Boastful Pay Cuts: The Coronavirus Incentive Friday, April 3rd, 2020

It has become a source of pride. Highly salaried executives – often, it should be said, receiving pay very much disconnected from the value of their work – making voluntary pay cuts and telling everybody else about it. In sport, celebrated figures such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo..

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China’s Oil Giants Struggle as Prices Collapse

China's state oil companies are suffering from the plunge in crude prices at a time when the world's largest importer should be celebrating lower costs. The country's national oil companies (NOCs) are dealing with dilemmas on several fronts at once as international prices fall nearly 45 percent..

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How to Design a Lockdown Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

As governments introduce social-distancing rules of varying strictness to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of how long these measures should remain in place will likely spark vigorous debate. Many economists and psychologists will warn that a lengthy period of de facto home detention will..

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The Swedish Alternative: Coronavirus as a Grand Gamble Monday, March 30th, 2020

As draconian lockdowns, punitive regimes and surveillance become the norm of the coronavirus world, Sweden has treaded more softly in the field. This is certainly in contrast to its Scandinavian cousins, Denmark and Norway. The rudiments of a life uninterrupted generally remain in place. Cafes,..

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Goodbye Gabbard Thursday, March 26th, 2020

The Democratic establishment is deriving some delusionary cheer from it. The line of candidates for the presidential nomination has thinned, many falling out and proceeding, suicidally, to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden. The case of Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard is particularly..

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Oleaginous Kakistocracy: A Good Time to Abolish Pipelines Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

A moment in which U.S. politicians are openly talking about the need to sacrifice lives to a disease in the name of profit may be a good moment for recognizing the evil motivations of the same politicians when it comes to foreign policy. Congress members did not, no matter what Joe Biden says,..

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Coronavirus and the Prison Industrial Complex Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

The legacy of the coronavirus pandemic, at least in so far as responses are concerned, is thickening by the day. Behavioural changes are being urged, language is rapidly evolving (spot the “covidiot” amongst you) and the policy of health surveillance is being pushed. Another field where the..

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Business as Usual: Coronavirus, Iran and US Sanctions Monday, March 23rd, 2020

Never discount the importance of venality in international relations. While pandemics should provide the glue for a unified front in response – we keep being told of fighting this horrendous “invisible enemy” – it’s business as usual in other respects. The United States, with a disparate,..

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Do You Support the Health Workers? Saturday, March 21st, 2020

U.S. politics has for three-quarters of a century been shaped by the question “Do you support the troops?” The understood meaning of the question has been “Do you want members of the military to live or do you wish them dead?” The effective meaning of the question has been “Do you want..

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Moralising Hoarding, Panic Buying and Coronavirus Friday, March 20th, 2020

Hoarding as moral aberration and ethical breach: the term has recently become the subject of scorn in coronavirus chatter. In terms of mental disorders, it is “characterized by persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions”, though the Coronavirus Hoarder is a breed that adds..

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Viral Reactions: The Smugness of Celebrity Self-Isolation Thursday, March 19th, 2020

The rush to elevate self-isolation to Olympian heights as a way to combat the spread of COVID-19 has gotten to the celebrities. Sports figures are proudly tweeting and taking pictures from hotel rooms (Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton being a case in point). Comics are doing their shows from..

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The Three Essential Questions about COVID-19 Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

The single most important component of an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rapid use of data. I recently highlighted 19 critical data gaps regarding the novel coronavirus that we need to address. Now, with COVID-19 continuing to spread rapidly in the United States and elsewhere, the..

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Piketty’s Latest Charge Sunday, March 15th, 2020

French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest doorstop tome tries to fuse two distinct research efforts. The first is a history of inequality since around 1700, with occasional excursions into earlier periods. Upon reaching the nineteenth century and the industrial era, the analysis deepens and grows..

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Who Should Lead the Fight for Global Justice? Thursday, March 12th, 2020

At a recent private dinner at the World Economic Forum held to discuss climate change, the primatologist Jane Goodall opened the proceedings with a rendition of the universal greeting call of Gombe chimpanzees, the subject of her life’s work. With a few simple sounds, Goodall underscored the..

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Ban Parades Now Monday, March 9th, 2020

As I proposed before the CPAC meeting and will again now, there is a danger in large gatherings and a precedent of ignoring that danger to great detriment. The steps China has taken against the coronavirus (rapidly building new hospitals, testing huge numbers of people, quarantining people swiftly..

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Toilet Paper Blues: Coronavirus and Pandemic Pantries Thursday, March 5th, 2020

Fears of imminent apocalypse tend to be midwives to absurdity. The stockpiling fever that has gripped various populaces in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has taken various forms. “Pandemic pantries” are becoming the norm, suggesting that hoarding in the crisis tends to be..

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COVID 19 has turned the world upside down in just three months. While the world community remain shell shocked and governments are grappling with the problems, the..

Internationalizing the Crisis Monday, April 6th, 2020

Coronavirus Socialism for the Wealthy Sunday, April 5th, 2020

How Democracies Can Beat the Pandemic Saturday, April 4th, 2020