Newsletter – November 2013


Dear readers,
This month we have a varied selection of articles: Daniel Wagner and Giorgio Cafiero examine Saudi Arabia’s declared foreign policy shift away from the U.S. in favour of China; Professors of Economics Carlos Álvarez-Nogal and Christophe Chamley look back in history, to Spain in 1575 for lessons to be learned from the US debt ceiling showdown; Carl Rowlands re-reads JK Galbraith’s ‘ The Culture of Contentment’ published in 1992, for its prophetic glimpse into the long-term, paradoxical consequences of the Reagan-Thatcher era; Laura Carlsen on this year’s UN general debate which became a forum for widespread dissent and anger at U.S. policies that seek to control Latin America that has clear aspirations for greater independence; Selam Kidane on why Eritreans are fleeing their country in droves risking their lives to reach Europe; Jan Hornát on the Czech elections and what they mean for the country and above all for President Milos Zeman; Philipp Blom argues that Diderot’s philosophical writings offer a pertinent alternative to the Enlightenment cult of reason spearheaded by his contemporaries Voltaire and Rousseau; Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere on Turkish Prime Minister’s announcement of new democratic ‘packages’ and of course MC Ledbetter’s Beat Box with his suggestions on some musical CDs.

Beat Box
By MC Ledbetter

Updated for August 2016. Every month we recommend a few classic music CDs that rarely see the light of day. This month sees: Ebo Taylor, Clifton Chenier, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos, Galactic, Antonio Serrano and Albert Sanz, Ali Khattab and The Cairo Jazz Band get main billing.

Is the U.S. Losing Saudi Arabia to China?
By Daniel Wagner - Giorgio Cafiero

Saudi Arabia's declared foreign policy shift away from the U.S. in favour of China is a genuine cause for concern in Washington although a fully-fledged "divorce" from the U.S. appears unlikely.

Budget Wars:1575 Version
By Carlos Álvarez-Nogal - Christophe Chamley

The recent US debt ceiling showdown was a game of chicken over the repayment of sovereign debt. There was an analogous historical episode in 16th century Spain, in which city delegates resisted tax increases but the resulting bank failures and credit freeze caused lasting economic damage.

The Winter of Content
By Carl Rowlands

One of the last books that economist and public intellectual JK Galbraith wrote in his long and illustrious career, The Culture of Contentment (1992), has passed into relative obscurity. This is a shame, as it may offer a prophetic glimpse into the long-term, paradoxical consequences of the Reagan-Thatcher era.

At the UN, a Latin American rebellion
By Laura Carlsen

Latin American leaders are reclaiming a right to differentiate their views from Washington's. This year’s UN general debate became a forum for widespread dissent and anger at U.S. policies that seek to control a hemisphere that has clear aspirations for greater independence.

Eritrea, a generation in flight
By Selam Kidane

Many of the hundreds of Africans drowned off the Italian coast came from Eritrea. Why are they so desperate to leave their country? When Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is asked to explain the exodus of his people, he lays the blame on an international conspiracy.

A Czech election with consequences
By Jan Hornát

With a number of new parties seeking to win seats and an anticipated victory of the left, the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic might lead to the biggest change in the country's political map since the 1989 revolution.

A Dangerous Man in the Pantheon
By Philipp Blom

This October marks 300 years since the birth of French Enlightenment thinker Denis Diderot, best known for co-founding the Encylopédie. Philipp Blom argues that Diderot’s philosophical writings offer a pertinent alternative to the Enlightenment cult of reason spearheaded by his contemporaries Voltaire and Rousseau.

Democracy in Neat Packages
By Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere

On 30 September Prime Minister Erdoğan presented his long-awaited democracy package. It does not make Turkey less democratic, but by this method it will take decades for the country become fully democratic.

 
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