? Are you kidding me?

    Knowing both cultures, my theory is simple: most of it is fake.

    We have Danish friends, we have Italian friends, we sail a lot, we have boats in both places. The cultures are fundamentally different. Both cultures cheat, but in a different way.

    You can’t bring a car or a motorcycle into Denmark without this absurdly high luxury tax. Do you think that would work in Italy?

    In Denmark you can’t die unnoticed either, everything is registered exactly. In Italy, it is a popular sport that one continues to collect a pension when a relative has been dead for at least another 3 to 5 years. Minimum.

    My father was a civil servant who cooperated a lot with other EU countries. You don’t seriously believe that Italian bureaucrats are as stupid as the German ones and implement all these absurd EU rules. On paper, of course, they implement more than the Germans do. They do 150% and more. On paper, Scott on paper. As the saying in Germany goes: Paper is patient and tolerant.

    Life expectancy, pensions, alcohol deaths. This whole absurd “Mediterranean diet”. It’s all to 75-100% a really huge pile of fake data junk.

  24. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. December 2022 at 07:54

    Christian, LOL. If you ever find any proof that the life expectancy data in Italy is fake, please provide it. Otherwise don’t waste my time with your crazy conspiracy theories.

  25. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    18. December 2022 at 19:47

    There is no good explanation why alcohol deaths in Italy should be so minimal. These people drink wine by the liter; it’s a national sport. But they don’t die from it. The quantity consumed and the deaths do not go together. If these numbers don’t add up, what else doesn’t add up?

    So does the myth of healthy food. The poor people in Italy can’t afford healthy food more than in other countries. I have rarely eaten such monotonous, fabricated food with poor people as in Spain, France, Italy. It is not really better than in Germany or Denmark.

    There is really is no convincing, logical medical explanation so far why the richer, medically better provided Danes should die so much earlier than the Italians. It makes not much sense. On the contrary, for example obesity is more prevalent in Italy, Spain, Greece than in Denmark.

    There are scientific studies on the “record” centenarians in Japan, Greece, Italy. The problem is, when the scientists show up, it usually turns out: these people are either dead or fake. There are no reports of record centenarians in Denmark.

    From my experience taking in pensions illegally is a national sport in countries like Italy and Greece. For example, reporting the death of a relative is not automated in Italy as long as you die at home. The relatives have to go to the authorities and report the death. There is clearly an incentive not to report it. In Denmark and Germany it is automated through the mortician, so actual fraud is much more difficult.

    In 2013, the Greek government did not believe its own figures, made random checks for once and said that they found 50,000 fake pensioners in a few weeks alone bis this method.

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