Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

Severing Community from Geography

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The traditional conception of democratic citizenship roots itself in a specific polity, and will for the foreseeable future.  Disparate political communities, each with their own form of governance and view of the human good, do not serve as a deterrent to virtuous citizenship, but in some cases serves as a boon for good citizenship.  Most people believe in national identity and attachment to it as both inevitable and desirable.  Few and far between are cosmopolitans—at least outside of the halls of liberal academia—who bemoan particularistic and provincial attachment to nation, state, or local space.  “For the vast majority of human beings,” Leon Kass writes, “life…is lived parochially and locally, embedded in a web of human relations, institutions, culture, and mores that define us and—whether we know it or not—give shape, character, and meaning to our lives.”  This idea of citizenship and its connection to community is alive and well. Read the rest of this entry »

“Exorbitant Privilege:” The Future of the US Dollar

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Michael Crittenden and Barry Eichengreen had a fascinating debate over the future of the US dollar in last week’s edition of the Wall Street JournalCrittenden avers that the dollar, despite talk to the contrary, will remain the global reserve currency because nothing presents itself as a legitimate alternative to the dollar at this point.  However, the US will experience diminishing returns for the status of the dollar.  On the contrary, Eichengreen posits that the US dollar will lose its global reserve status due to long-term deficits and competition from China’s renminbi and the Euro. Read the rest of this entry »

The Importance of Institutions: Analyzing the Egyptian Case

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The Middle East, from the Persian Gulf to the Maghreb, is currently in the throes of revolution.  Western journalists, in my opinion, suffering from myopia, are celebrating these revolutions as “the next 1989,” a series of revolutions that overthrew the political order in an entire region—the Eastern Bloc—and created a new world order in its place.  Let us examine this claim, with an eye toward institutions. Read the rest of this entry »

Sources of Bureaucratic Legitimacy, Part II

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In part I, I argued that Max Weber’s “sociology of legitimacy” helps us understand the authority claims of modern bureaucracies.  Weber argues that authority generates itself by social construction founded upon universally accepted norms and beliefs.  This culminates in three main forms of legitimacy—traditional, charismatic, and legal authority—and corresponds best to affective and rational social action.  However, Weber’s theory is insufficient to explain how legitimacy pervades the public consciousness, becoming part of an intersubjectively or interdependently shared structure of public beliefs. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ryancberg

December 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Dependence on Government

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Emily Maltby writes an article today detailing some of the challenges small companies have in obtaining Federal contracts. The last two paragraphs worry me:

“Mr. Lebolo, however, is shifting his firm’s strategy to primarily focus on government work. “I made a determination to look hard into the federal market because it was the only place with money,” he says.

“He says he’s not frustrated by the relatively small price tag of his first government assignment. Now that the process of landing a contract is behind him, he says there is no going back to commercial construction. He hopes to grow and begin hiring again by the end of this year. “This is a long-term decision,” he says.”

When the government becomes the sole or dominant market for several sectors in the economy, what will happen? Will that prove beneficial to the economy? Will that situation increase or decrease innovation? Will it stimulate creative solutions to business and human problems?

I’ll have more to say about these questions, and this increasing trend of reliance on government for business’s economic well-being. But I don’t think it bodes well for the economy, creativity, innovation or America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Written by Russell S.

April 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Tamny on the Yuan, Trade and Policy

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As usual, John Tamny writes an excellent analysis of the Chinese yuan issue. A must-read this weekend.

Written by Russell S.

April 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Globalization, Trade

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Toyota’s Plan to Repair Its Public Image

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In today’s Washington Post, Toyoda Akio, Toyota’s president, promises a number of changes and improvements to its car manufacturing processes and safety. Toyota has faced widespread criticism of its safety defects, and especially of its response. Unfortunately, Mr. Akio’s op-ed will not likely blunt this criticism. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

February 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm