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Interesting links this week


All of the best bloggers seem to do this so I thought I too would start sharing some links to interesting stories I have read each week. This list will of course be rather eclectic and merely reflect those stories I happen to stumble across. But the internet is this vast overwhelming sea of information so it can be helpful if people filter the informative from the more superficial. Perhaps. You, dear reader, will be the judge. Economist Tyler Cowen’s Marginal revolution blog does this every day and, in my opinion, exceptionally well (if you aren’t familiar with his blog then do check it out). I intend to write more Op Eds for the Otago Daily Times during my tenure in Dunedin so will share these as well. By the way, if you haven’t caught up with it, here is my last where I argue Brexit could lead to a more open or closed UK from a couple of weeks ago. My weekly contributions of community stories in the Star aren’t so easy to share but if you are interested in these then you can access material via the Star website or links on the Star facebook page. I also write stories for the Taieri Times, a paper which is circulated in the ODT for residents in the outer Dunedin areas of Mosgiel, Fairfield, Brighton, Green Island and others but there isn’t a website for this one.

This post is already too long but here, finally, as I promised you, are some interesting links from the past week reflecting my interests in politics and international affairs but also some stuff closer to home.

  1. Vox editor Ezra Klein interviews American conservative policy intellectual Yuval Levin.
  2. Spiked Editor Brendan O’ Neill on the Turkish coup and the crisis of liberalism. It’s a very good piece. While Erdogan has shown himself to be an illiberal leader, a successful coup might have made things even worse. Here is the key pull out quote from O’ Neill’s piece: “Democrats must always remember that the worst elected politician is better than the most secular-minded army chief. People have some control over the former, none over the latter.”
  3. Larry Diamond, in a piece for Foreign Affairs, charts the recent decline of democracy in the world.
  4. Former New Zealand Treasury policy analyst during the fourth Labour government in the 1980s and now international businessman Stephen Jennings’ speech to market oriented think tank The New Zealand Initiative on “The Market Path to Prosperity”. Jennings now has interests in Africa and, despite concerns about political risk, a big part of his speech was in selling Africa as a significant opportunity for kiwi entrepreneurs. Here is a recent piece from the World Economic Forum on Africa: “Overall, the continent achieved average real annual GDP growth of 5.4% between 2000 and 2010, adding $78 billion annually to GDP (in 2015 prices). But growth slowed to 3.3%, or $69 billion, a year between 2010 and 2015”. Whole thing is here.
  5. As Duncan Greive chronicled for the Spin-Off, Mr Jennings, in remarks to NZ media, has also been critical of New Zealand’s education, housing and economic policy and the current government’s softly softly approach.
  6. How Donald Trump could signal the death of the business suit.
  7. On the lighter side, find out the origin for long time Australian soap opera Home and Away character Alf Stewart’s most memorable phrases.

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