It’s Thursday, and you know what that means: time to read a magazine, you and me! Let’s see, let’s see, how about Foreign Affairs? That’s appropriately capital-i Important and relatively low-profile. Like their pioneers-of-capitalism friends over at the American Prospect, Foreign Affairs charges you if you want to read the “premium” articles. But we’re not going to be reading anything “premium” today, as that would be disrespectful and insensitive to Our Times. Still, to read the pieces, you’re going to have to register, which only costs 2 seconds of time and zero recession dollars. And then voila, you are a registered user of Foreign Affairs—a real intellylechual like Nate Silver or whatever.
“The Japan Fallacy”: Remember Japan’s “Lost Decade”? No? No worries, it was “lost”, so that was a trick question. Anyway, pundits and the like might try using it as a framework to talk about our own recession, except this is a fallacy, a titular fallacy. Titular fallacy. … So right, so Japan went construction crazy in the 90s, building later-abandoned buildings with bad loans. Of course, terrible policies made this all worse, but structurally Japan was just fucked. Things are different here; nothing’s inherently wrong with our economy, for the most part, we’re just making disastrous decisions to bring out all the bad. Let’s enumerate our self-destruction: 1. SUB-PRIMES; 2. fatcat CEOs making obscene salaries; 3. not regulating derivatives. [The Japan Fallacy]
“Center Stage for the 21st Century”: The Indian Ocean! Everyone is going to be all about it, just you wait. The Indian Ocean has a long history of mattering, starting with demonstrating evidence of the COLONIAL OPPRESSION of maps, which tend to split the Indian Ocean in two—one side on each end of the map—and not split the earth right down the United States or something. There’s a map here of the Indian Ocean, so you can follow along with the geography, but Foreign Affairs has been culturally sensitive enough to not split it in two, so good for them. But back to this geography, which is more than incidental, if that’s what you were thinking. The Indian Ocean is just off the shore of places like India and China and Yemen, etc., so any instability—military or economic or what have you—will be played out at least partially on boats. And regulation of these maritime relationships, in particular Indian deciding to be friends with Myanmar, is up to the US, because of historical precedent. [Center Stage for the 21st Century]
“The Geoengineering Option”: There is a zen koan that Republicans like to deconstruct publicly, and that is, “If the icecaps melt and everything on the planet dies, but it is not written in CAPITAL LETTERS on the Huffington Post’s main page, will global warming still be an issue?” Foreign Affairs will not engage in such children’s games, because even though can anyone even name the last time something global warming-related was on the front page of anything, the magazine is arguing that the effects are “coming into sharper focus.” Whatever. This piece talks about something cool, and that is geoengineering, in which a troupe of elite college-educated robot scientists will “engineer” the climate by doing things like vaguely shooting particles into the atmosphere. It’s so easy, even volacanoes do it accidentally all the time and they’re volcanoes. Still, this is a complicated issue because controlling the climate and making it hot or cold in one country for benevolent reasons actually be bad for another country. Politics! [The Geoengineering Option]