Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

End of crypto summer in Bali islands

September 6, 2022

Harry Jacques in IMF’s Finance and Development magazine;

The Indonesian island became a base for crypto entrepreneurs, but few priced in the crypto winter.

Many cryptocurrency speculators with an instinct for arbitrage were drawn to the possibilities of Bali’s crypto summer, with high-end amenities at far lower cost than in San Francisco or Singapore.

Few appeared to have priced in the emergence of a crypto winter—Bitcoin fell from an all-time-high above $68,000 in November 2021 to below $20,000 in June as some exchanges paused withdrawals and alternative assets collapsed.

Charles Kindleberger who wrote the famous book manias, panics and crashes would have said told ya! Human hubris and follies never cease to surprise.

Corporations under autocracy: Lessons from Russian and German history

August 23, 2022

Caroline Fohlin  and Amanda Gregg in this voxeu piece:

Political institutions have important implications for economic growth. One key channel is through the impact on industrial activity. This column compares the impact of political institutions in Germany and Russia on corporations pre-WW1 to isolate the impact of political and economic openness, as the two countries were similar in other characteristics such as their autocratic political regimes, civil law legal systems, and their late industrialisation. Russia corporations faced greater barriers to entry, which resulted in fewer corporations, and greater reliance on bank debt, due to weaker development of Russian financial markets.

What Happens when Big Brother Meets Big Tech

July 29, 2022

Lynn Parramore of INET interviews University of Tennessee law professor Maurice Stucke who has has been critical as tech firms have grown into giant “data-opolies” profiting from surveillance and manipulation. He warns that legislative inaction and wider government complicity in this surveillance are eroding fundamental rights to privacy along with the ability of federal agencies to regulate Big Tech.

Lynn Parramore: Concern over privacy is increasing right now, with people worrying about different aspects of the concept. Can you say a bit about what privacy means in a legal context? With the digital revolution, privacy obviously means something different than it did 50 years ago.

MS: Yes, privacy is not a single unitary concept. There are different strands. There’s bodily privacy and decisional privacy – the right to make important decisions about one’s life, like whether to have a child or not, without governmental interference. Within the bucket of decisional privacy would also be marriage, contraception, and things of that nature. There’s intellectual privacy (such as what one reads, watches, or thinks) and associational privacy (such as the freedom to choose with whom one associates). Informational privacy is another strand, where you can control your personal information, including the purpose for which it is used.

There used to be the idea that data protection and privacy are fundamental human rights.

Numerous supporters of privacy rights have argued that U.S. Constitution should protect an individual’s right to control his or her personal information. One of the earlier Supreme Court cases involving informational privacy tested that belief. New York passed a law requiring doctors to disclose to the government their patients’ name, age, and address when they were prescribed certain drugs. All of this information was collected in a database in New York. A group of patients and their prescribing doctors challenged the law, contending that it invaded their constitutionally-protected privacy interests. The case was decided in 1977 — before the Internet and cloud computing. The Supreme Court, however, did not perceive any threat to privacy implicit in the accumulation of vast amounts of personal information in computerized data banks or other massive government files. The Court instead noted how the mainframe computer storing the data was isolated, not connected to anything else. Today, the data are not collected and maintained on some isolated mainframe. A torrent of data is being collected about us that we may not even have thought about. When you go to purchase gas at the local station, for example, you may not think of the privacy implications of that transaction. But there are powerful entities that collect vast reservoirs of first-party data from customers, and also sources that are reselling it, like the data brokers.

Congress, unlike the Supreme Court, recognized in the 1970s that the privacy of an individual is directly affected by the government’s collection, use, and dissemination of personal information and that the government’s increasing use of computers and sophisticated information technology has greatly magnified the harm to individual privacy. The preamble of the Privacy Act of 1974, enacted by Congress, states that privacy is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. It was a landmark law in seeking to provide individuals greater control over their personal data in government files.

But the Supreme Court, on two occasions when it had the opportunity, declined to hold that the Constitution protects informational privacy as a personal and fundamental right. A majority of the justices just punted. They said that even if one assumed that such a right existed, it did not prevent the government from collecting the information it sought in both cases. Justices Scalia and Thomas were blunter in their concurring opinion: they simply argued that there is no constitutional right to informational privacy.

 

MC Explains | India does not face an external debt crisis

July 14, 2022

There have been media reports over possibility of India facing an external debt crisis.

My explainer in moneycontrol on external debt in general and whether India faces a external debt crisis.

Scottish Enlightenment vs. Irish Enlightenment

July 4, 2022

In an earlier post Tyler Cowen had written on Irish economics and economists.

He follows up with a post on Irish enlightenment and compares it with Scottish enlightenment:

The Scottish Enlightenment seems like a real enlightenment to most observers, the 18th century Irish Enlightenment (Swift, Berkeley, Burke, toss in James Barry too) does not.  In my admittedly unorthodox view, I think the Irish Enlightenment simply had different concerns but was no less of an enlightenment.  Much of the Scottish Enlightenment was concerned with the following:

1. Increasing market size and division of labor

2. Martial virtue and security against foreign enemies

3. Sympathy

That all makes broad sense when you realize that Britain was indeed building the world’s largest economic market, and furthermore had to worry about its enemies on the Continent.  Regular social interactions were becoming normal enough that one could ask basic questions about sympathy, and assume that some degree of sympathy was present.

None of those conditions held true for Ireland.  Market size was small, and external market relations typically were controlled by the British.  As for military issues, Britain could dominate you in any case, so martial virtue was of secondary import, at least until later civil wars.  And sympathy was not to be assumed at all, for reasons of religious, political, and class prejudice.

My “standing on one foot” version of the Irish Enlightenment would be a concern with:

1. Is toleration at all possible?  Toleration needed before sympathy!

2. Can we expect there to be progress at all?  James Barry argues for the universality of progress, but Swift doubts whether moral progress is likely.  Burke wishes to take progress in baby steps.  Berkeley is skeptical altogether.  If you are ruled by the Brits, the richest society to date, but they are still bastards to you, maybe you will be more skeptical about moral progress.

3. A sense of terror from difference, as mirrored both in Burke’s aesthetics of the sublime and the voyages in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.  Everyone is running around deeply afraid of “the other,” and this concern surfaces also in Burke’s fears for the French aristocrats.  The enthusiasms of the French revolutionaries reminded Burke all too much of the earlier Irish civil wars and rebellions and massacres, even though in both cases he knew the privileges of the nobles were not deserved.  Swift is consistently asking whether one culture can understand the other at all.

…..

Overall, the Irish Enlightenment wasn’t nearly as optimistic as its Scottish counterpart.  But it was far more mindful of the perspective of the victim, presaging more modern developments.  And later in the 19th century, the Irish Enlightenment turned its attention to themes of depopulation and excessively high land rents, both extremely relevant to current times as well…

The Irish Enlightenment is, dare I say, underrated?

  Hmm…

A review of undergraduate economics curriculum in India:

June 22, 2022

Rethinking Economics India has released its review of UG economics curriculum in India.

Summary:

The report shows that the undergraduate curriculum of Economics is falling short of students’ needs or expectations. Both microeconomics and macroeconomics are grounded in neoclassical interpretations of economic theory, barring a few exceptions. A dearth of readings and authors from India and countries of the Global South, as well as female authors, is largely prevalent combined with a lack of more recently published texts. Economic methodologies are predominantly based in quantitative components with less focus on application based approaches and lack qualitative elements.

While every one of the drawbacks of the extant curriculum structure potentially represents an opportunity that could promote curriculum
change for the better, we must keep in mind that universities as decision makers are constrained. The ‘rules of the game’, that is, the regulatory governance framework may act as a significant constraint to the autonomy of individual departments to structure or restructure their curricula. Questions pertaining to the governance of universities in India are outside the scope of this report. However, they do constitute an area of future research.

Very useful review..

Nobel endevours with Nobel laureates

June 15, 2022

Superb set of questions to Nobel laureates and enriching answers from including two from economics David Card and Angus Deaton (HT: Ashish Kulkarni of Everydayecon blog).  There are lessons in humility too.

This one by Angus Deaton is gold:

Q: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman once said ‘If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ As people who’ve never professed to understand quantum mechanics, The Fence find this statement quite presumptuous, but decided we’d ask some of the world’s biggest boffins how much they do or don’t know about their jobs, life and everything else besides.

profangus deaton (economics, 2015)

For me, macroeconomics is like quantum mechanics. Though it is not just me. It changes shape all of the time, and I have done economics long enough to see what is true – and what is not true – change places over and over again. Slightly differently, there is an idea in statistics, used also in economics, called ‘regression to the mean’. Ask any economist or statistician if they understand it, and they will all say yes, of course. But the great statistician David Freedman used to say of testifying in court that whoever has to explain ‘regression to the mean’ to the judge has thereby lost the case. As an example, suppose poorer countries always grow faster than richer countries. So their income must get closer together over time? No, not necessarily. That is an example of ‘regression to the mean’  sowing confusion.

🙂

 

Why India needs a Fiscal Council?

June 8, 2022

Lekha Chakraborty of NIPFP and Emmanuel Thomas of JNU in this blogpost reiterate a long standing demand of economists: Need for a Fiscal Council in India:

…an earlier than expected fiscal normalisation process by drastically curbing public debt can affect growth recovery. So strengthening the credibility of fiscal policy is significant to ensure fiscal marksmanship. ‘Communication’ of the medium-term fiscal framework by providing the roadmap to reduce the public debt is important to gain investors’ confidence. Fiscal transparency and accountability need to be ensured to create room for market confidence in a high public debt regime. Constituting a Fiscal Council in India is therefore crucial at this juncture to analyse the fiscal risks and to formulate post-pandemic fiscal strategies to ensure fiscal credibility in times of geopolitical uncertainties. 

‘People should be more aware’: the business dynasties who benefited from Nazis

May 18, 2022

A new book has been released which looks at some companies which benefited from Nazi connections.

TheGuardian profiles the book and the author:

Colonial and Confederate statues toppled. Looted objects returned by contrite museums. Tainted family names such as Sackler expunged from buildings. A worldwide reckoning with the past crimes of great powers is under way. But is there a glaring omission?

A new book, Nazi Billionaires, investigates how Germany’s richest business dynasties made fortunes by aiding and abetting Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. It also examines how, eight decades later, they still escape close scrutiny and a nation that has done so much to confront its catastrophic past still suffers a very particular blind spot.

“What struck me was this is a country that’s so cognisant of its history in many ways but seemingly the most economically powerful actors do not engage with that,” says author David de Jong, a 35-year-old Dutchman. “That was the reason why I wrote the book. It’s an argument in favour of historical transparency.”

The former reporter for Bloomberg News examines German companies that own beer brewers and wine producers as well as famous US brands such as Krispy Kreme and Pret A Manger. But he casts an especially harsh light on car makers led by household names such as BMW and Porsche, which powered the postwar economic miracle and contribute about a 10th of the nation’s gross domestic product.

 

How Economics Found Science …and Lost its Subject Matter

May 18, 2022

Nicholas Gruen in this INET article questions the often quoted trade off between efficiency and equality by economics:

My point has simply been to show one theoretical framing of the relationship between efficiency and equality that proceeds from careful, critical observation of and abstraction from reality. If this is well-judged, our understanding of reality improves as do our prospects of improving it. The textbook approach couldn’t be more different. Turns out that it is metaphysical fairy-floss. The “efficiency-equality” trade-off exists as a particular case of the general one that if you wish to achieve one thing, doing something else could get in your way. That applies whether the things in question are apples, oranges, efficiency, spelling prowess, bananas, Nobel Prizes, stop signs, or fortune cookies. Oh — I nearly forgot — and equality. Who knew?

Disciplines like economics can be worse than useless without proper attention to what Mary Midgely called their ‘philosophical plumbing’ — the way their organizing ideas are brought into relation to get us closer to reality — like the philosophical plumbing I’ve offered in this essay. Without it, the ideas and techniques economists use are unmoored from any wider accountability for actually helping us understand the world. Yet that kind of close-grained reflectiveness about the way ideas are used in situ is completely absent, both from learned journal literature and from the core economics curriculum. (Indeed, in my experience, it barely makes its way into the “philosophy/methodology of economics” literature and pedagogy preoccupied as they have been with various more ponderous set pieces — for instance, Popper’s falsificationism and Milton Friedman’s call to judge theory by the quality of its predictions rather than the realism of its assumptions).

Finally, note how frequently the kind of thinking I’ve been critiquing in this essay perpetrates the fallacy of the excluded middle — and how much damage this has done to the fabric of economic and political debate, and therefore to our economy and polity. Thus, Friedrich Hayek compellingly demonstrated the impracticability of managing a complex economy entirely from the center. But he took this demonstration of the impracticality of one extreme to justify a lurch towards the other and the general principle that less government was in principle preferable to more. This piece of motivated impatience in going from arguments to practical conclusions — so typical of intellectuals — was a spectacular non-sequitur from which many economists have still not freed themselves and from which the world has still not recovered.

 

As Russia-Ukraine war rages on, remembering Andha Yug by Dharamvir Bharti

April 22, 2022

It is so sad and tragic to see pictures/videos of Russia-Ukraine war killing hapless people and spreading misery.

The war images made me remember the landmark play – Andha Yug – by Dharamvir Bharti. The play is based on the aftermath of the Mahabharata War.  Despite different geographies and contexts, the main lesson that wars should be avoided at all costs is not lost. Yet humans find and invent reasons to fight wars.

One can even watch the play on youtube.

100 years of BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

April 11, 2022

The year 2022 marks 100 years of the British icon.  BBC has put up a digital archive to commemorate the occasion.

 

The End of a Political Model in Uttar Pradesh

April 8, 2022

Gilles Verniers of Ashoka University writes in the TheIndiaForum on the shocking decline of Bahujan Samajwadi Party:

In a recent press conference at which Mayawati explained the causes of the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) defeat in the Uttar Pradesh elections, she blamed her supporters for deserting her and her candidates. She also blamed the Samajwadi Party (SP) for attracting the BSP’s Muslim voters, which, according to her, led to a Hindu consolidation behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This is not the first time that Mayawati has blamed voters for her electoral setbacks. In 2012, she criticised Muslim voters for supposedly causing her defeat by supporting the SP. Beyond pointing out the obvious lack of grace in defeat and keeping in mind that in a democracy, voters are free to vote for whomsoever they choose, it is worth wondering why so many voters deserted the BSP in the 2022 UP election.

There is a larger message for UP electoral politics that can be learnt from the decline of the BSP in UP. This is the decline of a particular way of doing politics that the BSP has been practising so far: of consolidating a core electoral base, and relying on fragmentation and vote bank transferability to win seats. The BJP, which emulated the BSP and SP’s winning formulas of 2007 and 2012, has come to understand that a campaign simply based on the mobilisation of narrow segments of the electorate is doomed to fail.

 

Thomas Bata on Sri Lanka from 1940s to 1980s

April 4, 2022

I had earlier reviewed a fascinating book on history of Bata shoes, written by Thomas Bata, son of the founder of Bata company.

In the book he writes on Sri Lanka:

At that time, the only oasis of peace in the area was Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was called before decolonization. When I first went there in the late 1940s, it was a Shangri- la full of smiling people, ambling elephants and king coconuts with delicious milk to quench one’s thirst. Almost in defiance of the horrors that were raging all around it, Ceylon was an island of tranquility and racial tolerance. Forty years later the Indian subcontinent, along with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia all enjoy peace and varying degrees of prosperity, and our enterprises in these countries are among the strongest pillars of the Bata organization.

But in poor Sri Lanka, racial hatred has destroyed a model community and put an end, in most instances , to goodwill among people. I say in most instances because some of our employees have been nothing short of heroic in risking their lives to shelter their Tamil or Sinhalese co -workers. Unfortunately they couldn’t save them all.

None of us has a crystal ball to tell us what the future may bring, and entrepreneurs who aren’t willing to ride out occasional storms had better not venture beyond their home turf. But let us remember that, regardless of political upheaval and even bloodshed, people still have to earn a living. Even while Western news media were inundating us with pictures of massacres and civil war, ordinary citizens in Bangladesh, Malaysia and more recently Sri Lanka continued to go to work and collect their wages.

So nicely said. It is so sad how SL has moved an island of tranquility to civil war and now an economic crisis. The last lines (empasis is mine) rings true each time leaders push war on people…

US Presidents as economic managers

April 1, 2022

Brian Riedl in National Affairs:

Purely partisan narratives are often wrong; the familiar cliché that the economy is stronger when Democrats are elected president is no exception. Pointing to a simple correlation over a small number of presidential terms to assert that Democratic presidents are better stewards of the economy is as lazy as assuming that Democrats are worse on foreign policy because the vast majority of post-1865 war casualties have occurred on their watch.

In exploring the question of partisan differences in presidential management of the economy, it is important to emphasize the small degree of control federal policymakers really have in this arena. The U.S. economy is a $23 trillion machine powered by 330 million Americans and influenced by billions of people around the world. The effect of most federal policies on short-term economic performance is, at best, marginal.

What’s more, presidents do not control the business cycle, even if the business cycle plays a part in the outcomes of presidential elections. Since 1990, their economic records have instead been dominated by four events: the 1990-1991 recession, the late-1990s bubble bursting, the 2007-2008 housing crash, and the 2020 pandemic. None of these events was fundamentally a function of presidential policy, yet all four occurred at times that fed the perception that Democrats bring better economic news than Republicans. With the pandemic economy sure to recede, President Biden is set to become the next beneficiary of this accident of timing.

Ultimately, the notion that there is a simple partisan pattern to the health of the economy is an extension of the exaggerated politicization of our understanding of contemporary American life. Presidents are chief executives of the federal government; they are not masters of the universe. They can play a role in setting the direction of public policy, and can shape how our government responds to events. In short, presidents matter, but partisan narratives are no substitute for economic analysis.

How technology for investment tips is changing: From bulk SMSes to Social Media platforms

March 11, 2022

In 2020, SEBI had cautioned investors against taking tips on social media platforms.

On 11 March 2022, SEBI has carried out search and seizure operation at the premises of  individuals and 1 corporate entity. These people were passing stock tips to investors using social media platforms.

SEBI says changing technologies are enabling investment tips. Earlier bulk smses were used for passing investment tips. SEBI collaborated with TRAI to act on such bulk smses. Now SEBI says: “the perpetrators of such frauds are now adopting new methods and technologies to defraud the investors”. 

Hmm..

 

 

 

 

Why did Tamil merchants build Hindu temples in China? Answer lies in commerce

March 10, 2022

Anirudh Kanisetti author of Lords of the Deccan in this article in ThePrint:

The history of the Indian Ocean is one of extraordinary drama, full of violence and cultural innovation, greed and loss. What repeatedly emerges over time is that its peoples had a sophisticated understanding of each others’ courts, cultures, religions; they developed long-term commercial strategies spanning thousands of kilometres, all of which unfolded through diplomacy and gift exchange. These medieval peoples have much to teach us about creating respectful, deeply-involved trading policies in the 21st century as well as the possible risks of mercantile, military and political power coming together.

Select economists on Ukraine crisis

March 3, 2022

Peterson Institute economists on the Ukraine crisis:

With the situation in Ukraine changing rapidly, we decided to ask PIIE senior fellows for their thoughts. Below are their responses, edited lightly for clarity.

What has surprised you most about the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Martin Chorzempa: The US has struggled for years to get allies on board with controls on China, but there has been a surprising degree of consensus about cutting off Russia’s access to high technology products through export controls, not only from the US and EU, but countries like Japan and Korea. The coordination here has both made the controls much more likely to be effective than unilateral action and created a foundation for new export controls that will likely be aimed next at China.

Monica de Bolle: The rapid, concerted, and unprecedented measures taken against the Central Bank of Russia—freezing assets, liabilities, and all possible transactions. The action is draconian and prevents the central bank from intervening in currency markets to prop up the ruble or even in stemming bank runs if the population wishes to exchange their ruble deposits for hard currency. I was also surprised by the coordination aspect of this measure, with all major central banks participating. Such coordination and multilateral cooperation have not been seen for a long time, and that was probably one of the reasons the action may have caught Putin completely off guard.

Jason Furman: I learned that extremely competent macroeconomic management—which Russia has had for over two decades now—is no match for a powerful and well-coordinated effort on the part of much of the global economy to punish a country economically. When even Switzerland is joining in, a country must know it has done something epically bad and cannot do much to shield itself from the economic consequences.

Patrick Honohan: First, the sharp change in German military spending plans (though these will have no immediate impact on the ground). Second, strange sequencing of very leaky financial sanctions. (Why so slow with high profile cut off of SWIFT [the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the global cooperative that facilitates international financial transactions]; why so many banks not yet excluded; why emphasize the central bank?) By the way, it occurs to me that the central bank may not be displeased with the sanctioning to the extent that it may help distance them from much that will happen in Russian government action over the next weeks: They can just say “we can’t because we are blocked.” If/when there is regime change, they may exit with cleaner hands than would otherwise be possible.

Gary Clyde Hufbauer: If President Biden and European leaders had declared, in advance, in public, and in detail, the harsh and pathbreaking sanctions now imposed on Russia, Putin might have reconsidered. But advanced threats were fuzzy and deterrence failed, possibly because Putin grossly underestimated the punishment his invasion would evoke.

Mary E. Lovely: We learned this week that an information bubble surrounds not only Vladimir Putin, but also Xi Jinping. Whether he knew that Russia would invade Ukraine or not, and despite US intelligence warnings, China seems to have been caught off guard by the timing of the military operation. Chinese diplomats repeated admonitions that an impending invasion was an American fantasy even as tanks rolled, while thousands of Chinese nationals were caught inside an emerging war zone. East-West communication has deteriorated in dangerous ways over the past five years.

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard: The strength and unity of the Western response has been a huge positive surprise. First, it has significantly and negatively affected the Russian economy already, despite the Russian government’s preparations since 2014. Second, the accelerated delivery of weapons into western Ukraine remains unopposed by a Russian military, showing that the Russians did not foresee this outcome either. And lastly, the firm political commitment to treat Russia as an aggressive expansionist empire will rapidly lead to rising defense budgets across Europe and the likely expansion of NATO with Finland and Sweden.

Jeffrey J. Schott: Most surprised and disappointed that US and EU officials didn’t “go big” before Russian troops crossed the Ukraine border on February 24. The Russian invasion should have been anticipated by a detailed preview of comprehensive financial sanctions, beyond threatening to remove access to SWIFT and adding inevitable sanctions against Russia’s central bank and top ten banks. Unfortunately, it took several days after the shock of military action to get Western political leaders to enact strong and clear signals that Russia would pay heavily for its aggression in Ukraine.

Nicolas Véron: The freezing of the Russian central bank’s international reserves by a broad group of countries, including those in the G7 and the EU. There have been similar actions in the past, e.g. against Iran or Venezuela, but never against a fully paid-up member of the inner circle of central banks that are, for example, members of the Bank for International Settlements and all the related key global committees. I suspect few if any people in Moscow saw it coming. I for one certainly did not.

State of the Union Address 2022: Capping prices of diabetes vials

March 2, 2022

Joe Biden in his State of the Union Address (2022) said he wants to lower inflation:

One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer.  
I have a better plan to fight inflation. 
Lower your costs, not your wages. 
Make more cars and semiconductors in America. 
More infrastructure and innovation in America. 
More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. 
More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. 
And instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America. 
Economists call it “increasing the productive capacity of our economy.” 
I call it building a better America. 
My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit. 

What is the plan? Let’s look at the first one:

17 Nobel laureates in economics say my plan will ease long-term inflationary pressures. Top business leaders and most Americans support my plan. And here’s the plan: 

First – cut the cost of prescription drugs. Just look at insulin. One in ten Americans has diabetes. In Virginia, I met a 13-year-old boy named Joshua Davis.   He and his Dad both have Type 1 diabetes, which means they need insulin every day. Insulin costs about $10 a vial to make.  

But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his Dad up to 30 times more. I spoke with Joshua’s mom. 

Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin and have no idea how you’re going to pay for it.   What it does to your dignity, your ability to look your child in the eye, to be the parent you expect to be.  Joshua is here with us tonight. Yesterday was his birthday. Happy birthday, buddy.  

For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.  

Drug companies will still do very well. And while we’re at it let Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, like the VA already does. 

Not sure which Nobel Prize laureate suggested capping of price of insulin vial. We have seen several policies imposing price caps but the end result is usually the opposite: prices for most people are higher than the capped price! Even worse is that people who pay higher prices are the ones with lower income and those who need it the most.

Will be surprised if the experience with this new cap will be any different ..

 

Putin’s claim to rid Ukraine of Nazis is especially absurd given its history

March 2, 2022

Jeffrey Veidlinger Professor of History and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan in this TheConversation article:

Russian President Vladimir Putin justifies his war on Ukraine as a peacekeeping mission, a “denazification” of the country.

In his address to the Russian people on Feb. 24, 2022, Putin said the purpose was to “protect people” who had been “subjected to bullying and genocide … for the last eight years. And for this we will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”

The victims of the genocide claimed by Putin are Russian speakers; the Nazis he referenced are the elected representatives of the Ukrainian people. While Ukraine’s new language laws have upset some minorities, independent news media have uncovered no evidence of genocide against Russian speakers. In fact, as the historian Timothy Snyder has pointed out, Russian speakers have more freedom in Ukraine than they have in Russia, where Putin’s authoritarian government routinely suppresses political dissent. And while far right groups have been growing in Ukraine, their electoral power is limited.

As the author of a recently published book on anti-Jewish violence in Ukraine and a historian of the Holocaust, I know why the accusations of Nazism and genocide have resonance in Ukraine. But I also understand that despite episodic violence, Ukrainian history offers a model of tolerance and democratic government.


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