Question 74

by Henry on February 23, 2007

The TRIPS survey of over 1,000 international relations faculty members is now “available in full”:http://www.wm.edu/irtheoryandpractice/trip/surveyreport06-07.pdf. I suspect that much or most of the public attention it gets will be paid to the answers to Question 74: Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “The ‘Israel lobby’ has too much influence on U.S. foreign policy.”

2006 US 2006 Canada
Strongly Agree 28% 31%
Somewhat agree 38% 36%
Neither agree nor disagree 14% 12%
Somewhat disagree 11% 13%
Strongly disagree 9% 9%

Which suggests either that (a) some two thirds of US and Canadian IR faculty members are conscious or unconscious anti-semites on the definition of anti-semitism that “some people”:http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/16639101.htm are trying to push, or (b) there’s grounds for a serious public debate about the US-Israel relationship. Since that serious debate ain’t going to be happening in the comments section here on past form, I’m keeping comments closed.

Academic blogs link-begging

by Henry on February 23, 2007

I’m pretty happy with how the “Academic Blogs wiki”:http://www.academicblogs.net that I started last September is working out. From a selfish point of view, it’s relieved me of the responsibility of manually updating the list (I do keep a regular eye on it to weed out spam etc). But more importantly, it provides serious coverage of parts of the academic blogosphere that I personally don’t have a clue about. CF for example the burgeoning list of blogs in “religion and theology”:http://www.academicblogs.net/wiki/index.php/Religion/Theology ; also the “list”:http://www.academicblogs.net/wiki/index.php/Blogs_by_Language of blogs in French, German, Danish etc. All this said, I’d like the list to be even more comprehensive than it is. The only way to do this is to get the word out, so I’m politely asking people who like the general idea of this resource to consider linking to it, in a post, in their blogroll, or (ideally) in both. The more people know about the wiki, the more people are likely to enter in details of academic blogs that they write themselves, or read. What I’d like to do in a few months is use the information in the wiki as the initial basis for a rough census of the academic blogosphere; who is blogging in what disciplines, at what stage of their careers and so on. I think this would make for pretty interesting reading, and the more comprehensive the wiki is as a map of the academic blogosphere, the more accurate the census will be.

Tax competition

by Henry on February 23, 2007

This “story”:http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/frontpage/2007/0223/1172184912732.html from the _Irish Times_ ought to be of interest to US readers.

A Californian technology firm with only a handful of workers in Dublin funnelled revenues of almost $1 billion (€762 million) into an Irish holding company which made more than a quarter of its profits. SanDisk Manufacturing made a net profit of $105.96 million on revenues of $955 million in the eight months after its Irish unit started business in April 2005 …By accounting for such revenues in Ireland, they take advantage of the 12.5 per cent rate of corporate taxation on their profits, a rate that compares favourably with other EU states and the US. … SanDisk indicated last year that the total cost of setting up its Irish operation was less than $500,000. It said then that tax “certainly was part of the consideration” when moving here but that tax “certainly was not the determining factor,”

Sandisk isn’t the only company doing this, of course, but its (to employ the common euphemism) ‘tax-avoidance strategy’ is more blatant than most. The US is pretty vigorous about reclaiming taxes from citizens living abroad, but has been curiously supine in its attitude to the various schemes that US companies have come up withto relocate revenues outside the taxman’s grasp. Some of this is probably unavoidable – large multinational corporations have complicated internal flows of revenue which they can manipulate to make tax-dodges look legitimate – but the failure of companies like Sandisk even to try to hide what they’re up to suggests that they don’t expect much in the way of enforcement action.

Freedom cheese

by Chris Bertram on February 23, 2007

I made the mistake of surfing over to Jeff Weintraub’s blog earlier, which is currently featuring “lengthy coverage of Andrei Markovits’s book _Uncouth Nation_ “:http://jeffweintraub.blogspot.com/2007/02/andy-markovits-western-europes-america.html . Markovits argues that all the social strata of Europe are in the grip of a pervasive anti-Americanism, and that this is closely related to anti-semitism. Evidence for this thesis includes the fact that British sports journalists often moan about the Americanization of soccer. You know, I’m puzzled. Does this mean that those Budweiser ads which mocked American commentators for their poor grasp of football during the World Cup were borderline anti-semitic? Were the people who produced them self-hating Americans? And could I get funding to write a book about the pervasive anti-Europeanism of America and cite as evidence disparaging remarks about European sport from US commentators? And would blogospheric and op-ed moanings about the European welfare-state, immigrants, old Europe and cheese count as good evidence for such a thesis? And could I get a leading European intellectual to come up with a quote for the cover saying that anti-Europeanism is “the cousin” of Islamophobia? And if I had tenure in the political science department of a leading European university, would such a book enhance its research reputation? Just wondering.