Unconventional wisdom on global political economy.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
WHO'S AFRAID OF A MILITARY JUNTA?
Not these multinational corporations. They love Myanmar. Really, really poor workers combined with militant labor suppression make for a winning combination, at least as far as these MNCs are concerned. (Not to mention the Republican Party, which sees no problem in outsourcing its campaign paraphanalia to a country described by the US State Department as: "an authoritarian military regime [that] suppresses all expression of opposition to its rule."
The FT notes that last year three people were convicted of high treason for passing evidence of forced labor to the International Labor Organization.
Perusing the list of companies above is interesting in that Global Unions sent letters to each of the companies informing them that their names made the list of companies supporting the junta in Myanmar. Global Unions was open in posting their correspondences as well as the companies responses. Check it out.
Monday, June 28, 2004
CONGRATULATIONS, IT'S A COUNTRY!
Mahdi Mahmoud accepting the keys to his brand new "sovereign" nation-state--2004 model year--from pre-owned sales manager Paul Bremer. For the sake of all its citizens, let's hope Iraq has a lemon law on the books.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
HERE'S A THORNY FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUE
The Federal Election Commission will decide today whether television ads for Michael Moore's new documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," may be restricted and even prohibited under campaign finance laws.
Read more here.
MY LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES
I'm two thirds of the way through Bill Clinton's auto-encyclopedia now, and I'm starting to understand how #42 earned the nickname "Bubba." Reading this book is like sitting on the park bench with Forrest Gump--a really smart and powerful Forrest Gump. Bill Clinton runs into all kinds of famous people and finds himself wrapped up in all kinds of historically significant moments.
Of course we should expect this of an ex-president, however the book strikes me as rather surreal in how it reads: a long, circuitous recounting of seemingly discrete memories strung together as one, punctuated only with a generous dose of down-home colloquialisms. I get a haunting feeling that I am being told the same things over and over again (I just can't quite remember whether I had already read that same paragraph some 200 pages ago, and before my brain can sort it all out, Clinton is on to the next colloquialism and tale of meeting Boris Yeltsin, etc.). Somehow, Gumpifying the tale of his life makes the historic seem less significant, but not in the comical way that a half-wit from rural Alabama does.
Clearly the book was written to personalize the man that has been so demonized by the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" and to atone for failings in his personal life. I've heard a number of media pundocrats refering to the tome as part memoir, part personal expose, and part policy seminar. Don't believe the latter. There is no depth to the treatment of the Clinton White House's internal policy making process or how and why he reached important decisions that reshaped this country and the world.
For example, there is no discussion of how or why Clinton decided to table the push for health care reform (which had been a central tenet of his 1992 campaign) in favor of passing a controversial trade and investment treaty that was the progeny of the past 12 years of Republican policy (which ultimately split his own party and depleted his political capital such that health care reform was no longer feasible). After discussing the his administration's lobbying effort on behalf of the Reagan-Bush trade treaty (consequently omitting the massive lobbying in Washington effort by the Mexican government and the major multinational corporations), Clinton writes: "it was becoming clear that a vote on health care reform would not come until the following year." (p. 547).
Now, imagine Forrest Gump on the park bench: "And that's all I have to say about that." Except when Forrest Gump says it, we know that did not make the leap that connects one event or concept or action to another, nor did he question why things happened a particular way, he just accepted that they did. Reading Bubba, on the other hand, we know that there is just a huge piece of the story missing.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Andy Stern gets it. Globalized corporate production systems demand a globalized labor movement so that we can globalize the social contract. Harold Meyerson sums it up here. (I'm all over the WaPo this morning).
It's columns like this one that make me wonder how one gets to have a weekly op-ed column in a major national newspaper...and also why I don't.
Think about how much Anne Applebaum got paid for these 871 words. Think of the opportunity cost of wasted newsprint where someone with real opinions might have enriched our national socio-political dialogue.
Applebaum starts with a jab at a democratic strawman--who is standing in line to buy My Life:
Generally speaking, the people in the line were not hirsute, overtly left-wing or even visibly political.
Duh. Guess what, Anne? Clinton never was too popular with democratic wing of the Democratic party. He sold out social insurance. He tore apart the party to pass a trade deal conceived by Ronald Reagan and negotiated by Papa Bush. He did more to consolidate the bipartisan consensus on American Empire than any who came before him. (But man, what we wouldn't do to have him back today...).
I'm guessing Applebaum was following the Drudge Report rumor board about the book's celebrated release at Politics and Prose. I went to Kramer Book's at about 12:15, walked right up to the counter, and slapped down my credit card. No line, no fuss, no inane WaPo commentators.
I DON'T GET IT: INTERRAGATION MEMO
It seems like this WaPo article is saying Bush's Justice Department wrote a legal memo in August 2002 that outlined ways to skirt international law prohibiting torture. Because this memo looks bad (i.e. it shows the Bush administration condoning and promoting torture) it will now be rewritten to fit today's new moral and political norms.
In another indication that the Bush White House is more concerned with politics than security (and that claims of priviliged silence to protect national security are merely political weapons):
As part of a public relations offensive, the administration also declassified and released hundreds of pages of internal documents that it said demonstrated that Bush had never authorized torture against detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In doing so, the administration revealed details of the interrogation tactics being used on prisoners, an extraordinary disclosure for an administration that has argued that the release of such information would help the enemy.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
GLOBALIZATION IN PICTURES
From the BBC:
Tobacco accounts for approximately 70% of Zimbabwe's foreign exhcange earnings.
MY LONG-WINDED LIFE (aka CLINTON BLOGGING)
Yes, I now own a copy of Clinton's My Life as of last night about five minutes after midnight. My first impression: heavy. What a tome. Spent an hour late last night thumbing through the first 375 pages and to my disappointment, there were no pictures of Jennifer Flowers, Monica's dress, or any of the other floosie tail that Clinton bagged in is years in politics.
To call these memoirs is something of a misnomer. There is no way that Clinton "remembered" everything he put into the book. I'm thinking particularly of his amateur political history of his coming of age, college life during the VietNam War era, and early career. Let there be no doubt it took a great deal of research assistance to reconstruct all that history.
Now it's time for the next 600 pages. Here's what I'll be looking for: Clinton's decision to table health care reform and spend all his political capital passing a balanced budget, NAFTA and the WTO; the response to the Peso crisis and the Asian financial crisis; the role of business in White House policy decisions relating to the IFIs, globalization, consolidating American financial hegemony (e.g. repealing Glass-Stegall), etc.
Monday, June 21, 2004
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Space is ripe for commercial conquest. Its potential for private market colonization will make Intelsat look like a home-based e-business.
On NPR this morning, while fixing my breakfast, I heard the SpaceShipOne creators gloating about how they launched a space mission without any assistance from NASA or the government. Give me a break.
Need I recount the wealth of basic science knowledge, spillovers of technological innovation, and human capital accumulation fueled by NASA research and development and space programs? It's like saying pioneers conquered the Western frontier using only their true grit (and ignoring government subsidization of railroad expansion, land giveaways, etc., etc.).
So much for great scientists standing on the shoulders of those who came before them.
Friday, June 18, 2004
Sure, some people will be displaced by the churning from global trade liberalization. But this is so they can be reallocated to more productive, higher-value endeavors where they will increase economic welfare and making everyone better off. Right?
That's not what the Bureau of Labor Statistics seems to be saying in their Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is nothing new--just happened to be poking through the webiste this afternoon.
Retail sales, customer service reps (highly outsourcable), food prep and fast food workers, cashiers, janitors, waiters, orderlies, receptionists, security guards, home care providers, landscapers...not exactly high wage, skill-intensive, upwardly mobile occupations.
Viva comparative advantage!
The NYT wonders.
If she really were a Jew, she wouldn't have that tatoo. Disfiguring one's body (the gift of g-d) is most explicitly forbidden. For a non-Jew wannabe Jew, though, one might not get a tattoo for no other reason than to respect those who were forced to wear these tattoos.
5.1% AND CLIMBING
The US current account deficit hit $144.9 billion in the 2004Q1 (seasonally adjusted)--or $579.6 bn at an annual rate. The latest figure is the worst the current account has ever been.
Research from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors found that industrialized countries with large current account imbalances typically saw the onset of adjustment triggered at a current account "adjustment" (a nicer word for punctuated financial crisis), entailing a spike downward in the dollar, a spike upward in interest rates, and declining investment and slowing of GDP growth. Ouch.
Today's numbers show that the US is well on this path. But fortunately for us in the US (not to mention the rest of the world, which is inextricably linked to the US import and financial machine) we have Asian guardian angels. In the first quarter of 2004 Japan and China bought up close to $190 billion in dollar assets, giving us the precious capital to finance our perennial indebtedness. Together, the two hold dollar reserves of more than $1 trillion!
Looking at it as thus, the whole global economy is a giant, tenuous pyramid scheme that we are all locked into. Growth is fueled by the United States' ability to consume ever more imports from the rest of the world, while US consumption is fueled by Asia's ability to keep feeding us this line of credit. So long as they do, the system works. (At least it will work at the level of maintaining the stability of the global trade and financial system--there are lots of individuals for whom this ain't working one bit).
Aside from the looming current account crisis, this system is turning the US into a wholly owned subsidiary of the rest of the world. Financing the current account and trade deficits requires us to sell off our stocks, bonds, factories, etc.--and their promises of future income and interest payments--which adds up to a sizeable chunk of our overall economy (25% in 2002). Many analysts on Wall Street and elsewhere see this number heading up to 40%, 50% and more in the very near future. We will know more about this on June 30 when the BEA releases these new numbers on the net international investment position.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
NOT BUYING IT
Do you believe there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11?
Yes: 17% (696)
No: 83% (3518)
(as of 6/17/04, roughly 7:20 PM EST).
SOLIDARITY COMES TO JAPAN
From the Detroit Free Press:
The president of the largest Japanese automotive union says he recently began pressing Toyota, Nissan and other automakers in Japan to stop "interfering with UAW efforts to organize" their U.S. workers.
In a recent interview with the Free Press, Yuji Kato, president of the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers Unions (JAW), said he thinks the UAW and the Canadian Auto Workers union will eventually be successful unionizing plant workers at Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., but the unions need to overcome anti-union sentiment among U.S. managers and many workers.
"We have met with management in Japan concerning organizing of their plants in the United States and we asked them to let the unions in the United States and Canada, if that's what workers decide they want. From our conversations, I think the major reason the UAW can't organize them is because of the U.S. management's resistance and because so many of these plants are in the South, where there is an anti-union atmosphere," said Kato, speaking through an interpreter.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
SOCIAL SECURITY GETS HIP
And AARP hasn't totally caved to the corporatist agenda.
REPUBLICANS ARE STATISTICALLY IGNORANT (P<.05)
At least two of them are, anyway. David Winston of Roll Call--hyped by Matt Drudge--proves he does not understand basic concepts of statistics, namely methods of statistical sampling. Just because a sample population does not reflect demographic trends in the population as a whole does not mean that a sample is biased. (In this instance, Winston gets his panties in a ruffle because the sample of a recent LA Times poll included 38% Democrats and 25% Republicans).
Here is how statistics work:
Some small portion of a population is chosen as a sample. Statistics are applied to the sample and the results are used to state something about the original population. Choosing a sample so as to replicate exactly the demographic attributes of the population in which one is interested is what statisticians call biased sampling because hand picking a sample to reflect the underlying population biases the results. When each member of a population has an equal chance of being selected for a sample, statisticians call it unbiased sampling even if it is not a perfect representation of the underlying population.
I do not have enough information on the sampling methodology of the poll in question, though it does appear to be unbiased. The composition of the sample, however, certainly does raise questions as to the statistical significance of the results.
While not biased, the results of the poll probably mean, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, doodley-squat. This would be a fair way to criticize of the poll. Crying partisanship is not.
I'm still putting my money on the Iowa Electronic Market as the predictor of choice in who is leading the race for the White House. Markets do tend to aggregate information.
NO ONE KNOWS OUTSOURCING
Anyone who touts numbers about the extent of outsourcing is blowing smoke. This is my preliminary conclusion drawn after pouring over the BEA's statistics: U.S. International Services: Cross-Border Trade and Sales Through Affiliates, 1986-2002. In particular, I wanted to see what the trade data revealed as to payments to India for service imports.
Look here and you will find a whole lot of nothing. By this I don't mean that there is no offshore outsourcing to India or elsewhere, but that the data available allow no statistical inferences to be drawn. Here's the low down on the data:
The BEA publishes detailed services trade and services sales through affiliates data annually in the October Survey of Current Business.
Total trade in services with India, both receipts and payments, are not reported for the period 1986-2001.
The BEA breaks down the data for unaffiliated trade by country into super-industry level categories: Computer and data processing services, Data base and other information services, R&D and testing, as well as Royalties and license fees. For the most part, payments to India (service imports) in these categories are negligible both in the levels and as a share of total service imports. Payments for computing and data processing services spike up in 1998 from $8 million to $97 million, and then to $132 million in 1999. But in 2001 and 2002, the data show a tapering of these imports. Even so, at its peak, computing and data processing imports only comprise 1% of the total imports for this category. R&D and testing imports have grown to be a sizeable share of the total, from less than 1% in 1995 to 8.1% in 2002.
Only in 1998 does the BEA begin reporting data for unaffiliated Royalties and license fees at a level of detail to show payments/receipts for “General Use Computer Software.” From 1998-2001 payments to India post less than $500,000 each year, and in 2002 the data is suppressed. Royalty payments/receipts between affiliated firms accounts for the vast majority of trade in royalties, however these data are only distinguished by the national origin of the parent and subsidiary, not by the category of service.
The data for affiliated trade in services, it appears, are not directly comparable to the unaffiliated data. (The spreadsheet I put together for you shows payments to foreign MNCs from their majority-owned US affiliates). Whereas the unaffiliated data are classified by the type of service being traded, the affiliated data are classified by the industry of the transacting firm. The industrial classification also means that from 1986-1996 data are classified under the SIC system and 1997 and after data are classified using the NAICS system. For example, under the SIC coding, the most relevant category seems to be “Computer and Data Processing,” but under NAICS the relevant categories include “Software Publishing Industry,” “Data Processing Services,” and “Computer systems design and related services.”
India is not included in the country data, nor do the categories allow us to get at much specificity for India. Outside of Europe and the Western Hemisphere, data are reported under the heading “other countries,” which is further subordinated into Japan and Australia. In other words, the closest we can get to India is all of Eurasia, Africa and the Pacific less Japan and Australia. Also, a lot of the data are suppressed. Even so, payments to the residual of “other countries” seems pretty small relative to the payments to all countries.
What can we learn from this exercise? First, and if nothing else, the data for services trade are pretty poor and sparse. Look at the series for computer and data processing services for India. The fact that the series shows a peak in 2000 and a declining trend thereafter should be the first clue that something screwy is going on and the data is not capturing what is really happening on the ground. Second, these data do not support any conclusions about the current or potential future impact of outsourcing. But once again, even my grandma could tell you that this offshore outsourcing of service work thing is going to be big. See this Washington Post panel of non-crank business academics for more on this topic.
I'll have more to report on this after the Brookings Institution convenes all the usual eggheads to sort out this puzzle.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Man, these guys thought of everything.
Chapter 4, Article 15:
Goods wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties means:
[among other things] goods taken from outer space, provided they are obtained by a Party or a person of a Party and not processed in a nonParty...
Just in case Mexico tries to slap a tariff on our moon rocks. Now that's free trade!
CHINA KEEPS RAKING IT IN
The FT reports, via (PRC) China's Ministry of Commerce, that FDI inflows to the mainland totalled $25.91 billion in the first five months of 2004 (or an annualized rate of $62.2 bn, ignoring seasonal factors).
I'm a little unclear on where they found this press release. It seems from the english version of the MofCom site that the most current statistical release on FDI is for the first five months of 2003, not 2004. (Sorry, my zhongwen is quite not yet up to the level of navigating Chinese economic statistics). The closest thing I found was a number for $19.62 bn, Jan-April. In the same period last year, FT reports, China attracted $23.27 bn, and the MofCom reports $53.5 bn for 2003. Compare this with inflows of $82 bn for the US in 2003.
There's a big question whether these data are directly comparable--and questions on the integrity of the Chinese numbers. In 2002, a major (in China) scandal erupted when it was discovered that provincial authorities were all cooking their GDP numbers. Looking at a part-year cut in the Chinese numbers is problematic given that China does not subscribe to the IMF's statistical data disemanation standards (SDDS), and China only reports balance of payments data on an annual basis. How accurate can China's numbers for Jan-April '04 or Jan-May '04 be given that the US Bureau of Economic Analysis will not even release its Jan-Mar '04 numbers until this Friday morning (June 18th)?
Regardless of the precision of such data, the relative magnitudes of the FDI inflows is jaw-dropping enough. With US GDP currently running at $11.5 trillion (2004Q1, annualized rate) and China's GDP running at $1.76 trillion (at market rate*), it doesn't take an econometrician to see that China is coming up fast on the United State's economic prowess.
*Given that China actively undervalues its currency to gain competitive advantage in international trade, market rates likely understate China's $-denominated GDP. Therefore, many analysts prefer to assess China's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Viewed this way, China's economy is gigundo, and on track to surpass the US economy by 2015.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
THE PERSISTENCE OF PUBLIC MEMORY
Reaganpallooza ain't just a gelusion of grandeur; it's artful dysmnesia--a concerted campaign to reprogram public consciousness with the conservative revisionist history:
In the case of Ronald Reagan, the past week has seen an exceptional effort to use the prolonged period of mourning to shape the historical picture of the former president for the next generation.
...For Reagan partisans, the motives are obvious. This will be their last chance to make the case for their hero's greatness before a national audience. The same team that stage-managed Reagan's most famous moments in office choreographed last week's "legacy-building event," as one former official was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as calling it, from handing out 50,000 American flags to bystanders to timing the seaside sunset backdrop for the late president's interment. For the media, sensitive always to the charge that they are too liberal, the Reagan obsequies provided a superb opportunity to demonstrate fairness, or perhaps latent conservative sympathies, by showing that cable channel and network anchors could also envision a fifth face on Mount Rushmore or a new visage in place of Alexander Hamilton's on the $10 bill.
For Reagan partisans, the motives are obvious. This will be their last chance to make the case for their hero's greatness before a national audience. The same team that stage-managed Reagan's most famous moments in office choreographed last week's "legacy-building event," as one former official was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as calling it, from handing out 50,000 American flags to bystanders to timing the seaside sunset backdrop for the late president's interment. For the media, sensitive always to the charge that they are too liberal, the Reagan obsequies provided a superb opportunity to demonstrate fairness, or perhaps latent conservative sympathies, by showing that cable channel and network anchors could also envision a fifth face on Mount Rushmore or a new visage in place of Alexander Hamilton's on the $10 bill.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Read more here.
Friday, June 11, 2004
THAT'S GOTTA HURT
Michael Berube rips Dinesh D'Souza a new a-hole, intellectually speaking.
Michael Moore is a condascending, megalomaniacal, fat slob. But I will be one of the first in line to see his new movie. Even just the trailer for Fahrenheit 9/11 makes my blood boil.
SMILE, YOU'VE BEEN OUTSOURCED
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that 4,633 saw their jobs shipped overseas in the first quarter of 2004.
As I have noted elsewhere, offshoring of service jobs does seem to be a relatively small phenomenon at present (though the mass layoff statistics cited here, as well as other statistics on trade-related job losses and imports of services do a miserable job of capturing the real situation on the ground), even my grandmother can see that it is growing rapidly and could be very, very big in a short few years. (In contrast, offshoring of manufacturing jobs is a big phenomenon).
There are many reasons to believe, measurement errors aside, that the BLS's Mass Layoff Statistics (which the Bush administration sought to axe last year, incidentally) understate the true number of job losses due to offshore outsourcing. But these job losses are really just the tip of the iceberg for their impact on the US job market, due to the job multiplier effect and to the threat effect. The latter, is probably the biggest impact right now...people are truly scared that their job (or jobs they would potentially seek, all things equal) may be sent overseas; they're afraid to leave bad jobs, afraid to demand better compensation, afraid to exercise their rights to freely associate in labor unions, etc. Businesses can use this threat of offshoring to keep their workers in line and keep wages low.
So while globamaniacs like Dan Drezner lament Lou Dobbs coverage of "Exporting America," Lou's saber rattling can actually be seen as serving a real purpose for corporate interests: keeping American workers cowering, sacred that their job may be next.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
SOMEONE WHO WE WILL REALLY MISS
Talk about an eternal optimist.
Click here for a treat.
...AND MORE THOUGHTS ON REAGAN
1. Tomorrow, Reaganites will finally achieve what the Gipper failed to do in 8 years as President: shut down the federal government. (Yours truly will be at work still).
2. If the Communist system by its nature contained the seeds of its own destruction (by restricting freedoms and creating grave inefficiencies), then how could Reagan be responsible for defeating Communism? Communism defeated itself. Sure, he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." But just because the rooster crows doesn't mean he makes the sun rise in the morning.
3. Tomorrow, Reagan will receive what tens and hundreds of thousands of the victims of his policies--in Central America, Southern Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world--disappeared to unmarked mass graves never received: a fitting funeral and burial.
I don't know which is worse. That the G8 would meet to plot a Middle East reform plan WITHOUT any Middle Eastern leaders, or that Bush never expected to make Iraq a "free" country:
"'This has been a special day for me,' Mr Bush said, 'because I never thought I'd be sitting next to an Iraqi president of a free country a year and a half ago.'"
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
ON REAGAN AND HIS LEGACY
Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy Research remembers Ronald Reagan:
Ronald Reagan was a man who fought for what he believed in, and he changed the world more than probably any American in the twentieth century. He changed not only the conservative movement, the Republican party, his country and the world -- but also his opponents, known as liberals. As a result of his achievements, the typical liberal Member of Congress today sits to the right of Richard Nixon on a number of economic issues, including tax policy.
...Income was redistributed to the wealthy as never before: during the 1980s, most of the country's income gains went to the top 1 or 2 percent of households...The median real wage failed to grow during the decade of the 1980s.
...Mr. Reagan is often credited with having caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, but this is doubtful. He did use the Cold War as a pretext for other interventions, including funding and support for horrific violence against the civilian population of Central America. In 1999 the United Nations determined that the massacres of tens of thousands of Guatemalans, mostly indigenous people, constituted "genocide." These massacres -- often involving grotesque torture -- reached their peak under the rule of Mr. Reagan's ally, the Guatemalan General Rios Montt. Tens of thousands of Salvadorans were also murdered during Mr. Reagan's presidency by death squads affiliated with the U.S.-funded Salvadoran military.
But it was Mr. Reagan's efforts to overthrow the government -- democratically elected in 1984 -- of poor, underdeveloped Nicaragua that almost brought down his presidency. Congress cut off aid to Mr. Reagan's proxy army, the Contras, as a result of pressure from Americans -- led by religious groups -- who were disgusted by the Contras' tactics of murdering unarmed teachers and health care workers.
The Reagan administration continued to run the war from the basement of the White House, and paid for part of it with the proceeds of illegal arms sales to Iran. Hence the Iran-Contra scandal, in which Mr. Reagan escaped prosecution because his subordinates claimed that he had no knowledge of their crimes.
The Reagan revolution continues today: the "war on terror" has replaced the Cold War as pretext for intervention abroad, including the disastrous war in Iraq. Tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military spending have revived the era of giant budget deficits. As the Great Communicator used to say, "There they go again."
Weisbrot sums it up well. But don't forget that he sold small weapons and a nuclear bomb to Apartheid South Africa, then vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
I've been on blogging hiatus for some time now. First I was travelling. Then I had my wisdom teeth out (pray you don't get dry sockey--ouch!). Then I was working a lot of overtime. Then it was just blog weariness or maybe blog ennui. It seems that so many blogs have devolved into posting links to newspaper or opinion articles. While enjoying (largely) the process of blogging and the outlet it provides, the acknowledgement that I am little more than a fringe blogger is rather demoralinzing...spending hours researching, prodding the archane depths of the globalization political economy debates so that 40 or 50 people can reflect on how I see the world (and a good number of those coming here by the fiat of Google.
I guess it's just a blogging plateau. When I used to fancy myself a budding novelist, I sometimes experienced similar feelings as I prowled the streets and cafes of Chicago's near north late at night.
I'm getting over it.
Right now I want to take the opportunity to plug a new book coming out, thanks to my good friends over at the New Rules For Global Finance network. The book is called: Reclaiming Development: An Economic Policy Handbook for Activists and Policymakers
The authors are Ha Joon Chang, renowned Cambridge development economist and Ilene Grabel, an alum of my soon to be graduate school. I was thumbing through the book last night before I left the office. It combines a very thoughtful and theoretically cohesive critique of neo-liberal globalization with a thorough articulation of alternative economic policies.
I've added this to my Globalization reading list, which you can check out here.
I've added this to my