18 October 2016   1 comment

The propaganda war between the US and Russia continues.  The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has closed the accounts of the media outlet RT (once known as Russia Today).  RT is generally regarded as a news outlet for the Russian government and it regularly publishes articles that toe the official Russian government line.  RBS suggests that the closure is related to the fear that holding the accounts of RT may violate the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.  RT claims that the act is an attempt to silence the voice of the Kremlin in world affairs.  No matter what the actual reasons are, it is incontestable that the action is consistent with the US objective of sending messages to Russia about its alleged interference in the US election cycle.

As the world struggles with anemic economic growth, the question of how best to revive the global economy has become central.  There are essentially two policy suggestions.  The neoliberal perspective argues that the slow growth is due to fundamental imbalances in revenues and spending.  This perspective focuses on reducing spending to match revenues so that debt levels can be brought down and investor confidence restored.  This point of view argues for policies that favor capital so that productive investments will be made.  The redistributive perspective argues that the slow growth is due to insufficient demand caused by inadequate wages.  This point of view favors policies that increase the purchasing power of labor so that demand can be stimulated.  The redistributive approach is captured by Stephen Koukalas in The Guardian.

Shadi Hamid has written an essay on American power in world affairs that will undoubtedly make some readers happy and others completely outraged.   He takes on the part of the American left that holds that American military power is almost always ineffective and destructive.  An example of his rhetoric:

“The alternative to a proactive and internationalist U.S. policy is to “do no harm,” and this might seem a safe fallback position: Foreign countries and cultures are too complicated to understand, so instead of trying to understand them, let’s at least not make the situation worse. The idea that the U.S. can “do no harm,” however, depends on the fiction that the most powerful nation in the world can ever be truly “neutral” in foreign conflicts, not just when it acts, but also when it doesn’t. Neutrality, or silence, is often complicity, something that was once the moral, urgent claim of the Left. The fiction of neutrality is growing more dangerous, as we enter a period of resurgent authoritarianism, anti-refugee incitement, and routine mass killing.”

The essay is provocative but raises issues that should be addressed and not dismissed.  It will really make one think.

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Posted October 18, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “18 October 2016

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  1. The redistributive perspective relies on the lower-income people in generating further economic growth. But the additional spending by the lower-income people would easily fall into certain spending patterns and categories — the very poor people, according to the redistributive perspective, are more ready in spending their extra income, but very likely, this readiness could be associate with representative items such as food and family necessary supplies. Is this spending choice more beneficial to an economy than the investment that potentially can be made by some higher-income people? Also for both of the perspectives, why should it make more sense to discuss income and expanse instead of reconsidering the current structure of economic flow? Maybe subsidizing some industries that could potentially be more productive and efficient would serve the economy even more.

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