Turn up the volume kids…
Okay, you can turn it down again.
The Cowboy has been a fan of French pop since his time en la Suisse Romande. This is at the top of the charts chez nous and en France à çe moment.Vodpod videos no longer available.
There is something revelatory about laughing at your own misfortunes, however large or small. Celebrate life as it comes. It’s all crazy.
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It
When it’s time to put on a show, what kind of leader do you want?
David Brooks plays the Cowboy’s song:
In the journal In Character, the Washington Post theater critic Peter J. Marks has an essay on the ethos of the stagehands who work behind the scenes. Being out when the applause is ringing doesn’t feel important to them. The important things are the communal work, the contribution to the whole production and the esprit de corps. The humble hound is a stagehand who happens to give more public presentations than most.
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
Reading DFW so often feels like seeing the voice inside my head [insert standard self-deprecatory language here about modesty and not deigning to compare oneself to a modern literary great].
The Cowboy has written about him here.
In the realm of economics, business and politics, one of the most difficult concepts for the regular person unschooled in international economics to comprehend (please forgive the patrician demeanor) is the wealth-producing effect of trade and comparative advantage. Everyone benefits.
In rich countries, political leaders by and large support free trade (on both sides of the aisle, to use the American phraseology), but they do a poor job of communicating this difficult concept. And while it may be difficult, Russ Roberts demonstrates that it can be communicated clearly. He obviously has notes as he does this podcast, but I do not believe he is reading from a script, which makes this all the more impressive. Further, his passion and the sheer amazement, delight and hope that these ideas can bring shine through quite clearly.
This is important. Do yourself a favor and listen. Even if you are already well-versed in these subjects, Roberts’ way of telling the story deserves your attention. We all need to be able to tell this story as well as he does. Over and over and over again.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
– Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II (sometimes wrongly attributed to Sun Tzu)
Iran has come up as a subject of conversation a number of times over the last few days. After a breakfast talk by the UAE’s Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, a friend posed this provocative question:
Would the UAE freeze Iranian accounts as a sanction to prevent their acquisition of nuclear weapons?
Tomorrow is 22 Bahman, the day a group of young students wishing for a better government, a better country and a better life, toppled a dictatorship against the unlikeliest of odds, forever changing the course of their country and putting their country at the center of a global geopolitical storm that would last for decades.
They chant: “Death to the Dictator,” but the year is not 1979 and the dictator is not a Pahlavi.
Check out the various sources, cited in an earlier post by the Cowboy here. Sullivan is still on top of things, but not doing dedicated coverage. Backgrounder here. Tehran Bureau is another good source. Wright has a thought-provoking realist view.
Pray for the land desiring to be free and the brave seeking to make it so.
Ah, Neighbour Christian, where are you now?
Truly, said Christian, I do not know.¹
Markets up, markets down, dollar up, dollar down, jobs up, unemployment down, sovereign concerns, hot money flows, oil, copper and gold. Where do we go from here? Where is HELP!
The last post on LUV got the Cowboy thinking about China’s internal focus.
As the Cowboy has stated:
“Given that the Chinese economy is already focused on exports anyway (like Germany and Japan), the currency manipulation just adds to the current account surplus, putting more foreign currency in the hands of the government. This is money (or stored value) that is being saved by the country as a whole. If the Chinese consumed more, there would be less production available for export, they would import more and, with a freely floating currency, you might eventually reach a current account balance. As for a black market, the Chinese government has been pretty effective at keeping it to a minimum. All of this begs the next question though. Why would the Chinese government intentionally make its people worse off, allowing them to buy less and forcing them to save more, especially given how poor most of its population is?”
And as a wise friend reminded the Cowboy yesterday, it was Keynes who said:
“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”¹
Well, get a load of Arvind Subramanian‘s piece in yesterday’s FT. I know, I know, that’s two consecutive posts linking to the FT, behind its pay-wall. Sorry. The article is entitled: “It Is The Poor Who Pay For The Weak Renminbi”.