Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal

June 22, 2005 § Leave a comment

Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal

This is news to me, the part about latin america.

“What is uncommon is for developing regions to run positive international accounts. Historically, they have grown rapidly and consumed foreign capital on a net basis. But today the opposite is true. Remarkably, Latin America, China, Africa and the Middle East are in surplus, as shown in the chart nearby.”

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Run, Dick, Run – New York Times

June 21, 2005 § 1 Comment

Run, Dick, Run – New York Times: “With gasoline prices soaring, and the biggest beneficiaries being the very Arab dictatorships who are tacitly sponsoring the terrorists killing Americans in Iraq, it is blindingly obvious that our country needs a comprehensive strategy for reducing our energy consumption and developing alternative fuel systems. The president has utterly failed in this regard.
To travel around America today is to find a country also deeply concerned about education, competition, health care and pensions. It is a country worried about how its kids are going to find jobs, retire and take care of elderly parents. But instead of focusing on a new New Deal to address the insecurities of the age of globalization, the president set off on his second term to take apart the old New Deal, trying to privatize Social Security, only feeding people’s anxiety. It won’t fly.
Yes, Mr. Bush has laid down a bold proposal for also fixing Social Security, but by not putting that front and center, it has gotten lost behind his private accounts obsession, which is not the country’s priority. A president with a V.P. running behind him never would have let that happen.
Mr. Bush would also not be taking the head-in-sand positions he has in opposition to stem cell research, climate change, population control and evolution – positions from which centrist Republicans are now distancing themselves. Just last week, the Senate’s top Republican energy-bill negotiator, Senator Pete Domenici, split from Mr. Bush and indicated that he believes the science is clear – climate change is occurring – and we need to do something about it.
If Mr. Bush’s hope is to make the Republican Party into a permanent majority party and sustain his legacy, he would have picked a handful of significant proposals to widen the party’s circle – especially with the De”

Ross Perot on education

June 20, 2005 § Leave a comment

DallasNews.com | News for Dallas, Texas | Points:

If no one disagrees with this, why does nothing happen? The very fact that doing something is hard should make it more challenging to some people.

“Before you were a presidential candidate, you were an education reformer. It seems like no matter what we do, we can’t get our school system right.
In the late 1960s, we had the finest public education system in the world. We now rank at the bottom of the industrialized world. That tells us where we are. We better get busy or we’re going to lose world leadership.
A newborn child is like an unwired computer. There are trillions of neurons that wire the brain. The ability of these trillions of neurons to connect starts to shut down at 6 years of age, when we start our public schools. We know this is a medical fact.
Now, an uneducated Chinaman can recognize 2,000 symbols. You’ve got to have this tremendous hand-eye coordination to read and write their language even minimally. That’s what makes the Chinese factory worker so productive: Their hand-eye coordination is just off the charts. In India, I don’t care how poor you are, if you want to talk to everyone in your neighborhood, you have to learn 12 different dialects by age 2. Now that’s a neuron connector! “

Saul on markets and reilgion

June 20, 2005 § Leave a comment

Pasted from
The End of Globalism

John Ralston Saul

We have scarcely noticed this collapse, however, because Globalisation has been
asserted by its believers to be inevitable – an all-powerful god; a holy trinity
of burgeoning markets, unsleeping technology and borderless managers. Opposition
or criticism has been treated as little more than romantic paganism. It was
powerless before this surprisingly angry god, who would simply strike down with
thunderbolts those who faltered and reward his heroes and champions with golden
wreaths. If Globalisation has seemed so seductive to societies built upon Greek
and Judeo-Christian mythologies, perhaps the reason is this bizarre confusing of
salvation, fatalism and punishment. Transferred to economics, in however jumbled
a manner, these belief systems are almost irresistible to us.

I do not think this is too strong and suggests the confusion as right wing religion, which is overt and low profile but intense belief in market magic mix together. They do so because they are so similar.

More on materialism

June 20, 2005 § Leave a comment

By “*materialism* is part of a complex spiritual landscape of repression”, I meant that there is a group of Americans (and others) who are materialists either of the cash and consumption brand of “materialism”, or the other group believing that science is just about things, and all there are is things. These two groups tend to fear and are contemptuous of love, sex, sensuality, ecstasy, and tend to extend that to a fear of poetry and art.
A true materialist loves the world of material, its differences, its expression in art and culture, textiles, architecture, alloys for aircraft wings and rubber tires that can go 100,000 miles, loving them all with deep appreciation.

The true materialist (who loves material) can be differentiated from the abstract obsessive materialist who seeks safety in remoteness from the feel, smell, and radiance of real things. The true materialist is not aghast at the idea that each thing, each material, has a spirit to it, and is in a kind of dialog with our experience (which is always, despite denials always a blend of inner and outer, since the distinction is false).

We were discussing “rationalism”. The very idea that there are different kinds of rationalism undermines the “rationalist” approach which assumes that everything can be known, and known coherently by a single rational structure.

I wish Americans were interested in peace and happiness. My view is many would rather be miserable, angry, vengeful and controlling. We tend to be suspicious, shoot first, see the world in terms of winning and losing, and loving that there are losers.

The idea that a father would be smart and wise raises the possibility, which the media hates, that he might think, raise questions, tell Fox what he thinks of them. Its the same problem as wanting wisdom and leadership in a corporation without realizing that it such talent would question the system. If you want to be promoted you have to accept the taboos, and fit in the wall street journal editorial page framework. Ideas like poor people are at fault for their poverty, more wealth for the wealthy just helps out everybody, ideas such as these, whose very texture cries out for some criticism, but that would spoil the group’s cloying fawning socialization. (I bet you’ve been in those conversations. I sure have.)

Fortunately lots of business leaders are better than this, but Elizabeth Drew has a great piece on how the Bush admin has cowed the business institutions into supporting social security “reform”. See

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18075.

This is disgusting stuff, but the business leaders cave in. Buffett, Soros and Gates and a few others may be creating a new model.

Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford is quite beautiful.

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Christianity, spirit and rational.

June 19, 2005 § Leave a comment

There are environmentally sound Christians, and much of our progressive tradition is really Christian in its origin.
Feeling the spirit in everything seems to me a legitimate perspective (kind of Taoist), so the human desire to feel it is strong, as is the human tendency to project our own being onto imagined gods. If these are fairly natural phenomena, we probably need a social future that can live with these, even claim them as their own. This might prevent the perversions of hard assed religious zealots who want authority and hate the world.

Materiasm and love of life.

June 18, 2005 § Leave a comment

The spiritual minded hates the materialist, and the materialist scorns the spiritual. Both do so to avoid life, for real life loves the spirit in all things, and loves the sensuousness of material for all its variety. *materialism* is part of a complex spiritual landscape of repression. Santayana had some good thoughts about this.

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