Climate & Climate Politics
- Is global warming slowing? A new study says no. – The Washington Post
- U.S. sees global warming limit as serious – UPI.com
Economics & The Economy
- Another book (in this case an audio book that I just bought is Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius.
- Review: “Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius,” by Sylvia Nasar – The Washington Post
Perhaps nobody has turned theoretical economics into moving biography so masterfully as Sylvia Nasar did in “A Beautiful Mind,” the story of a brilliant but psychotic mathematician, John Nash, who eventually conquered his inner demons with the aid of a loving wife and nabbed a Nobel Prize for economics for his pioneering work in game theory. Nasar’s haunting, uplifting tale, based on years of research and interviews, made for not only splendid reading but also a wonderful movie starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.
Now Nasar is at it again, not with the biography of an economic genius but an economic idea: that humankind is not condemned by God and nature to a life of grim subsistence, as seemed to be the case for several millennia, but has the capacity to organize its economic affairs to provide almost limitless possibilities for comfort and fulfillment. Although we take those possibilities for granted today, it was not always so. In “Grand Pursuit,” Nasar chronicles the development of economic thought from its pessimistic roots as the “dismal science” to the intellectual underpinnings of modern prosperity, social justice and individual liberty.
Politics — Newt Gingrich
- Simon Johnson: A Question for Newt Gingrich – NYTimes.com (the emphasis is mine)
Newt Gingrich has surged in recent polls and now has a chance to establish himself as the front-runner in the Republican presidential primaries. But as Mr. Gingrich ascends, he will need to answer a difficult question: What is his policy for Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks?
This a pertinent issue for all American voters in 2012 – both for the primaries and for the general election. It speaks directly to who wins and who loses in American society and why).
It is also a question that Mr. Gingrich is likely to be asked during the Republican debate on Monday, perhaps in the context of Europe’s financial problems (the planned topics for the debate between Mr. Gingrich and Jon Huntsman are national security and foreign policy).
Mr. Gingrich’s career path creates a number of potential vulnerabilities around this issue.
No doubt Mr. Gingrich will seek to deflect the issue – as he did on Oct. 11, during a previous debate, when in response to a Wall Street-related question he said, “If you want to put people in jail, you ought to start with Barney Frankand Chris Dodd.”
This was a crowd-pleasing one-liner – Representative Frank and former Senator Dodd have their names attached to the financial reform legislation of 2011, and bashing that bill is standard Republican rhetoric.
But Mr. Gingrich will find it difficult to avoid the substance of this issue for much longer for a simple reason: Mr. Huntsman has figured out that breaking up megabanks is both sensible economics and good Republican primary politics.
Mr. Gingrich claims to be the true conservative, but the awkward – for him – truth is that on all issues related to the financial sector, Mr. Huntsman has the conservative high ground. He understands that “too big to fail” is not a market, it’s a government subsidy program, and that these subsidies are large, hidden, unfair and incredibly dangerous.
The Online Piracy Bill
- I don’t know enough or have enough information yet to form an opinion on the the Online Piracy Bill that is being considered by congress so I’m setting out to read what is being said about the bill both pro and con. IWhile in general I like the idea of such a bill I would err on the side of caution that if a bill is not carefully formulated it could enable abuse by big business over the main street small guys and endanger a free internet. But here is a collection of what I starting with in the way of reading up on the topic: