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Noel Maurer
Interests: My current research asks whether foreign governments or international institutions can improve economic governance. Is it possible to alter a country’s property rights system from the outside? This research has two prongs. The first is a historical work, tentatively entitled Imperial Experiments: Intervention, Economic Growth, and Property Rights, which tests various hypotheses about the success and failure of American attempts to improve economic governance outside the United States and protect the property rights of U.S. investors before World War II. The second is a series of contemporary case studies about attempts to alter nations’ internal economic governance from the outside: bilateral investment treaties, investor protection clauses in trade agreements, conditional loans, the “mortgaging” of export revenues, vulture funds, and military intervention. I also watch a lot of baseball, enjoy very bad music, and do a lot of travelling. The travel tends to be either in total luxury, or to places where I need to wear body armor and live in constant fear of, well, death.
Recent Activity
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Man, at first the Trump Wall was 60-feet high. That was a wall! A tenement-high wall. You could be impressed by that. But now the specs are calling for prototypes between 18 and 30 feet tall. Dude. That is not... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Power and the Money
There are a lot of papers in the “history only happened once” genre, where somebody examines an event that happened hundreds of years ago and proclaims that the effects persist today. Some are truly excellent and tell us things we... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Power and the Money
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There was some interest in this topic but not a whole lot. So I will put up a short post, which will be pretty straightforward. I will discuss U.S. exports today. The key thing to keep in mind is that... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Power and the Money
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As if poor Prime Minister May didn’t have enough on her plate, here comes another possible complication. (“Poor” may be the wrong adjective, as she is bringing most of the problems upon herself.) Could the U.K. be sued by foreign... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Today the Financial Times published a mysterious map purporting to show Mexican-American border disputes, according to Senator Patricio Martínez. I am more than slightly surprised that the newspaper is giving such credence to the Senator’s bizarro-world claims with no further... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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OK, the President claims that the wall will be 60 feet high. If I had to bet, I would bet that it is not going to be built, but who knows? If I were in Congress, I would vote for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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A Mexican senator has called for Mexico to reopen all its border disputes with the United States in order to oppose the Trump administration. (Hat tip: Mexfiles.) According to Senator Patricio Martínez — who formerly served as governor of Chihuahua,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Kevin Drum announces with much certainty that Donald Trump has nothing to do with the peso’s fall! Is he right? No. He’s not. It is true that the Mexican peso weakened in November 2014, when oil prices dropped from around... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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With the U.K. on its way out of the European Union, now seems like the time to ask! I am not talking about 1989. Rather, I am talking about 1871. Did the emergence of a unified German nation state owe... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The 25th amendment has been getting a lot of attention lately. Most of that attention is undeserved, unless you expect President Trump to suffer a debilitating stroke. The amendment was written to avoid, in the words of Doug Muir, “The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In April of 2016, I posted about a European initiative to reform investment tribunals. I thought it an excellent idea. The idea would be to make the tribunals more like real honest-to-goodness courts, with due process and precedent and all.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Market access can have a big impact even when the numbers are small. For example, extending normal trading relations to China did not dramatically increase access to the U.S. market. But it did increase certainty: previously, China’s access was subject... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The Trump administration may or may not be seriously considering mobilizing the National Guard to deport illegal immigrants. (The link goes to the draft memo, not a secondary source.) The reason why the administration would need state governors to agree... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Political events over the past few years in North Carolina have been quite depressing. Extreme gerrymandering diluted representation. In 2012, the Democrats won the popular vote for the federal House but lost most of the seats. In 2016, a 53%... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In 2011, France was wracked by corruption scandals in which African leaders, from Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon in particular, passed off millions of dollars in cash to the Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin. It was the flip side an... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Back during the Obama administration, critics always used to say that there was too much “uncertainty.” Business executives being fragile flowers and all, they could not be expected to make tough decisions without absolute 100% certainty about everything. That argument... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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I am opposed to a 20% tariff aimed at Mexican manufactured goods. I am more ambivalent about the 20% border adjustment tax (BAT) floated by the Trump administration. In fact, I may support it. The basic idea is simple. U.S.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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It is true that President Trump has made threatening noises. And it is true that he has appointed people with protectionist bents to run Commerce and the USTR office. But said Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, founded a major Mexican... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In the previous post, some readers questioned how the Argentine government could unilaterally offer the Falkland Islands access to Mercosur. The answer is easy: Mercosur recognizes Argentine sovereignty over the islands. The Mercosur parliament ratified the previous declaration in stronger... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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I have been involved in urban real estate markets, in addition to my own house. (Details to come.) As a potential owner, what was my response to a declaration that an eight-story building was going up that would block part... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In our last installment, we commented on the Argentine Republic’s recent immigration reforms. That rather anodyne change prompted the Argentine security minister to have to deny that a wall with Bolivia was in the cards. Now it seems that the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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So the Trudeau government just gave supporters their first big disappointment: no election reform in this parliament. The stated reason is twofold. First, the Liberals feared that proportional representation might lead to the rise of fringe alt-right parties. Second, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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By now, most of you have heard of the tragic fiasco in Yemen. An attempted U.S.-Emirati raid went badly wrong, resulting in unnecessary loss of military and civilian lives. On one hand, the fault lies with the U.S. military, which... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Power is the ability to get people to obey of their own volition. In liberal democracies, executive officials are obeyed because their underlings believe that the only legitimate course of action is to obey them. In the background, there is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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On the phone yesterday, my boy said this to me, verbatim: “God bless Donald Trump to make good decisions and God bless bad guys to not be bad guys and do good things instead.” I am fairly sure that he... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at The Power and the Money