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Joseph Cox holds a degree in Intellectual History from Univ. of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Financial Analysis.

He is the author of a number of books on related to policy. The City on the ... more


E Brutality, Riots And A Way Forward
Sometimes there is a news item that crosses all the barriers. As such, the coronavirus has become central to every discussion, from foreign policy to economics.
E The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
What the US lacks is a clear foreign policy objective.
E The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Healthcare) - Part 2
The great paradox of healthcare is that profit has made it an obligation.
E The Road To A Post-Corona Boom - Part 1
As we look at the massive unemployment brought on by the coronavirus, the economic displacement gives us an opportunity to trigger an economic boom within our own borders.
E “Some Of My Best Friends Are Economists”
In a coronavirus world, it is not the printing of money but the lack of goods and services that threatens the value of currency.
E The Cost Of Our Coronavirus Insanity
No matter how good the intentions, prioritizing only one good will inevitably lead to great evil.


Latest Comments
Brutality, Riots And A Way Forward
3 days ago

How are police in NY responsible for a policeman's actions in Minneapolis? Although I completely agree the policeman was criminal/murderous in his actions (whether or not Floyd George asphyxiated), the protests/riots aren't about the specifics of *this* case. They are about a broader problem and that problem is a divide between communities and police. This divide shows itself in both police actions and community reactions.

Let's make communities responsible for their own beat cops - not some massive bureaucracy overseeing the policing of a half a million people. Let communities hire and fire their own patrols and determine how they want to manage them.

Why should somebody living in the Upper East Side be responsible for beat cops in the South Bronx? The South Bronx should be responsible for the South Bronx. The policing may or may not be *better*, but the accountability will be with the communities themselves.

The way we have things now is almost colonial. Poor neighborhoods are managed (badly) by professional bureaucrats in richer neighborhoods. This setup results in poor policing, terrible education etc... etc...

Just having a representative on some board is like Rhode Island being satisfied because they have a few seats in a Congress that manages every part of their lives. It isn't a recipe for responsibility or freedom.

Brutality, Riots And A Way Forward
6 days ago

The protests aren't about this case. If the protests were just about this case, the murder charge would have set things to rest. If the protests were just about this case, condemnation by national police associations would have set things to rest.

The protests/riots are about broader issues. That's why I didn't talk much about this particular case. This particular case was just a catalyst for the latest flareup in a situation that has been ongoing for longer than there has been a United States.

Brutality, Riots And A Way Forward
6 days ago

Just having a local police precinct is not the same as local control and accountability. Hiring and placement is city wide. So local individuals have much less say in who their police are than people in, say, Greenwich.

As far as trusting people to choose police, small towns all across the country do exactly this. You might want specialist services like labs to be available, but the beat cops would be locally chosen and managed.

You might recognize your cops but the chain of responsibility takes a long path before it connects you to them.

I spoke to corruption oversight. Im not sure large departments have any less corruption.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
9 days ago

The argument that religion is the root of all wars is that you'd have to make Nazi Fascism and Communism religious. They are belief systems, but that is unavoidable. Both saw themselves as deeply scientific and nothing has cost more blood than those ideologies.

I did say it was rare for religious and communist governments to achieve the rule of law.

That said, it is precisely religious government that has enabled our modern conception of rights. Devout Christians were at the heart of the English Civil War which resulted in the first codification of a formal freedom of religion and freedom of speech. And it was Christians that fought the abomination of black slavery.

Religion can be quite positive - it just tends to be more effective outside the halls of power. Communism, at least the concept of ensuring people have what they need, can also be very positive - but not so much when it gets into politics.

Stop The Corona Insanity - The Data
9 days ago

Jack S. Chen Because these things are typically named after locations where they first cropped up. Bill Mahr did a great little skit on this:

His examples include: Zika, Ebola, Hanta, West Nile, MERS etc... etc...

The fact that Communist Chinese errors and coverups (arresting doctors...) almost certainly led to its failed containment (either in Wuhan or at the lab, depending on your theory) should not lead to a change in this naming approach. Being responsible and very aggressive should not lead to everybody saying "oh no, China won't like it!"

However, I personally do not think the Chinese Syndrome is a good name. There are a few reasons:

1) Chinese is an ethnicity, not just a location

2) Too many new viruses come from China for it to set any particular one apart

So, I go with Wuhan. It might not be a Respiratory Syndrome but because nobody else is using this naming and because WURS is a fun acronym, I'll stick with it.

Stop The Corona Insanity - The Data
9 days ago

DRM, I do not agree that the flu is more deadly. My presentation above was made quite a while ago, but it still predicted a *doubling* of mortality for different age groups if we did nothing. That is a lot of dead. It is *despite* this that it argued for more limited intervention. Arguing WURS (WUhan Respiratory Syndrome) is not dangerous is a losing hand. I only argued that doing what we were doing would cost more net life-years than a full lockdown. I still believe that is the case.

I still believe we should focus on protecting the elderly, defending nursing homes etc... That will save the most lives all around.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
9 days ago

In the final note, I wrote specifically about assassinations - criticizing US actions in this area. I'm guessing you didn't read to the end.

The trade war is a different matter. There was a time everybody thought Russia would leave us in the dust, but they didn't. Then everybody thought Japan would leave us in the dust, but they didn't. Now it is China's turn.

People love centrally-directed systems, but they fail to see their limits. The reality is that centrally-directed systems have very real limits on their economic growth. They stifle the ground-level feedback mechanisms that direct continual, organic, economic growth in ways central planners never can. They also enable corruption that short-circuits what feedback mechanisms exist.

The confluence of wealth and power is also enough to make an American blush. In 2019, the top ten Chinese lawmakers had a combined net worth of $239 billion. The 10 richest members of the US Congress have a combined net worth of $1.16 billion. Even if you add Trump in for fun, it is under $3.5 billion.

China has a concentration of wealth and a kleptocracy. It is not a genuinely wealthy country.

If you want to go by purchasing parity, China has per-capita PPP of $16,842. Taiwan, a free society, is at $55,000. The United States is $59,000.

China as a unitary body is powerful, but its people are poor. China has a long way to go before its people are well-off.

I believe they will never get there under their current system of government.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
9 days ago

That was the goal of the piece :)

You might enjoy the related book (City on the Heights) - although it only focuses on the seed...

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
9 days ago

Of course other cultures don't share our values. That's why I define the rule of law in such a limited way: transparent, predictable, equal and protected by some form of accountability. This gives a *lot* of leeway. It protects against the abuse of power, arbitrary taking etc... but not against laws many Americans would find fundamentally distasteful.

Singapore kills drug dealers and aggressively suppresses the freedom of speech. It suppresses homosexual activity. It is still quite lawful. Korea, Taiwan and Japan maintain unique non-Western cultures but are still lawful. Although Taiwan isn't ranked by the WJP (I use their rankings although I prefer something a little more limited), both Korea and Japan rank above the United States. Japan, as an aside, adopted a *Roman* legal structure (not a Common Law one). They share this with Louisiana.

An economically Communist society could be transparent, predictable, equal and protected by accountability. So could a capitalist one. A religious one could as well, either by having genuinely good leadership (willing to deliver transparency, predictability and equality due to divine accountability) or by having mechanisms to displace corrupt religious leadership. It is rare that either economically Communist or theocratic governments achieve this. They tend to stumble on the accountability side, which unravels all the rest.

I am personally religious and believe that walking in the path of G-d is fundamentally rewarding. I see this involving a cycle of creation and rest (six days of work and then a Sabbath). I support laws that encourage work (see my tax proposal) and as well as laws that enable restfulness (see my healthcare and welfare proposals). I even believe it is healthy for a society to have a Sabbath, although I wouldn't legally enforce any particular definition of it.

Mine is a lawful approach, it just focuses on particular values.

Even the UAE, a country with very distinct values and a tribal system, ranks reasonably highly. The WJP puts them at 30th (their great weaknesses are open government, fundamental rights and constraints on government power but they rank well at absence of corruption, order, justice and regulatory enforcement). Next door Iran scores quite poorly (109th) - right alongside more 'western' Turkey (107th).

In my book, the City on the Heights, a form of law is developed that doesn't exist anywhere. It is intended to integrate disparate legal forms in the Arab/Muslim world, the Shia (and to a lesser degree Sunni) legal systems *can* be quite strong by the transparent, predictable and accountable measures. Even equality can be reasonably strong, depending on the school being followed. But the conflict between the Shia and Sunni systems can create a legal vacuum that has led to mass slaughter and war.

As another aside, the Sunni legal systems are a little more challenging because the mechanisms for codification and legal consistency are limited. Every case is more unique than it is in other systems, hampering predictability and transparency.

The rule of law is about creating a playing field - not about determining who scores the goals.

That is why I find it comforting that the cultural competition in the US is overwhelmingly lawful. Americans mostly carry out their cultural competition through elections, courts and regulations. Despite being mostly lawful, American society 70 years ago was quite distinct from the society of today. The obvious and massive exception was the unequal, unpredictable and non-transparent discrimination against Blacks. Even today, Utah is quite distinct from San Francisco although both are reasonably lawful.

So, no, this isn't about ango-saxon law. It is just about the rule of law in a very general sense.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
10 days ago

I'm not suggesting US law be international law. I'm suggesting the rule of law (in general) be fostered globally. It might be helpful to note that wealthy countries tend to have the rule of law. The two go hand-in-hand. Not coincidentally, China has both a per-capita GDP and a rule of law score somewhat lower than that of Thailand.

China is not a wealthy country, it just builds concentrations of wealth on the backs of a billion people. Like many totalitarian dictatorships it puts on a good show by eating away at the values of a well-balanced society. Law is, naturally, one of the first casualties.

To support the rule of law is not to be a bully - it is to stand up to those who would be bullies.

Of course the US is a bully in some ways (see the note on assassinations), which is one reason I'm suggesting a shift a policy.

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