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Fall 2017 / Volume I, Number 3
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Economics and Trade

Ricardo’s Vice and the Virtues of Industrial Diversity

There is, however, another explanation for why anti–free trade sentiment has risen: the gains from specialization at the national level were not there to share in the first place, for sound empirical reasons that were ignored in Ricardo’s example. That ignorance has been ingrained in economics since then, as Robbins’s definition—dominant and…

A Path Out of the Trade and Savings Trap

Except in Africa and South Asia, the world’s population is aging rapidly. Between 2010 and 2050 the proportion of Americans over 65 will nearly double assuming constant fertility and immigration. By 2034 the Social Security Trust Funds will be depleted. By that time there will be two Americans over 65 for every five Americans of…

Germany’s Trade Surplus: Causes and Effects

On January 25, 2015, in a free election, the Greek people exercised their right to decide the destiny of their country. A majority of the Greeks voted against austerity. SYRIZA, an outspoken left-wing party, came to power. Since that day, many European governments, led by Germany, have stubbornly refused to allow the Greek government to…

Utilitarian Economics and the Corruption of Conservatism

The Oxford English Dictionary has two definitions of the word “conservatism.” The first defines it as a “commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation”; the second defines it as “the holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.” The former definition strikes me as…

The Nation-State

Make the Left Great Again

The West is currently in the midst of an antiestablishment revolt of historic proportions. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the rejection of Matteo Renzi’s neoliberal constitutional reform in Italy, the European Union’s unprecedented crisis of legitimation—although these interrelated phenomena differ in ideology and goals, they are all rejections of the (neo)liberal order that has dominated the world, and in particular the West, for the past thirty years. Even though the system has proven capable (for the most part) of absorbing and neutralizing these electoral uprisings, there is no indication that this antiestablishment revolt is going to abate any time…

The Burdens of Belonging: Roger Scruton’s Nation-State

From his position as the dean of English conservatism, Roger Scruton explains the ideas, habits, and traditions that made the West a civilization not only of immense learning and wealth, but also one of love and mercy. A philosopher, musician, environmentalist, novelist, aesthete, and former literary smuggler in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, Scruton’s depth of learning enables…

Japan’s Eightfold Fence

For Westerners sympathetically acculturated to accepting radical multiculturalism, Japan offers an almost shocking vision of an alternate reality. As engaged as the Japanese are with the world through trade, diplomacy, study, and the like, they also live in a society that celebrates both its uniqueness and its segregation from the rest of the world. Perhaps some of that is natural to an island nation, but this feeling of detachment exists in a society whose wealth has come primarily from…

Foreign Aid

The Development-Industrial Complex

Given the stated goals of the new administration, it seems inevitable that federal spending will be significantly reduced. Add to this the specter of sweeping State Department cuts, and it also seems inevitable that we will see renewed debates around reductions in U.S. Official Development Assistance (ODA). Although these debates will be divisive, they will…

The Development Delusion: Foreign Aid and Inequality

During the last decades of the Soviet Union, technocrats in Moscow managed to prop up the failing regime by telling a story. They knew that the economy was falling apart, but they refused to admit it. Instead, they hired propagandists to convince the public that everything was still going according to plan, that the Soviet…

Reviews

The Conservation of Coercion

It was the anarchists who first told me about the Kapauku Papuans. Among the Kapauku, in West New Guinea, there was no state administration of justice; instead, both civil disputes and grave crimes were adjudicated by a caste of private citizens called tonowi. As tonowi travelled the highlands, collecting evidence, pronouncing judgement, and suggesting sentences, their reputations would spread. The wisest and most impartial tonowi were in high demand, and could command a correspondingly high price from a village for their assistance in settling a dispute. A tonowi who developed a reputation for corruption or partiality, however, would soon need to find a new line of work. Past judgements of great tonowi in difficult cases formed an evolving body of common law that helped inform new cases…

The Detached Literature of Remote Wars

In the literature of our post-9/11 wars, the circuit between the home and the field of battle has been severed. Because of that fracture, our stories have struggled to convey the novelty of contemporary combat with the depth and significance that literature demands. Most often, recent war fiction ends up collapsing into exhausted and facile…

Toward an All-American Affairs

We need to find a way forward together. By we I mean Americans, all Americans in our splendid and difficult diversity. We need new ideas, including the kinds of ideas that are being put forward on these pages. But we are no longer in the eighteenth century, when a small group of propertied white men can provide the ideas, doctrines, and laws to guide the nation…

Online Exclusives

  • The Incoherence of the Economists

    What is an economist? There is an easy answer: economists are social scientists who create simplified quantitative models of large-scale market phenomena. But they are more than that. Besides their scientific role, economists have achieved a social cachet that far exceeds what one might expect…

  • U.S. Policy towards Africa under Trump

    This paper explores the possible policy and institutional changes affecting South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) more generally that could occur during the presidency of Donald Trump. The direction that the U.S. government is likely to take after the election…

  • France 2017: The Impossible Conservative Revolution?

    France has just emerged from one of the maddest years of politics in its democratic history. It is often said that the French adore politics; but at the time of writing, the emotion that prevails at the close of legislative elections marked by a massive…

  • The Verge: Reflections on a Second Civil War

    “Are We on the Verge of Another Civil War?” So asks The Nation, in a headline for an interview with David Armitage, the Harvard historian and author of the recent book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (Knopf, 2017).  “Are We Nearing Civil War?” So…

  • Rob Ford, Donald Trump, and the New Direction of Political Polarization

    You are not a typical American. Not even close. The typical American doesn’t read lengthy articles in policy journals. The typical American gets up far too early in the morning, after too little sleep, works too hard for too long in a job that pays…

  • The Great Exhaustion: Manned Space Flight and Philosophy

    It is not difficult to imagine historians, several centuries from now, wondering how it could be that Americans, without really knowing how to do it, decided to go to the moon in eight short years. “What were they thinking?” these historians might exclaim! Their amazement…

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