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Cochrane on the US as a banana republic

Summary:
Lots of people view my posts on the US becoming a banana republic as being slightly hysterical. Those readers might want to check out John Cochrane’s new post. While I don’t recall him using the term “banana republic”, his depiction of American political dysfunction is even more nightmarish than anything I’ve written. PS. Bloomberg has a new piece out describing the unintentional side effects of trying to ban TikTok or WeChat: TikTok’s collection of user data might be a legitimate U.S. national security concern given the relationship of Chinese companies to their government, but at least there is some degree of accountability. Just wait until there are millions of young people running malware-infested apps. Trying to side-load sanctioned apps is like trying to get a

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Lots of people view my posts on the US becoming a banana republic as being slightly hysterical. Those readers might want to check out John Cochrane’s new post. While I don’t recall him using the term “banana republic”, his depiction of American political dysfunction is even more nightmarish than anything I’ve written.

PS. Bloomberg has a new piece out describing the unintentional side effects of trying to ban TikTok or WeChat:

TikTok’s collection of user data might be a legitimate U.S. national security concern given the relationship of Chinese companies to their government, but at least there is some degree of accountability. Just wait until there are millions of young people running malware-infested apps. Trying to side-load sanctioned apps is like trying to get a drink in the Prohibition era, when nobody could know whether that bottle of moonshine was diluted with paint thinner or some other poison.

TikTok has over a hundred million users, many of whom are young and ambivalent toward the current U.S. administration. The war on drugs should teach that any attempt to prohibit a popular and addictive activity sends the illicit thing underground while encouraging shady enterprises to spring up.

PPS. According to Matt Yglesias, Ben Thompson strongly dislikes like the TikTok deal. (Commenters told me I needed to listen to Thompson on tech issues.)


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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