Saturday, July 1, 2006

Your summer books for 2006!!

Astute and frequent readers of -- all six of you -- might have noticed that I did not post any books of the month for this June. Astute as you all are, no doubt you suspected this was because of my preoccupation with moving and its attendant minor disasters.

You would be correct.

However, with summer now upon us, I hope to make up for this by posting my reading recommendations for the entire summer at once. Rather than break this down into international relations and general interest, however, there are three categories:

A) Work books -- a.k.a., international relations. These are the books I really need to read becaue of my research, or my need to stay current in what's going on in my field:

1) Stephen G. Brooks, Producing Security: Multinational Corporations, Globalization, and the Changing Calculus of Conflict. Does the globalization of production lead to peace? Librals say yes and realists say no, but the real answer is likely to be a wee bit more complex than that. Brooks looks at the phenomenon the right way by examining just how production has been globalized and how that affects different conflict situations. He concludes that globalization reduces violent conflicts between great powers but exacerbates it among developing economies.

Since 9/11, Brooks has produced some of the most interesting analytical work out there on U.S. grand strategy. I'm looking forward to reading his book.

2) Stephen Hopgood, Keepers of the Flame: Understanding Amnesty International. According to the jacket cover:

The first in-depth look at working life inside a major human rights organization, Keepers of the Flame charts the history of Amnesty International and the development of its nerve center, the International Secretariat, over forty-five years. Through interviews with staff members, archival research, and unprecedented access to Amnesty International’s internal meetings, Stephen Hopgood provides an engrossing and enlightening account of day-to-day operations within the organization, larger decisions about the nature of its mission, and struggles over the implementation of that mission....

An enduring feature of Amnesty’s inner life, Hopgood finds, has been a recurrent struggle between the "keepers of the flame" who seek to preserve Amnesty’s accumulated store of moral authority and reformers who hope to change, modernize, and use that moral authority in ways that its protectors fear may erode the organization’s uniqueness. He also explores how this concept of moral authority affects the working lives of the servants of such an ideal and the ways in which it can undermine an institution’s political authority over time. Hopgood argues that human-rights activism is a social practice best understood as a secular religion where internal conflict between sacred and profane—the mission and the practicalities of everyday operations—are both unavoidable and necessary.

3) Rosemary Foot, S. Neil MacFarlane, and Michael Mastanduno, eds., U.S. Hegemony and International Organizations. One of my projects this summer will be on when the U.S. is constrained from forum-shopping among different international organizations. This will obviously require a little "soaking and poking" into the relationship. This book -- with contributions by John Ikenberry, Ngaire Woods, and Stephen Hopgood -- looks like an excellent place to start.

B) Work and play books. This is a category of books that I probably don't need to read to further my immediate research or teaching needs, but I find the topic or the author sufficiently intriguing that I can't resist. Down the road, these books often wind up jumpstarting research ideas.

For the record, these are the kind of books I bring on my vacations

In order to have time to actually read them rather than write about them , I'm cribbing from the salient parts of their self-descriptions :

1) Suzanne Berger et al, How We Compete : What Companies Around the World Are Doing to Make it in Today's Global Economy: "Based on a five-year study by the MIT Industrial Performance Center, How We Compete goes into the trenches of over 500 international companies to discover which practices are succeeding in today’s global economy, which are failing –and why.... What emerged was far more complicated than the black-and-white picture presented by promoters and opponents of globalization. Contrary to popular belief, cheap labor is not the answer, and the world is not flat, as Thomas Friedman would have it. How We Compete shows that there are many different ways to win in the global economy, and that the avenues open to American companies are much wider than we ever imagined."

This book also has its own web site at If you buy the book. click on this form to tell them where you got it from!

2) David Warsh, Knowledge and the Wealth Of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery. Ostensibly about the role that Paul Romer's 1990 paper in the Journal of Political Economy played in jumpstarting endogenous growth theory, the book is really a history of economic thought about the causes of growth, as well as a sociology of how the economics profession works nowadays. Warsh gets some minor things wrong (on p. 63, he writes, "In the beginning, however, Karl Marx was an economist." Er, no, in the beginning he was a philosopher), but he gets the major things right.

3) Deepak Lal, Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century. "Reviving the Invisible Hand is an uncompromising call for a global return to a classical liberal economic order, free of interference from governments and international organizations. Arguing for a revival of the invisible hand of free international trade and global capital, Lal vigorously defends the view that statist attempts to ameliorate the impact of markets threaten global economic progress and stability. And in an unusual move, he not only defends globalization economically, but also answers the cultural and moral objections of antiglobalizers.

Taking a broad cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach, Lal argues that there are two groups opposed to globalization: cultural nationalists who oppose not capitalism but Westernization, and "new dirigistes" who oppose not Westernization but capitalism. In response, Lal contends that capitalism doesn't have to lead to Westernization, as the examples of Japan, China, and India show, and that "new dirigiste" complaints have more to do with the demoralization of their societies than with the capitalist instruments of prosperity."

4) Ethan Kapstein, Economic Justice in an Unfair World: Toward a Level Playing Field: "Recent years have seen a growing number of activists, scholars, and even policymakers claiming that the global economy is unfair and unjust, particularly to developing countries and the poor within them. But what would a fair or just global economy look like? Economic Justice in an Unfair World seeks to answer that question by presenting a bold and provocative argument that emphasizes economic relations among states.

The book provides a market-oriented focus, arguing that a just international economy would be one that is inclusive, participatory, and welfare-enhancing for all states. Rejecting radical redistribution schemes between rich and poor, Ethan Kapstein asserts that a politically feasible approach to international economic justice would emphasize free trade and limited flows of foreign assistance in order to help countries exercise their comparative advantage.

Kapstein also addresses justice in labor, migration, and investment, in each case defending an approach that concentrates on nation-states and their unique social compacts."

5) Benjamin Friedman, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. "[T]he acclaimed Harvard economist and advisor to the Federal Reserve Board says economic stagnation is bad for the moral health of a nation. Friedman, a former chair of Harvard's economics department, argues that economic growth is vital to social and political progress. Witness Hitler's Germany. Without growth, people look for answers in intolerance and fear. And that, Friedman warns, is where the U.S. is headed if the economic stagnation of the past three decades doesn't soon reverse. It's not enough for gross domestic product to rise, he says. Growth also has to be more evenly distributed. The rich shouldn't be the only ones getting richer."

Ideally, I would like to read this along with the AER paper recently linked to by Tyler Cowen.

6) Francis Fukuyama, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century. "asserts that the lack of "organizational tradition" in "failed or weak" nations such as Afghanistan and Haiti represents the greatest threat to an orderly world. He argues that the United States, and the West in general, after rightly intervening in such states either militarily or economically (most often through the IMF or World Bank), have failed to transfer institutional and public- and private-sector know-how to needy countries. The goal is to "create self-sustaining state institutions that can survive the withdrawal of outside intervention," though Fukuyama acknowledges that the developed world has failed, setting people up for "large disappointments." The author quickly surveys other recent theories-Sen, Kagan, Huntington-and concludes that the answer lies in providing states with internal organizational structure and, above all, with a culture that enables strong leaders and government institutions to enforce capitalist and free-market values."

C) Pure play books. Books that have no relationship whatsoever with my work other than to make my brain very happy:
1) Seth Mnookin, Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top. What looks like excellent bookend to the spate of literature, beginning with Steve Kettman's One Day At Fenway, about the renaissance of the Boston Red Sox under the new management structure of John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, and Theo Epstein. Mnookin has posted snippets of his book at his blog, as well as Vanity Fair.

2) Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down. Although lad literature has received a critical drubbing as of late, Hornby remains the progenitor of the form. Most important, Hornby passes the strictest of all of my tests for whether I should read something -- he makes my wife laugh.

That should be enough of a list to qualify for summer vertigo.

posted by Dan at 01:45 PM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

New home disasters thread

A scant ten days after moving into our new house, I went down into our finished basement to look for something when I noticed a somewhat ripe smell. This was odd, as I'd been down there the previous day and no one else had been there during the interval (fixing up the basement is low on our priority list right now).

Poking around, it quickly became obvious that something -- and by something, I mean raw sewage -- had emerged from the mouth of the toilet bowl and bathtub that are in the bathroom down there. About half the basement carpet was soaked from this stuff.

A week later -- after the necessary profanities were uttered, the emergency plumbing visit, the emergency carpet cleaning visit, the second visit by a new set of plumbers to fix the screw-ups made by the first one, and a final de-rooting visit that was at the heart of the problem -- all is well again.

I relate this story not to build up sympathy, but because I strongly suspect that anyone who moves into a new house encounters some unforseen problem or calamity that makes life both difficult and expensive at just the wrong moment.

I therefore humbly ask my readers to submit their horror stories about moving and/or occupying a new domicile.

Tirades against moving companies (let's just say we won't be going with North American Van Lines ever again) or other contractors are heartily welcomed.

posted by Dan at 01:33 PM | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)

Friday, June 30, 2006

There ain't nothing soft about the power of Elvis

In a world fraught with short-term crises piled upon long-term crises, it's occasionally nice to blog about diplomacy going right.

Which brings me to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's trip to the United States. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports on the first leg of the trip for the New York Times. I think she had as much fun writing up the trip as I had reading it:

In the annals of international diplomacy, it was not exactly Yalta. But today's visit to Graceland — the ticky-tacky Elvis Presley mansion here — by President Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan brought a little bit of shake, rattle and roll to American foreign relations.

Mr. Koizumi, whose penchant for belting out Elvis on a karaoke machine is well known, couldn't resist trying out his moves on Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush as the three of them made their way through the manse, escorted by none other than Priscilla Presley, Elvis's former wife, and Lisa Marie, his daughter.

"Looove mee tenderrrrr," the prime minister crooned, as Mr. Bush, not one for letting loose in public, cracked up. When Lisa Marie Presley showed the prime minister her father's trademark sunglasses, he promptly donned them and thrust his hips and arms forward, an earnest imitation of a classic Elvis stage move.

"I knew he loved Elvis," Mr. Bush told reporters afterward. "I didn't realize how much he loved Elvis."....

The White House left no detail unattended for the visit. The breakfast fare on Air Force One was peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a recipe straight from Elvis's kitchen. Elvis movies — "Love Me Tender" and "Viva Las Vegas" — were available for viewing. And Elvis music was playing loudly over the speakers, until Mr. Bush asked that the tunes be turned down.

My only objection is Stolberg's use of the word "ticky-tacky" to describe Graceland. I had the honor of visiting the Jungle Room back in the nineties, and although there are many, many adjectives that could be used to describe Graceland, ticky-tacky ain't one of them.

Thank you very much.

posted by Dan at 02:42 PM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pssst.... want to listen to a podcast?
Did the New York Times endanger national security by publicizing the existence of the US government’s SWIFT program, designed to track the funding of international terrorists? Or was the news organization simply an agent of the public’s right and need to know the actions of the US Government?
You can hear my (muddled) take on this question in Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review, which I taped with Austin Bay, Eric Umansky, and La Shawn Barber. Other topic discussed include the Bus Uncle.
posted by Dan at 11:05 PM | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)

Open Hamdan thread

Comment away on the Hamdan decision and its implications.

No, wait, before you do that, click over to see what Randy Barnett, Orin Kerr, and Jack Balkin think about the decision (Pajamas Media has a big roundup post as well).

Balkin first:

What the Court has done is not so much countermajoritarian as democracy forcing. It has limited the President by forcing him to go back to Congress to ask for more authority than he already has, and if Congress gives it to him, then the Court will not stand in his way....

I repeat: nothing in Hamdan means that the President is constitutionally forbidden from doing what he wants to do. What the Court has done, rather is use the democratic process as a lever to discipline and constrain the President's possible overreaching.

Both Barnett and Kerr observe how Hamdan highlights the Bush administration's strategic miscalculations on this issue. Barnett first:
It has long seemed clear to me and many others who are otherwise sympathetic to its policies that the Bush administration made two colossal errors in prosecuting the general war on terror.

First: Not seeking quick explicit congressional authorization for such policies as incarceration, military tribunals, etc. The Hamdan case was just one result of this failure. Now, such involvement is much more difficult to accomplish; then it would have been relatively easy. Just not as easy as going it alone, which has proved to be the harder course in the long run.

Second: Not involving the American public directly in supporting the war....

The administration essentially opted for a one-branch war, and the country is now paying the price for that decision. While the failure to involve Congress is merely hard to rectify at this point, the failure adequately to involve the public may now be impossible to remedy.

Neither of these observations is original to me. Both points were made by others when the GWOT began, which is why it is not hindsight to point them out on a day that a very large chicken has come home to roost.

Finally, Orin Kerr:
The combination of the Mayer article and the Hamdan case today brings up an interesting question: To what extent did lawyers in the Administration expect the courts — and in particular, the Supreme Court — to agree with the Addington view of the law? Did they think there were five votes in support of the Addington approach, or that the Court would stay away from the issues? Alternatively, did they figure that the first priority was to do what was needed to protect the country in the short term, and that it was better to push the envelope and have the Courts strike down their efforts than not to push at all?
Talk amongst yourselves.... and play nice.

UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge ponders next steps for Congress.

posted by Dan at 10:47 PM | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)

Now I'll pick on Congress

My last post took the side of the legislative branch over the executive branch when it comes to how this president uses signing statements. So let's pick on Congress a little.

Here's a trivia question: how many legislative mandates govern U.S. policy towards the International Monetary Fund?

Answer below the fold....

A new GAO report gives us the magic number:

Since 2001, we reported that the United States had maintained nearly 70 legislative mandates prescribing U.S. policy goals at the IMF. These mandates covered a wide range of policies, including policies regarding combating terrorism, human rights, international trade, and weapons proliferation....

The mandates date from 1945 to 2005, with the majority enacted in the last decade. Some mandates address multiple policy issues, sometimes overlapping each other.

The truly surprising thing is that this is actually one fewer mandate than last year.

Click on the report to see the specific mandates. Most of them are perfectly unobjectionable -- but with this many constraints, it's a miracle that Treasury can keep track of them all, much less comply with them. Plus, the aggregation of hard constraints makes it difficult for the U.S. to have the policy flexibility that makes it easier to lead the institution.

Not surprisingly, the executive branch would like a little more latitude. In their response to the GAO, Treasury said:

As noted in the past, the extensive mandates tend to undermine our effectiveness in influencing the IMF. We would welcome efforts by the Congress to effect a consolidation of the legislative provisions to remove unnecssary mandates.

Full disclosure: the author of Treasury's response was one of my bosses when I worked there.

posted by Dan at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Your scary quote of the day
"It is often not at all the situation that the president doesn't intend to enact the bill."
Michelle Boardman, a deputy assistant attorney general, testifying before a Senate pane on presidential signing statementsl, as quoted in the New York Times.

Getting rid of the double negative, and this translates into, "the president often intends to enact the bill." Not always, but often. Which is great, but I always thought that when Congress passes a law -- no matter how stupid that law might be -- the president is always supposed to implement it. UPDATE: Obviously, the president can veto a bill. Signing a bill and only partially implementing it, however, is another kettle of fish entirely.

To be fair, let's see how Boardman expands on her comments:

Michelle Boardman, a deputy assistant attorney general, said the statements were "not an abuse of power."

Rather, Ms. Boardman said, the president has the responsibility to make sure the Constitution is upheld. He uses signing statements, she argued, to "save" statutes from being found unconstitutional. And he reserves the right, she said, only to raise questions about a law "that could in some unknown future application" be declared unconstitutional.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that the current president is operating under a theory of executive branch power that is way, way out of the mainstream.

I'm not opposed to signing statements in principle -- indeed, they probably serve as useful guidance for executive branch agencies. However, quotes like the one above give me hives.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Thanks to Appalled Moderate for adding more context to Broadman's comments.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Orin Kerr puts his finger on the larger problem:

It seems to me that the Bush Administration’s approach to Article II powers has two features: (1) an unusually broad view of Article II powers and (2) a refusal to explain in detail the Administration’s broad view of Article II powers. Most criticism of the Administration’s approach has focused on (1). I’m no expert on these issues, but my sense is that, from a structural perspective, the real difficulty is the combination of (1) and (2).

posted by Dan at 08:10 AM | Comments (34) | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, June 26, 2006

The blogosphere, R.I.P.--- wait, this sounds familiar

Less than six months ago I observed that many media outlets seemed to be burying the blogosphere. Maybe it's a cyclical thing, but blogs are being buried... again.

There was the whole TNR-Kos debate, but that's so last week. As an bizarre offshoot of that dogpile, there is Lee Siegel's badly written and badly reasoned rant over at TNR. Siegel says in his first post that "The blogosphere's fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus." Er, in my book, the one thing fanatics don't lack is focus. That's without trying to deconstruct the "fascism with a Microsoft face" metaphor. Siegel doesn't help matters in his follow-up post.

A more interesting critique comes from Alan Jacobs in Christianity Today:

Whatever one thinks about the structure of the internet as a whole, it is becoming increasingly clear that the particular architecture of the blogosphere is the chief impediment to its becoming a place where new ideas can be deployed, tested, and developed. Take, for instance, the problem of comments.

The industry-standard blog architecture calls for something like this: a main area on the page where the blogger's own posts are presented, with the newest post at the top of the page; then, at the left or right or both, various supplements: links to other sites, personal information about the blogger, and so on. At the bottom of each post will be the hyperlinked word "comments," usually followed by a parenthesis indicating the number of responses to the post: click on the word and you get to see all those comments. That's where the real conversation is supposed to take place. And sometimes it does; but often it doesn't—or rather, the conversation just gets started and then peters out before it can really become productive. And this happens not because of inertia, but largely because the anatomy of a blog makes a serious conversation all but impossible....

Architecture is of course not everything here; human nature is at work too. I think first of the extraordinary anger that seems to be more present in the blogosphere than in everyday life. Debate after debate—on almost every site I visit, including the ones devoted to Christianity—either escalates from rational discourse into sneering and name-calling or just bypasses reason altogether and starts with the abuse.

Partly this derives from the anonymity of blog comments: people rarely identify themselves by their real names, and the email addresses that they sometimes provide rarely give clues about their identity: a person who is safe from substantive reprisals is probably more easily tempted to express rage. Also—and this is a problem especially on the political blogs—commenters can find themselves confronted with very different beliefs than the ones they encounter in everyday life, where they often are able to select their own society. A right-winger wandering into a comment thread on is likely to get a serious douse of vitriol for his or her trouble; ditto a liberal who plunges into the icy waters of No Left Turns. And the anonymous habitués of a given site are unlikely to show much courtesy to the uninvited guest....

Blogs remain great for news: political, technological, artistic, whatever. And they provide a very rich environment in which news (or rather "news") can be tested and evaluated and revised, as we have seen repeatedly, from cnn's firing of Eason Jordan to the discrediting of Dan Rather's story on President Bush's National Guard service. But as vehicles for the development of ideas they are woefully deficient and will necessarily remain so unless they develop an architecture that is less bound by the demands of urgency—or unless more smart people refuse the dominant architecture. Even on a site with the brainpower of Crooked Timber, what happens more often than not—indeed, what happens so often that I've taken the site from my rss reader and only check it once or twice a month—is the conversion of really good scholars into really lousy journalists. With few exceptions, posts at the "academic" or "intellectual" blogs I used to frequent have become the brief and cursory announcement of opinions, not the free explorations of new and dynamic thinking.

Jacobs has a point about the architecture -- though I would say that the spammers have feasted on the architecture much more than the trolls.

On the development of ideas, Jacobs is both right and wrong. Of course blogs are imperfect vehicles for the long-form development of ideas. However, they are a great place for the germination of ideas. Most of them might be bad ideas, but occasionally I'll come up with something in a blog post that ripens into something even better in a different format.

A final point, before I undoubtedly have to dredge up this topic six months from now. It it just me, or does much of the critical curdling towards the blogosphere evoke how intellectuals of the fifties turned against television? Elite critics went from praising the educational possibilities of the medium to complaining about the "vast wasteland" of television. Perhaps blogs, like TV, will never live up to the hype that was churned out in its technological infancy. However, no one today would think of bashing television as a medium when the variety of programming is so diverse.

Why, then, do critics fall into this trap when they talk about blogs?

posted by Dan at 11:11 PM | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)

Nationalism comes from behind!!

Ah, just as Europe takes a step to reject economic nationalism, we turn back to Latin America.

The Financial Times' Andy Webb-Vidal reports that the U.S. Southern Command is worried about "resource nationalism" in the region:

Future supplies of oil from Latin America are at risk because of the spread of resource nationalism, a study by the US military that reflects growing concerns in the US administration over energy security has found.

An internal report prepared by the US military’s Southern Command and obtained by the Financial Times follows a recent US congressional investigation that warned of the US’s vulnerability to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s repeated threats to “cut off” oil shipments to the US.

The Southern Command analysis cautions that the extension of state control over energy production in several countries is deterring investment essential to increase and sustain oil output in the long term.

“A re-emergence of state control in the energy sector will likely increase inefficiencies and, beyond an increase in short-term profits, will hamper efforts to increase long-term supplies and production,” the report said. So far this year, Venezuela has moved to double the level of taxes levied on oil production units operated by multinationals, Bolivia has nationalised its oil and gas fields, and Ecuador has seized several oilfields from Occidental Petroleum, the largest foreign oil company in the country.

The report also noted that oil production in Mexico, which faces elections next weekend, is stagnating be-cause of constitutional re-strictions on foreign investment.

Latin America accounts for 8.4 per cent of daily world oil output, according to the US Energy Information Administration, but energy supplies from the region make up 30 per cent of US energy imports, or about 4m barrels a day....

That the US Southern Command, which oversees military relations with Latin America, has embarked on a detailed study of the subject underscores the view that energy has become a key facet of US national security.

“It is incumbent upon the command to contemplate beyond strictly military matters,” said Colonel Joe Nuñez, professor of strategy at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

An exception to the trend, the Southern Command study noted, is Trinidad & Tobago, whose policy of opening its doors to foreign investment has allowed it to become the top supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas to the US. Analysts have warned that, while the wave of resource nationalism in Latin America is allowing governments to grab a greater share of the energy price boom, tighter control will curb output in the future if, or when, oil prices fall.

“Pending any favourable changes to the investment climate,” the Southern Command study concluded, “the prospects for long-term energy production in Venezuela, Ecuador and Mexico are currently at risk.”

posted by Dan at 02:18 PM | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Capitalism 1, Nationalism 0

One of the great things about capitalism is that when there is enough money at stake, national prejudices fall by the wayside.

Which brings us to Mittal Steel's latest acquisition. Heather Timmons and Anand Giridharadas explain in the New York Times:

A new steel giant is being created out of a bitter battle, after Arcelor agreed today to a merger with its rival Mittal Steel in a deal valued at 26.8 billion euros, or $33.5 billion.

The merger combines Arcelor — a symbol of successful, pan-European cooperation and economic revival, with operations that span Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Spain — with a fast-growing conglomerate founded by the India-born Lakshmi Mittal, who built a fortune turning around troubled steel plants in expanding markets from Trinidad to Kazakhstan.

The deal is the latest sign that shareholder activism is reaching into the once staid boardrooms of Europe. The agreement to pair with Mittal caps a wrenching turnaround for Arcelor's board and its management, who once dismissed the idea of a merger with a "company of Indians" but were forced to backtrack after shareholders threatened to revolt.

It has also silenced politicians in Europe who once criticized Mittal, raising hope that protectionist barriers may be softening in Europe....

In the end, Arcelor's foot-dragging has led to expensive concessions from Mr. Mittal. The agreed offer is nearly 40 percent higher than his initial offer in January, which was 27 percent higher than Arcelor's stock price at the time. The sale price also represents a hefty premium to Mr. Mittal's last offer of about 36 euros a share, and to Arcelor's last trading price of 35.02 euros a share.

Timmons and Giridharadas also raise The Big Question in the closing paragraphs:
The fight for Arcelor was closely watched around the world, as it evolved into a clash between two major forces shaping the world economy: the ascendancy of India and China as sources of new business models and ambitious new companies, and a rising tide of protectionism in the West, fueled by anxiety that new competition will erode a way of life.

"These are all tremors of the fact that the world system, which has been maintained by the United States and Europe, has suddenly got to adjust to the rise of China and India, and it ain't going to be easy," said Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean ambassador to the United Nations.

Business leaders have watched the deal closely as a bellwether for emerging-market companies seeking to acquire their slower-growing Western counterparts. Once this deal is completed, analysts expect a surge of acquisitions attempts by multinationals rooted in the developing world.

"The emerging markets are running the big surpluses, they are accumulating capital and they will be spending abroad," said Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.

The situation also spotlighted changing standards of corporate governance in Europe, where boards and management are being forced to pay attention to a growing number of activist shareholders, after decades of running companies as they pleased.

The deal will "make a very powerful statement that no matter what the games, shenanigans and interventions, at the end of the day if you're determined enough the best price will prevail," Mr. Ross said. "That is a message that has not always been clear" in European deal-making, he said.

posted by Dan at 05:16 PM | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)

Are you addicted to A Capella?

There is help. And I'm proud to say that my alma mater is at the forefront of this disorder that plagues at least 30% of all graduates of northweastern liberal arts colleges.

Click here for a useful (and entertaining) infomercial.

posted by Dan at 12:13 PM | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)