America's Shadow Government, Japan, British Children, Lawyers & Accountants, Martin Wolf

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Shadow Government And The Eclipse of Democracy

Clifford Bob | New Rambler | 19th March 2015

Review of National Security And Double Government by Michael Glennon. America's national-security apparatus has become more powerful than the elected government. Democratic institutions function "primarily to obscure the real workings of power among the unelected military and security elite". The shift to the shadows began with the National Security Act of 1947 which created the CIA and unified the military command (1,500 words)

Turning Japanese

Roland Kelts | The Long And Short | 19th March 2015

We talk of Japan as a country in long-term economic and demographic crisis. But travel from America to Japan and you have the strong sense of arriving in a richer and happier place. Japan has better infrastructure, safer streets, a higher quality of life. Technology and social cohesion mitigate the problems of a shrinking and ageing population. "If this is what stagnation looks like, humanity could do a lot worse" (2,150 words)

How We Drive Our Children Mad

Theodore Dalrymple | Spectator | 19th March 2015 | Metered paywall

One in ten British children is said to suffer from a mental disorder — a surprisingly low proportion if true, considering how British parents bring up their young. The usual approach is one of neglect, tempered by outbursts of anger and overindulgence. "Three-quarters of British children have a television in their bedrooms. If so, there are more children with such televisions than with their biological fathers living at home" (1,100 words)

Big Four Against Big Law

The Economist | 20th March 2015

Lawyers beware: The accountants are coming after your business and they will probably get a big slice of it — because law firms, though profitable, are inefficient. They charge by the hour rather than by results. They under-use technology. The big accounting firms would commoditise and automate much legal work to slash costs. They have scale, global reach, and client relationships. Only the regulators stand in their way (1,550 words)

Britain’s Productivity Crisis

Martin Wolf | Financial Times | 20th March 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Britain's ruling Conservatives claim that they can promote economic growth by cutting public spending; they are wrong; if anything, more investment is needed. The big problem for Britain is that productivity growth has collapsed. The downturn was masked in recent years by falling unemployment. But with unemployment down to 5.5%, "nearly all future growth depends on a productivity resurgence" (795 words)

Video of the day: Robert Reich: Three Myths Debunked

What to expect: Reich explains the basics of job creation, market regulation, and state capture (2'35")

Thought for the day

I would like to understand things better, but I don’t want to understand them perfectly
Douglas Hofstadter

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