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musical interlude CXII

Sanders on drones: lowering our expectations [HNGN]

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I remember in 2007-2008, when Obama was running, that he quietly but clearly stated that he would not make any drastic changes in course in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Points due to him for honesty!) But all the while, the feel-good spirit of benefit concerts for his Hope-and-Change campaign made voters believe otherwise.

Is the Bern pulling the same move? Looks like he is saying he will continue the assasination-by-remote-controlled-airplane program, but he’ll just “do it more carefully”…

link: http://www.hngn.com/articles/124393/20150830/bernie-sanders-will-end-drone-program-elected-president.htm

Radical Menace to Ukraine [ Leonid Bershidsky / Bloomberg ]

Writing from a moderate establishment-media point of view, Bershidsky talks about how Ukraine’s right-wingers are preventing an orderly resolution to the crisis.

link: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-08-31/the-radical-menace-to-ukraine

author bio: http://www.bloombergview.com/contributors/leonid-bershidsky

Non-fixed-point attractors (equilibria) in popular economics? [Steve Keen]

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Aussie economist Steve Keen continues to make a fuss about merging system-dynamics engineering-math concepts and dynamical-systems math-math concepts into macroecon, at the level of popular understanding that is necessary to communicate with the policy-making crowd. This time he critiques mainstream economists for focusing too much attention on fixed-point attractors, when in real world economic systems, one can observe limit cycles and maybe even strange attractors. He claims to have created a model which displays these phenomena.

My personal comment is this: there has existed for several decades not just one, but several rich languages for talking about stability and instability of systems. The two I’m a tiny bit familiar with are from the engineering disciplines, and from mathematics. I’m sure the more deeply academic economists are using this stuff, but it seems the policy-making folk are stuck in the dark ages. They’re missing out.

link: http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2015/08/27/breaking-the-bad-habits-of-economics-put-that-equilibrium-out/

[Updated 2015.09.02, added paragraph with personal comment]

musical interlude CXI

musical interlude CX

TPP: Not the best option [ Supachai Panitchpakdi / Nikkei Asian Review ]

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Former director general of the WTO writes about the TPP, saying it is overly ambitious and not as good as other, more conventional regional trade pacts that are in the works.

link: http://asia.nikkei.com/magazine/20150820-STICKER-SHOCK/Viewpoints/Supachai-Panitchpakdi-TPP-would-be-a-2nd-best-outcome-for-Asia

[ via Naked Capitalism ]

Most importantly, Panitchpadki points out that there are existing alternatives that are a better match for existing norms of international trade, so if the TPP were not adopted, no harm would be done.

He also mentions some doubtful aspects of the TPP that are now becoming familiar:

  • The heavy handed role of political and national-power considerations
  • The far-reaching expansion of benefits to IP owners at the expense of their trade partners
  • The unpredictable investor-vs-state dispute mechanisms

These ambitious experimental features are expected to undercut the power of nations to look out for their own, and may well backfire on signatories — hence the argument that a more conventional trade agreement is better.

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