Double-Styles: Castro, Netanyahu and a tale of two Guardian editorials

Written by CAMERA intern Aron White

The death of Fidel Castro has led to a flurry of obituaries over the past week, with some lauding him as a “hero”, and others referring to him as a “torturer and tyrant”.  It is interesting to compare theGuardian editorial on the death of Fidel Castro with their editorial last year on the election victory of Benjamin Netanyahu.


The contrast between the two articles highlight some of the systemic flaws with media coverage of Israel, both at the Guardian and more broadly.


The Guardian piece on Castro is very balanced, as it presents both his positive and negative sides. The article lists his crimes – sham trials, summary executions and a situation where “power flowed from the gun, and a repressive state pointed weapons inward.” But the article then lists his achievements – “a remarkable system of…

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A Premature Execution? – Blackadder

Perversions of open-minded thinking on climate change

Climate Etc.

by Kip Hansen

Climate skepticism: a ‘perverse’ effect of ‘actively open-minded thinking’.

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Flip Chart Fairy Tales

As usual, there was some very interesting stuff in the Institute for Fiscal Studies review of the Autumn Statement. This chart by Andrew Hood caught my eye.


The over-60s escaped the post-recession income stagnation. On average, they have done rather well since 2007. It’s a similar story with wealth, as Andy Haldane pointed out in June.


For many of those over the state pension age, the recession was something they witnessed second hand, either through the media or by talking to younger relatives.

What does the IFS think will happen over the next few years? Well with pay stagnation, benefit cuts and inflation, things are looking worse than they were in March. The IFS reckons that, in real terms, average earnings won’t get back to pre-recession level before the end of the decade. State pensions, though, will continue to rise.


The upshot of all this is, as the Resolution Foundation says

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Isn’t it great that anyone can run for parliament


Comparing Greece in Gold Standard vs Greece in Eurozone

Mostly Economics

A super paper on the topic. Greece may be in real bad shape but its central bank econs have some decent papers on many aspects of Greece and Eurozone economies.

The origins of the Greek-sovereign debt crisis were the country’s large fiscal and external  imbalances. The key factor that abetted those imbalances was the absence of a short-tomedium term adjustment mechanism — due to perceptions of sovereign bailouts — in the  euro-area that would have reduced members’ external imbalances. This situation  contrasts sharply with the adjustment mechanism under the classical gold standard. Under  the gold standard, countries with external deficits would experience losses of gold  reserves, higher interest rates, lower money and credit growth, and reductions in wages  and prices, which helped restore trade competitiveness. We draw two main conclusions.  First, the durability of a monetary union is crucially dependent on the existence of a wellfunctioning adjustment mechanism. Second, adherence…

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Liquidity in government bonds – differences in sovereigns and colonies

Mostly Economics

This is a superb paper which looks at bond markets in colonies and sovereigns:

In a recent paper, we study the pricing of government debt in a setup that provides both insightful institutional parallels, and an empirically much friendlier environment (Chavaz and Flandreau 2015). During what some economists call the ‘first globalisation’ era (1870-1914), 68 countries raised funds in sterling on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). With good reason: London was home to the most astute sovereign underwriters, and an ample supply of capital. Countries on the gold standard would not have to worry about exchange rate risk when they borrowed in sterling. The London market had many liquid instruments. Among them, the British government’s quasi-perpetual ‘Consol’ reigned over the largest and most liquid secondary bond market worldwide.

One unique feature of the London government bond market of the time was that it was split roughly equally between truly sovereign…

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Exhibit A: Industrial policy that protects the few at the expense of the many – Carrier keeps jobs in Indiana but on the backs of taxpayers and consumers

The Gymnasium

Image result for Carrier JObs

I just received an articlefrom the Wall Street Journalthat indicated that Carrier has agreed to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in a manufacturing plant rather than shift the employment to Mexico.Rather than celebrate this as a great example of private and public partnership and the deal-making style of Trump that successfully and benevolently puts Americans first, I am going to put a different, and perhaps unpopular, spin on this and call it what I believe it to truly be – arbitrary manipulation and industrial policy developed by government for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.

Of course, the “saving” of 1,000 jobs is a positive thing on the surface, and it will no doubt lead to declarations of success and subsequently votes for the protectionist politicians who promoted it well into the future. Less visible will be the unintended consequences and foregone opportunities of non-government…

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Two immigrants debate immigration

croaking cassandra

A month or two back, Professor George Borgas, professor of economics at the Kennedy School at Harvard and a leading researcher on the economics of immigration (and a Cuban immigrant in childhood) published a new book, We Wanted Workers: Unravelling the Immigration Narrative.  Borgas’s empirical work has led him to be somewhat sceptical of whether there are material economic gains to Americans from non-citizen immigration, and to suggest that perhaps immigration policy –  even in the US – is largely just a redistributionist policy, typically away from the more lowly-skilled Americans.  His empirical work has suggested long-term losses to these relatively low income people.

I haven’t yet read the book – much of which, I understand, is a more popular treatment of material dealt with more formally in his Immigration Economics a couple of years ago But Reason magazine –  a libertarian-oriented publication – has published a substantial and…

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Fair Trade: Does It Help Poor Workers? Normative sociology alert

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