3 January 2017   Leave a comment

One of the more problematic aspects of the new technologies is the stuff of science fiction:  the fear that machines and robots will eventually be able to perform many of the jobs currently done by humans.  Self-driving cars are the stuff of nightmares if you are a taxi driver or a truck driver.  We have no idea how difficult the transitions might be in the future, but the fear of technological replacement has accompanied every major economic transformation.  At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, textile workers feared machine driven mills and a protest movement against mechanization was led by a group called the Luddites.  It turns out that the Luddites were ultimately wrong in their fears (although the workers at that specific time did, in fact, lose their jobs).  It remains to be seen if this time is different.

Ned Ludd

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US President-elect Trump continues to make appointments that signal a tougher line against China in trade matters.  He has appointed Robert Lighthizer, an economist who has argued in the past to increase tariffs, to be the US Trade Representative.  According to Vox: “Today he’s a partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he represents industries like steel that advocate for tariffs to keep their sectors competitive in the American market.”  Lighthizer will couple with Peter Navarro, a long-time opponent of trade deals with China.  We will have to see how China responds to these appointments.

The role of religion in politics is inevitably a contentious issue.  In many societies, religion is an integral part of the political system.  But in liberal societies, there is supposed to be a sharp separation between religion and politics.  Virtually all politicians profess religious faith–very few atheists hold public office in most countries–and even in those countries, like Russia, where once atheism was expected, Orthodox Christianity has made a big comeback under Vladimir Putin.  In the US, about 71% of the population describe themselves as Christian but the US COngress is about 91% Christian. 

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Posted January 4, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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