The origin of totalitarianism is right here and now. Fear and loathing is always easier than brave and caring.
Robert Reich: Global Capital and the Nation State
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Finally, the English version of my book about my father's struggle to become an artist, is ready. I have published a print edition on Lulu.com and an electronic edition through Amazon.com's Kindle Direct Publishing program. Click here to see a preview of the print edition! The Kindle edition, which you also can read on your iPad and Android if you download the Kindle app, can be found here.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Like in China after Mao, economic and political reforms will come to North Korea not because of external pressure or political insights among the elites, but because once the political legitimacy of the regime has evaporated, there are only two alternatives to reintegrate the society: War or markets. The former solutions is still possible, but looks rather suicidal. The other solution offers a way forward, but the risk to the elite is immense.
Deng Xiaoping realized that only by decentralizing economic power could the party preserve enough centralized political power to control the country's political future. Young Kim Jong-un probably knows that, but he lacks real stature in the political elite, which is why he is fighting so desperately and erratically to raise his military profile. If he fails, I would expect a military intervention led by a general that can muster enough charisma to control the situation while beginning to adapt the political and economic system to the reality on the ground, which seems to be a more or less market driven society.
Jang Jin-sung, a former North Korean state official and poet laureate, gives a very interesting analysis of the current state of the North Korean society in today's New York Times.
The Market Shall Set North Korea Free
"All North Koreans depended for their very survival on a state rationing system until it collapsed in the mid-1990s. Its demise was due in part to the regime’s concentrated investment of funds in a “party economy” that maintained the cult of the Kims and lavished luxuries on an elite instead of developing a normal economy based on domestic production and trade. Desperate people began to barter household goods for rice on the streets — and the underground economy was born. With thousands of people starving to death, the authorities had no option but to turn a blind eye to all the illegal markets that began to pop up.
Around this time, the nation’s workplaces were made responsible for feeding their employees. The only way they could do so was by setting up “trading companies,” which sold raw materials to China in exchange for rice. These businesses became part of the foundation of the underground economy, acting as import-export hubs that in time began to import from China consumer goods like refrigerators and radios."
Monday, March 25, 2013
It's there and then it's gone, and then it's there again, and then it's gone again.... this new virtual game is brought to you courtesy of Facebook.
I was relieved on Friday when my News Feed suddenly reappeared in its normal state, but on Saturday it stopped displaying more than 4 posts, and ending the page with the sentence I have now come to hate:
"There are no more posts to show right now."
What's going on here?
I can post from other applications, and these posts show up, like the one I did from Dagens Nyheter this morning, but trying to enter something directly through Facebook doesn't result in anything, at least not on my News Feed/TimeLine.
Friday, March 22, 2013
I had almost resigned myself to a life without Facebook, which was not such a terrible thing after all, when I met our resident techie and told him about my vanishing News Feed. I turned around and followed me back to my office explaining potential solutions on the way. I logged in to my system and started Facebook to show what had happened, but quickly realized that something had changed. There was a new post at the top of my feed, and when I scrolled down, there was no annoying message at the bottom telling me that there were no more posts to show. The problem had solved it self.
Don't worry! Procrastinate! Sometimes that all you need to do....
I cannot see any of my new Facebook posts or any other than the four items that currently sit on my News Feed. At the bottom of the page, FB states that there are no more posts to display, which is obviously not true. Some people call it the "vanishing News Feed" others google desperately for a solution, and FB tells me that it will read my mail but not answer it. I never thought I would have FB withdrawal, but here I am, having just that.
And here is a popup I got when I tried to post a link to this blog post.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Princeton historian Jeremy Adelman talks about Albert O. Hirschman and his life. Adelman's biography over Hirschman will be published in April 2013.
Albert O. Hirschman (1915-2012) (Institute of Advanced Studies)
Albert Hirschman, Optimistic Economist, Dies at 97 (New York Times)
Albert O. Hirschman, 1915-2012, by Francis Fukuyama (The American Interest)
Wikipedia on Albert O. Hirschman
Albert O. Hirschman, influential social scientist, dies at 97 (Washington Post)
Albert O. Hirschman (Town Topics, Princeton, NJ)
Albert O. Hirschman: Life and Work (Marginal Revolution blog)
Monday, March 11, 2013
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Bill Moyers interviews Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on Engineered Inequality in his weekly show Moyers & Company. (From March 1, 2012).