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John Quiggin
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I am especially struck by Point 4, given that the current system is only a few dcades old and has performed poorly for most of that time.
Robert, that's a v good point. Maybe the three of us should write it!
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Going long Gingrich at 7.5% and selling at 10% is, in my view, a positive EV strategy. That was precisely the strategy I initially adopted, except that I bought at 5-5.8. But now, based on a pure preference for gambling, I'm taking the 10/1 chance of backing Gingrich to maturity. Not a maximal EV strategy, but hey, I've only put down $100
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I thought your acceptance sealed the bet, since I had stated the terms I wanted. Since we are both getting bad-tempered about this, I'll leave it at that and get back to you in August 2012 (or earlier if Assad falls in time for me to win).
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
OK then, Yemen should be counted as a transition out of dictatorship since 2000. I agree Saleh was no Assad, but he still met your criteria until the Spring. But the real question is whether 2000 represented a structural break in the downward trend clearly evident before that. To maintain this view (let alone the "authoritarianism resurgent" line that was popular until recently), you need your claim that the Arab Spring will not be sustained, by which I assume you mean that some or all of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen will return to dictatorship. I agree that, if this happened, it would be good support for your view. Conversely, if it doesn't, it's support for mine
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
Countries that were dictatorships in 2000 and aren't now include (as well as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya), Kyrgztan (sp?), Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan. I lack your encyclopedic knowledge on this, so I suspect there are more, but in any case this group is larger in number, and even more in population than the additions (South Sudan didn't add anyone, of course).
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
You've omitted Yemen, by the way.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
"What exactly is your point? The charitable interpretation is that you're subscribing to some vaguely Whiggish notion that there's some sort of arrow of development which points toward greater liberty. The less charitable one is that you think countries at the back of the pack don't matter somehow." My point is not the Whiggish one, in the sense of presupposing a given, or even a positive, direction of development. It's merely saying that there are directions that can be discerned and an institution that only survives in the least developed countries is unlikely to endure. I imagine you could say the same thing about the extended family (I haven't checked the data). That is, if the extended family survives as an important form of social organisation only in some very poor countries, it is unlikely to survive for long.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
"Is there any meaning in that pattern" I'd say, it supports the claims in the original post, even if I was a bit sloppy in counting. Even within the two remaining categories, the trend is clearly down. One-party government, usually with an individual strongman, was (by definition) universal in Communist countries, and close to universal in Africa. And, contrary to a bunch of commentary suggesting that this form of government is in some sense resurgent, the list suggests the opposite - these are countries that are at the back of the international pack in just about every respect you could name.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2011 on Dictators at The Power and the Money
Goods, but not many services, and not much decline in those quoted. The declining cost of babysitting is presumably part of the generally increase in wage inequality since it's unlikely there has been much productivity growth. How about college education and health insurance?
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Jan 4, 2010