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Tag Archives: History

China fact of the day

Any Chinese person who has gone to elementary school or watched television news can explain the tale of China’s 100 years of humiliation. Starting with the Opium Wars in the 19th century, foreign powers bullied a weak and backward China into turning Hong Kong and Macau into European colonies. Students must memorize the unequal treaties the Qing dynasty signed during that period. There’s even a name for it: “national humiliation education.” Here is more from Li Yuan at the NYT. The...

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The ebb and flow of political correctness doctrine

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: What caused the P.C. movement to stall after the ‘90s? One theory is that it was due to two particular events. First, a Democratic president was impeached for his sexual conduct with an intern. That made the left (at least temporarily) less interested in rooting out and punishing all abuses of power. Second, the attacks of Sept. 11, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, created a new and different focal point for...

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What should I ask Ted Gioia?

I will be doing a Conversation with Ted, no associated public event.  He is a musician and most of all a music historian, above all for jazz and blues, with numerous excellent books on those topics. Here is his home page.  Here is Ted on Twitter, one of the very best follows.  Here is his latest book Music: A Subversive History, due out next week.  And there is more: Gioia was raised in a Sicilian-Mexican household in Hawthorne, California, a working class neighborhood in the South-Central...

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The two must-read books on Pakistan

Anatol Lieven, Pakistan: A Hard Country. Christophe Jaffrelot, The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience. They won’t make my best of the year list, because neither is fresh out, but they are two of the best books I have read this year, Lieven being a reread. The post The two must-read books on Pakistan appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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Louis XIV and his motto

Louis XIV was both King of France and a global ruler with global ambitions. He founded colonies in America, Africa and India, tried to seize Siam (as Thailand was then known), sent missionaries and mathematicians to the Emperor of China and launched the struggle for France’s global markets which continues to this day.  The motto he adopted early in his reign, in 1662, expressed his hopes and desires: “Nec pluribus impar” (literally “Not unequal to more”), meaning...

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Which thinker from the past would you resurrect?

The Scholar’s Stage writes: If I were to resurrect one person to comment on our current dilemmas, that person would be Hannah Arendt.  What issue of importance today did she not ponder?  How should Western countries understand and respond to authoritarian states? What makes meaningful community possible? Does bureaucracy, technology, and settled life diminish our freedom?  Why do politicians lie—and what consequences should there be for lying in office? How do political institutions...

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The generator mafia in Lebanon

…blackouts are costing the Lebanese economy about $3.9 billion per year, or roughly 8.2 percent of the country’s GDP. I asked why the Lebanese government can’t put the private generators out of business.  He replied that EdL [the state-owned electricity company] is losing some $1.3 billion per year, while the private generators are taking in as much as $2 billion per annum.  “It’s a huge business,” he said, “and it’s very dangerous to interfere...

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Economists have not exactly screwed things up

The lack of growth response to “Washington Consensus” policy reforms in the 1980s and 1990s led to widespread doubts about the value of such reforms. This paper updates these stylized facts by analyzing moderate to extreme levels of inflation, black market premiums, currency overvaluation, negative real interest rates and abnormally low trade shares to GDP. It finds three new stylized facts: (1) policy outcomes worldwide have improved a lot since the 1990s, (2) improvements in policy outcomes...

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*Virtue Politics*

The author is James Hankins, and the subtitle is Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy.  Here is one excerpt: I have sought to present the political ideas of the humanists as the expression of a movement of thought and action, similar in its physiognomy if not in its content to the movement of the philosophes of the Enlightenment.  It was a movement that was stimulated by a crisis of legitimacy in late medieval Italy and by widespread disgust with its political and religious...

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