Our socialist president
Now do you see what Friedrich Hayek meant when he said that socialism puts a society on the road to serfdom? Protectionism — government coercion supplanting the voluntary transactions of markets in the allocation of wealth and opportunity — is socialism for the well connected. But, then, all socialism favors those adept at manipulating the state. As government expands its lawless power to reward and punish, the sphere of freedom contracts. People become wary and reticent lest they annoy those who wield the administrative state as a blunt instrument.
Great insight. Long read but worth it.
We think of warlords as agents of evil and violence, and often they are, but just as often they are symptoms of state breakdown. Warlords are what happens when state failure, access to natural resources and the safety of a local population overlap.
Another change to the future of Warfare.
Maybe we’ve been imagining this scenario incorrectly all of this time. Maybe this is what “computers out of control” really look like. There’s no giant spaceship, nor are there armies of lifelike robots. Instead, we have created a swamp of unreality, a world where you don’t know whether the emotions you are feeling are manipulated by men or machines
In short, Russia wants to be, and be seen as, a great power. It wants to lead the nations that resist Western power and influence. In defying the U.N. and supporting North Korea, Russia bolsters that status at home and abroad.
It is natural for people to benchmark their sense of the world by their personal experience of it, so as America becomes more socioeconomically separated, people will have an increasingly skewed view of America’s actual diversity and their place in it.
An interesting article about science and public perception. What drives research? How important is it to move toward public interest and to address the popular myths that feed on public distrust of the medical community?
“I believe we need to research and study rigorously the things that patients are interested in,” said Lebwohl. “This is, in my view, a necessary part of science’s mission—to go to where the public is interested and provide sound analysis. If the public is barking up the wrong tree, we shouldn’t ignore that.”
I'm not sure how you add lasting resilience to a nationwide electrical grid without hitting stage 3. I expect there will be increased vulnerability to attack during the latter portions of stage 1 and much of stage 2. Large public utilities that are reliant on intermittent energy sources and the technology to shift and adapt to their fluctuations are more vulnerable and attacks can have greater consequences. Once you decentralize, that vulnerability fades (both the opportunity and the damage that can be inflicted).
A long, detailed look at Xi Jinping and his philosophy. Something that I think often gets lost in external views of China and it's leaders' perspectives is how thoroughly they are necessarily shaped by the Cultural Revolution. How can something to do completely reshaped your life not leave an indelible impression that affects your major decisions later in life? I'd argue that the Revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union are two huge drivers behind Xi's ruling philosophy.
Xi and the sons of other targeted officials stayed together, getting into street fights and swiping books from shuttered libraries. Later, Xi described that period as a dystopian collapse of control. He was detained “three or four times” by groups of Red Guards, and forced to denounce his father.
An interesting perspective on WW1 and what the results might have looked like had we not intervened. Looking beyond WW1, though, I thought this quote was particularly interesting in light of current events. Although the author mentions Iran, the same calculus exists for Syria, Russia, and China.
America has acted as it has over the past century not because it is so good or so bad, but because it is so rich, so visible, and so strong. America’s strength sways world politics even when it is not exerted: Any aggressive illiberal power must fear the United States as the ultimate potential check on its aspirations. So it was with Germany in 1917. So it is with Iran today.
A great article overall (discussing how a first step can lead to substantial mission creep) but this quote struck me as particularly important. It's all or nothing for Assad. He's not engaged in heated debates about 59 or 60 cruise missiles, he's not concerned with collateral damage, and he's not concerned about escalation. Too late for all of that. It's about regime survival and taking any and all steps to ensure it.
Assad is engaged in an existential fight. His country is in ruins. Half the population is displaced. He’s not going to bend to America’s will because of a few craters on an airfield.
Great article. Perhaps private equity firms are the new robber barons... Without the benefit of leaving a bunch of tracks and infrastructure in their destructive wake.
Republicans can have a get-tough policy with Russia (and defend U.S. and European democracies), or they can tout Trump, but they should be honest: These two things are contradictory.
Perhaps this will change with time (certainly a risk to monitor) but it appears that Chinese companies' disruptions mostly affect the efforts of Western companies to penetrate and achieve long term success within the Chinese market.
This is still a bigger issue than it first appears since companies that need to continue to grow often need to register success in new markets and China is the biggest outside of the West. Plus, at a certain point, the citizens of emerging countries may begin looking to Chinese products and services as their aspirational purchases rather than similar offerings from US companies.
An interesting editorial on how instantaneous knowledge (from all angles - and almost always filled with incorrect assumptions and narratives about ongoing events) changes our overall perspective on both an individual event and its larger meaning. The most breathtaking anecdotal events (no matter how unusual their occurrence may actually be) get the most attention and set the tone of national conversation. And the initial errors in breathless reporting are often those that resonate the longest with the viewing public.
I feel sympathy for the news organizations that must somehow adapt to this environment and provide useful content - both during an event and in its aftermath.
WTF leaves us hyperinformed and exhausted with despair. People in 1968 had the luxury of waiting on a tarmac for RFK to arrive one April evening and, when he did, he informed them — the entire crowd — of MLK’s shooting in the evening. Imagine an entire crowd of people not knowing something the second it happened.
Not seeing it. Video is harder to consume anywhere, less easy to share in snippets, and less information-dense (so it can actually take longer to fully deliver information than the written word). But maybe I've just become old fashioned.
The masterful businessman:
The company lost money every year of Trump’s leadership, and its share price suffered. A shareholder who bought $100 of DJT shares in 1995 could sell them for about $4 in 2005. The same investment in MGM Resorts would have increased in value to about $600.
Once you’ve convinced yourself that a president of the other party is the very worst possible thing that could befall America, then any nominee of your party—literally no matter who—becomes a lesser evil. And with that, the last of the guardrails is smashed.
Interesting perspective. Highlights both the grandiose vision of Chinese leaders (that may yet bankrupt them more than leading to Chinese leadership) and the danger of Trump's inward focus and the associated abandonment of the US approach to world leadership.
"Hard working is what gets the job done,” Dweck said. “The students who thrive are not necessarily the ones who come in with the perfect scores. It’s the ones who love what they’re doing and go at it vigorously.”