Trumpism, Banking, Russia, Tyler Cowen, Princeton, China

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Trumpism Has Triumphed

Edward Luce | Financial Times | 24th November 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Whether or not Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, he has already proved the power of unreason in American politics, and the effects will be felt for a long time to come. We will have Trumpism, if not Trump. "For proof of that, look no further than Mr Trump's 'moderate' rivals in the Republican race. Instead of offering an alternative, mainstream candidates are moving ever closer towards Mr Trump's nativism" (637 words)

The Diversifier’s Fallacy

John Kay | 25th November 2015

Lessons from the banking crisis: "Avoid the diversifier’s fallacy. Beware the winner’s curse. Fear adverse selection". The diversifier’s fallacy is "a generalisation of the Peter Principle: individuals rise until they are given a job they are not competent to do. Companies diversify until they are engaged in businesses in which they have a competitive disadvantage. This seems particularly common among financial companies" (580 words)

Putin’s Politics Of Uncertainty

Alexander Morozov | Open Democracy Russia | 25th November 2015

Shrewd and persuasive account of Russian foreign policy. "The Kremlin views the situation roughly as follows: The US is currently governed by a Jimmy Carter-style peacemaker, Germany can’t afford a strong position for historical reasons, and the Russian financial lobby is too influential inside the UK". Seven or ten years of sanctions might ruin the Russian economy, "but you can achieve a lot in that time" (1,240 words)

What Is Going On In Syria?

Marginal Revolution | Tyler Cowen | 24th November 2015

"It is very hard to model ISIS. Maybe the group is one fraction crazies, one fraction semi-rational power brokers, and one fraction momentum traders who wanted higher status for their local terrorising and never expected it to get this far. It is hard for groups to back out of strategies which have delivered consistent institutional growth. In any case, I don’t think of the group as having transitive preferences" (660 words)

Ta-Nehisi Coates And Woodrow Wilson

Anne-Marie Slaughter | Facebook | 24th November 2015

Former dean of the Woodrow Wilson School says Princeton is right to consider students' calls to strip Wilson's name from the institution. Wilson was a great man in many ways, but also a racist, and there is an argument to be had about the balance of his contributions. "I initially thought it was a crazy decision. But on reflection, it is the only decision that is consistent with Princeton’s values" (1,820 words)

Xi’s China: The Illusion Of Change

Ian Johnson | New York Review of Books | 24th November 2015

Xi Jinping may be "China’s most powerful leader in decades", but he has made poor use of his power. China is still "trapped by the same taboos". The Communist Party monopolises the commanding heights of economic, political, and social life. The government deploys its creative energies mainly on finding new ways to legitimise its rule, thereby diverting attention from the difficult issues facing the country (1,650 words)

Video of the day: Einstein 100

What to expect: Animated short explaining Einstein's theory of General Relativity (3'00")

Thought for the day

It is quite a predicament to be both evil and risk-averse
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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