Relative or Absolute Gains: A Question of Conditional Cooperation

From Mastering Space…:

The Harvard political economist Robert Reich […] asked a set of groups of students, investment bankers, professional economists, citizens of the Boston area, and senior State Department officials this question: for the United States which of the two following scenarios is preferable? (1) one in which the US economy grows by 25 per cent over the next ten years, while that of Japan grows by 75 per cent or (2) one in which the US economy grows at 10 per cent while the Japanese economy grows at 10.3 percent (132).

Before I continue, I guess it would be better to ask this question to readers as well. I’ll post the rest of my thoughts later (as well as the answer), but right now I am genuinely curious as to which option NOL’s humble readership would pick.

What I’ve Been Reading

Hello all. Apologies in advance for not posting more often since graduation. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, rather than stuff on the internet, so I haven’t had much to link to lately.

Here is a list of a few books I have been working on:

  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by the science journalist Charles C Mann. I know I’ve blogged about this book before, but I’ve finally got a little bit of free time to hunker down and read the whole thing. I’m about halfway through and it’s really good.
  • Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy by the Marxist political geographers John Agnew and Stuart Corbridge. This is a pretty crummy book, but it was recommended because of some good critiques of the IMF and the World Bank that it supposedly has. I’ll keep ploughing through and hope for the best.
  • The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age by the historian Simon Schama. This is a very well-written book about Dutch culture (not Culture) in the seventeenth century and so far I have not been disappointed. Schama eschews the political and economic aspects of the Dutch republic in favor of examining the everyday lives of its citizens.
  • Democracy in Botswana which is edited by John D Holm and Patrick Molutsi. I picked this up for a research project I was doing last quarter and have not been able to let it go yet. It brings together a compendium of talks given at a conference held in Gaborone in 1989 to assess Botswana’s current status in the world, in sub-Saharan Africa and according to the citizens of Botswana.

Of the four books, I’d recommend 1493 to the intelligent layman, but the other three are definitely tough slogging.