1. Was Cairo’s Grand Opera House a tool of cultural imperialism? Adam Mestyan, Aeon
  2. Back in the USA, from Japan Scott Sumner, TheMoneyIllusion
  3. Why we must rethink our outdated ideas about international trade Richard Baldwin, Chicago Booth Review
  4. The complicated legacy of colonial contact William Buckner, Quillette

How Canada Tracked the US during the Great Depression

Over the last few years, while I continued my research on other fronts, I started spending small amounts of time on a daily basis to read about the Great Depression and more precisely, how Canada lived through the depression.

Since the old adage is that Canada gets pneumonia when the US gets the flu, I thought that it was a worthy endeavor (although Pedro Amaral and James McGee have been working on that front) to try to see what insights we can derive from looking at Canada’s experience during the Great Depression (especially since it had a very different banking system).

In the process, I managed to collect in a datasheet, the Industrial Production Index of Canada (consisting largely of heavy industry with some light industries and utilities, making it a relatively well-rounded index). This is what it looks like.


Other than seeing Canada’s experienced mirrored in the US experience (except for the 1935-1937 window), I am not sure what to make of it. However, I thought it worthwhile to share that information publicly.

America and Firearms (Explained to Overseas Readers)

The other day, I am watching the news on TV5, the international French language network. I am doing this to get away from the spectacle of the impending economic disaster in the US where I live. This is shortly after the massacre of school children in Connecticut. One item draws my attention: The cute, airhead French female announcer (or “anchorette”) states that last year about 28,000 people in the US lost their lives to guns.

Here we go again, I think. More half-assed information that is worse than no information at all. I have witnessed European media disseminating misleading information about the US for more than forty years. This time again, I have to intervene to help overseas of observers of the international scene who want to know about reality and who might happen to read this blog.

I can’t tell you how often I have witnessed the following: European commentators making sarcastic, superior comments about some American event or custom, or some American way of doing things and then, their society adopting uncritically the same American event, or custom, or way of doing things ten years later, or even later. Right now, for example, I would bet you anything that one of the novelties on French radio is 1990s American popular music. That would be especially true on the channel that calls itself without batting an eye-lash, “France culture.”

The tendency of Europeans to copycat the United States is so pronounced that it even affects social pathologies, the last thing you should want to imitate. Accordingly, it seems that the French expression for “serial killer” is: “serial killer.” N.S. ! (Would I make this up?) Continue reading

The Oppression of American Labor

Over at the Real-World Economics blog, economist Edward Fullbrook presents a graph of labor’s demise in the United States as well as an article from Al-Jazeera English titled America in Denial that promotes Fullbrook’s new book.

Fullbrook brings it to the attention of work-weary Americans that they work far too many hours per year compared to other rich societies in the West (there are, of course, no rich societies outside of the West, but that’s a different blog for a different day).

Behold! The cold, hard facts informing American workers of their own oppression! Continue reading

From the Comments: Guns and Truth

I often think that reading through the ‘comments’ section of a post or an article online can tell me much more about an idea or an event than can the original article. Oftentimes the nitty-gritty details of an article or post can be illuminated in the ‘comments’ section if the author is kind enough to wade into the pool of hoi polloi and defend his argument. Dr. Delacroix is an expert in this regard, and I thought I’d reproduce his defense of the Second Amendment here (since he is being uncharacteristically humble out it!). A European drive-by commentator left the following comment bragging about the superiority of Europe’s gun control laws, which sparked the following brilliant response from Dr. J:

Thank you and a fairly disjuncted response because I would need several days to provide a response that would both be fairly complete and well organized.

History matters. The US was born in revolution, Unlike the case of France, for example, the American revolution was never confiscated. Many Americans, including me, believe that insurrection against a government gone rogue is a remote but possible scenario. Those who scoff at this possibility should remember that totalitarian regimes are eager to control even one-shot, small caliber shotguns. Maybe fascists know something liberal gun-control advocates don’t understand. Even, if the scenario is utterly unrealistic, it could give the American people backbone, as sacred myths often do. Continue reading

Guns and Truth

I have stayed away from this blog too long. I wasn’t cruising the South Pacific on my McGregor 26, as you might expect. I was just editing my memoirs; I was trying to be thorough. (It’s called: “I Used to Be French: An Immature Autobiography.” There are excerpts of it on this blog.)

On my last radio show, I made the subject of gun control come up. I did it because I had heard one of my colleagues, a liberal talk-show host on the same station make a statement that sounded bogus to me. (The station is KSCO A.M. In Santa Cruz; it’s available on-line. My show is called “Facts Matter.” It’s every Sunday 11a.m. – 1p.m.)

The statement that caught my attention was this:

For every time a gun is used in legitimate self-defense, a gun is used nineteen times for illegitimate or illegal purposes.

The figure was just too pat. It was calculated to be remembered by regular folks who are assumed by the Left to have no head for numbers. It sounded like pure propaganda. I thought it might also be trivially true, correct but without any meaning.

I called the liberal host during his show and challenged him to produce a source. He could not. We had eleven email exchanges. The other guy says he gave me the references. I say he did not.

If you insist on you shoring up your argument with figures – a good thing- you had better be prepared to explain where they come from. I think the Left is forever quoting imaginary numbers and numbers they misinterpret. Some just cheat and make up facts. Others are just conveniently loose with numbers, making mistakes always in the same direction.  Continue reading