Wednesday assorted links

Comments

#1 "Brazil is, in many ways, America's 'sister country'. (...) For those who are intent on living somewhere nice, it's also famous for its natural beauty and fun culture.

Brazil could offer some broad perspective on how to make a very diverse young society (...) work for all its people (...) with some advanced industries."

It is also a reliable ally and a dynamic country (famous Jewish-Austrian writer Stefan Zweig called it "the country of the future"). According to Mr. Trump, the American president, it should be allowed to join NATO as soon as possible.

"In order to receive a small portion of rice at noon and 6pm he, like all the others, must praise the Chinese president and shout 'Long live Xi Jinping!'
Those who refuse are electrocuted with a cattle prod that causes their limbs to spasm uncontrollably."
Nut it is good to know the problem with this world is Brazilian Evangelicals.

"great diversity"

Sr. Ribeiro,

As the resident Brazil expert, would you say Brazil has "great diversity"? My impression is that most Brazilians would consider themselves Brazilian first before identifying with a skin color group. The majority of Brazilians identify themselves as pardos on the census so there really isn't all that much so-called diversity forced upon them the way the US government mandates that everybody be artificially labelled and placed into a particular identity based hate group in order to satisfy bigoted preferences for heterogeneity over homogeneity. Brazil therefore has much of the social stability of a Japan or South Korea and truly does represent the future of humanity. Or is there a lot of the identity group hate going on here and I am just missing it?

Thank you in advance for any thoughts that you would care to share.

Lots of diversity! There are more Blacks in Brazil than anywhere outside Africa. More people from Japanese stock than anywhere outside Japan. We have had presidents from Native, African, German, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian, Czech and Lebanese stock.

Brazil fought against the Axis in the 1940s, but a few years ago, the Air Force Commander was from Japanese stock!

Evidently, Brazilians were able to craft a national identity which transcends and surpasses racial, ethnic and religious identites. Brazil is predicted to become a Protestant-majority in a few years, it already has become a Black/pardo majority country.Imagine such changes in America and the turmoil they would cause. Like the fingers of a hand, Brazilians are diverse, united in purpose and dexterous.

Thank you

You are welcome.

I have to say though I am watching Galo get ready to play Zamora and the women in the crowd are uniformly gorgeous.

My choice would be Hawaii. Second choice, Alaska.

Galo can win, but it must show resolution to prevail.

Sr. Roberto, your prediction could not have been more accurate. It did indeed take resolution to over come a 2 goal deficit, a display of resolution worthy of the noble Miniero people.

Yes, as a Brazilian writer said, the inlander is above everything else strong. So is the Mineiro.

Stop virtue signaling about "diversity" in Brazil. Trump is president for a reason you know.

So what? President Captain Bolsonaro is a president, too. Maybe the best in the world.

famous Jewish-Austrian writer Stefan Zweig called it "the country of the future"

And eighty years later, it still is.

Brazil represents tomorrow today.

Brazil is America's ugly sister. Who would want to move to a corrupt, fascist sh*thole and live in a dirty, crime-infest favela?

Most Brazilians don't live in favelas, and most favelas are clean and not crime-infested. There is nothing corrupt or fascist in Brazil. Quite the opposite. President Captain Bolsonaro has ordered a witch-hunt against corrupt people. Brazil is in negotiations to join NATO.

"There is nothing corrupt or fascist in Brazil...Bolsonaro has ordered a witch-hunt against corrupt people." Fascists conduct witch-hunts, but there is really no need for them when most of Brazil's senior politicians are truly corrupt.

Brazil is too much of an economic basket case to join NATO. There's no way it will be able to spend 2% of its GDP on defense anytime soon.

Brazil can spend any reasonable amount of money in defense and even more. Meanwhile, the ungrateful Europeans and Asians refuse to oay for their protection.

Corruption in Brazil is rare, unsafe and illegal. Suffices to say, all living former govetnors of Rio de Janeiro State have spent time behind bars. Former president Temer has spent a few days behind bars, is under federal investigation and had his accounts frozen. Mr. Souza is being force to return about US$25 millions he had hidden in Swiss banks. Former president Mr. Silva has been sentenced to 12 years jail time. In Brazil, crime does not pay. Meanwhile, Trump tramples out his vow of jailing Mrs. Clinton.

#1 Ecuador, Macau, Chile and Singapore are high on my list. Also Phuket Thailand - but only ChaoLang District - no Indian Ocean issues for me thank you.

#4 MMT is the unified field theory of economics. It's all the rage, may not actually exist or be possible, is supposed to explain everything but people can't tell you how, and like how Alchemy became the predecessor to Chemistry will likely be the useless antecedent to something in the future precisely because of its colossal failure to produce anything of real value.

MMT is the classic philosophical 'should be' to the world's 'but is', and its proponents have a chronically bad case of the should've's.

#5 Does this mean I can't make flatbread or pizza 'dough' with zucchini anymore? There goes this year's keto resolution....

#1 The far north of Canada. Spend a year in Iqaluit and you will learn a lot about economics, especially regarding food and fuel.

4. Oh dear. The Tcherneva paper’s review of African colonialism is glowing. Not even an acknowledgment of what the Africans themselves might have thought of this system, or the horrendous long-run consequences for Africa. This shows the MMTers’ endgame—we taxpayers are like African villagers who have no intrinsic value apart from the labor we generate for the government. This paper should be cited every time MMT is debated.

#5: so.....rice is an animal and cauliflower rice is the "plant-based alternative to stalwart food products."

For some people, it's too hard to invent a new word to name a new invention. Regulations are bothersome.......but hucksters beg for them to be used.

There is a name: riced cauliflower. Marketers just don't want to use it.

I'm still a fan of 'nut juice'.

They probably get all upset when terrorists use ricin

I have plenty of nut juice in my ballsack.

That is the impersonator.

Chile: it's a better version of California's natural wonders with no Californians!

That's what they used to say about Oregon.

They didn't realize Oregonians were worse. Chileans are better.

#1 - The section about Brazil is a *complete* miss. Americans will find it very hard to live there. It is not a "sister country" in what matters, that is, culture. It is much closer to Europe in that regard and even so it is not really that close. Very few people speak english. It is incredibly hard to have a business there. The country is not safe at all. The article is basically useless based on how wrong that section is.

"The country is not safe at all."
It is safe, too. It is not like America's Comptons, Detroits, Fergusons. We don't round up Blacks to kill them.

Business are thriving thanks to President Captain Bolsonaro's economic reforms. State assets are being sold. The stock market is rising as a kite. Brazil has revoked visa requirements for American citizens and is negotiating its admission to NATO. All things considered, ths state of the Union is pretty solid.

Also, I licked all the windows in Rio!

That is the impersonator.

How can you tell?

Because I am myself.

Isn't that precisely what a fake Thiago Ribeiro would believe?!

No! The impersonator probably works for the 50 Cents Party.

Lol! You are too funny!

Thanks for the laugh, I needed it!

You are welcome.

This made me laugh more than anything the "real" Thiago has ever written. Thank you.

#1. "It made me both less satisfied with the things America does wrong - for example, urban density and transportation"

I'd say those are things that the U.S. does right -- long haul freight by rail, long-haul passengers by air, lower-density green spaces for living, with most commuting done by convenient, private, point-to-point automobile travel and generally short commute times. NYC, with the nation's most European transit system, also has the longest average commute times. And if you're unlucky enough to be relying on mass transit in a dense city, you can plan on a commute that's almost twice as long as your car-commuting counterparts.

+1.

The desire to have European passenger rail in the U.S. always overlooks the fact that the U.S. has the world's most efficient rail freight system, and moving freight by rail makes a lot more sense than offloading it into trucks so people can ride the trains, which is what Europe does. Passenger rail has forced freight onto the roads, which increases congestion, GHG emissions, and does more damage to the road network leading to higher repair costs.

The U.S. is doing rail correctly.

'than offloading it into trucks so people can ride the trains, which is what Europe does'

You are aware that most of the German ICE high speed rail network is dedicated track (not all, of course), one assumes. As is the French TGV network.

It is pretty hard to have a train doing 300 km/h share track with freight, this separate from the need to have a higher standard of track when going that fast.

And in this region, the streetcars also use the freight/passenger rail system - no freight is offloaded so that those streetcars go between various towns with train stops, then through a city, and continue on to other towns with train stops.

Of course, some of those stops have this amazing idea of a 'siding' - one hopes there is no need to link to wikipedia to explain the concept to someone so clearly familiar with how rails work in Europe.

"one hopes there is no need to link to wikipedia "

Well I suppose a threat to wiki us to death is better than actually doing it. Small steps towards a better forum....

But the bottom line is:

The picture for freight is different. According to Panorama 2009 , 46 percent of EU-27 freight goes by highway while only 10 percent goes by rail, while in the U.S. 43 percent goes by rail and only 30 percent by road. (In both cases, nearly all of the rest is waterways and pipelines.)

https://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847

Yet, that is not due to passengers displacing freight shipping. A major part is that between the Mercedes factories in Gaggenau, Rastatt, and Wörth, it simply makes senses to use trucks to carry transmissions for the trucks and cars that are produced each day. However, much of the car and truck production for export is carried either by rail or on the Rhine.

Further, the U.S. uses rail to ship coal (though that amount is declining), which still accounts for around 20% (or around a third of the tonnage) of all rail freight volume in the U.S.

The difference between 10% by rail in the EU vs 43% in the U.S. is vastly higher than can be accounted for schlepping parts between a few Mercedes factories. And I am sure that trucks are likewise used to ship parts to U.S. auto assembly plants from the constellation of nearby parts suppliers.

As for coal -- it accounts for about the same fraction (a quarter) of electricity generation in both Germany and the U.S. and Germany burns a particularly dirty form of coal:

Today, nearly a quarter of all electricity produced in Germany still comes from burning lignite, often called brown coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, making Germany the world’s leader in the mining and burning of lignite, according to the International Energy Agency.

Possibly a coal friendly link is not possible here?

'The difference between 10% by rail in the EU vs 43% in the U.S. is vastly higher than can be accounted for schlepping parts between a few Mercedes factories'

Absolutely. First of all, let us look at coal - 70% of the coal burned for electricity in the U.S. is shipped by rail (think Powder River basin). Here is how it is in Germany - 'In contrast to the sprawling U.S. coal infrastructure, European lignite mines are invariably dedicated to local power stations.' So, should we simply remove the 1/3 of total American rail tonnage transport as having no comparison to Europe? Or at least keep it in mind?

Second, half of America's total rail traffic is intermodal - that is basically containers. Strangely, at least on the Rhine rail route, a lot of the traffic is intermodal too - except that the trains are carrying trailers, not containers. Yes, this is somewhat specific, and is also because the Swiss have fairly strict limits for truck traffic through the Alps.

But then there is the question how much of that American intermodal transport is simply transhipping between the Asia and Europe, using North America's efficient rail infrastructure to reduce shipping times. A hard number to actually determine, but there is no question that when a ship docks at Long Beach, containers filled with goods destined for Arkansas or St. Louis are transported by rail.

Basically, the geography is very different, and thus much freight travels long distances by rail. Essentially, how much freight in the U.S. that travels less than 500 miles is carried by rail? In contrast, how much freight that is carried 2,000 miles is carried by truck?

Just like with coal, the fact that basically no distance in Europe is 2,000 miles long (Oslo-Naples 1,326 miles, or Helsinki-Naples1411 miles, or Dublin- Sofia 1537 miles) suggests that a straight comparison needs to avoid being simplistic. That more freight goes by truck is no surprise .- the Mercedes example was simply an illustration that truck transport plays a major role in the world's largest truck manufacturing plant when it comes to the parts, and that for exports, rail and water is used.

(And lignite sucks in all kinds of ways - here are a few, from the same link, which actually praises lignite, by the way - 'The possibility of long-distance lignite deliveries was often overlooked in the past due to the low calorific value and high moisture content of crude lignite. In effect, every second lignite freight car transports only water. Yet this seeming disadvantage actually provides certain unexpected benefits.

Mined lignite with a high moisture content cannot be safely stockpiled in large quantities because of the danger of spontaneous combustion.')

The largest advantage of wikipedia is that it is basically never filtered here. One never knows what links are acceptable or not in this comment section.

I think you miss the point. No, freight and passengers do not share rail in Germany. But the prevalence of passenger rail has crowded out freight rail. America has a more efficient system, perhaps by accident or economics than by design.

I'd say by Emergence. Rail Freight in the U.S. took a large leap in efficiency after it was deregulated and private rail networks began to organize and cooperate.

#1. Depends on what the purpose is. Looking for a nicer country to emigrate to? Try Canada. Study abroad experience? London/Paris/Rome etc are all good candidates (plus if you choose your program wisely it can be a relative inexpensive way to experience cities one might otherwise be priced out of). Looking to work abroad? Asia might be a good fit. Looking to retire in location with a nice climate? Mexico, Argentina, Greece might all work.

I think it depends on if you are working or a student. I did a semseter abroad in London. Expensive European capitals are probably a good fit for a student experience.

If money were not a concern I would personally choose Paris. Sure Tyler thinks Paris is overrated, but good god have you tried the bread and cheese? (and Tyler is obviously missing out on the excellent French wine). Bordeaux is also lovely.

I would choose Rome over Paris. The people are nicer, it's cheaper, the wine is just as good and so is the food.

1. Study abroad in South Korea. Excellent universities, tops in the world. Many classes taught in English. Safe. Nice people. Affordable - high rents in Seoul are not nearly as expensive as many other world class cities. Government is taking steps to make it even easier to study there. Read rave reviews at: https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-study-abroad-in-South-Korea

If money is no object I'd pick London. If it's a short time and money is no object and you are interested in Asia I'd pick Singapore.

UK censors their internet. No thanks.

4. "Formal Models vs. Guru-Based Theories"
This part reminds me of the difference between Scientology and mainstream religions.

4. The great Cambridge controversy about "capital" went away as soon as the arguments were forced to be expressed in math. Then the differing assumptions behind the two sides were made clear.

Rather than China I would suggest Viet Nam and or the Philippines. The first due to the recent history and current events -- and a population that speaks a bit of English in the big cities.

The Philippines due to the ease of travel from English being so widely spoken. Additionally you will be able to really see a very stratified economy, real poverty up close and for the most part have a conversation about it all that is more than superficial.

Costa Rica seems to be a destination of choice for Canadians seeking to move abroad. The cost of living is low, real estate is fairly cheap, the country is beautiful and peaceful and stable. Crime is relatively low, and there are large communities of ex-pat Americans and Canadians.

My wife and I have considered retiring to Costa Rica, or at least wintering there.

Is there a reason the Central American immigrant caravans don't go to Costa Rica? Serious question.

Because they would need to go through Nicaragua first? A country which is likely at least as poor than from where they started?

They have to go thru corrupt, poor, and geographically lengthy Mexico to get to the US, when they could go thru smaller Nicaragua and end up in another Spanish-speaking country with a high standard of living, so I don't think that's the issue.

Well it has a population of 4 million with a median salary of around $10K. So, obviously there would be far less opportunities for work.

Isn't one of the selling points of immigration that it results in job-creation?

Compared to Central America, Mexico is not poor. On a GDP (PPP) basis, Mexico is at $19k per capita, Costa Rica at $17k, El Salvador at $9k, Honduras at $5.5k. Going north makes sense.

The US is at about $59k by a similar metric.

Same reason the American homeless don't all move to Hawaii: it's an expensive place to live if you have nothing. In Costa Rica, you need a good education or a nice plot of land to make it as an "everyman." Otherwise, you're no better off than if you were back home. In the United States, you can take a job at McDonald's and pull in a higher salary than you got in Honduras, plus live in a safer community with excellent upward mobility for your children.

Sounds like Costa Rica has some systemic barriers to participation in its economy.

No more so than any other Central American country. It is fundamentally a developing nation, it just so happens to have the benefit of a large amount of foreign direct investment.

Before I moved out of Utah, I had no idea how easy it is to work for one of the America's largest corporations. I thought that was something that you could only do if you went to Harvard or something. Then I moved and discovered that all you have to do is be in the same city as a bunch of these corporations.

If I were still in Utah, I'd probably be working for some mom and pop insurance company or a local credit union or something. Moving away completely changed the course of my life. And that's just a move between US states. Moving from El Salvador to Texas is much more profound.

Aha, the ol' "State X is going all to hell but its leaders have enough time on their hands to pass Bill X we think is foolish and self-serving."

Don't see the press apply that lead-in very often to Democrat-run states or cities.

It's Quartz.

#5 "The state legislature on March 20 passed a measure banning food companies from marketing “cauliflower rice” as “rice.”

Yes, but since any noun can be verbed, I bet they can still sell this as "riced cauliflower."

Rice is already a verb. They've been making these things for at least 200 years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_ricer

#5 There go those free market Republicans again, always encouraging competition and not picking sides, unlike the Democrats.

/s

+1, Language standardization supports a vibrant free market by raising trusts in markets.

#1, I highly recommend France over Germany: https://www.ft.com/content/a980aad4-fcd7-11df-ae2d-00144feab49a

1. Ukraine sounds super interesting and I would totally go live there if I had:
a) no children or relationship attachments
b) no career or career plans or conflicting long-term life goals
c) sufficient money to live on

Considering most college grads can't buy a home because they are still paying off their student loans, I don't know when anyone, except the children of the wealthy, is supposed to have the time to go live abroad. Poor people don't have the money, and middle class people have careers and mortgages that can't be interrupted by a years long globe trotting vacation. I do know people who seem to make this lifestyle work, but they either have families rich enough to support them in between trips, or they are essentially couch-surfing homeless bums that have no career aspirations. Or maybe international drug mules. Not sure.

He's an academic. He's likely had visiting gigs or was on the foundation dime. One of the twits who blogs at 'Crooked Timber' is an American academic on some faculty in Singapore.

To be fair, it's theoretically possible that I could get a job in Europe sometime, but probably Ukraine would be unlikely. As noted it's an economically depressed place. If you have career goals, your options for where you can go live are limited by where the jobs are in that industry.
My brother works in oil and gas and he's lived and worked all sorts of places. Of course he didn't exactly have free selection of where either.

And they probably weren't that glamorous either.

Depends on what you find glamorous. Some people dig going to wierd and wild places. My brother worked on one contract job in Tashkent Uzbekistan.

5. Vegetables are persons too. As are cows and hogs. At least they are in some states, which have created claims for, among other things, libel and slander for actual persons who defame the vegetables, cows, or hogs. I suppose that if corporations can be persons, then plants and animals can too.

3: If the author wants a hidden meaning then she first must write a meaning to hide behind.

4. Why is it perfectly acceptable for economists of a certain leaning (hacks, in other words) to criticize, ridicule really, a fanciful MMT for its debt induced run away inflation while supporting the actual real world policy of tax cuts for the wealthy that produce debt in the trillions. Is fantasy more dangerous than reality? Well, yes, for the hacks, who live in fantasy - a well paid fantasy I might add. MMT, to my mind, is just the left's answer to the nonsense that the right calls prudent policy.

I've thought the same thing all along. MMT is getting criticized as a policy of the left when it's really the strategy the Republicans have employed for years.

1. Odd he left out Czech Republic and New Zealand, both of which are huge American ex pat communities. Canada goes without saying.

I've lived in Germany. Highly recommend it. For similar reasons, Austria or Switzerland would be nice.

Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia would be high on my list.

Belize, Costa Rica are a dream. Panama and El Salvador are great if you can afford to live there safely.

One could live very well in Kosovo, Macedonia, or Thailand. Americans are rock stars there.

#2 was lovely. I hope the economy expands, but the cycling culture remains. That would be a tough thing to accomplish, but if they managed to do it, they might be able to export cycling culture to the rest of Africa and the world.

1.

In a recent Twitter thread, I explained how I think living abroad changes one's perspective. In addition to the obvious benefits of cosmopolitanism - helping people realize that people around the world aren't so different after all, etc. etc.

Could he do the rest of us a favor by not returning?

1. Another question is where can Americans go to live abroad. For people without jobs, like retirees, most of Europe is out. Switzerland and Germany seem to get mentioned a lot, but most retired Americans wouldn't be allowed to move to either of them. Same with Canada.

Yes, but not in Switzerland or Germany. And the Austrian one, as I understand it, requires you to live in Austria for more than half the year. Besides which, I can't understand the Bavarian dialect that most Austrians speak. Not that I'm seriously considering moving.

MMT seems to me to always devolve down to, "You pretend to work, and we will pretend to pay you."

In other words, it would rapidly descend to the point where the government essentially calls all the shots and the people do what they're told if they want to keep eating. Because the private economy would completely collapse under such an insane scheme.

Sometimes I think that's the whole point. It's a back door to complete government control of the economy as the private sector collapses.

2: I wonder if Asmara is much different from small cities in China, prior to their incomes rising sharply. We've certainly seen photos of Chinese streets from say 30 years ago, with very few cars but lots of people on bicycles. Same with Vietnam.

4: A good point about model-based vs guru-based economics.

Robert Shiller's take, from a few days ago, seems to me to be the best one so far, if we want to try hard to extract some sort of useful policy prescription from MMT. He still finds it to be based on theories or models that are either incoherent or non-existent, but the policy implications are relatively harmless if not carried too far (and just about any ideological prescriptions are a bad idea if carried too far): it's okay to do some deficit spending if we don't go overboard and cause inflation to rise sharply.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/business/modern-monetary-theory-shiller.html

If that's what the MMT people are saying, the no biggie, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have run budget deficits. It's a government economic policy that we've lived with through most administrations the last few decades.

But I'm still mystified about who the heck these MMT people are and what they are trying so say. Most of it sounds like nonsense.

Noah Smith was able to get a formal model to work with. I think his fixation on criticizing the model for being based on firefighting is out of line though. Most simple macro models assume there's something called G that the government can spend money on, and they don't even go so far as to specify that it could be firefighting. Noah should just assume that the G is being spent on some public good (education, defense, saving the whales, exploring Mars, whatever) and move on.

Short take of the most common description I have heard:

1. We can pay for everything we want by printing money.
2. If this causes inflation, we can choke it off using tax policy.
3. Profi...er, Social Justice!

Equally short criticism of this: TANSTAAFL.

What was the Eastern European chick with the TV writer parents trying to say? It wasn't unpleasant, and I did like her single admission of modesty that not everyone her parents were distrustful of deserved that. But...what was she saying here?

1. Kids in Europe are just like American students: Thoroughly stupid.

4. There's been banter about MMT for years but nobody has paid much attention to it until the media elevated this bar maid to a political sensation. There are 541 members of the US congress, 9 freshman senators and 96 new representatives, but Sandy O.C. gets all the attention from both the mastodon media and smart phone crowd. What gives? We're seeing a similar situation in the media selection of potential democratic presidential candidates. They say Joe Biden was the front runner on the basis of polling but who was polled? He's been a political non-entity for many years and is on social security now. Nobody ever heard of Beto O'Rourke until the democrat media started pushing him, another non-entity. At the same time, an obscurity with a good record and ideas that appeal to many, Tulsi Gabbard is completely ignored. But the journalistic profession, if it can be called that, is proud of their license to winnow the candidates to the most significant. That's why Trump devastated them so much, they didn't pick him as even a possibility, much less a winner.

The reason MMT is getting attention is not the media but because both Bernie Sanders and AOC with the GND have been invoking it as support for their ideas. The reason they have been doing so is that the most articulate defender of MMT was previously and is now again Bernie's top economic adviser. That would be Stephanie Kelton, who is indeed very articulate and convincing in person, quite the guru.

Noah is right that the MMTers have not been all that forthcoming with specific models, although I agree with commenter above that making fun of the firefighting example in Tcherneva's model is a sideshow. Noah is more on the money noting the rejection by leading MMTers of the argument that their theory is largely based on Abba Lerner's functional finance, albeit with some updates and twists.

Let me note that they are right on a few points. Probably the biggest one is that indeed being able to issue debt in one's own currency makes a big difference, although this has its limits for smaller, open, not very high income nations. But there are some unanswered questions and loose ends, without getting into some odd things in their actual monetary theory that are not necessarily so important for the policy discussion.

One loose end I have yet to see any of them address is that if one keeps raising the debt/GDP ratio, one will also raise the interest payment/GDP ratio. This can become problematic if those payments are going abroad, even if nominally in one's own currency. But even if it is all domestically held, these interest payments tend to go to high income people, so this implies increasing inequality of income, which supposedly the MMTers do not like.

Stephanie Kelton, and Randy Ray, Bill Black, Warren Mosler , and Michael Hudson, all UMKC economic faculty at one time or another, are virtually unknown outside of a small group of MMT dreamers and their critics. It's doubtful that Sanders understands her version of MMT any better than a random democrat. What knowledge he might have acquired didn't help in the last election process and is unlikely to be effective during this go-around. The idea of a guaranteed job for anyone who wants one won't get very far among the normal folk.

Don't go to Japan. It's awful. You don't have the right to keep and bear arms. Although you can get a permit to kill wild boars, if you really want and need one. What's up with this place, why can't they be more like the Greatest Country? Just asking. Seriously, don't come here. The Carrion Crows are out of control.

the obvious benefits of cosmopolitanism - helping people realize that people around the world aren't so different after all, etc. etc

This take is nonsense, and demonstrates how superficial Noah Smith's experiences living abroad are. I have spent years living and working in places like Russia, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and China. And living abroad has convinced me that there are significant biological and cultural differences between groups of human beings in the aggregate. When you spend a few months in Russia, not speaking Russia, mostly hanging out with Russians who speak English and have some interest in Western culture, well, it shouldn't be a huge shock that people everywhere need to eat, defecate, have sex, enjoy spending time with friends, are typically not cannibals, etc. But there also reasons why a large group of Chinese will tend to build a certain type of society and a large group of Mexicans will build a different type of society. Spending years living in various societies has also made me more sensitive to the upheavals and friction that large-scale immigration causes and certainly made me more of a restrictionist than I was when I had only lived in the US.

Ditto. Living in Asia in particular opened my eyes to the fact that you could have a successful first world country based on different ideals and without typical western pathologies.

Also some of the things on his list just don't match what my experience was (either at home or abroad).

Yes, I am same, I have lived and worked all over the world for most of my working life. I don't think actually living overseas changes you that much, people seemed to remain largely true to their national character.

#5 I guess cauliflower pizza dough is next on the list.

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