Silent Inflation


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Inflation targeting by the Central Bank might have some unintended consequences.

But reducing uncertainty about prices by keeping the inflation target at 2% or more might actually increase a sense of uncertainty about real things like home values or investments. While it is right to worry about massive deflation, the historical relationship between deflation and recession is not all that strong. In a 2004 paper, the economists Andrew Atkeson and Patrick Kehoe concluded that most of the evidence of a relationship comes from just one case: the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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Robert J. Shiller — Project Syndicate

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Oh, To Follow the Road That Leads Away From Everything


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For the love of driving.

I listened to the Pacific and took a step forward. I was on Earth. I was so lucky to be here. So goddamn lucky I suddenly wanted to scream. Do you know how rare it is to have a planet covered in water? How precious it is to get out of the car, walk a few feet, and touch the ocean? It was the deep blue of my daughter’s eyes. This water is flowing through me, through her, through all of us here, together. Is this enlightenment? I thought to myself. I don’t know enough about Buddhism.

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Rebecca Boyle — The Last Word on Nothing

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The Chinese Strategy of Technological Advancement and Cybersecurity


When it comes to artificial intelligence, public-private collaboration and coordination is reportedly pervasive, and China has recruited big Chinese tech firms as part of the “AI national team.” Western commentators often portray the success of Chinese technology firms as the result of unfair practices, like theft of intellectual property and the provision of state subsidies. But, as Kai-Fu Lee notes, this also stems from China’s ability to endorse particular objectives and set the tone for private capital choices, as it has done in seeking to foster the development of artificial intelligence. China likewise leads the way in providing infrastructure to support these technological developments, such as building cities and highways with built-in sensors designed to facilitate the use of driverless cars. The Chinese government views its state capitalist model as a national strength that does not contradict international trade rules, which that it needs to secure against U.S. attempts to halt or reverse China’s rise. A key question for the future of international economic law is whether these different economic models will be able to coexist under the same legal framework.

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Anthea Roberts, Henrique Choer Moraes & Victor FergusonLawfare

The architects of fantasy


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Did you know about “Fantasy Coffins”?

The Ga people used to refer to the coffins as abebuu adekai, which roughly translates as “receptacles of proverbs” or “proverbial coffins.” Put simply, coffins that are imbued with some sort of meaning. The practice of making and using figurative coffins arose from changing colonial and postcolonial policies towards the dead in Ghana—they facilitated (and still do) very public statements about familial identity, ancestral power and status in increasingly competitive environments. The cultural significance of their use has been documented in both popular media and scholarship (see Bonetti 2012; Tschumi 2008). So, attaching the qualifier “fantasy” to these coffins and the associated practices lends an overly simplistic and unrealistic sentiment to death and funerals in Ga culture. They are, in fact, highly emotional and complex.

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Kristin Otto — Africa is a Country

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Pack Experience


Interesting article on how we navigate through life in packs or small group of people.

Look around. Packs of humans are everywhere. Clusters of people riding escalators. People standing in for groups in ticket queues. Mothers ordering meals for children at restaurants. Families clearing immigration together at airports. Groups of people playing sports. Packs backstop all of social reality. When other levels of social reality unravel and fail, pack realities get stronger. Your emergency preparedness plan — for floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or whatever is the big risk in your neck of the woods — is almost certainly a pack-level plan that includes family, neighbors, and friends. Pack realities are much stronger in countries, like India, where higher levels of social reality are particularly weak.

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Venkatesh Rao — Ribbonfarm

Pay, Power and Politics: Where Did Carlos Ghosn Go Wrong?


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One of the trending stories.

Did Ghosn have far too much control at the three companies? Apparently yes, noted MacDuffie, pointing to a Nissan director’s comments at a news conference where “he was critical of how much power is centralized in one person” in the alliance. Ghosn, 64, is approaching retirement and had already announced his plans to exit all roles in the alliance by 2020. “If he hadn’t emerged as such a hero from the early stages of this turnaround [at Nissan and Renault], many people would have said it’s a little risky to concentrate that much power in one person.”

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Knowledge&Wharton

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Is the Term “People of Color” Acceptable in This Day and Age?


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So in the United States in 2016 our language still reflects the continuing racialization hierarchy—with white at the top. The use of “people of color” may be less offensive to some than, say, specifying one’s country of origin (Mexican-American, African-American, and so on). Some people that I have asked say they prefer the use of country-of-origin terms because they provide a connection between one’s ancestral country and where they live now. So a question from me is, if we replaced “white” with “European-American” or “Iranian-American,” for example, could we then do away with the word “white” as well?

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Yolanda Moses — Sapiens

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