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Summer 2021 / Volume V, Number 2
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New Policy Models

China’s Attempt to Avoid the American Tech Monopoly Trap

One of the great paradoxes of recent economic history is how little the information technology sector has contributed to overall productivity. Economist Raicho Bojilov examined total factor productivity across the major industrial economies from the 1970s to the present and observed: Somewhat surprisingly, we do not witness, even with a lag, a major pickup in the productivity growth in other industries that are directly and indirectly connected to the IT industry. One would expect that if the IT industry were the engine of the US economy that generates the products, technologies, and techniques of the future, then the other industries would even­tually experience a jump in productivity rates to levels…

The Rise of Carry and Macroeconomic Risk

For most of the twentieth century, the neoclassical synthesis in economics was generally believed to provide a solid basis for public policy. There were, nonetheless, significant dissenters. Hyman Minsky, for instance, wrote that “modern orthodox economics is not and cannot be a basis for a serious approach to economic policy…

Immigration and Citizenship: The Canadian Model and the American Dream

Like the Trump administration before it, the Biden administration entered office with big plans for immigration reform. As of this writing, the proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 sits in the House Judiciary Committee. It is too early to tell what will ultimately become of this attempt to resolve one of the most controversial issues…

The End of the End of History

The Brazilianization of the World

The West’s involution finds its mirror image in the original coun­try of the future, the nation doomed forever to remain the country of the future, the one that never reaches its destination: Brazil. The Brazilianization of the world is our encounter with a future denied, and in which this frustration has become constitutive of our social reality. While the closing of historical horizons has often been a leftist, indeed Marxist, concern, the sense that things don’t work as they should is now widely shared across the political spectrum. Welcome to Brazil. Here the only people satisfied with their situation are financial elites and venal politicians. Everyone complains, but everyone shrugs their shoulders. This slow degradation of society is not so much a runaway train, but more of a jittery rollercoaster, occasionally holding out promise of ascent, yet never break­ing free from the tracks. We always come back to where we started, shaken and disoriented, haunted by what might have been…

The Eternal Return of “Technical Government” in Italy

Several commentators have taken Trump’s departure from office to mean that the so-called populist tide is ebbing and that we are witnessing the return to a pre-2016 “old normal.” In fact, Joe Biden’s cam­paign implicitly—and sometimes explicitly—promised the resto­ration of Obama-era technocracy, returning the reins of power to the “experts,” as seen in his choice…

Understanding Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism has long been viewed as undesirable in the Western world because it represents the “wrong” values and is a political system completely incompatible with Western liberal demo­cracy. For several decades, it was assumed that authoritarian systems would eventually collapse. This liberal democratic, media-driven view of authoritarianism, however, does little to help us understand how authoritarian governments function and why they persist…

The Montesquieu of Montreal and the Decline of the American Empire

Back in the mid-2000s, right around the time of America’s second conflict with Saddam Hussein, the idea of the decline of America (or of the West) began to resurface in political discourse. While most commentators still spoke of America as an “indispensable nation” in the midst of a “unipolar moment,” keen observers suspected that the…

Presidential Apprentice: Reality TV and Performance Legitimacy

Some, perhaps Donald Trump himself, saw the Trump campaign as an infotainment experiment from the beginning. Others, especially his most passionate critics and fans, still resist this conclusion. Re­gardless, there is an analytical utility to viewing the Trump presidency as a multi-season television series called Presidential Apprentice, an extension…

Shaping the Information Environment

The Myth of Internet Exceptionalism: Bringing Section 230 into the Real World

As it turns out, the internet is not that exceptional after all. It may be one of the greatest inventions since the printing press, as the cliché goes, and it has unquestionably revolutionized communication and commerce. But as David Pierce observed in Protocol shortly after the January 6 Capitol riot, “Everything is IRL” now. “[T]he…

The Terrain of Discourse

It says something about Donald Trump’s presidency that it is difficult to distinguish his final days in office from his final days on social media. He was the tweeting president, the man of all-caps missives who battled mainstream media and communicated directly, often wildly, to the public through social media. Whatever one thinks of Trump…

Bipartisan Blind Spots

Does Populism Matter?

The surprising success of the Trump 2020 campaign in the face of unprecedented circumstances poses some thorny questions: Did any of his “populist” promises in 2016 actually matter? Where was the discussion of mass immigration, his trade war with China, declaring peace with the social welfare state, and using the pandemic economic response…

Planet of the Grifters

The word “grifter” seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue today. On the left, grifters are identified and called out with ever-increasing paranoia. On the right, the term is thrown around with almost equal ease, and often with good cause. The grifter is a threat to every movement; he lurks in every shadow.…

How We Forgot Foucault

Late last year, British trade minister Liz Truss caused a stir with a speech that pinned the failures of the British education system on “postmodernist philosophy,” which, she said, “puts societal power structures and labels ahead of individuals and their endeavours.” Due to the influence of such views, she went on, students learn about racism…

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