Friday, June 28, 2002

Review of the Economist-6/27/02 Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

Review of the Economist-6/27/02 I'm going to start a semi-regular (meaning if I have too much work, forget it) feature where I highlight what I feel is an interesting piece in each section of the The Economist after it comes out online (print edition) on Thursday. [Also-if you like The Economist-I highly recommend the The Financial Times] So here it goes. Leaders-Could be worse, could be better is a piece about Hong Kong six years after the transfer to China. It seems to be trying to put a smiley face on the fact that the thuggish Chinese autocrats haven't meddled too much in the profit-making sector of the Hong Kong lifestyle-and yet who can neglect the fact that there has been a chill in the air in Hong Kong the past few years? I read all articles that I can get my hands on about China because if history is any guide-China will attempt to rise out of the the previous inter-dynastic period and reclaim its position as the "The Middle Kingdom"-the preeminent power on the face of the earth. What will we do when asked to give our pound of soil in submission to the new Mandate of Heaven? Special Report-Happy days are here again is a stock story on Israeli politics. I'll just quote to give a flavor....
America's game-plan, according to Israeli intelligence sources, is to engineer Mr Arafat's elevation to a ceremonial role while power shifts to younger people. Some of these would be drawn from the familiar faces that now surround him. Others would come from the lesser-known municipal leaders, and from the swelling ranks of detainees in Israeli jails.
Britain-Who gains from immigration? is a surprisingly immigration unfriendly article from the normally pro-immigration magazine. The gist? There might be a slight benefit from the current immigrants economically. But does that take into account long term problems with assimilation and negative costs that might accrue from a Balkanized society? Don't think so. Europe-Between two worlds examines the situation of Kaliningrad, Kant's old Konigsberg. A lover of the obscure, I find Kaliningrad fascinating, caught as it is between the drab brutality of Mother Russia and the bright lights of the West. The article does mention that some citizens want to create a fourth Baltic republic. Pipe dreams to be sure-but I suspect that the other Baltic states will make sure that Russia clamps down on this sort of talk-they have big Russian populations who might look to an independent Baltic Russian Republic as a patron (granted they look to the Russian Federation already-but obviously they are not a major concern). United States-The McAuliffe effect tells the tale of the Democratic Prince of Darkness. Be afraid-be very afraid. The numbers have always been on the side of the Democrats-Terence McAuliffe can mobilize them. Let every elephant shudder in the land.... The Americans-To bless, or not to bless? is about gay unions and dissent in the Anglican communion in Canada. I just added this so I could insert this line: would The Economist care if most of their graduates weren't from Oxford (and yeah, probably gay)? Middle East & Africa-From breadbasket to basket case is a story about the insanity in Zimbabwe. This proves that race trumps survival-the country is in famine but the white farmers are told to stop work for political reasons. Not that the white farmers are totally guiltless, they're pretty racist from what I've heard from a friend of mine in college who was Shona. But bigotry is no defense against murder and theft. Asia-Marching on is a positive review of the current government in India's economic policies. Interesting statistic though-India's growth has been service driven, not manufacturing. This makes it less vulnerable perhaps to export related issues (services obviously don't have inventory overhang)-but is creating a bifurcated society without an urban proletariat to mediate between the service class and their rural past. Business-Lip sink is a short blurb on poor Vivendi-Universal. The 90s really are over-but the French were the last to find out apparently. Finance-Novelty knocks discusses the rising Euro in terms of valuation with the dollar. Well-I guess that nice exchange rate for the European vacation is gone. On a positive note-I guess my friend's Finnish friend that's coming to visit might have more cash to spend on her vacation here. Science & Technology-Pebble dashed is probably aimed at the French-who for all their general stupidity are OK with nuclear (but they want their cheese to be filthy!). A really long article for of all things a fission reactor? Seems fusion is what would catch people's attention. But pretty neat nonetheless. Books & Arts-Fear and loathing is about Oriana Fallaci's diatribe against Islam. I'm generally OK with diatribes against Islam-but from the quotes in the story she seems a bit unhinged. But I looked up her picture and she was rather fine when young-so I guess it's all good. That's all for this week. By the way, if you get a subscription, you've got access to their rather large data collection on various countries-though some of the special stuff you still have to pay for.