A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.
I. Trump Takes an Axe to the Western Alliance
After naming the European Union first when asked about who the foes of the United States were, and blaming the United States for the sour relationship with Russia, Trump continued his suck-up-to-dictators world tour and met with Russian president Putin in Helsinki on Monday. Once again, the Comb-Over Caudillo said imbecilic and outrageously ill-informed things during the summit (cooperating with Russia on cybersecurity is “seeking the wolf’s cooperation to protect the hen house”, as Eli Lake put it on Bloomberg), and did no less than working on the dismantling of the Western Alliance. On the plus side, under Trump, the US has yet to start another illegal war.
Read about the Trump Foreign Policy Doctrine that might be behind the madness on the Financial Times.
Oh yeah, and there’s still a trade war in the making. On Bloomberg, Sara Ponczek briefly discusses where to invest to hide from it.
II. Trump Trump Trump Trump
In between all of the outrage over Putin’s behaviour at the summit in Helsinki, I believe Tyler Cowen on Bloomberg got it right when he discussed whether Trump had rational reasons for his behaviour: “Maybe he has noticed that being open with Putin and Russia causes his Democratic opponents to fixate on this issue and crank up the hyperbole about treason, rather than focusing on bread-and-butter issues such as health-care policy or the tax increases also known as tariffs. Talk of Russian collusion turns American politics into a kind of brutal, depressing circus. Perhaps Trump feels most comfortable, politically at least, in that kind of polarized and highly emotional atmosphere.”
III. The Fall of Empire
Here‘s a splendid analysis of the rise of plutocracy that ultimately led to Trump by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.
Apart from the daily news cycle insanity, is the world in general getting better or worse? Joshua Rothman investigates this question in a long read on the The New Yorker, citing many of the influential thinkers of our times.
V. Bad Android!
On Wednesday, the European Commission hit Google parent company Alphabet with a $ 4.3 billion fine for tying its operating system for smart phones, Android which is installed on more than 80 percent of all devices worldwide, with its search engine and browser. The Commission argues that this practice abuses Google’s dominant market position and thus violates European antitrust law. (Financial Times)
There are also a few arguments why this step does not solve any problems and comes about a decade to late. (Bloomberg)
VI. The Mediterranean Crossing is Getting Deadlier
The Peace Research Institute Oslo offers an insightful look at the European Migration Crisis and proposed solutions.
VII. Chinese Corporate Espionage
Read a tale of Chinese Corporate Espionage on Bloomberg.
VIII. Chinese Surveillance Overload
Facial Recognition? That’s so 2017. Chinese institutions are now working on gait recognition to better track and control China’s citizens. Unhindered by worries about privacy or individual rights, China has become the world’s leading power in surveillance technology. Frightening, Orwellian stuff. (Financial Times long read)