For your first weekend of 2019, I’ve once again brought together some suggestions for interesting reading out of what I’ve found on the internet recently.
Owen Bennett-Jones in the London Review of Books presents a wonderful account of the workings and troubles of the BBC, but much of it could be about large and wasteful public bureaucracy.
James Peron at the Medium has a fine story about some of the ways in which free-market thinking in America has migrated from the Republicans to the Democrats, with important practical implications.
Scott Sumner at the Library of Economics and Liberty considers the problem of overreaction to perceived dangers, with particular reference to the rise of China – which, although itself illiberal, has (in his view) “no interest in promoting illiberal policies in the rest of the world.”
Alexander Davis at the Lowy Institute remarks on right-wing politicians’ new-found love for India, and the tensions associated with attempting to incorporate it into the “Anglosphere”.
Alfred McCoy in Le Monde Diplomatique casts a sceptical (and entertaining) eye over the history of geopolitics and its proponents, with a moral for Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
From trade war to real war: Joost Hiltermann in the Atlantic provides the back story to Trump’s withdrawal of troops from northern Syria, and looks at what it means for the Kurds and their (constantly disappointed) national aspirations.
Paul Imison in the New Republic looks at the conflicting expectations for Mexico’s new president, Manuel López Obrador, and suggests that many on the left in the west ignore or underestimate the fragility of Latin American democracy.
Dahlia Scheindlin at +972 magazine gives an advance preview of April’s Israeli election, arguing that significant change is unlikely and that the “consistent victory of religious and right-wing parties reflects strong ideological stability of Israeli public opinion.”
The Pew Research Center has a new study on worldwide attitudes to migration, although support for “more” or “fewer” immigrants can be misleading if it ignores the very large differences in current levels.
The Economist has a characteristically interesting piece on the uneven decline in working hours across the developed world, and its relationship to wealth, inequality and bargaining power.
And it’s been widely shared, but Lauren Hough’s memoir in Huffington Post of her experiences as a cable technician is funny, insightful and beautifully written, whether or not you draw any lessons from it about the American economy.