Good Polling News?

by Brian on February 2, 2004

Via Mark Kleiman, Rasmussen Reports has the following poll out:

Bush vs Generic Democrat

Bush 42%
Democrat 49%
Other 3%
Unsure 6%

There’s two big questions about this before we draw any conclusions. First, are Rasmussen any good? Second, are these polls (incumbent vs generic) more or less reliable than head to head polls, e.g. Bush vs Kerry? For what it’s worth Rasmussen has Kerry winning that one 46-44 right now, though obviously 49-42 would be a much better position to be in.

Blowing up pipelines

by John Quiggin on February 2, 2004

This piece by William Safire alleges that the CIA was engaged in terrorist activity in Russia in the early 1980s, sabotaging a gas pipeline funded by Britain and Germany, and allegedly leading to its explosion.

Of course, Safire doesn’t use the word terrorism and regards the whole thing as a major victory in the Cold War, but we don’t need to use our imagination to see how the US would regard the same thing done in reverse – blowing up pipelines is one of the main terrorist activities of the Iraqi insurgents.

The sabotage was allegedly done by supplying defective computer chips of a type that were under embargo because of their supposed military use. I get the impression Safire thinks that this makes the deal OK and that it’s different from blowing up the pipeline with dynamite (but I can’t be sure of this).

Finally, I should add that the story sounds phony to me.

After “After the New Economy”

by Henry on February 2, 2004

A little belatedly, some thoughts on _After the New Economy._ Other Timberites are still in the throes of writing their posts, so we’ll do a linkage post pulling the various responses together (as well as the responses of non-CT people such as Brad DeLong), when we’ve all reported. First take – this is a very good book indeed. It provides a trenchant response, not only to the New Economy hype, but also to the political project that it implies. Most importantly (and unusually, for a book about the US economy) it’s solidly based in a comparative framework, examining not only the relationship between the US and the world economy, but also showing that the experience from other countries (European social democracies) suggests that large welfare states aren’t necessarily a drag on growth. Brad DeLong notes somewhere or another on his blog that the economic success of the statist Scandinavians is a real puzzle for economic theory; this is something that should give pause to gung-ho US advocates of unfettered free markets, but rarely does. It’s nice to see the lesson being drawn out in a book that isn’t aimed at an academic audience. Furthermore, as Kieran has already “noted”:, _After the New Economy_ avoids falling into the trap of bucolic communitarianism; Henwood makes a guarded – but thoughtfully argued – case for the potential benefits of globalization for societies in both the West and the developing world. He’s right on all fronts, I think – but there’s still something missing in the book, which reflects a wider absence in the political debate. Not only is there not much in the way of a pro-globalization left; what there is doesn’t have much in the way of a positive alternative vision to offer. This means that Henwood is able to make a strong case for the prosecution, but doesn’t have very many positive arguments to defend his own vision of globalization.

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