Paul Krugman attacks TPP: Trade and Trust –

Krugman writes: “In any case, the Pacific trade deal isn’t really about trade. Some already low tariffs would come down, but the main thrust of the proposed deal involves strengthening intellectual property rights — things like drug patents and movie copyrights — and changing the way companies and countries settle disputes. And it’s by no means clear that either of those changes is good for America.”

The Comments are brutal, mostly, at least the popular ones.

This writer spent an a few hours the other day reading the US Government positions on TTP, at Federal websites. The best was the trade office of the State Dept, but I can’t seem to find it today. The goals are admirable.
Here is a short list from the’


Reduced or eliminated tariffs for American goods
Streamlined and simple customs rules for American businesses
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive labor standards, including a minimum wage, a ban on child labor, the right to form unions
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive environmental standards ever, including a ban on wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and overfishing
A free and open Internet that will allow people to openly search and buy American goods
New rules to make sure foreign state-owned companies compete fairly with our private businesses”
I found an example, Vietnam current has no tariffs on auto parts from China, but has a 27% tariff on auto parts from the US. The Trade desk insists that these anti US practices will be reduced. Perhaps we will have to wait till the document is made available, before condemning it. Anything that helps protect rhinos and elephants for instance, deserves support, unless real sovereignty is sacrificed, which remains now just an accusation.
TTP recognizes that the biggest growth will be in Asia, as well as the most pollution. Maybe the left should hold their fire, till they can see what they are trying to kill.

via Trade and Trust –

Posted in Foreign Trade Policy, Paul Krugman | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bangladesh’s Very Public Toilet Crisis –

Bangladesh’s Very Public Toilet Crisis –


Posted in East Asia, India Pakistan Afganistan and etceterastan | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Saint Nicholas: The Power of Hope Is Real

Originally posted on Inconvenient News

Great news from the work of Esther Duflo at JPAL/MIT, and Dean Karlan at Innovations for Poverty Action. Thank you Saint Nicholas.
These economists and their colleagues are using micro-finance, randomized trials and psychology to show what works and what doesn’t in the war on poverty — very exciting.
The dark side to such valiant efforts, is that population growth makes their efforts less useful. Without education, family planning, and population control, all those donated animals will soon be eaten.

A new trial involving 21,000 people in six countries suggest that a cow or a goat and the belief in a better future can significantly impact poverty.|By Nicholas Kristof

View original

Posted in Micro Finance and Behavioral Economics, Nicholas Kristof | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – William daley,

William Daley:  “The economic impact of the deal was immediately undercut by the collapse of the Mexican peso in 1994. But opponents’ predictions of “a giant sucking sound” accompanying the departure of millions of jobs from American workers never materialized, either. From Nafta’s ratification through the end of President Clinton’s final year in 2000, America added over 20 million jobs, including more than 300,000 in manufacturing. When the manufacturing decline began in earnest in 2001, the main culprits were the offshoring of jobs to China, with which we have no trade deal, and automation.”

“Geopolitically, President Obama is also right. If we don’t set the rules for commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, China will. Since 2000, China has concluded trade agreements with 23 countries, Hong Kong and Macau and is now drafting its own Asia trade deal that cuts us out. This deal apparently omits any mention of labor rights and environmental standards common in modern American-led deals. It would keep many of the region’s economies relying on the same substandard factory floor conditions that China and other Asian nations used to become manufacturing giants.”

via Free Trade Is Not the Enemy –

Posted in Foreign Trade Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fraternity of Failure –

“In Bushworld, in other words, playing a central role in catastrophic policy failure doesn’t disqualify you from future influence. If anything, a record of being disastrously wrong on national security issues seems to be a required credential.

Voters, even Republican primary voters, may not share that view, and the past few days have probably taken a toll on Mr. Bush’s presidential prospects. In a way, however, that’s unfair. Iraq is a special problem for the Bush family, which has a history both of never admitting mistakes and of sticking with loyal family retainers no matter how badly they perform. But refusal to learn from experience, combined with a version of political correctness in which you’re only acceptable if you have been wrong about crucial issues, is pervasive in the modern Republican Party.”

via Fraternity of Failure –

Posted in Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Paul Krugman | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Iraq war, based on lies, was more than a mistake.|By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman on our invasion of Iraq: “The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.

And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war’s opponents were saying. We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself — literally before the dust had settled — Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. “Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] …sweep it all up things related and not”; so read notes taken by Mr. Rumsfeld’s aide.”

This writer applauds Paul Krugman for his clarity and fearlessness. Excuse this question. I don’t remember Krugman saying clearly then what he says now regarding obvious, so there might be a little exaggeration in how obvious it was back then. I remember that I was taken in by all the talk of evidence. I didn’t withdraw my own support for the invasion until I read an op-ed in the NYT by a French diplomat warning Americans that we were on a path of folly. The Frenchman wrote, we would start a cataclysmic civil war between Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. In an instant, I recognized that I didn’t know any of these groups, they had not been explained and discussed, and withdrew my support just six months before the invasion took place. About a week later, Tom Friedman finally announced he was withdrawing his support for the invasion, unless I’d missed an earlier column. Can someone show me a column before the invasion where Krugman had the clarity then he refers to?

The Iraq war, based on lies, was more than a mistake.|By Paul Krugman
Posted in Middle East, Paul Krugman | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Roger Cohen: This Angry Arab Moment –

Roger Cohen: “Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results — needs an addendum. Madness is doing the same thing over and over in the Middle East and expecting a different outcome.

Obama is a walk-and-chew-gum kind of guy. There are risks to an Iran nuclear deal but the risks without one are far greater.”

via This Angry Arab Moment –

Posted in Middle East | Leave a comment