The Deflationist – New Yorkerile omaselt köitev portreelugu Paul Krugmanist. Eks ta natuke hagiograafia valda kipu kuuluma, kuid seda valgustavamad on mõned süütud kirjeldused tema kolumnide valmimisest:
If he is writing his column, he will start it on the morning of the day it’s due, and, if the spirit is with him, he will be done soon after lunch. When he has a draft, he gives it to Wells to edit. Early on, she edited a lot—she had, they felt, a better sense than he did of how to communicate economics to the layperson. (She is also an economist—they met when she was a postdoc at M.I.T. and he was teaching there.) But he’s much better at that now, and these days she focusses on making him less dry, less abstract, angrier. Recently, he gave her a draft of an article he’d done for Rolling Stone. He had written, “As Obama tries to deal with the crisis, he will get no help from Republican leaders,” and after this she inserted the sentence “Worse yet, he’ll get obstruction and lies.” Where he had written that the stimulus bill would at best “mitigate the slump, not cure it,” she crossed out that phrase and substituted “somewhat soften the economic hardship that we face for the next few years.” Here and there, she suggested things for him to add. “This would be a good place to flesh out the vehement objections from the G.O.P. and bankers to nationalization,” she wrote on page 9. “Show us all their huffing and puffing before you dismiss it as nonsense in the following graf.”
Kusjuures hiljuti juhtis Tim Kane tähelepanu Krugmani jätkuvatele krutskitele, kus tegelikkus allutatakse sõnumile mõne osava lihtsustuse või valikuga. Stefan Karlsson’i tõi aga välja vastuolu Krugman’i kolumni ja õpiku vahel.
* * *
The Boy Who Heard Too Much – elas kord üks poiss, kes oli sündinud pimedana vaesesse perekonda. Tal ei olnud midagi peale kuulmise, kuid selle eest millise kuulmise:
Like a comic-book villain transformed by a tragic accident, Weigman discovered at an early age that his acute hearing gave him superpowers on the telephone. He could impersonate any voice, memorize phone numbers by the sound of the buttons and decipher the inner workings of a phone system by the frequencies and clicks on a call, which he refers to as “songs.” The knowledge enabled him to hack into cellphones, order phone lines disconnected and even tap home phones. “Man, it felt pretty powerful for a little kid,” he says. “Anyone said something bad about me, and I’d press a button, and I’d get them.”
Lugu läheb siit ainult paremaks. See pärl pärineb Conor Friedersdorf’i postitusest The Best of Journalism (2009). Väärib kiikamist.
* * *
How slums can save the planet – üks kaugemale vaatav artikkel linnastumisest, mille erinevat väidete üle võib vaielda, kuid mis on kaasahaarava visiooniga:
Instead of just compiling numbers and filtering them through theory, researchers hung out in the slums and talked to people. They came back with an unexpected observation: “Cities are so much more successful in promoting new forms of income generation, and it is so much cheaper to provide services in urban areas, that some experts have actually suggested that the only realistic poverty reduction strategy is to get as many people as possible to move to the city.”
Eesti jaoks võiks siit samuti teha järelduse: maapiirkondade tulevik on suuremates linnades mitte suuremates regionaalarengu toetustes.
* * *
Ten Russian Propositions (PDF) – Inglismaa endine suursaadik Venemaale on kirja pannud kümme punkti arengutest Venemaal, millega on mõistlik kursis olla, kuid ta ei häbene tegemast ka järeldusi:
Outsiders would do well to consider that Russians have long memories, particularly regarding Western behaviour. Compromising our values or passing them over in silence is dangerous. The EU is seen as weak, even hypocritical, because it has shown itself desperate to please. Western companies as well as governments need to be careful to speak to more than just those currently in power and to calibrate their messages to the reality of different Russian audiences. Failure to do so will be seen as acknowledgement that they are in hock to the present regime.
* * *
How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America – pikem lugu töötuse tagajärgedest erinevatele ühiskonna gruppidele, kuid erilise tähelepanu osakas saavad noored, keskealised mehed ja naised, kes moodustavad peatselt USA – esimest korda riigi ajaloos – üle 50% hõivatud tööjõust. Muidu kaasahaaravast (kuigi natuke depressiivsest) artiklist võib aga leida väiteid, mis oleks väärinud natuke tagasihoidlikumat sõnastust:
One big reason that the economy stabilized last summer and fall is the stimulus; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that without the stimulus, growth would have been anywhere from 1.2 to 3.2 percentage points lower in the third quarter of 2009. The stimulus will continue to trickle into the economy for the next couple of years, but as a concentrated force, it’s largely spent. Christina Romer, the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said last fall, “By mid-2010, fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to further growth,” adding that she didn’t expect unemployment to fall significantly until 2011. That prediction has since been echoed, more or less, by the Federal Reserve and Goldman Sachs.
David Leonhardt kirjutas mõni aeg tagasi New York Times’is, miks USA fiskaalpoliitilisi samme on põhjust edukaks pidada, kuid seda arvamust ei jaga kaugeltki kõik. Philip Levy tõi välja selle, mida Leonhardt ei pidanud mainimise vääriliseks.
* * *
Ja lõpetuseks City Journalist kaks artiklit. Theodor Darlymple’ lahkab J. K. Galbright’i pärandit:
Galbraith’s thinking about social and economic matters was always de haut en bas; his solutions emerged from the Olympian heights of his own ratiocination, to be applied to the clueless multitudes below. (No doubt his own great height, over 6 foot 8, accustomed him to looking down on people.) His literary style is symptomatic of his attitude, a true case of the style being the man himself. Hundreds of times, he uses question-begging locutions that intimidate with their orotund grandeur. I open a book of his at random and find the following: “The controlling fact is”; “This trade-off is present in all accepted thought”; “Nor should one wish otherwise”; “It has now been adequately urged”; “This is not a matter of choice; it is the modern imperative”; “It would, of course, be a serious error”; “This has long been recognized”; “All of this is to be welcomed”; “The lesson is clear”; “The solution is not difficult; it has the advantage of inevitability.” The cumulative effect is to intimidate those who believe themselves not well enough informed to contradict so high an authority.
Peter Sloterdijk on sukeldunud poleemilisematesse vetesse kirjeldades demokraatliku ühiskonna korraldust kui kõige tootlikumate kodanike röövimist:
In an earlier day, the rich lived at the expense of the poor, directly and unequivocally; in a modern economy, unproductive citizens increasingly live at the expense of productive ones—though in an equivocal way, since they are told, and believe, that they are disadvantaged and deserve more still. Today, in fact, a good half of the population of every modern nation is made up of people with little or no income, who are exempt from taxes and live, to a large extent, off the other half of the population, which pays taxes. If such a situation were to be radicalized, it could give rise to massive social conflict. The eminently plausible free-market thesis of exploitation by the unproductive would then have prevailed over the much less promising socialist thesis of the exploitation of labor by capital. This reversal would imply the coming of a post-democratic age.
Categorised as: ...