A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying


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Another needull on Mark Zuckerberg’s potential run for presidency. I don’t necessarily agree with the article but important issues are to be discussed.

Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

The complete article

Jake Bittle – The Nation

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Why foreign aid cannot be regressive?


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Now, when the European Union seems to be considering a significant increase in aid for Africa—led this time not by humanitarian concerns but by the well understood self-interest as reduction of migration is hard to imagine without a substantial convergence in incomes between Africa and Europe—it is worth pointing out that one argument against aid cannot hold. This is the argument made sometime in popular press (and at times, in academe too), that aid to the poor countries is just a transfer of resources from the poor people in rich countries to the rich people in poor countries. This is what is in economics called a “regressive transfer”. (“Progressive” transfer is what we desire to achieve: tax a richer person and transfer the money to a poorer.)

The complete article

Branko Milanovic — globalinequality

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The partition goes on: A Pakistani perspective


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A Pakistani perspective.

Twenty years on, I feel we had underplayed the whole thing. When I hear about another beef lynching in India, I am reminded of all those old men who boasted about throwing a pig’s head into a mosque or slaughtering a cow in the middle of a Hindu festival.

And I think of my own beloved country we carved out of India to protect our liberties. And where we don’t have to cower in fear of a Hindu or Sikh mob.

We can get lynched by our fellow Pakistani classmates for quoting a bit of poetry and questioning some fragment of a religious text.

The partition goes on in slow motion. I took a flight back from India after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The complete article

Mohammed Hanif — Al Jazeera

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The New World Order Is Leaving the U.S. Behind


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The world order is changing fast. We are seeing the emergence of many countries on the world stage who are powerful in their own right and want to assert themselves at the global stage. The US is not the centre of the earth anymore.

Every hegemon has a sell-by date, and the U.S. is no exception. Even during the halcyon days of the 1990s — remember when the U.S. was being called a “hyperpower”? — President Bill Clinton’s administration was focused on creating institutions and a rules-based international order that it hoped would constrain China’s economic and strategic rise and extend the half-life of U.S. supremacy. For a variety of reasons, that didn’t work out so well (see: “deplorables”).

The complete article

James Gibney — Bloomberg

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India’s Opposition Heads for the Hills


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As the opposition gets weaker and weaker what does it entail for the Indian democracy?

But, if Indian history serves as any guide, this concentration of power in the hands of a single party also has a downside. During the heyday of the Congress Party in the 1970s under the leadership of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, national politics devolved into an orgy of political excess and institutional decay. The Congress Party, fabled for its pan-Indian appeal, developed an autocratic culture made famous by the sycophantic quip, “India is Indira. And Indira is India.” The remaking of the party in Indira’s mold ultimately damaged it, too, but it also proved disastrous for governance. The BJP, which has rapidly centralized authority under Modi and party president Amit Shah, would do well to heed the lessons of the past.

The complete article

Milan Vaishnav — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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A lower nuclear threshold


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A slightly older article, but pertinent to our times. As the writer rightly says, we should probably start worrying about the bomb again.

The possibility of a nuclear weapon being used in anger for the first time since 1945 is still, mercifully, extremely remote. But in 2017 the chances of it happening can no longer be discounted entirely. The inconvenient truth is that nuclear weapons are a greater danger now than at any time since the end of the cold war. The risks—from geopolitical miscalculation or from rogue actors, whether a state or terrorists—today exceed those of the late 20th century.

The complete article

Matthew Symonds — The Economist

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Pakistan: The combustible democracy


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It is pertinent to mention here that the army has dominated Pakistan’s 70 years existence and every coup has been sanctioned by judiciary. Nawaz Sharif’s premature dismissal could be due to increasing tensions between the civil and military leadership. The ousted leader’s ‘softer’ approach towards arch rival India has raised those tensions. In October last year The Dawn newspaper published a report on a National Security Committee meeting in which the government allegedly accused the army of helping some terror outfits. The inquiry report into what came to be known as the Dawn Leaks was at first rejected by the military but later accepted. The Prime Minister’s special assistant Tariq Fatmi was held responsible for the leak and supposedly sacked. Later, however, it came to light that he had continued to work for the PM. This led to further distrust between the military and the government. That trust deficit may increase.

The complete article

Emanuel Sarfraz — The Interpreter

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