Thursday, July 29, 2004

There are times when one must dispense contempt with economy, because of the large numbers of those in need of it.
- Chataeubriand, Posthumous Memoires.

Invisible Hands & Markets: How the Left Lost Its Heart
That our politics have been shifting rightward for more than 30 years is a generally acknowledged fact of American life. That this movement has largely been brought about by working-class voters whose lives have been materially worsened by the conservative policies they have supported is less commented upon
A Troubling Influence [Can We Be Good Without God? How history can help China solve its wealth and poverty dilemma ]
• · See Also Corrupting the truth, corrupting government, and corrupting science have much in common
• · · Ted Turner How the government protects Big Media
• · · · See Also Insanity of relocating the Olympics every four years
• · · · · Why Why Why is society paying students to go to graduate school in economics? A Terrible Waste of Taxes
• · · · · · Richard Goldstein writes after going through Michael Petrelis' list of journalists who donated to candidates: Where's the muck in list of journalists' who give to politicos?

Bloomberg Time to pay for deceit: James Hardie Industries NV

Tracking Policies & Investigative Stories: Police States
Chris Masters presents new evidence of corruption at a high level of the Victorian police force and asks whether Victoria, in shirking any attempt at serious and uncompromising reform, will be left behind while elsewhere the cycle of change moves on.
Corrupt [link first seen at ]
• · Report Hiding Somewhere on this website THE JAMES HARDIE REPORT Fraud, lies and the asbestos disgrace [Maybe I've got another year or two, I'd be happy with that Company has never stopped lying, inquiry told
  • Company has never stopped lying, inquiry told; What the report says Reports omitted: Executives may have misled to keep Government in dark; Final submissions: Law firm also faces criticism; Risk business: Actuary may face action over liability estimate that grew]
    • · · See Also >Report spreads blame for Oasis fiasco that cost ratepayers $22m ((Knowles denies being involved in Westfield rival's rezoning))
    • · · · See Also

    Commissioner exasperated as Waterfall inquiry reaches end ((Read all about it - the little book that spelled bad news for some; Carr that pulls faces: PM, Carr attacked as judge pulls plug))
    • · · · · See Also Who pays the piper?
    • · · · · · Breaches and brouhahas: Two security breaches, a continent apart. One could be a false alarm, but the other... ((Red Cell Inside story of how a band of reformers tried--and failed--to change America's spy agencies))

  • Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Politicians like the new Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross (34) is handling the European Commissioner switch pretty invisibly: I've informed him by SMS about what measures we're heading toward. So that he wouldn't know of it only from the press.
    Economists are looking into a tankard of pitch-black Guinness's Ale instead of a crystal ball: A study of economics usually reveals that the best time to buy anything is last year

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Big government is good for economic freedom
    Over at Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok recently presented a graph showing a positive correlation between UN measures of gender development and the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom Index. Of course, Alex presented the usual caveats about causation and correlation, but he concluded "at a minimum the graph indicates that capitalism and gender development are compatible contrary to many radicals"
    This prompted me to check out how the Economic Freedom index was calculated. The relevant data is all in a spreadsheet, and shows that the index is computed from about 20 components, all rated as scores out of 10, the first of which is general government consumption spending as a percentage of total consumption. Since the Fraser Institute assumes that government consumption is bad for economic freedom, the score out of 10 is negatively correlated with the raw data.

    Diversity of scale in economic enterprises []
    • · See Also Where 140 ex Howard staffers are now
    • · · Westfield and Bob Carr's preaching: The NSW Government had intervened. It had passed an Act of Parliament to end the proceedings and preclude any appeal. Even louder protests followed, with public debate about the right of the NSW Government to overrule legal process. However, the anger eventually subsided and the Westfield Eastgardens Shoppingtown went up on its section of the site In light of this, why on earth can't the Carr Government follow the lead of the Wran Government and legislate to protect the $40 million Gazal project with its 62 retail tenants and 450 employees
    • · · · The PR scandal that is James Hardie Greg Combet told Lateline last night that Hawker Britten pulled out of the James Hardie deal when they realised it was immoral... two companies were Gavin Anderson and Hawker Briton
    • · · · · New paper by Drezner and Farrell called The Power and Politics of Blogs (PDF) A corrective to the worst excesses of the mainstream's haughtiness about its privileged position as our society's information priests: we tell you what you need to know and when
    • · · · · · The Princess or the Dragon The children are our nano future Swinburne University of Technology's Centre for Micro-Photonics constructed a model of the Sydney Opera House. Its dimensions are 64 x 38 x 41 micrometers, (yes, I know; not nano, but cool, anyway)

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    Since we know President Bush does not like to read should we expect him to read the entire [9/11 Commission] report? I was thinking about this earlier this morning. Not only Bush, but countless members of Congress have the reputation of asking their aides to do their reading for them. This has driven me nuts for years -- Bush is hardly the first president I've covered who sometimes avoids nuts-and-bolts hard work to absorb complicated material. Some politicians even defend the practice as 'good leadership' -- delegate the details. This drives me nuts tooEmperor of Pen fame, Kaiser, hates it when politicos don't read reports

    Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Intelligence failures exposed
    Australia invaded Iraq on the basis of thin, ambiguous and incomplete intelligence but without Federal Government pressure, an inquiry by former diplomat and spy boss, Philip Flood has found
    Spies underestimated JI threat: Flood [ via Vital reports on Iraq totalled only 51⁄2 pages ]
    • · Congratulations: SMH actually provides a link to Flood Report from its Website; If this trend of providing links to primary material continues in the mainstream media then the MEdia Dragon can consider itslef totally redundant: Report of the Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies
    • · · Snapshot: Key findings
    • · · · Speed of lies equals the ease of acceptance Propaganda, maybe, but Fahrenheit 9/11 encourages vigilance about truth
    • · · · · Blair's off the hook (again). Bush brushes off the United States Senate finding about "the greatest intelligence failing in the history of the nation". And now Howard looks to have avoided incrimination: Artful dodgers, these vain masters of war
    • · · · · · · See Also Companies that helped arrange financing for Gov. Bill Richardson’s $1.6 billion transportation program are the top contributors to a newly formed political committee affiliated with the governor
    • · · · · · See Also Judges who enjoy extensive travel entitlements as part of their salary package are taking a second dip at the public purse by claiming additional trips as work-related expenses

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Subsidising speculative investments
    The top 5 per cent of income earners have received half the benefit of the Government's capital gains tax cuts,
    which also helped push house prices beyond the reach of first-time buyers
    How the right to destroy property has implications for a broad range of legal issues: Rational people discard old clothes, furniture, albums and unsent letters every day

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Harry Potter, Market Wiz: Is Pulling Rank A Social Injustice?
    When a power-hungry boss, an overzealous coach, or a powerful politician uses his perceived authority to slap down an underling, most people would label the guy a jerk, a bully, or worse.
    But Robert Fuller is taking it one step further, accusing such types of rankism, a serious social injustice which points up the need for society to begin tearing down traditional structures of rank, or at least to demand better treatment from those in authority. Fuller, a prominent physicist and past president of Oberlin College, is proposing some controversial societal changes to combat rankism, including the abolition of university tenure.

    The Order of Rankism: you shouldn't trust any rankism [With Hermonione, Ron and the usual suspects, the young wizard fights passionately against the politicians' ambition to control his school: Too bad that young students, in the real world, aren't fighting the same battle ]
    • · Why the Invisible Business Cycle Happens Groping for an explanation for the cycle [Only a country that could produce the Invisible BlackSmith Hand and Yes Minister Could Produce a Report on the Worst Intelligence stuff up in history and say Nobody is to blame...]
    • · · Terror in the Skies, Again? What does it have to do with finances? Nothing, and everything ((TERROR IN THE SKIES (CONTINUED)
    At least the basic story is true
    • · · · 40 Richest Australians, Ach, Rupert Murdoch: Australia's 40 most influential people of 2004
    • · · · · Prince of tax avoidance is making trouble again. Michael Badnarik, a dark horse on the third ballot
    • · · · · · Thomas Frank: on the FMA and how success comes by losing ((All magic aside, a striking aspect of the Harry Potter books is just how completely normal and bourgeois are all the settings and experiences of the characters ))
    Drawn into a magical universe of flying cars, spells that make its victims spew slugs, trees that give blows, books that bite, elf servants, portraits that argue and dragons with pointed tails...
    The Blog, The Press, The Media: If not now, when? Czech out: Smartmobs
    About grassroot journalism unsettling Big Media's monopoly
    86% of US MEdia Dragon readers declare that blogs are a useful source of news or links they can't find elsewhere, and most believe that blogs feature a better perspective, faster news and more honesty than traditional media.

    About Last Night got written up yesterday in Publishers Lunch:
    Finally, the big blog occasion this week is the one-year anniversary of cultural critic Terry Teachout's abundant blog About Last Night. He writes, Blogs are the 21st-century counterpart of the periodical essays of the eighteenth century, the Spectators and Ramblers and Idlers that supplied familiar essayists with what was then the ideal vehicle for their intensely personal reflections. Blogging stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the corporate journalism that exerted so powerful an effect on writing in the twentieth century.

    I still can't figure out why everyone isn't getting their authors to blog [Blogging puts professionals and amateurs on an even footing: That’s why so many professional writers dislike and distrust it]
    • · Creator of the web turns knight: SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE
    • · · After The Lawyers, Can We Kill All PR People? [I would really like to believe that not all PR people are this bad, but I'm beginning to lose faith: PR-approved versions are clearly spun, and we're not fans of spinning]
    • · · · Well, come on. Both Yahoo and Google announced small purchases in the last week, do you think Microsoft could resist? Google-juice: Search Space Acquisitions Are Hot Hot Hot
    • · · · · · Isn't it about time we addressed the question of why all that bandwidth is focused downward? Let Us Swim Upstream (( The internet is a communications medium, not a broadcast medium ))
    • · · · · · · Economy is Back Australia Talks Back: Blogs and Blogging

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Nation of landlords lines up for $15bn tax deduction
    Negative gearing tax deductions on rental properties have soared to almost $15 billion, after 220,000 new landlords lodged claims for the first time.
    You cannot form a government by buying people [link first seen at ]
    • · NSW politics is rarely dramatic or exciting. Most political dramas have a habit of dying down after a few days and then fizzling out altogether ...It's not the first time Westfield has clashed with rival retail developer Nabil Gazal, but this time the Premier's name has added fuel to the fire
    • · · See Also Even the hint of corruption can lead to the fall of a government, but in the case of the Czech Republic, such allegations seem to be inseparable from nearly any political undertaking
    • · · · See Also Don Boudreaux writes about the incremental improvements of the market that build up and make life better
    • · · · · See Also Sydney migrants sell up and go west
    • · · · · · See Also Is your family worse off than it was in the 1970's? Are many of the families that you know worse off?

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Looking for the truth in a sea of deceit...

    As Montaigne wrote, sanitatis patrocinium est, insanientium turba [a mob of lunatics now claim to form the authority for truth]

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Blow to Westfield rival shocks MP
    Circle of self-interest hides the truth...
    Labor's federal MP for Fowler, Julia Irwin, was told six weeks ago the NSW Government would sign the planning consent to allow developer Nabil Gazal's Liverpool shopping centre to continue operating.
    There's a lot of questions to be answered and I want to know where that pressure has come from [Sydney's urban secrets unlocked ] [[ via James Hardie offers glimmer of hope for asbestos victims]]
    • · See Also Things I have to do before they become illegal
    • · · See Also Ironically, We Found Tens Of Thousands Of Workers Who Have Not Paid Their Personal Income Taxes To Their Own Employer-The Federal Government
    • · · · See Also A random walk down Venture Blogs [ courtesy of The Value of a Business Mentor]
    • · · · · See Also Ethan Zuckerman a map of a country and economic and developmental
    • · · · · · See Also Blog, baby, blog to get your five minutes of fame [ via
    A good blog is a punch in the stomach: It's officially a living: Bloggers find ad boom can pay their rent ]

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    Murry N. Rothbard on state versus free-market capitalism.The difference between free-market capitalism and state capitalism is precisely the difference between, on the one hand, peaceful, voluntary exchange, and on the other, violent expropriation. I don’t see even the most Left-Wing scholar in this country scornfully burning his salary czech.

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Victory for the Nation
    The State Government has been forced to pay a further $60 million for a pocket of harbour foreshore it bought two years ago, to a property developer who never owned the land.
    The final bill to taxpayers for the old Caltex industrial site at Ballast Point, Birchgrove, will now pass $75 million, three times its original estimated cost.
    For the property tycoon Lang Walker, an $825,000 deposit (since repaid) has secured $60 million compensation for a hypothetical housing project on contaminated land.
    The magnitude of the payout verges on the obscene...

    Harbourside land deal to cost state $60m more [ Developer cries foul over illegal retail centre: A western Sydney property developer, Nabil Gazal, versus Frank Lowy of Westfield fame]
    • · See Also Minister quits and forests are sold off - all in secret
    • · · On(e)liner John Quiggin: Election 2004: Labor’s economic policy options in the coming election
    • · · · See Also Philip Morris pays $1.25bn to settle its money-laundering and smuggling case
    • · · · · Greens research website: MPs Income The public not only has a right to know: The NSW Greens have done for the first time what generations of politicians have resisted: publish the salary details of all NSW MPs ((Devotion to Catholic faith led me to residence - Peter Breen ))
    • · · · · · White House Staff Salary Analysis: Leaked list of what folks working in the Bush Administrayshun make: No Surprises here Sins of Wages: The minimum wage is nothing but a huge off-the-books tax paid by a small group of people Blogosphere: ((Wages: Brayden King, Stephen Landsburg, Brad Delong, Robert Waldmann, Tyler Cowen, and John Quiggin)) Business Week: (((Series of articles comparing pensions around the world)))

    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    For some reason entrenched government and waste seem to go together...Govt office space left invisible ...Yes, Minister

    Invisible Hands & Markets: In search of optimistic leaders
    Many successful leaders have two faces.
    The public one inspires and conveys optimism, hope and a galvanizing sense of direction.
    And there's a private one that is often subdued, moody, plagued by doubts, and even a sense of foreboding.
    Sometimes the public face slips, and the private one peers out, provoking a sense of disquiet in observers.
    Paul Martin, for example, has frequently -- and with good reason -- looked worried on this campaign trail even though he is by far the most experienced leader.

    Honorable mentions to Vaclav Havel [I can't take politics anymore, and pretty much everything The last of the attempts at honesty have gone out of the thing, and we're down to side A trying to brainwash side B into believing that Side B has already been brainwashed by the evil leaders of side B, with--and this is the part that's wearing me out--absolutely no reference to reality]
    • · See Also War and Tax Cuts... In the Age of Terrorism, the Rule Is: Celebrate Early, If At All... ((Australian Election 2004: taxing times for working families))
    • · · See Also The strength of the small donor has helped level the financial playing field with the Bush campaign
    • · · · See Also The customer is always right? Not anymore
    • · · · · See Also A Microsoft employee puts up with the fact that Bill Gates gets $80 billion. But if the idiot in the next cubicle makes $5/hour more, there’s indignation. Are people crazy?
    • · · · · · See Also Nothing to Hide: The Iraqi official heading the investigation into alleged corruption in the United Nations oil-for-food program was killed in a bomb attack

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    During a recent graduate seminar on 20th Century American Autobiography and Memoir, I found myself obliged, in the interest of civility, to swallow a fit of temper.
    Deeply ironic, Saar's work speaks from a sort of existential nakedness, and gets beyond...Exclusion is the rule in binary practice (either/or), whereas poetics aims for the space of difference -- not exclusion but, rather, where difference is realized in going beyond. Read it before it is banned!

    Literature & Art Across Frontiers: ACTION AND REACTION: It's Imitation Time
    In Seven Types of Ambiguity, William Empson argues that ambiguity serves an indispensable function in poetry. When the disparate meanings of an ambiguous grammatical construction or word reinforce and enrich each other, the poet can achieve radically novel conceptual and emotional effects; but unhappy ambiguities, including those condemned as mixed metaphor, may be simply incoherent when the meanings are mutually impertinent or at odds. In his recent contribution to the history of ideas, which tracks the medieval word reaction and its more ancient correlate action from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries, Jean Starobinski makes a similar argument about the metaphorical appropriation of terms.
    Jean Starobinski's History of Reaction: The Uses and Dangers of Metaphorical Language [The most dangerous threats are right under our noses: If books could kill]
    • Gene Deitch: A whole new area of work opened up for me just as the Soviet forces were breathing smoke around the borders of Czechoslovakia, and I made a film called The Giants that the communists banned for 20 years. For me, it was a point of pride: The Giants Win and Lose (Part 1): (Don’t Let a Little Thing Like Failure Stop You!)
    • · See Also Our MPs can scarcely be accused of being bookish. Why then a plush library?
    • · · The Boston Globe: offers an amusing round-up of reviews of presidential memoirs
    • · · · See Also The attraction of strangers: partnerships in humanities research

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    The rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right to buy more cars than anyone else, more gizmos than anyone else, more clothes and vacations than anyone else. But they do not have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else.
    Justice Learned Hand, a prophet of democracy

    To live is an expression which has had much harm done it by rich celebrity writers who seem to think that life is limited to pretending you like absinthe, cocaine, and keeping a mistress in Potts Point.

    This is the Escape that will Never Be Duplicated: The Seventh of July of Our Tragic Escape: Declaring Independence From Fear...
    It is important from time to time to remember that some things are worth getting mad about. The cold hard truth is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so we should not be surprised if or when Madmen Run the Asylum...
    Once Upon A Bad Time, the lives of Eastern Europeans were dominated by leaders with aristocratic manners appropriate for the stone age. Thank your lucky stars you were not one of us. We have to remind ourselves that those born and bred in the Eastern parts of Europe were the Western European equal in their desire for life, their longing for liberty, their passion for happiness.
    7/7 of 1980 enlarged the meaning of escape across the Iron Curtain as the crossing has no exact precedents or parallels. Even after 24 years, the scent of horror is still impossible to wash away.
    In death, Cold Rivers’s characters find an extension of life: they live in death and we, the readers, actively participate in keeping them alive, even if only during our reading. Nothing was as it seemed and the more mundane the surface, the more layers there appeared to be; we are peeling a true literary onion, multi-layered myths and realities that are quite able to bring literal tears to your eyes.
    There is no history, only biography of divine discontent. It was Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson who first coined the prase divine discontent. Characterized by a yearning for greater meaning in life, this restlessness and dissatisfaction with the status quo is often an impetus to escape to the world that is more soul-satisfying... What could possibly impel three twenty-two-year-old Czechoslovaks, who just completed two year compulsory service in the communist army, to swim across the Morava River to Austria? How are we to understand their decision to forsake the land of their birth and build a new life in the far way world?
    The ghost of the Central Europe tends to breathe confused life into every boy born into the communist system. In childhood we harboured fantasies that when we go to sleep at night our toys would magically come alive and carry us across the borders to the New World. Alas, it never happened, but that did not mean that one day we would not discover a mystical passage to the land of our dreams. One of the great things about life under communism was that it could always get worse, just when you thought it couldn't... Those who know what it was like to be twenty-two-years young in communist Czechoslovakia might understand that some of us had absurd and impossible aspirations and we believed that we could achieve them. We used to dream of dancing at the Beatles' concert and marrying Olivia Newton-John ... Then we transferred our dreams to crossing the Iron Curtain.
    There is a theory going around on the net that everything you need to know about divine discontent, and even life, you can learn from the drops of lessons in the Cold River. There is a lesson for teens, there is a lesson for adults, there is a lesson on having fun, there is a lesson on being serious, there is a lesson on soulful friendship, there is a lesson on dancing, there is even a lesson on how not to escape across the Iron Curtain. Moreover, there is a lessson how to make you feel like a Central European.
    Unlike myth, history is not tidy, and the wall that became known as the Iron Curtain is complex as any genuine tragedy. Cold River is a chilling image of a totalitarian world without breathing space, where ideology has no outside and even an unborn child is already a subject.
    When something is wrong, you know it. Deep inside, even if everyone around you tells you it is not, you still know the truth. Few would dare dream about crossing such a border, unless, of course, you have inside knowledge and contacts. Milan has both. They will have only one chance to disarm the army guards at the gate and drive through an army barracks without alarming others. Their set day is sunny. Not one of them, even for a moment, thinks it might rain. But it does and the swollen river makes it impossible for them to cross, yet it is impossible to go back...
    You didn't care if you were brave or weak. You just became nothing!
    The character in the Quiet American said, Sooner or later, one has to take sides. If one is to remain human.
    In some ways, it was a selfish act. We had in a small way done our duty to our people and our country. We crossed the uncrossable Iron Curtain so we could sleep at night. True happiness calls for courage and a spirit of sacrifice, the rejection of any compromise with evil empire, and readiness to pay in person, including with death... As Zakes Mda's Ways of Dying features a central character Toloki who observes:
    Death lives with us everyday. Indeed our ways of dying are our ways of living or should I say our ways of living are our ways of dying ?

    · No power on Earth can stop an oppressed people determined to win their Freedom: Let's Say It with Blood [Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened This was the Escape of Our Times: Survivor-on-Amazon breaking historical taboos]
    · · See Also This is Another Fight of Our Lives [New Political Tidal Wave: Something to get mad about: Just memorise poetry if you are a teenager at heart- because the escape defies prose
    · · · We weren't given a hope in Morava River... The Passion of Exile: Sentenced to the Strange Psychological Hell... From Old World Tragedy to New World Disaster
    · · · · See Also In any society, it’s a risk to take freedoms for granted
    · · · · · Random reality bites: We can't all be born rich, handsome and lucky... Better That 100 Witches Should Live
    · · · · · · Better Off Dead: I'll admit I survived, but I wasn't proud of myself for surviving
    · · · · · · Read more: In every book a wealth of experiences and universal wisdom awaits you, and they will enrich your cultural world ... Marilyn Monroe swimming in the Cold River

    Showing once again that there is a tax angle to virtually everything, Laurence Tribe (Harvard) in an op-ed in Thursday's Wall Street Journal compares Iraqi torture to tax .
    Justice Department memoranda cynically dissecting the laws banning torture with a sensibility better suited to the parsing of tax-code loopholes than to the treatment of human beings...

    Invisible Hands & Markets: What Rawls Demands from Tax Systems
    The connection between taxes and justice is less specific than we might hope, and that theories of justice generally do not endorse particular tax policies, but are more likely to preclude them. We might fruitfully ask what constraints, if any, a particular theory of justice imposes on the tax system. By applying this approach to Rawls' ideas about taxation, his endorsement of a flat consumption-based tax, which is quite puzzling in light of much of what Rawls wrote about economic justice, can be better understood. If we read Rawls' discussion of economic justice to offer limitations, rather than mandates, then a wide variety of tax systems may be part of a just Rawlsian society, and Rawls' first principle of justice, which concerns political rights, imposes more significant limitations on systems of taxation than does his second principle, even though the second principle explicitly concerns economic rights.
    · Sugin on Tax and John Rawls [Linda Sugin Fordham]
    · · James Edward Maule:: How Much is Enough? Part One
    · · · See Also How Much is Enough? Part Two
    · · · · See Also Coach Krzyzewski turning down $8million: People Who Earn More Than Tax Professors
    · · · · · DONALD B. TOBIN: Investing in Our Children: A Not So Radical Proposal
    · · · · · · Reuven Avi-Yonah: Corporations, Society, and the State: A Defense of the Corporate Income Tax
    · · · · · · · See Also Taxation Without Representation License Plates

    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    Invisible Hands & Markets: The Chinese Century
    China's miracle economy can come at you in a lot of ways. By now most of us know that China is the factory floor of choice for the world's low-road manufacturing: it assembles more toys, stitches more shoes and sews more garments than any other nation in the world. China is home to close to 1.5 billion people, probably, which would make the official census count of 1.3 billion too low by an amount equal to roughly the population of Germany, France and the United Kingdom combined. China has 100 cities of more than a million people. Since economic liberalization began in 1978, under Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese have started tens of millions of businesses.
    China is not home to the cheapest work force in the world. Even at 25 cents an hour, Chinese workers cost more than laborers in the poorer countries of Southeast Asia or Africa. In the world's miserable corners, children carry rifles and walk mine fields for less than a dollar a day. China is the world's workshop because it sits in a relatively stable region and offers manufacturers a reliable, pliant and capable industrial work force, groomed by generations of government-enforced discipline.

    · TED C. FISHMAN [Barista, the whistleblower: Statistically insignificant]
    · · See Also Lines of Despair: number of people seeking help at food pantries statewide has risen three straight years
    · · · See Also Czech XL
    · · · · See Also The best way to work out how much money the ABC needs may be to look at its competitors
    · · · · · See Also An iron curtain is descending between the West and the Muslim world

    Monday, July 05, 2004

    The Quiggin case for inflation. In keeping with the blog tradition of bringing you tomorrow's talking points today, I thought I'd look a bit further than the current election campaign and consider the implications of a Bush victory

    Invisible Hands & Markets: Science and technology don't exist in a vacuum
    I was intrigued to learn last week that one of the United Nation's leading candidates for Iraqi leadership is Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani, a nuclear chemist and former science adviser to Saddam Hussein. Al-Shahristani spent more than a decade in Abu Ghraib prison for refusing to participate in Hussein's weapons program and finally escaped during the Gulf War.
    You need to get political, even if science is a bunch of politicized factions

    · There's No Future without Politics [Elsewhere Democracy, Taxes, and Wealth]
    · · See Also Specially rigged Coke cans, part of a summer promotion, contain cell phones and global positioning chips
    · · · See Also A coalition of human rights, religious, humanitarian, peace, and development groups committed to ending the trade in 'conflict diamonds (( Hunt for tyrant's millions leads to former model's home))
    · · · · See Also China's Nuclear Industry
    · · · · · See Also Iraq Index: Tracking Reconstruction and Security in Post-Saddam Iraq
    · · · · · · See Also Making Table Wine at Home
    · · · · · · · State Policy Inventory This the most useful thing I have digged all week

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Invisible Hands & Markets: San Francisco rolls out the red carpet for the Clintons
    The leftiest big city on the Left Coast was Clinton country on Monday, with former President Clinton continuing his blockbuster book tour and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton headlining a Democratic fund-raiser where she vowed to defeat the Republicans' extraordinarily ruthless machine. Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters -- some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend -- to expect to lose some of the tax cuts passed by President Bush if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress:
    Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.

    · We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good [link first seen at Australian Policies]
    · · See Also How tax system egged on property speculation. By Alan Kohler
    · · · See Also Interest cut lure to pay off tax debts on $2.5 billion in tax debts
    · · · · See Also Call to tax profits on family home. By Matt Wade ; Lisa Pryor