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Arabica Robusta

Arabica Robusta's Public Library

  • By the same reasoning, the paper shows that a unilateral tariff reduction benefits the foreign country at the expense of the liberalizing country. This gives each country an incentive to push its trading partners to liberalize while maintaining its own protective barriers. This is contrary to the results of standard trade models, where a country can gain from unilateral liberalization; but it may explain better the positions of countries engaged in trade negotiations.
  • If production increases as a result of liberalization, in a full-employment model this means that people choose to work more. But since they are already fully employed, this means that they must give up leisure, and this ought to be taken into account in calculating the net change in welfare resulting from any agreement.

  • “This paper again raises the question of whether the trade-offs that workers and consumers make in so many areas—including lowered safety and environmental standards, higher prices for pharmaceuticals and other patent-protected goods, and the undermining of local and national laws—are worth it considering how paltry the gains are,” economist and lead author of the paper David Rosnick said. “I don’t think most Americans would choose to sacrifice so much in the name of lowered trade barriers just for 43 cents a month more in their pockets.”

    The IMF model focuses on liberalization under the WTO, but if applied to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, the results would be similarly small.
  • The IMF model examines the impacts each of unilateral, bilateral and multilateral trade liberalization. The modeling shows that countries can be worse off when they unilaterally lower protective trade barriers, as countries are often pressured to do in negotiations with the U.S. or other developed countries. Negotiations at the WTO and in other multilateral fora are also sometimes lopsided, such as WTO rules that prohibit various agricultural supports in developing countries even while large subsidies in developed countries are maintained.
  • The CEPR paper shows that in the modeling by the IMF, which takes into account the trade-off between labor and leisure when full employment is assumed, workers must choose to work more if production (to facilitate more trade) increases. This has consequences that are not considered in the IMF’s modeling, including the implications for climate change from increased production and consumption, versus increased leisure time.

  • the Blaise Compaoré regime left behind a country that was characterised by mobilisations that claimed the streets, going beyond the organised structures and that was not the sphere of the urban and/or “intellectuals”.
  • What really led Compaoré’s fall was a primarily young population (60 of Burkinabe are under 25) that was fed up, and the degree of awareness this population has regarding the real reasons for the burdensome reality faced by the vast majority. It is significant that primarily because they experienced its trials in a very concrete manner (land grabs, dispossession, repression, etc.), it wasn’t merely among the intellectual and urban classes that individuals would point fingers at the regime and rebel against it.
  • These protest dynamics are also due to the groundwork some trade unions and public organisations carried out (Collectif contre l’impunité [Collective against impunity], Organisation démocratique de la jeunesse [Democratic youth organization], Mouvement burkinabé des droits de l’Homme [Burkinabe Human Rights Movement], Coalition contre la vie chère [Coalition against high cost of living, etc.], that for years broadened and politicised the realm of protest activities in the country.

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May 10, 15

As Austrian theologian Friedrich von Hügel said, “The Golden Rule is to help those you love to escape from you.”

  • Human rights groups around the world must innovate or risk being rendered irrelevant by the new surge of street activism.
  • The African region is no exception, despite its diversity. Consider Senegal, where in 2011 the Y’en a Marre (“Enough-is-Enough”) youth movement and Mouvement 23 (“June 23 Movement”) seized the limelight during a turbulent political moment, and played a critical role in preventing former President Abdoulaye Wade’s attempt to amend the constitutional provision on term limits and hang on to power. In the process, long-established and extremely important Senegalese human rights organizations, such as Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme  (RADDHO), appeared virtually irrelevant. They were not always present on the streets, and were not consistently able to use the moment to give their causes new visibility.
  • How can professional human rights organizations become more nimble, while also maximizing impact and sustaining their work over the long term? Doing all these things is crucial to remaining relevant in an age of increased grass roots activism.

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  • Dyson resents West’s critique of Obama’s domestic and foreign policies. But rather than judiciously and analytically weigh such criticisms, hardly confined to West, he positions him as a spurned lover, angry and bitter because among other things, he did not get a ticket to Obama’s 2008 inauguration.
  • In what appears as an act of infantilism, Dyson claims that West is a talker rather than a scholar, as if speaking truth to power does not have its place as a legitimate mode of political intervention or that the realm of university-based scholarship is the only true space where truth can hold power accountable.
  • West in this attack is simply a stand in for a range of public intellectuals who no longer believe in existing political formations and are redefining politics through both their words and actions.

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  • the “kingpin strategy” of Washington’s drug wars of the 1990s. As a former senior White House counterterrorism official confirmed to me in a 2013 interview, “The idea had its origins in the drug war.  So that precedent was already in the system as a shaper of our thinking.  We had a high degree of confidence in the utility of targeted killing. There was a strong sense that this was a tool to be used.”

     

    Had that official known a little more about just how this feature of the drug wars actually played out, he might have had less confidence in the utility of his chosen instrument.  In fact, the strangest part of the story is that a strategy that failed utterly back then, achieving the very opposite of its intended goal, would later be applied full scale to the war on terror — with exactly the same results.

  • the agency’s price charts showed little movement and so gave no indication of what events were affecting the price and therefore the supply.

     

    In 1994, however, a numbers-cruncher with the Institute for Defense Analysis, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank, began subjecting the data to more searching scrutiny. The analyst, a former Air Force fighter pilot named Rex Rivolo, had been tasked to take an independent look at the drug war at the request of Brian Sheridan, the hardheaded director of the Defense Department’s Office of Drug Control Policy who had developed a healthy disrespect for the DEA and its operations.

     

    Having tartly informed DEA officials that their statistics were worthless, mere “random noise,” Rivolo set to work developing a statistical tool that would eliminate the effect of the swings in purity of the samples collected by the undercover agents. Once he had succeeded, some interesting conclusions began to emerge: the pursuit of the kingpins was most certainly having an effect on prices, and by extension supply, but not in the way advertised by the DEA. Far from impeding the flow of cocaine onto the street and up the nostrils of America, it was accelerating it. Eliminating kingpins actually increased supply.

  • coca farmers didn’t need obscure economic theories to understand the consequences of the kingpin strategy. When the news arrived that Gilberto Rodríguez-Orijuela had been arrested, small traders in the remote settlement of Calamar erupted in cheers. “Thank the blessed virgin!” exclaimed one grandmother to a visiting American reporter.

     

    “Wait till the United States figures out what it really means,” added another local resident. “Hell, maybe they’ll approve, since it’s really a victory for free enterprise. No more monopoly controlling the market and dictating what growers get paid. It’s just like when they shot Pablo Escobar: now money will flow to everybody.”

     

    This assessment proved entirely correct. As the big cartels disappeared, the business reverted to smaller and even more ruthless groups that managed to maintain production and distribution quite satisfactorily, especially as they were closely linked either to Colombia’s Marxist FARC guerrillas or to the fascist anti-guerrilla paramilitary groups allied with the government and tacitly supported by the United States.

  • Two months after the February 28 interim agreement between Greece and the EU ‘troika’—the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank—in which both sides agreed to continue negotiating—little has changed. In fact, led by its de facto spokesperson, hardline German finance minister, Walter Schaubel, the Troika’s position has continued to harden since February 28.
  • These measures are particularly annoying to the northern Europe finance ministers and their bankers, since other European governments have introduced, or have plans to introduce, many of the very same ‘labor market reforms’ in their countries. Deepening labor market reforms everywhere throughout the Eurozone is a prime objective of business interests and their center-right politicians and governments.
  • It has been estimated that more than US$250 billion in assets would be eventually affected by a default, and no one knows the connections linking these assets—i.e. what are the possible contagion effects. The memory of the Lehman Brothers default in 2008 is obviously stronger in the USA than it is today in Europe—hence the Furman public warning. Privately, US officials are even more concerned than Furman, according to the business press.

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