Saturday, February 21, 2004
Drezner to ABC: get better promo writers!
Anyone else see the oxymoron in this plug?
Will Nader raid the Deaniacs?
This is somewhat different from Nader's 2000 race, when he was the Green Party candidate. Running as an independent will likely make it harder for Nader to get registered on all 50 state ballots plus the District of Columbia, since he won't be able to rely on the Green Party infrastructure (don't laugh, it exists) to help him out.
That said, one wonders if Nader would attract disgruntled Deaniacs -- regardless of what Dean says.
UPDATE: For those on the right chuckling about this, scroll down the Politics1 blog, which suggests that former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore might run for President on the Constitution Party ticket.
ANOTHER UPDATE: OK, go ahead and chuckle -- Josh Chafetz says that Moore ain't running.
Friday, February 20, 2004
The Economist vs. the New York Fed on jobs
The cover of the Economist this week is on the outsourcing issue. Here's a link to their editorial. The key graf:
Here's the cover story. It's worth a read, but there is one off-kilter point. At one juncture, the story says:
What's weird is that the story provides a link to an August 2003 Federal Reserve Bank of New York Paper on why this economic recovery is different from other economic recoveries. Their conclusion:
How different is this recovery? Take a look at this chart:
Share of Total Employment in Industries Undergoing Cyclical Changes and in Industries Undergoing Structural Changes
As the NY Fed paper notes:
What explains the drop-off in the work force?
The puzzle about the current employment situation is that the unemployment rate has declined even though job creation has been sluggish. The reason this has taken place is that the number of people who consider themselves in the work force has declined. No one knows why this is the case.
Tyler Cowen summarizes a Wall Street Journal story from Tuesday offering possible explanations. Go check them out.
Whither Europe's influence?
Martin Woollacott says in today's Guardian that European Union's influence is waning in the rest of the world:
When he gets to the Middle East, here's his rationale:
Wollacott has half a point, in that those realpolitik-minded Arabs desperately want more multipolarity in the system. However, in the future, Europe's standoffishness on Iraq might cause their influence to wane among future leaders. Tom Friedman's column from yesterday makes this point. One highlight:
Thursday, February 19, 2004
A party flip-flop on trade?
I have no idea where Yglesias is getting his numbers, but let's assume they're accurate. [UPDATE: Matt reveals his source] I'm still not sure he's right. I'll leave the debate to commenters [You're slagging off on your own analysis--ed. Sorry, I'm crashing on a few projects and leaving soon to give a talk at Notre Dame.]
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Open Wisconsin thread
Given the Wisconsin primary results, two questions:
1) Does John Edwards have a chance to win?
2) Even if Edwards doesn't have a chance, will he force Kerry to adopt a more protectionist stance on trade? Say what you will about Kerry's rhetoric this campaign season -- his voting record indicates a strong predeliction in favor of an open economy. One of Edwards' few wedge issues is NAFTA. Will this force Kerry to adopt positions that he knows to be wrong?
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Demographics and international relations
Most commentators do not mention the role of demography in international relations, in large part because the study of population can seem dry (I won't lie to you -- until a few years ago, if I saw a talk with the the word "demography" in the title, I was already bored) and because the effect of current demographic trends usually don't play themselves out for generations.
That said, Eberstadt instroduces some startling facts -- and the same one that caught Tyler's attention caught mine:
However, the startling fact in Eberstadt's article in the increasing gender imbalance in Chinese and Indian birth rates -- a function of "1) strong and enduring cultural preference for sons; 2) low or sub-replacement fertility; and 3) the advent of widespread technology for prenatal sex determination and gender-based abortion."
Eberstadt's conclusion is sobering:
Read the whole thing.
The lure of the dollar
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. trade deficit hit an all-time high, both in terms of dollar value ($489.4 billion) and as a percentage of GDP.
To finance this deficit, the U.S. needs to run a capital account surplus roughly equal in amount. The trouble is, the dollar countinues to depreciate against other currencies, and Daniel Gross argues in Slate that there's little the U.S. government can do to halt the slide, despite the wishes of the G-7.
Combined, this appears to have stoked two mutually inconsistent concerns -- 1) Foreigners are purchasing too many American debts and assets; and 2) If the dollar continues to slide, foreigners won't want to buy our assets any more.
On the latter front, the fears seem to be overhyped, as the Financial Times reports:
As to the first concern -- foreigners purchasing too many dollar-denominated securities -- I'll leave that to the commenters. I'd say the best analogy to that situation is the conditions that would prompt a run on a bank.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Nothing to see here
Europe and outsourcing
How is Europe dealing with outsourcing? This article provides an interesting clue:
[Sure, that's what European firms are doing. But the European Union is cheesed off, right?--ed. Not according to this report:
UPDATE: This trend of European outsourcing to the United States is consistent with this editorial by Michael Walden from two weeks ago. The highlights:
A beacon of multilateralism
The Financial Times reports that the largest single economic entity in the world is shirking its international obligations and alienating the rest of the world -- again:
UPDATE: I see from the comments that I'm being chided for not joining the BBC in blaming the United States for this state of affairs.
Let me first stipulate that U.S. ag subsidies are an odious blight on our trade policy and should be eliminated as soon as possible.
Let me then stipulate that, as I've said before, "if the U.S. commits a venal sin with its agricultural subsidies, then the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and Scandinavia are committing mortal sins with theirs." Click here for further discussion on this topic.
And, just to make sure everyone has the same facts on this, let's reprint this Economist graph on ag subsidies:
Sunday, February 15, 2004
The New York Times tackles outsourcing
He also has an op-ed in today's Times as well. The good parts:
The most interesting part is Bhagwati's point that while many blame trade for job losses, it has far more to do with technological change:
For more on the technological driver behind the current creative destruction, Glenn Reynold's TCS column from last November is still salient.
The final outsourcing link of the day is the February 12th transcript from Lou Dobbs Tonight, during which Mr. Dobbs tangled with James K. Glassman on the subject. It was, to say the least, a yeasty conversation. [UPDATE: Dobbs' exchange with Bruce Bartlett is less yeasty but equally informative.]