A fistful of links

by John Q on September 12, 2011

Time to move on past 9/11 after 10 years I think. I’ve had a few pieces out recently that might be of interest to some CT readers: mostly paywalled I think – I guess I’m obligated to give them first dibs, but I’ll put up a near-final draft if there is enough interest

* In Politics and Society a piece entitled “Financial Markets: Masters or Servants? ” Abstract

Throughout the history of capitalism, there have been tensions between financial institutions and the state, and between financial capital and the firms and households engaged in the production and consumption of physical goods and services. Periods of financial sector dominance have regularly ended in spectacular panics and crashes, often resulting in the liquidation of large numbers of financial institutions and the reimposition of regulatory controls previously dismissed as outmoded and unnecessary. The aim of this article is to consider measures to restore financial markets to their proper role, as servants rather than masters of the market economy and the society within which it is embedded.

* In the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Cutthroat Admissions and Rising Inequality: A Vicious Duo developing some ideas I’ve talked about here regarding the narrowing of access to elite universities and jobs in the US

Also, a piece coming out soon in the National Interest, about China and Summer Davos. Generally, I think that the current Chinese regime is unsustainable, and that its attempts to throw its geopolitical weight around are silly. On the other hand, there is no reason to expect a smooth transition to market liberalism, let alone to democracy.



Tony Grafton 09.12.11 at 1:24 am

I’d very much like to see these pieces, especially the second one, and near-final form would be fine for my modest needs.


William Timberman 09.12.11 at 1:32 am

I second Tony Grafton’s comment. I’d especially like to read the article on China. Remarkable as developments there have been over the past 20 years, it’s always seemed to me that they were being oversold. It would be very useful to hear why someone who actually knows something about the subject has had similar thoughts.


Jawbone 09.12.11 at 2:03 am

Also looking forward to the NI piece. Not a China-expert but have spent a few years working there and your views sound consonant with those of mine and most former-expat’s who don’t plan to go back. The others are a bit compromised, IMHO. I think the best China can hope for is a gradual plateauing of economic growth with a massive clean-up of social and environmental craziness. The worst-case scenarios are very grim indeed, especially in terms of the environment, epidemiology, and economic inequality-induced violence.


x.trapnel 09.12.11 at 3:58 am

Me three.


David 09.12.11 at 3:59 am

I’ll third that re China. The emergent Chinese Century is vastly overrated as near as I can tell. And likely to be rather short-lived.


SamChevre 09.12.11 at 12:48 pm

I’ll second re: Higher Education.


Metatone 09.12.11 at 12:50 pm

I’ll 4th re China – 1st article is interesting…


Hermenauta 09.12.11 at 2:33 pm

5th China!


understudy 09.12.11 at 4:06 pm

6th China, though I question “what will be different this time” than saying the same statement in 2008, let alone 1998.

” there is no reason to expect a smooth transition to market liberalism, let alone to democracy.” I would say there is a much more likely outcome now, with per capita GDP in the industrialized provinces approaching/exceeding eastern european levels than prior to an unprecedented period of economic growth … but I would love to learn something more …


Britta 09.12.11 at 4:08 pm

I’ll nth the China and higher ed stuff.


Barry 09.12.11 at 4:53 pm

Note – the Chronicle article is subscribers-only.


Christopher 09.12.11 at 5:24 pm

My guess is if the Chinese Communists were ever removed from power, they would be replaced with military junta, sort of like in Egypt now.

As for the “new Chinese century”, I dunno. I think they could be “new superpower”, but it isn’t as predestined and it would come more slowly than people think it is.


Zora 09.12.11 at 7:48 pm

What’s the point of linking to articles behind paywalls? Not all of us here have institutional access, or the $$$ for individual subscriptions.


Barry 09.12.11 at 8:20 pm

…and I can’t get it through an academic library.


John Quiggin 09.12.11 at 9:25 pm

The China piece should be up on National Interest tomorrow or Wednesday. Given the interest, I’ll try to put the others up somewhere accessible ASAP.


John Quiggin 09.12.11 at 9:26 pm

I had attempted to organise this earlier, but without success


piglet 09.12.11 at 10:36 pm

“I think that the current Chinese regime is unsustainable”

… as opposed to what? Market liberalism? We’ll find out in our lifetimes I guess.


Aspergum 09.13.11 at 1:14 am

What? “Silly?”

Using that word there is itself silly.


mclaren 09.13.11 at 2:32 am

The military historian Martin van Creveld has made the argument that we live in the era of drastic decline of legitimacy of the state. He calls it “the new middle ages,” and notes examples around the world of nations imploding into smaller tribal groups as the political legitimacy of the nation-state disappears.

If true, this would suggest that regimes of all nation-states everywhere are unsustainable. Many commentators have certainly suggested this about America. I’m thinking of a Harper’s article in 2008 called High Noon For the Republican Party-Why the G.O.P. Must Die, in which a round table of historians and political commentators concluding that the current political deadlock and near-civil-war level of social divisions, together with all the economically and socially unsustainable policies America continues to pursue (endless unwinnable wars around the world, infinite expansion of U.S. military spending for superweapons that don’t work and an army that rapes 1/3 of our own women soldiers, unending cost increases for health care into the indefinite future, a financial system based on thievery and cronyism whose underlying pathologies have never been corrected and which is building up for yet another global financial meltdown, a higher education system whose costs are escalating even faster after inflation today than housing costs were in the 2000s at the same time that jobs for college grads have gone away), makes the current American political regime wholly untenable and unsustainable.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens 10 or 15 years down the road in both China and America. There’s a general sense among scholars and economists and sociologists that both countries are engaged in radically unsustainable policies and exhibit such explosive internal social ruptures that within the next generation or so, something will have to blow.

From the Harper’s article in 2008:

MITCHELL: The most likely scenario appears to be that the two parties will prop each other up just long enough to ensure the failure of the American experiment. (..)

BAKER: Maybe one of the reasons we can’t come up with a scenario in which one party forces the other into a major realignment is that both parties are skirting the central issues facing us, much like the Democrats and the Whigs did in the years leading up to the Civil War. The only way to break that deadlock was to risk blowing up both national parties. And in the end, the issue of slavery did indeed blow them both up. The Republicans were able to triumph only because the blowup was so all-encompassing. That’s a pretty big risk for a practical politician to take. More likely, the two parties will continue to do what politicians usually do, which is wait on events to force a decision.

MCCONNELL: The United States is currently on an unsustainable track, and if this election doesn’t knock us off of it, then something else is bound to, likely within the next decade.

BAKER: (..) I’m beginning to wonder if America today isn’t more like Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “wonderful one-hoss shay”—a contraption so finely constructed that it will never break down but will just wear out. The things we are doing are so unsustainable— occupying an enormous chunk of the most fractious piece of Asia until it learns democracy, driving the working wage relentlessly downward, draining our natural resources as fast as we can—that we simply won’t be able to do them any longer.


Barry 09.13.11 at 12:44 pm

John Quiggin 09.12.11 at 9:25 pm

” The China piece should be up on National Interest tomorrow or Wednesday. Given the interest, I’ll try to put the others up somewhere accessible ASAP.”


I was surprised that I couldn’t get it academically.


John Quiggin 09.13.11 at 6:36 pm

Just in case anyone looks here, the links are two posts up.

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