Daily Clips: April 29th, 2015

On Trade: Obama Right, Critics Wrong
New York Times – Thomas Friedman.

While most political commentators today have been focusing on the domestic consequences of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Friedman looks at the TPP through its impact on global affairs. His article acts as a basic defense of liberal foreign policy theory: the US must promote greater engagement and trade with other countries in order to stabilize the world arena and bring about peace. He says:
[T]here has never been a more important time for the coalition of free-market democracies and democratizing states, that are the core of the World of Order, to come together and establish the best rules for global integration for the 21st century, including appropriate trade, labor and environmental standards. These agreements would strengthen the backbone of the World of Order.

Whether you agree with this argument or not, it’s a fresh perspective that should be examined for anyone looking to better understand the TPP and its effects.

Washington Post – Chico Harlan

Between January and March of 2015, the US Gross Domestic Product grew at a rate of 0.2 percent. This number is certainly not great news and heightens concerns about the fragility of the American economy. However, others point to harsh winter weather, low oil prices, and stagnant wages as limiting factors. In this vein, Wells Fargo said in a research note that the US economy “looks poised to repeat the pattern it exhibited in 2014 — a weak Q1 followed by a rebound back to steadier growth for the remainder of the year.”
CNN – Eric Liu

Eric Liu diagnoses the current state of the US after the Baltimore riots. Instead of falling into the normal left-right frames of blaming the other side, Liu reflects on how we, as a people, have come to this moment in time. He appreciates both frames, acknowledging that longstanding structural racism and personal irresponsibility are on display in the Baltimore riots. Liu doesn’t want us to blame the other side, but to alternatively look at ourselves and recognize that our worldview cannot possibly contain all the solutions.  If you want to read an article on how we should examine these riots, Liu’s piece is a must-read.
Salon – Elias Isquith

This is a Q&A session between Salon and Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who has been a vocal critic of income inequality. Here’s an excerpt which gives us a taste of the overall piece:
Q: One of the more middle-of-the-road policy responses to inequality you’ll hear about is improving education. But that point of view also has its critics. What do you think of that approach?

A: That’s sometimes called part of a minimalist apple pie agenda. I’m very convinced that that won’t go far enough and what’s happened in the last fifteen years, has made it even more clear that that won’t go far enough. Since the beginning of the century, even educated people have not been doing very well. They’re only doing well relative to those without a college education. So those without a college education, have seen their incomes really sink and those with a college education have been treading water. So what is going on is much more fundamental, it’s much deeper than that. It is part of any agenda but it’s just a part and won’t really address the fundamental problems going on.



Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.