Property Rights in the Post-Colonial World

Land grabs and crony capitalism at its finest. From Reason magazine: Politicians in the affected countries are key partners in operations that resemble the late-19th-century scramble for control of Africa. The land grabs aim at enriching privileged companies and their political allies, usually at the expense of those already on the land. States, companies, and their … Continue reading Property Rights in the Post-Colonial World

“Ethnic Violence in Africa: Destructive Legacies of Pre-Colonial States”

Note: I’ve gotten through the first three chapters of Paul Feyerabend’s Against Method. (Rick’s initial thoughts are here, and Bill has been doing Feyerabend for awhile. These are the two you should probably follow a bit more closely throughout the summer.) My own thoughts on Against Method are coming, but I keep getting distracted. Check out … Continue reading “Ethnic Violence in Africa: Destructive Legacies of Pre-Colonial States”

A short note on ideological neutrality

William‘s excellent post on dishonesty reminded me of an equally excellent post by John McGinnis over at Liberty Law Blog on the ACLU and free speech. The post ended, though, with the following sentence: It would be a tragedy for our nation if the ACLU’s decision begins to dissolve the strong social fabric supporting the … Continue reading A short note on ideological neutrality

French Africa

This is a meandering essay; although it’s about history, it’s a bit personalized, for effect. In other words, it’s far from straightforwardly scholarly history but I think it’s all or mostly true. Be patient, at one point it will become about the former French African colonial empire and socio-cultural strata it deposited in France, and … Continue reading French Africa

Taxes, Free-riding, and Federation

Check out Adam Smith complaining about the rent-seeking that the UK’s North American colonies were practicing back in 1776: The expence of the ordinary peace establishment of the colonies amounted, before the commencement of the present disturbances, to the pay of twenty regiments of foot; to the expence of the artillery, stores, and extraordinary provisions … Continue reading Taxes, Free-riding, and Federation

Large states, artificial borders, and the African exception

Large states have been shown to be correlated with a large number of poor developmental outcomes, including poor institutions (Olsson and Hansson 2009), conflict (Buhaug and Rød 2006; Englebert et al. 2002; Raleigh and Hegre 2009), and ethnic diversity (Green 2010a). Similarly, states with artificial borders have been shown to be correlated with boundary disputes … Continue reading Large states, artificial borders, and the African exception

Colonialism and Identity in Wasolon (and everywhere else, too)

The notion of the person is constantly renegotiated and is at stake between groups situated within the same political entity as well as between neighboring political entities. With advent of [France’s colonial] district register and the resulting written registration of identity, the notion of a person acquired a greater fixity. It became much more difficult … Continue reading Colonialism and Identity in Wasolon (and everywhere else, too)

Jews in the West and Jews in the Middle East

Has there ever been a Holocaust in the Middle East? Pogroms were an annual affair in Russia, and we all know how much Christian Spain loved its Jews. The Holocaust was horrific. I also realize that anti-Semitism is rampant in the Middle East. Some of this is because of Israel, and some may be because … Continue reading Jews in the West and Jews in the Middle East

The Re-Privatization of Security (World Peace edition)

Sean McFate, a political scientist at National Defense University in Washington, DC, has a fascinating article in Aeon about the reemergence of mercenary and quasi-mercenary security firms throughout the world. The whole article is fulfilling throughout, especially if you’re a well-read anarchist or a history buff, but I wanted to highlight this tangent: With the fall of … Continue reading The Re-Privatization of Security (World Peace edition)

What’s the difference between Saudi Arabia and Islamic State?

One has captured the rent associated with being a state in the post-World War II world order. This means that one of these polities gets to build embassies in other states. It gets to participate in congresses. It gets to fly its flag at the United Nations and has access to the World Bank, military … Continue reading What’s the difference between Saudi Arabia and Islamic State?

From the Comments: Military intervention, democracy, and stability

Longtime reader (and excellent blogger in his own right) Tam has an interesting response to Chhay Lin’s thoughts on the Paris terrorist attacks: It is an interesting read indeed but there are two or even more sides to every story. What we are also noting is that many of these groups that hate Western interventionist … Continue reading From the Comments: Military intervention, democracy, and stability

From the Comments: What is a “National Interest”? (Why not federalism?)

Michelangelo writes: I sympathize with your pro-federation views, but it is admittedly a difficult position to argue from a purist libertarian view. I would support offering statehood to Japan and South Korea, as I mentioned earlier this week.* I would not however offer the same deal to Ukraine or the Baltic states. If pressed why … Continue reading From the Comments: What is a “National Interest”? (Why not federalism?)

From the Comments: Trying to Make Sense of Left and Right (Again)

This one is from yours truly, in a delightful back-and-forth with Dr Amburgey: Ok. Clearly we need to be using terms that mean the same things to both of us. It’s your thread so tell me what constitutes ‘The American Right’ and what constitutes ‘The American Left’. Once we have a common understanding of terminology … Continue reading From the Comments: Trying to Make Sense of Left and Right (Again)

From the Comments: Greece, the Euro zone, and Russian prowess

Dr Amburgey writes: I just returned yesterday from a week in Athens for an academic conference. There seemed to be a big socio-economic divide in voting intentions. The unemployed and menial workers were definite No votes. The Yes votes were physicians and a few academics. Personally I think they should bag the euro and go … Continue reading From the Comments: Greece, the Euro zone, and Russian prowess

From the Comments: The Suprastate and the Substate

My post on American Senator Rand Paul’s recent remarks on Kurdistan elicited the following response from fellow Notewriter Michelangelo: If a neo-Ottoman federation arises I suspect it will begin as a political alliance between Turkey and Israel. Perhaps such a federation will arise from the Mediterranean Union, who can know really. The two countries are … Continue reading From the Comments: The Suprastate and the Substate