Tuesday, March 1, 2005
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March's Books of the Month
The international relations book is partially inspired by this Brad DeLong post. The highlights:
There's a fair amount to quibble with in this post -- Brad's statements about what diplomats want from trade is pure straw man; neither international relations scholars nor the foreign policy community is blind to the rise of China and India. Nevertheless, the point about U.S. economic openness yielding long-term policy dividends from rising great powers is spot-on.
So, this month's IR book is The United States and the World Economy: Foreign Economic Policy for the Next Decade, edited by C. Fred Bergsten of the Institute for International Economics. The book's precis:
Of particular interest was the chapter by Scott C. Bradford, Paul L. E. Grieco, and Gary Clyde Hufbauer on "The Payoff from Global Integration," in which the authors put a dollar value on the return from past and future trade expansion. Using different methods of estimation, they estimate that the cumulative payoff from trade liberalization since the end of the Second World War ranges between $800 billion to $1.45 trillion dollars per year in added output. This translates into an added per capita benefit of between $2,800 and $5,000—or, more concretely, an addition of somewhere between $7,100 and $12,900 per American household. As for the future, the gains from future trade expansion have been estimated to range between an additional $450 billion and $1.3 trillion per year in additional national income—which would increase per capita income between $1,500 and $2,000 on an annual basis. The fact is, there are few policies in the U.S. government’s tool kit that consistently yield rewards of this magnitude. [What about the costs in terms of jobs lost, etc.?--ed. Estimated as well -- a bit less than $60 billion per year. So there are costs, but they're much, much smaller than the benefits.]
The general interest book [WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE AHEAD] comes courtesy of Kieran Healy:
Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit. The first paragraph alone is priceless:
[Why buy the book when the whole text is online?--ed. Well, this is just me, but I love small books that can fit in one's pocket. More importantly, however, is that I'm traveling tomorrow and I'm already looking forward to reading the book on the plane just to see the reactions to the title. A printout just doesn't have the same punch.]posted by Dan on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM
posted by: addie on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM [permalink]
Full text still cached by googleposted by: addie on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM [permalink]
I thought the online article was expanded somewhat to make the book.posted by: Anderson on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM [permalink]
Well, the full text is not online anymore.
But Dan, why printouts? Weren't you shopping for a PDA?posted by: fling93 on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM [permalink]
"The fact that these issues are not even on the radar screen of the international relations community is indeed terrifying."
Nope - the fact that these issues are not on the radar screen of the international relations community is a blessed good thing.
Consider India - recipient of $100s of Billions in international aid and the full time attention of policy elites for 50 years post independence produced little more than throwing pebbles in the cean. 15 years of entrepeneurship by expat and overseas Indians, blessedly unaware of tho whole 'international relations community', has produced an economic boom that has lifted millions out of poverty and is changing every aspect of society - the first real changes since independence.
Foreign relations pros get in the way of developement by argueing for policies and programs that cater to the whims and prejudices of the academic and ruling elites, and not the entrepeneurs. Entrepeneurs by their nature are (ultimately) challengers to ruling elites, who love programs that can be turned into 'crony capitalism'.
Another example - Russia. Subject to vast attention by clver policy pros, it followed their reccomendations - and sank into cronyism and and corruption that paved the way for the current near-dictattorship.
Nothing helps African development more that the legions of cab drivers in the US, quitely subverting their local economies by putting US-earned capital to work in a thousand vilages (and educating their female relatives), more or less free of the horrible corruption and waste that turns officially approved development projects into sinkholes.
So everyone is better off without the attention of the policy elites, I say. More Kyoto treaties, anyone?posted by: Jos Bleau on 03.01.05 at 11:53 PM [permalink]
Think Latin America- we can’t begin to seal off the Mexican border.
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