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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

Latest Comments
The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
7 hours 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
8 hours 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 hours 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
14 hours 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
15 hours 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
15 hours 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
21 hours 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.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Foreign Policy) - Part 3
21 hours ago

It appear the virus got out because China preferred harsh suppression of what was actually happening to any sort of helpful admission. They shut down transparency, they censured doctors for sharing the reality, they banned Taiwan from sharing their very early findings and they moved mountains to keep it all quiet. With the rule of law, none of this would have been able to happen quite so easily. Given warning and data (both of which were available), the world could have prepared far more effectively. Two more months of notice could have done us all a lot of good.

Local authorities afraid of extra-legal punishment and central authorities unable to accept accountability led directly to the virus being what it is.

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom - Part 1
23 hours ago

DRM Gary Anderson Bill Myers my take on China...

The Road To A Post-Corona Boom (Healthcare) - Part 2
1 day ago

Third part added... foreign policy...

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