Corruption in a Trump Presidency

Corruption in a Trump Presidency

In December 2009, I moved to Philippines just before the presidential election.  Like most of the former leaders of the Philippines, the outgoing president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was exiting under a cloud of scandal.  The candidates pledged to end the corruption that plagued the country, promising to jail Arroyo and clean up the government.    The leading candidate was a man named Manny Villar.  I remember him for two reasons.  First, he had possibly the smarmiest campaign ad I’d ever…

Read More Read More

Racism in America

Racism in America

I. Introduction In August of 2014, a police officer shot dead Michael Brown, a black teenager from Ferguson, Missouri, blowing the lid off a debate about racism in America. Protesters filled the streets, yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The hashtag “#blacklivesmatter” began trending on Twitter. A few weeks before, bystanders filmed a police officer in Staten Island choking to death Eric Garner, an African-American man who’d been arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. When the grand jury chose not to bring…

Read More Read More

Travelogue: India

Travelogue: India

As I mentioned in the last post, I decided to figure this India trip on the fly, refusing to make any concrete plans that might hinder my freedom to do whatever I wanted. The day before I left, I ordered a copy of the Lonely Planet India on Amazon to be delivered the next day (which it did, five hours before my flight). Armed with a book about India and a couple recommendations from friends, I felt confident that the…

Read More Read More

The Freedom of Winging a Trip

The Freedom of Winging a Trip

In this post, I’ll take a detour from the travelogue to talk about the benefits of winging it. After the wedding, people began to go their separate ways. The people with jobs prepared for their flights back to their homes where they would return to being productive members of society. Given my current status as a man of leisure, such responsibilities and obligations don’t apply to me, so I headed off to Pokhara, a lakeside town seven hours north of…

Read More Read More

Travelogue: Nepal, Part 1

Travelogue: Nepal, Part 1

On December 3rd, 2014, I flew to Nepal by way of Istanbul for a wedding in Kathmandu. I’d spent the last week writing papers and preparing to leave school a week early for the trip. My flight was at 11 PM, so I had to leave for airport at 9. The Lonely Planet guides for Nepal and India I’d ordered the day before arrived at 4 in the afternoon, but I missed getting my new Capital One card with no…

Read More Read More

Some Countries Just Can’t Catch a Break: A Review of the Theories

Some Countries Just Can’t Catch a Break: A Review of the Theories

In the last post, I explained the concept of “least developed countries” and discussed some of the characteristics shared by the 48 countries that bear the label. In this post, I’ll review a few different theories for why some countries are so much poorer than others. In Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson, economists at MIT and Harvard, respectively, argue that the key to prosperity are strong institutions. This is a common refrain among a lot of…

Read More Read More

Why Do Some Countries Have It So Bad?

Why Do Some Countries Have It So Bad?

Open a newspaper today and you’ll be bombarded with a panoply of terrible news. Ebola is ravaging West Africa, with a projected 10,000 new cases per week and the possibility for 1.4 million people infected in Sierra Leone and Liberia alone. Two decades ago, those same countries were embroiled in one of the most horrific civil wars in modern history. A few thousand miles away, a possible genocide in the Central African Republic has been unfolding – largely unnoticed –…

Read More Read More

Free Trade is Good for Global Development

Free Trade is Good for Global Development

This is the fourth in a series of six posts about the trouble in America today and policy solutions going forward.  The first post is about income inequality, the second introduces the basis for my policy recommendations, and the third presents economic policies.  In this post, I will address policies related to international trade. I know less about the specifics of free trade agreements, and, admittedly, they are one of the most contentious economic policies that exist.  I find myself on the side in favor of free trade…

Read More Read More

Simple Economic Solutions to Big Problems

Simple Economic Solutions to Big Problems

“My business, Miss Taggart?” said Midas Mulligan. “My business is blood transfusion—and I’m still doing it. My job is to feed a life-fuel into the plants that are capable of growing. But ask Dr. Hendricks whether any amount of blood will save a body that refuses to function, a rotten hulk that expects to exist without effort. My blood bank is gold. Gold is a fuel that will perform wonders, but no fuel can work where there is no motor….

Read More Read More

How to Get America Back on Track

How to Get America Back on Track

Introduction In my last post, I discussed the unfortunate state of affairs in the United States today. From a pre-industrial agrarian economy controlled by wealthy landowners, to an era of industrialization marked by the creation of a middle class and a period of prosperity, and ultimately a post-industrial phase where the middle is systematically being hollowed out and the extremes once again dominate the landscape, the United States finds itself at a crossroads. The country can ignore the state of…

Read More Read More