Links 11/6/10

European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 BBC. I preferred the one with the deer and the cranes to the winner.

Dead Coral Found Near Site of Oil Spill New York Times

DNA Fingerprinting Traces Global Path of Plague Science Daily (hat tip reader John M)

“An Open Letter to the President” Mark Thoma

Rancour pursues Obama on Asian journey Edward Luce, Financial Times

Andy Xie: Boost Family Income in China Caixin (hat tip reader Don B)

Memo To Democrats: This Is Not 1994 Washington City Paper Moe Tkacik

Money-Financed Fiscal Policy Modeled Behavior

Divorce capital Financial Times

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Ina Deaver

    Blue morphos? God, they are lovely. I used to think that so many neon, flashy colors were completely unnatural and fake – right up until I got my first look at a living coral reef.

    Truly, so much beauty. Good way to start the weekend, Yves, thanks!

    1. Richard Kline

      To me, the great beauty in the world is the beauty of the natural world; what we create is simulacra. Which is why when we erase nature, we’re vandals in paradise. There isn’t enough money in the world to manufacture five minutes of natural beauty yet a thousand fools trample the one to get at the other. Sickness . . . .

  2. Richard Kline

    I’m in agreement with Andy Xie that the most desirable adjustment in trade impactful factors would be an upward movement in domestic wages in China. Let’s see some of that ‘power of the center’ there deployed to _that_ end.

    The reason why I have supported and continue to support ‘globalization’ in the broadest sense is that, even knowing the disruptions this would induce in mature capitalist economies, especially that of my own country, globalization would increase the standard of living—wages, mobility, education, access to health care—in the rest of the world. Subsistence level poor have constrained choices; folks with some ready money have a vote, and the empowerment of having that option to achieve something for themselves. Political enhancements follow rises in living standards; it’s not one to one, or certain ‘progress,’ but the correlation is strong. The mature capitalist vision of globalization is El Salvador. The rest of the world’s vision is Malaysia. [Bonus points: The present world champion in one of the world’s most demanding sports is not only Malaysian but among the most dominant players in that sport’s history. Not 1% of Americans could tell you who she is; can you? A great person as well as a superb athlete too.]

    ‘Those people’ earning more may mean that those here in the US earn less, or it may not. But it definitely means that we can’t both sustain our own standard of living and carry our oligarchs around on our back at the same time. I don’t know how long it’ll take for the proles in this country to wise up, later rather than sooner on present evidence, but the lesson will be salutory supposing we choose to survive it. How many out there have it in mind that one commonality of the mule and the pachyderm is that they’re both beasts of burden in a capitalist political economy? Atlas Shrugged has it ass-where-head-should-be wrong: it’s the rest of us who need to dump the clinging rich, not the other way round. The more the Chinese start paying each other, the later in the game it’ll be for us to wise up on our side of the water. But the Chinese shouldn’t wait for us to show up in the game.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Richard, I agree with your philososphy, but we are both naive. The ship you speak of was called ‘Fair Trade’, not ‘Free Trade’, and she foundered on the Walmart Reefs in a narrow passage in the Corporate Archipeligo.

      Many of us were starry eyed idealists, seeing a potential that active trade could leave both parties better off. Outsourcing has been the greatest redistribution of wealth in history. Sadly, it also produced unique opportunities for monopolization. If China mandated an increase in wages, companies like Walmart would merely source from another country. The same would be true if China allowed the RMB to appreciate. Mr. Geithner and others understand this completely. The continuous flogging of China about the value of the RMB is hypocracy.

    2. Richard Kline

      So Paul, I wouldn’t call myself an idealist on Fair Trade, or whatever label is current. I think on timeframes of multi-generations, and the processes involved are messy and unfair in many of their aspects.

      Walmart is such a minor issue when considering trade flows and development. Really. China’s story has a great deal to do with skill transfers, parallel trade networks (the BRICs et. al.), and the growth of their domestic market. Walmart says a great deal about _American_ political economy, specifically the atrocious labor conditions they get away with while funnelling all their profits to the top. But regarding development, their a blip. (Though I understand you are using them simply as an example.)

      I agree with you regarding arguments on the valuation of China’s currency. Oh yeah, there is manipulation: they’d be crazy not to, but it isn’t really the core of the equation, to me.

  3. LeeAnne

    Burning the US infrastructure and representative government on the altar of globalism is the worst kind of Ayn Randian bullshit -an abomination -philosophically, politcally and economically.

    Anyone espousing it is a traitor to their own unearned inherited powers.

    Andy Xie to China: Take care to take care of your own first –or else it will come back to haunt you in a BIG way.

    America: are you listening?

    1. i on the ball patriot

      The US infrastructure and representative government have already been sacrificed by the international banking cartel.

      And, regarding that international banking cartel and the co-option of all of the nation state boxes through their central banks that I have long been pissing and moaning about …

      Here is a guy that’s really got the dynamics of it all down pat but is a little short, I believe, in realizing the intentional herd thinning and more rapid two tier form of global rule that is emerging as opposed to his belief that it is more of a profit taking shift to Asia but still top down control. This is a video well worth viewing and passing on …

      World: are you listening?

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. Glen

        I don’t think the US is listening, maybe Europe in places where they’re having some riots.

        A glance into our murky crystal ball to divine the future is spooky. I can easily see the US starting to look much more like China in the future, than China looking like the US in terms of wealth distribution (the one percent haves and the ninety-nine percent have-nots), suppression of fundamental freedoms (started under Bush, but I sure don’t see Obama rolling anything back i.e. spying on your own people), and more centralized authoritarian control (right now, the Chinese seem to be better central planners, but give the Fed and Treasury kudos for trying to catch up).

  4. jerrydenim

    I just arrived back in New York this morning after spending the last two weeks mostly in Indonesia. A long sit in Mumbai waiting for a connecting flight home yesterday afforded me the chance to catch up with my wife’s relatives there, and let me tell you my relatives and almost all of the city seemed to be in an uproar over the arrogance as well as the chaos and disruptions planned for the Obama visit. I haven’t had the chance to investigate the truth of the claims I was hearing, but as perception becomes the reality, I’m not sure it matters much as far as diplomatic relations go. I heard of flight cancellations and way-laid stranded travellers, a 3 day shutdown of the seaports and no seafood for anyone, residents surrounding the Taj and all planned motorcade routes being told not to open their windows or to risk being shot (A VERY big deal in hot, humid un-airconditioned Mumbai) Claims of a 180 car motorcade and 40 helicopters all being airlifted into the city for security, more complaints about street shutdowns, lost wages, and various indignities and insults sufffered by both common citizens and elected officials. If the rest of the President’s trip doesn’t go over better than his visit to Bombay I can’t help but to think his time would have been better spent at home. If even part of the outrageous claims I heard were true then the 200 million a day figure fosited by the crazier Republicans on the Hill might be a lowball estimate of President Obama’s travel expenses.

  5. Ignim Brites

    Doesn’t Japan’s massive deficit spending invalidate the Keynesian case? I guess one could say that no country with such poor demographics could ever be expected to recover and Japan has not at least had a depression.

  6. spigzone

    The cheetah was by far the worst of the pictures. Out of focus, didn’t communicate anything of significance, no emotional content … without an explanation I would have no idea what the context of the picture was.

    If a friend had taken that picture, I would rib them for wasting battery time.

    It’s ridiculous that picture got that reward.

  7. Glen

    I’d say Bloomberg is edging closer to a third party run all the time:

    True to form, the WSJ is doing some creative editing with the headlines, read the article, he took quite the swipe at the Tea Party. Obama better watch out, he may have a very well funded third party candidate moving right on top of his FDR populism. If Bloomberg pulls that off, Obama might start as well shopping around his Presidential memoirs, and the Republicans will be in hog heaven with Obama and Bloomberg to split the left side of the vote, they can run a lame brain and win.

  8. Sundog

    RT @[…] es mi imaginacion o escuche disparos afuera? ya tantas noticias tan violentas me estan afectando #Mexicorojo

    (is it my imagination or do I hear gunshots outside? so much news and so violent are affecting me)

  9. Sundog

    Short (4min) & sweet.

    Howard Hall, “The Blue Ocean in RED”

    Sundog’s take: We’re learning that biological organisms and their communities are likely the richest source of play that will ever be available for human ingenuity, just at the point at which we’re getting really good at disrupting and destroying them.

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