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Category Archives: Britain

Gee, can I be a Guardian pundit?

A US former special ops officer argues that ISIS is just using tactics (via) that al-Qaeda had previously used, which work against Arab forces, but not Western ones: AQI/ISIL quickly learned to never use these tactics on the Americans. They regretted it in 2005 when they carried out a complex multi-prong attack on Abu Ghuraib prison – it […]

Revolutionary divides

It is in the nature of successful revolutions (successful in the sense of imposing a new political order which persists) to divide their society. They represent a political bargain implemented by force. Those against whom such force was applied are not participants in the revolutionary bargain, they have it imposed on them. The Glorious Revolution, the American […]

Small-yet-broad is beautiful (or why it is good to have been British)

The central purpose of Calomiris & Haber’s Fragile by Design: the Political Origins of Banking Crises is to explain to Americans why their banking system does not perform as well as other countries–particularly compared to that of their neighbour, Canada. In chapter 14, the authors put the matter quite starkly: … if a highly stable banking system […]

Banking privilege as social bargaining: a nice case study

Have been reading Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber. It is an excellent, and highly readable, history of banking: slides from a presentation explaining the basic thesis of the book are here (pdf). The information in the book also explains a puzzle of economic history. Technologically, the key […]

On the US world-role and the economic rise of China

This is based on comments I made here. The World Bank reports that, on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China’s economy is set to become bigger than the US’s while India has overtaken Japan.  China has declined the honour of being soon the world’s largest economy. The economic rise of China to becoming (at some stage) the world’s biggest economy is the return of […]

Moving along the emancipation sequence

Christina Odone, former deputy editor of The New Statesman, in the course of arguing that religious believers are being pushed out of public life by a new intolerance, drew attention to the Law Society revoking permission for a conference on traditional marriage to be held on its premises. Suppose it had been a conference on […]

One In A Million

I’m sure his family love him but I am REALLY getting tired of spending my Christmas with Iain Duncan Smith and am hoping the bi-annual ESA renewal form isn’t going to turn into a new household tradition. Wrapping paper? Check. Tinsel? Check. New nerve conduction test? Damn, there’s always something… Nearly a million people who applied […]

Selfie Service

Tens of thousands of South Africans have joined dozens of world leaders for the national memorial service for former President Nelson Mandela. The service was held in front of a vociferous crowd in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg. US President Barack Obama said Mr Mandela was a “giant of history”, describing him as the last […]

Autumn Statement

The welfare state is unaffordable, George Osborne will tell MPs this week, and permanent cuts will be required to make the public finances “sustainable”. The Chancellor will use his Autumn Statement on Thursday to set out more details of a new cap on welfare spending after the next general election. It is an attempt to […]

Yes, the Daily Mail Really Does Hate Everyone

[SL: once again, brought over from Thoughts on Liberty, and written in response to some of the Daily Mail's customary nastiness. As you may recall, I wrote a piece on the gleeful crowing engaged in by the left over the death of Margaret Thatcher. I thought that was appalling, and so is this: people are […]