Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Uncommon insight

The Saddest Lede on the Internet Today.
Says Ric Locke on his new blog.   And what was the lede?     “Americans believe that the normal state of things is not-violence.”

Do you suppose that’s true? That that’s why we have such absurdities as people climbing in zoo cages to cuddle the animals? It would explain a lot of things.

The blog article he links goes on to make some sort of argument that the normal state of capitalism is violence and that people should think about why we put up with it…. or something like that.

It’s shocking to me, even though I’m used to the notion, that people do not realize that violence and war are the normal state of things and that civilization is what we impose upon the natural state. (And yes, there are people who seem not to realize that the cuddly animals really will not act all loving and peaceful because they have an uncorrupted ability to tell that you don’t mean harm.)

I think that sometimes libertarians are too convinced that they aren’t talking about imposing order and miss the truth of it, (or at least those opposed to libertarian ideas are convinced that libertarians oppose the imposing of order.)     That’s not the difference between libertarian ideas and those ideologies that consider themselves more caring.    The difference with libertarian ideas and with capitalism is that those things work as much as possible with the reality of human nature while recognizing what human nature is.    Which is violent… just like the rest of nature is violent and unforgiving.

Viewing capitalism as the source of unfairness, vice and violence ignores the truth.    Failing to understand the truth of nature and human nature, to face it squarely, means that the proposed cure for social ills will invariably make them far worse.     As Ric says:

It would explain, for instance, why the writer of that article is able to regurgitate a century and a half of Socialist propaganda and get commenters calling it “insightful”. Two centuries of modern capitalism have resulted in such ease, such comfort, such near-total safety and security, that Americans (at least, some Americans) don’t just take it for granted but consider it the normal state of affairs, so much so that they are ready and willing to smash the structures that created it, in the confident “knowledge” that the safety and prosperity will remain because they are “normal”.

He’s a smart guy. Check out his blog.

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Is it the Means or the End that Matters?

Michele Catalano writing at Pajamas Media yesterday, defending Obama’s call for (at one point) mandatory community service,  gets it completely wrong. To backtrack a little bit for those who haven’t been paying attention the last week or so, at President Elect Obama’s website,, there’s an agenda section. At one point part of it read like this:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year

(emphasis mine)

This quickly led to a swarm of criticism. Some of course went slightly overboard and likened it to slavery, as the opportunity to note the irony was just too hard to pass up I suppose. Others saw this as Obama building his “Marxist” personal army.

Now those points can be argued against and rightfully so, but that doesn’t mean their main thrust is wrong. Reacting to the criticism, the well oiled Obama online team quickly replaced the text, taking out the required part and changing it to an incentive based service. So good for them, but the piece by Michele Catalano defending it is defending the wrong aspect.

There are thousands upon thousands of high school and college students, as well as adults, doing some form of community service right now. Service to your community is an altruistic thing; it is a way of perhaps giving back to a community that has given to you. It is a way to reach out to a community, to help others who may not be as fortunate as you, to teach young adults about sharing, caring, and helping others, to do something out of the goodness of your heart that will benefit your community. This is not slavery. This is not forced labor. This is outreach. It represents values. Slavery is an act that benefits no one but the person who owns the slave; community service benefits both the giver and receiver and helps make the world a better place and leaves a general good feeling for everyone involved. It is not comparable to slavery.

(emphasis again is mine)

Respectfully to Michele, yes, this is exactly forced labor. Look, no one is saying the end is a bad result, it’s the means with which it’s achieved that is wrong. There was benefit from slavery but that doesn’t mean it’s not wrong, and who benefits has nothing to do with its definition. If you had a slave you could have him or her volunteer at the homeless shelter every day and do a lot of good, but it would still be completely immoral to do so, not because of the work that the person is doing but because the person has no choice.

So this is where she gets it wrong. No one criticising the required language is arguing community service is bad, or not a lofty goal. Millions of people think serving the army is a tremendous good that benefits both giver and receiver (receiver being the US citicizens of course), but no one argues that the draft is either moral or a good idea. So defenders can talk about how much good community service can do all they want, but they need to remember no free man should be compulsed into your definition of “doing good for the community”.

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How Blogs Failed the War in Georgia

Columbia Journalism Review asked me to write an essay criticizing blogger coverage of the War in Georgia. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was scathing.

While this wasn’t necessarily surprising—after all, these blogs all talk in a big circle, and tend to reference each other—it was disappointing. As Reason’s Michael C. Moynihan trenchantly observed, much of the commentary on the conflict resolved into very clear partisan lines: Russia on the Left, Georgia on the Right. Rather than providing the clarity, nuance, and honesty that they promise to provide, the big blogs instead retreated to their comfortable and predictable ideological corners. By keeping to their usual haunts, these blogs did their readers a tremendous disservice: they were just as incurious and ideological as they regularly accuse the MSM of being.

Go read the whole thing.

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Cross Corroboration

McQ find some general backing up of John McCain’s Vietnam cross story. Not to be outdone by Andrew Sullivan and Daily Kos, Matt Welch at Reason thinks the cross story is the least important story McCain might have made up.

If any of these stories is a lie, I hope it’s the ol’ cross-in-the-dirt number. I wouldn’t want to think that any American hero came home and announced to a deeply skeptical public a totally made-up story about how not one, but two different “generals” spelled out a Domino Theory that McCain himself would later recognize as being bogus.

This is of course, all silly distraction that bloggers and the media love to get wrapped up in to fill in the gaps in this year long election coverage we’ve had this cycle. There’s simply no way to prove that the story didn’t happen and lots of way for people to look silly obsessing over this non-story.

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A Conservative Blueprint for Health Care?

Ryan Ellis, the Tax Policy Director at Americans for Tax Reform, presents 3 principles of conservative health care.

Principle 1: Conservative health care reform should neither raise taxes nor increase the size of government. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but trust me that it isn’t.
Principle 2: Health insurance should have nothing to do with your job unless you want it to. In any event, health insurance should be 100% portable.
Principle 3: Shopping for health care should look more like currently shopping for prescription drugs, dental, vision, and cosmetic surgery, and less like going to the hospital or getting a checkup. The former is price transparent and market-responsive. The latter is bureaucratic and doesn’t work

He offers the the Health Care Freedom Coalition as a possible package and then asks for reader suggestions in the comments. Sadly the comments then fill up with sidetracking discussions about illegal immigration. If you have any ideas, feel free to chime in at the Next Right.

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Ch-ch-ch-Changes …

I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve been invited to blog at QandO and I took it.

That’s right, I hopped all over that opportunity like a starving alley cat on plate of tuna fresh and a saucer of milk. And I like it. So sue me. Just remember that I’m a lawyer so I can sue you back … hard.

In all seriousness, blogging at QandO is more of an expansion than a change of domain. I don’t intend to leave ASHC, so you’ll still be able to not read such great hits as “A Torturous Dilemma,” “Metternich-ing the Middle East“, and “Propaganda and Insurgency” when you come to visit. Only now, you can not read me at two sites! [/snark]

Anyway, there’s probably not a lot that will change because of this new opportunity, except that maybe I will be able to drive a few more eyeballs over here to ASHC. With all due respect to QandO, I still believe that this is the place to get some of the most intelligent and diverse opinions on myriad different topics, and that some of the best writers on the internet reside right here. I am a proud denizen of ASHC whose fortunate enough to have dual citizenship. But this will always be my home.

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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Blogging can bring about some amazing opportunities. Through my involvement with Global Voices I’ve had the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people working very hard for the basic right to speak their minds—something I routinely take for granted. It is humbling. But speech isn’t everything. Every once in a while, you get the chance to follow through on what you write about. Because of a book I reviewed in this space, this past week I received a very generous invitation to spend two weeks touring northern Afghanistan at the end of August. More importantly, my employer even more generously gave me permission to take the time to do this.

Such an opportunity does, however, pose its challenges. For one, because of transit time I shall have to take unpaid leave from my job. For another, I have neither the benefit of corporate or government sponsorship for such a trip, nor do I have wealthy parents, which means I am out-of-pocket for a significant portion of the trip. And since I do not happen to be independently wealthy, I’m looking at a mountain of debt—about $3000—to go.

So here is my humble plea to you, my dear readers: in the great tradition of blogger-journalists across the web, help me go to Afghanistan. I will be posting dispatches from there as regularly as possible (some areas we will travel to are very remote and inaccessible), and trying to take as many pictures as I can. Individually, contributions can be as small as you want or can afford—$5, $10, it doesn’t matter terribly. The wonderful thing about the web is everyone can contribute small things and the result is spectacular. Whatever you feel is appropriate I will appreciate, given the trust I have hopefully built up here that I don’t carry anyone’s water or push anyone else’s agenda.

Here is a contributor’s box from PayPal. Giving is secure, and confidential (you can make it anonymous if you prefer). I’ll personally email you my thanks, and hopefully strike up a correspondence. That’s the other thing about blogging: I have met, and more importantly befriended, some of the most incredible people one can meet. So let’s add to the cause of citizen journalism, and see what we can accomplish!

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I’m Leaving

But not forevs. Tomorrow I hope on a plane and fly to Budapest, Hungary, for a well-deserved break from the grunt and grind of every day. At the tail end of the week, I shall be attending the Global Voices Citizen Media 2008 Summit. Despite some closed sessions, I’ll try to report back here what we heard of the state of bloggers and citizen-driven media from around the planet.

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The Next Right – A New Activism


For those on the political right who have bemoaned the lack of any real grassroots, online activism in support of Republican(ish) causes, there is a new project in the works just for you. Political blogging mavens Jon Henke, Patrick Ruffini, and Soren Dayton are getting ready to launch The Next Right. Ruffini describes this new project in comparison to those on the left:

It’s no secret that the right operates at a severe disadvantage to the left when it comes to building online political infrastructure. People point to ActBlue and Obama’s massive fundraising advantage, but the problem cuts deeper: netroots activists on the left have built critical mass around an idea that regular people on the Internet can get their hands dirty and remix Democratic politics. They not only raise money. They recruit candidates. They fund full-time investigative journalism to ambush Republicans. They act as a party whip, creating consequences for Democrats who, in their view, don’t act like Democrats. They volunteer and flock to states with key races. The right can build all the tools it wants, but without a narrative and a rallying point for action, it will be for naught.


It’s no wonder that Joe Conservative outside the Beltway feels that none of his self appointed “leaders” are listening to him. He looks to Washington and sees a leadership class that is too often arrogant, timid, divided, and technologically behind the curve. It’s no wonder why this year more than most his wallet has been sealed shut when it comes to supporting Republican candidates — even the good ones.

We’re calling the site The Next Right because much of this story will be written in the future tense. Our analysis will be as much about looking ten and fifteen years down the road as it will be about dissecting the mechanics of the 2008 contest. What are the coalitions, strategies, and tactics the right needs to win again? How does the party need to change to attract a generation of voters who could very well be lost to us if we don’t move fast? Where do we find the candidates who will lead a resurgent right in the 2010 and 2012 elections and beyond?

The group does not intend to start another punditry site, but instead to generate the tools necessary to promote grassroots movements on the right. The way Ruffini describes it makes me think they will be putting together all the tools one might need for a grassroots starter kit:

If you’re looking for pure-play opinion and link bait on sundry topics from Ann Coulter to Jimmy Carter/Hamas, you won’t find it here. What you will find is in-depth (often unabashedly technical) writing about the election, the polls, the strategy, and the issues. Our analysis will track truth and stay true to the numbers. But it will self-consciously serve a greater purpose — educating YOU to be your own political strategist and start doing something — whether that’s blogging about your local Congressional race or Democratic corruption in your state, organizing fundraising drives, and maybe even managing races or running for office yourself. Only a revival of civic engagement at the grassroots level will create a conservative future we want: one that is pork-free and robust in the defense of our country and its values. We can’t call a switchboard and wait for Washington to fix the mess. We have to do it ourselves, from the ground up, in every state.

It sounds interesting. They are looking for contributers as well, so if you’re interested and think you have the chops, .

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What Is ASHC?

tensionThere seems to be some confusion on the part of some as to exactly what sort of place ASHC is:

I was rather surprised to read this dubious and scornful appraisal of Michael Yon’s Wallstreet Journal editorial at A Second Hand Conjecture, a heretofore conservative site.

The post Mick Stockinger is referring to was created by Joshua Foust, our resident curmudgeon. Josh took aim at Michael Yon’s apparent advocation for more troops in theater:

This leads us to the most out-of-date aspect of the Senate debate: the argument about the pace of troop withdrawals. Precisely because we have made so much political progress in the past year, rather than talking about force reduction, Congress should be figuring ways and means to increase troop levels. For all our successes, we still do not have enough troops. This makes the fight longer and more lethal for the troops who are fighting.

The title of Yon’s WSJ piece was “Let’s ‘Surge’ Some More.” So the obvious inference was that Yon thinks we should be committing more troops to Iraq as we did with Petraeus’ “surge” last year. Josh took exception with that (in his typical, short-post, snarky way), and he made a valid point: our military is admittedly stretched and strained, to the point that further commitments are not exactly feasible.

I’m not concerned here with the merits of Josh’s post, but instead with the characterization of ASHC as “a heretofore conservative site.” I understand why Mick (and others) think that, but we should set the record straight. This is not a “conservative” site by any stretch of the imagination. The great majority of us support the war in Iraq, but not based on any sort of conservative principles. Essentially we all believe that winning is possible, and that winning is in the best interests of America. The only difference between Josh and the rest of us on this score is that Josh thinks (and can cogently explain when he wants to) that the war was a mistake and that the costs of continuing it are greater than any perceived benefits. Josh and I fundamentally disagree on this point, but that does not make him “liberal” nor me “conservative.”

Which leads me to the ultimate point: ASHC is not a conservative site. We are an amalgamation of views loosely coalesced around the idea that more freedom is better than less. We each hold different views on what that means, and the sole issue on which we are diametrically opposed is with respect to the war in Iraq. Josh stands alone here on ASHC, but I defy anyone to produce a more intelligent and reasoned voice when it comes to articulating why taking on Iraq was a bad idea. Even as I routinely and vociferously disagree with Josh’s assessments, I appreciate the value that Josh adds to the discussion. In other words, Josh may be wrong, but he makes wrong look as right as anyone possibly could.

In sum, if ASHC is deemed insufficiently “conservative” because of Josh’s posts then so be it. We never claimed that moniker, nor is it one that we’ve ever expressed any interest in holding. Personally, I’m proud to have Josh as a co-blogger precisely because our views conflict. You will often find arguments here opining as to how we are winning in Iraq and the GWOT, and you’ll also see arguments suggesting that Iraq was a huge mistake. That does not make ASHC deficient in any category. It makes us more useful and interesting.

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Mark Cuban Opens Locker Room to All Bloggers

So Dallas Mavericks owner close the locker room to bloggers earlier this month. He says it was because they didn’t have enough time for everyone though some think it was because he didn’t like what The Dallas Morning News’ Tim MacMahon wrote about coach Avery Johnson. This, however, is against NBA policy so they ordered him to open it back up to the newspaper bloggers.

Well, not to be outdone Cuban, who is a blogger himself, says he will open their locker room to all credentialed bloggers, regardless of affiliation, and issues this announcement,

Which means we will encourage all bloggers to apply, whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies … We won’t discriminate at all.

This is quite the 180 from their previous policy. While some see this as sour grapes, I think it could be a good opportunity to again show, there’s usually nothing special about being a newspaper journalist. I look forward to seeing some 7th grader’s reporting from the locker room.

More thoughts here. H/T Shaggy Bevo.

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Inside Look at Astroturf Recruiting

This was sent to me by a guy I know. He’s still a little creeped out and doesn’t want to revel any personal info. I’ll quote what he sent me here. (emphasis and censoring mine)

As some of you may know, I am a law student. Recently, I had applied to an interview for a temporary internship. The employer had received a government grant and I was told before the interview that the position would be involving heavy amounts of legal research and writing. So far so good…

Well, I was granted an interview, I get dressed up in a suit, and I enter the lion’s den. I learned quickly that this company’s interest was more political than legal, but that wasn’t the problem. Ostensibly, I had no objections to the goals/motive behind the work that they needed done. I did have a problem with what they were asking me to do.

I was being asked to be an “Underground Blogger”.

They would set me up with computers, IP scrambling software, and whatever I needed (funded by money laundered through the government grant they were given for ‘research’). In return, I’d be creating multiple online personalities of which I’d be posting comments to articles or posts on blogs that advanced the company’s talking points. They felt their agenda was not being represented in the online community. They offered an example of some identity I could create: a 30 year injured war veteran who was concerned about X issue. Flawless.

Hold up there, Slick. I had a million things racing through my mind. Most importantly I didn’t want to piss these guys off because there existed a small chance that they would attempt to hunt me down and kill me because I knew too much. My curiosity and background in political science forced me to interject and inquire to their motives. Given that their motive is to advance a dialogue and/or influence key legislative and policy decision makers, is this really the best way to achieve those goals? The internet is an anonymous place where anyone can say anything about who they are – isn’t everyone’s anonymous comments truly suspect? Where is the credibility?

I was told, “That’s why you’re supposed to target heavily trafficked blogs/message boards. Many people read these blogs. Like us. We read these all the time.” No s***? And then came the icing on the ironic cake. “Take this guy, SpecialEd – he’s great. He’s some random guy with a picture of someone with a bag over his head for an avatar. He’s all over the place and has a lot of influential things to say.”

That’s right, buddy. Some anonymous character named Special F’n Ed is the salient guru you want to model your legislative pitch after??

At this point I realize that I’m way too cynical or completely ignorant. First, all you could easily lie to me about whether you’re a lawyer, whether you’re a doctor, whether your wife is studying to be a doctor, etc. It’s the internet – your credibility is automatically suspect. Secondly, is some blog post that happens to reinforce your company’s talking points really going to result in the advancement of your agenda that will end up putting dollars in your pockets??

My guess is no – but I’m not the one funneling government money to fund an internet scheme to falsify the public outcry in support of an under-represented political agenda.

Oh, I almost left out my favorite part. When discussing money and other details of that sort, I was told that I couldn’t put this job my resume. If it came down to it, this company would deny any professional relationship with me. They’d try to pay me every couple weeks by putting cash in an envelope and it would be something “Uncle Sam wouldn’t have to know about (chuckle chuckle).”

This of course invoked Watergate-type images of being laden in a trench coat and meeting in some darkened parking garage (f***, I should probably buy a trench coat) – but the more I think about it, the more likely it is that the exchange wouldn’t be so adventurous. The more realistic image I have is that I’d have to meet this guy at the McDonald’s across from his work where I’d be forced to order a BigMac and watch him work his way through a double quarter pounder. At some point between eating and wiping the mustard stain off his shirt, he’d clumsily look around with a paranoid fervor and then hand me some menial amount of cash.

The cons in taking this job seem quite obvious. The pros were being able to receive wads of untaxed cash under the table while simultaneously receiving sweet computer gear. This, however, was not a job I could’ve taken. I was pissed that I even wore a suit into that meeting – I could have been some random hobo with a decent ability to read and some incredible stench and I would’ve been the perfect candidate for this job.

I left feeling shocked, feeling bewildered, and feeling that I desperately needed a shower. Wow.

Most even semi-cynical people understand this is happening more and more these days, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially when it hits somewhat close to home as this did. I will say I think he was exaggerating with the hunting down part, and I don’t know anymore than this, except that he said he had no problem with their cause, just with the way they were doing it.

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The New Media Zombie Apocalypse

Diary of the Dead
image: Dead Central (see alternate posters at ZNN)

George Romero is evidently taking on the dynamics of social networking and new media culture, in his latest apocalyptic zombie film . George, in an interview for the AP:

“If Hitler were alive today, he wouldn’t have to stand out in that square. He could just put out a blog and he’d have millions of followers. It’s completely uncontrolled. It’s not information, it’s opinion. And it’s scary. You can get an audience no matter what your opinion is.”

“There is serious debate going on, but most of it, and the stuff that people are attracted to, is in some way entertainment. Is Michael Moore an honest documentarian? Honestly? I don’t think he is. … The real discussion gets left behind the entertainment value.”
(Associated Press)

Romero’s zombie films have always been built around a caustic social allegory. Critical themes have ranged from racism to consumerism to xenophobia. However, I guess we bloggers are now in the crosshairs eh? Should be fun to see us getting metaphorically devoured.

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What happens to a blog post?

When I finish typing this and hit publish, the blog will send out a ping, and then the enters the strange ecosystem of the internet:

Imperceptibly and all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you’ve written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested, from fellow bloggers to corporate marketers.

Click here for a interactive, graphic picture of this strange world.

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Another Crazy U of Wisconsin Professor

Despite the presence of the esteemed Professor Althouse, it appears the University of Wisconsin employs very ignorant professors and lecturers. It all started with Kevin Barrett, an islamic studies lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Barrett is what’s known as a ‘truther’ or someone who believes the the US Government was behind the events of 9/11, and he’ s a particularly violent one at that, at times calling for the death of those who argue against him, or portray events he’s at in an unfavorable light. And now it’s happening again with Professor emeritus at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Bill Willers, who first fails to comprehend Prof. Althouse’s original post, and then assails her for not believing in the conspiracy delusions shared by Barrett and one must assume, Prof. Willers himself. This is the kind of critical thinking and reading failure I would be ashamed of seeing in a teenager. Prof. Althouse rightly laughs at the ignorant man, and takes him to task, as they say. Hopefully Prof Willers will apologize and take the time to do a little more research into his crazy beliefs, rather than call for Prof. Althouse’s death in the way Barrett does to his enemies.

For more information about 9/11 Conspiracy Theories and the loons behind them, please see:

9/11 Myths

Mark Roberts’ Extensive site,

and the JREF Conspiracy Forums.

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Sam Zell on what is important

I don’t know if the eccentric Sam Zell can turn around Tribune, but he is always entertaining:

From: Talk to Sam Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:03 AM Subject: Censorship, the First Amendment and the Fourth Estate

I learned on the first leg of our tour of Tribune’s business units that some of them were filtering Internet content. I do not see how a member of the Fourth Estate, dedicated to protecting the First Amendment, can censor what its own employees and partners can see. I have instructed that all content filters be removed. You are now exposed to the dangers of You Tube and Facebook. Please use your best judgment.

Let’s focus on what is important, and go for greatness.

Hat tip: Instapundit

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Wordpress News

Good for them:

Automattic, the company behind, just secured a $29.5 million B round of financing. Congrats to Matt, Toni, and everyone else at Automattic. $29.5 million is a monster round, considering that Automattic has so far grown by sipping daintily on a $1.2 million first round secured in 2006. I can’t wait to see what is next. Really interesting to me is that with this round the New York Times joins their investors. One word for that: adaptation. The line between old media and new media blurs further.

I think this bodes well for the further development of our blogging platform. is not Wordpress, but a site which uses Wordpress to host hundreds of thousands of blogs. However, as prime developers of Wordpress oriented technology they will help drive this bus forward.

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African wages, high and sticky?

Hat tip: Tyler.

Chris Blattman has a conjecture, possibly high wages in Africa are holding back growth:

One thing that has always struck me in the African countries I have worked is that the real wages (i.e. wages adjusted for the cost of living) of African formal sector workers seem to be incredibly high, at least compared to that of workers in China or India. Given that firms in China and India seem to be more productive than their African counterparts, it creates a double disadvantage for African workers, and raises the question of why the situation continues. Why don’t manufacturing wages fall in Africa, stimulating more jobs for more people at wages still higher than those available in agriculture or informal business?

Why, when I run a survey in rural Uganda, do youth with the same education and experience expect a wage three to four times higher than the youth I worked with in India? I don’t begrudge anyone anywhere a living wage. It’s the relative differential that puzzles me, and that could be keeping Africa from doing business globally.

There are probably lots of plausible reasons. Perhaps we ought to consider (and get data on) the informal sector in Africa, which could be larger and have more moderate wages than the formal sector ones. It may be that all my notions and data about African wages are erroneous.

Another possibility, however, is that the largest employers of skilled workers in most African countries are international NGOs and the local government. They are competing, in many cases, for the same pool of skilled and semi-skilled workers as the manufacturers and service sector firms. Neither the government or NGOs, moreover, seem to set wages according to the local market or local conditions, and it requires little imagination to wonder whether they set their wages higher than the market would normally do.

Bonus, Tyler has now introduced me to Chris’ great blog, which I haven’t read before. Given my and Lee’s interest in the Dark Continent, I am putting it on the blogroll.

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A New Blog to Spotlight: Greater Surbiton

Start off with a look at his wonderful post and photo’s on the destruction of Serbia’s oldest theater. Then poke around, read who he is. Enjoy. Yet another part of the antitotalitarian left searching for what that means anymore:

A blog devoted to political commentary and analysis with a particular – but far from exclusive – focus on South East Europe. I come from a traditional left-wing background, but believe that the recent failure of most of the left to oppose fascism, genocide and tyranny in the former Yugoslavia, as well as in the Middle East and elsewhere, has definitely discredited left-wing politics in its traditional form. This blog will therefore, among other things, be discussing what a new progressive politics might mean in the twenty-first century.

An author, historian, and fascinating blogger. I like this bit at the end of his bio:

I have been variously accused of being a neoconservative, Trotskyite and Croat nationalist and a supporter of Islamism and Western imperialism. Depending on how you define these terms, some or all of this may be accurate.

Being a humane anti-totalitarian leftist takes some cheek these days doesn’t it?

Finish up with a visit with the Ghost of Franco.

Hat Tip: Bob from Brockley

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