- What does a post-Putin Russia look like? Jakub Grygiel, American Interest
- A primer on China’s “People’s Armed Police” Joel Wuthnow, War on the Rocks
- How can people be smart consumers, but dumb voters? Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
- The imperial myths driving Brexit Alex von Tunzelmann, the Atlantic
Here is the latest installment of NOL‘s new “Be Our Guest” series, this one by the pseudonymous Freeconomist. An excerpt:
Third-party certification provides assurance to consumers that a product or a supplier of professional services meets certain quality standards.
Private suppliers of third-party certification include organisations such as Consumer Reports, the American Automobile Association (AAA), which rates motels, or A.M. Best, rating insurance companies. Examples of third-party certification provided by the government are product safety regulation, food standards regulation or occupational licensure.
Private suppliers of third-party certification can only exist because the product they offer is valued enough by market participants to justify the cost of providing it. And their profits are determined by their credibility.
The same cannot be said for third-party certification provided by the government.
Please, read the rest and do keep submitting your thoughts to us.
In the discussions on Brexit the situation along the Irish-Northern Irish border is pivotal. Nobody wants a return to a ‘hard’ border, even though that is the obvious consequence of the UK leaving the Common Market and Ireland staying in it.
For those unfamiliar with the reason why this is troublesome there are a loads of good reads on what the British called ‘The Troubles’, but what by all standards was a cruel civil war, with 3500 deaths and many more injured. The two recent books I would like to bring to the attention of the readers are different.
Milkman is a novel that won the Man Booker Prize. It is a story about a young woman growing up in Troubled times, and what is particular gripping is the sense you get of the intensity of life in those days. Everything in daily life was somehow drawn into the conflict, you had to think about your moves all the time and everybody lived in fear. Not only for the enemy, but at least as much for the paramilitary group that happened to control your area. They did not just wage their war, but literally wanted to control everybody in their neighborhood.
Say Nothing is narrative non-fiction, well-researched and with hundreds of pages of notes. It is written in very attractive prose, not like any regular history book. The focus is on some of the key-players on the IRA-side, the bombs, and the attacks. Central is the disappearance and subsequent murder of a mother of ten by one of the main people in the story. The book also pays a lot of attention to Gerry Adams’ denial to have played any role in the violent side of the civil war. One of its strengths is also that half of the book tells what happened after the Good Friday agreement, which formally made an end to the Troubles. If only it did…
These are great books to learn more about one of the bloodiest conflicts in Europe in recent times. They also help to understand current debates about Brexit. Hopefully, they will just keep saying something about the past…
- How a burning cathedral rebukes a divided Catholic Church Ross Douthat, New York Times
- Bombay’s 19th century factory workers Arun Kumar, Aeon
- Why the European Elections will be painful to watch for some Remainers Simon Wren-Lewis, mainly macro
- John Mearsheimer’s nationalist straight jacket Paul Miller, Law & Liberty