We often think of democracy in terms of procedures (elections) or ideals (liberty). But really democracy is something more practical: a way of managing clashes of interests in complex societies where many different groups have conflicting agendas.
It has been a popular belief that energy is one of the “commanding heights” of the economy – an area of particular national interest, where government control and policy can have an unusually beneficial influence on stability and growth. The idea is that there are “Commanding Heights” in the economy and that the government is capable of commanding them.
The embrace of “走出去”, or go global strategy by China’s energy policy makers has touched on the second Chinese myth about energy security: many Chinese government officials believe that guaranteeing energy security can be accomplished primarily through adjustments to regulations and administrative controls.
According to many Chinese officials and academics I have interviewed when I was working for the FT, the current energy demand and supply trends are immutable, and that patterns of economic development and energy use are inevitable. From this, there emerges a belief that China is inevitably on an “energy security” collision course with established powers such as the US.
K-streeters love that moment when their clients get into trouble. The bigger the problem, the more fees lobbyists can expect to absorb.
For tens of thousands of federal employees, the last two months of 1995 was none but a nightmare. As President Bill Clinton vetoed several appropriation bills, most federal agencies stopped functioning. About 800000 nonessential federal workers, including staffers of Congressmen, were sent home.
Ron Paul, the Republican presidential hopeful, apparently has some followers in the fairy tale world. According to the latest third quarter campaign finance report, Mr. Paul received $2300, the maximum amount of individual contribution, from a wizard.
Presidential race is not just about CNN/Youtube Debate and public speeches in Iowa. Top on the agendas of every candidate, I bet, is to extract as much as possible from fundraisers to pay for the growing cost of campaign operation that ranges from secretary wages to fax machines.
Last week was the 45th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, an episode when belligerence overtook diplomacy and almost led to a Third World War. Few people seemed to have a memory of that. President Bush did give a speech at the State Department before a number of Cuban dissidents – but instead of drawing lessons from the incident, he urged 11.4 million residents in Caribbean’s largest island to embrace U.S.-style democracy when Castro eventually passed away.
In the Global Economy course I am taking at Stern, the professor used U.S. sugar industry to illustrate the impact of trade barriers on the well-being of the society. The huge subsidy to the industry, he said, only benefits a small group of growers and refineries, while compromising the interest of consumers and the broad economy.
K Streeters are soon to embrace a new round of spending spree. Their sponsors, however, are not pressure groups like US Chamber of Commerce or multinationals such as General Electric, but governments of states and cities.
Toyota, which prides itself in making Prius, the top-selling gas-electric hybrid car in the world, has got its image as the “green car maker” tarnished, as the world’s largest auto company announced its plan to join General Motor, Ford and Chrysler in opposing a Senate bill mandating higher fuel mileage standards.
The New York Times has raised an interesting proposal to mend the inefficient foreign aid given out by American taxpayers.
Chris Matthews, author of the Hard Ball, has a knack for getting his interviewees to make blunders.
At Tuesday's GOP debate between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Mr. Matthews threw such a question: "You've been having a tit for tat on tax cutting. What's the difference between the two of you?"
In the run-up to the tit-for-tat race for presidency, Ron Paul, who remains a distant fifth in the Republican camp, badly needs a topic to stir up to boost his profile. His latest target: income tax.
In a speech last week in Manchester, New Hampshire, Senator Paul called for an abolition of the Constitutional amendment that established the federal income tax.