jerryking + policymaking   59

Opinion: Canada’s wisest policy: stealing policies from other countries
AUGUST 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by CHRIS RAGAN, director of the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University and chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission.

Putting a price on pollution works around the world. It’s about time Canada stole another good policy idea.

Canada has a rich tradition of thievery – and it’s a good thing we do. Much of our success comes from adopting sound policies that have already proven successful elsewhere.

We implemented employment insurance in 1935, a full 15 years after it was introduced in Britain. We achieved universal health care in the early 1970s, a decade after many European countries. We adopted the GST 25 years ago, following a global trend toward “value-added taxes” that was already mature by the time we came on the scene.

The same is true of carbon pricing. It may be a contentious policy in Canada today, but there is nothing Canadian about carbon pricing; we introduced it here precisely because it works so well in other countries.
Canada  carbon_pricing  environment  policymaking  carbon  carbon_credits  carbon_tax  thievery  theft 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | Why Harvard Was Wrong to Make Me Step Down
June 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Mr. Sullivan is a law professor at Harvard Law School.

In May, Harvard College announced that it would not renew the appointment of me and my wife, Stephanie Robinson, as faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s undergraduate residential houses, because I am one of the lawyers who represented the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in advance of his coming sexual assault trial. The administration’s decision followed reports by some students that they felt “unsafe” in an institution led by a lawyer who would take on Mr. Weinstein as a client.

I am willing to believe that some students felt unsafe. But feelings alone should not drive university policy. Administrators must help students distinguish between feelings that have a rational basis and those that do not. In my case, Harvard missed an opportunity to help students do that......I would hope that any student who felt unsafe as a result of my representation of Mr. Weinstein might, after a reasoned discussion of the relevant facts, question whether his or her feelings were warranted. But Harvard was not interested in having that discussion. Nor was Harvard interested in facilitating conversations about the appropriate role of its faculty in addressing sexual violence and the tension between protecting the rights of the criminally accused and treating survivors of sexual violence with respect.

Instead, the administration capitulated to protesters. Given that universities are supposed to be places of considered and civil discourse, where people are forced to wrestle with difficult, controversial and unfamiliar ideas, this is disappointing......reasoned discourse lost out to raw feelings......I am not opposed to student protest. Many important social justice movements began with student protests, including movements from which I, as an African-American, have benefited. Had it not been for students who staged sit-ins at lunch counters, I would not have had the opportunity to be trained at Harvard Law School.

But I am profoundly troubled by the reaction of university administrators who are in charge of student growth and development. The job of a teacher is to help students think through what constitutes a reasonable argument. It is a dereliction of duty for administrators to allow themselves to be bullied into ..Unchecked emotion has replaced thoughtful reasoning on campus. Feelings are no longer subjected to evidence, analysis or empirical defense. Angry demands, rather than rigorous arguments, now appear to guide university policy.
African-Americans  bullying  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  firings  gut_feelings  Harvard  Harvey_Weinstein  HLS  intolerance  logic_&_reasoning  missed_opportunities  op-ed  policymaking  political_correctness  professors  protests  students 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion: Ottawa seems to be out of ideas on devising a new kind of China policy
JUNE 19, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by DAVID MULRONEY. SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND
David Mulroney was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012.

A new approach is needed to managing Canada’s relationship with China – one that’s alive to Canadian vulnerabilities as well as our national interests.....There are many smart reasons for engaging China, but flattering the leadership in Beijing isn’t one of them. Good ideas emerge from hard thinking about long-term Canadian interests. Even summoning the vision and courage to think strategically would mark a significant improvement over our current China policy, which appears to be conjured up from equal measures of wishful thinking and parliamentary politics.....Thinking strategically requires asking why China is being so assertive, (e.g. building a blue-water navy, militarizing rocks and shoals in the South China Sea)....These are part of a patient and persistent Chinese effort to push the U.S. out of Asia and achieve regional dominance – and that is clearly not in Canada’s interest. The U.S.’s commitment to Asia enabled regional balance and, with it, peace and rising prosperity. More to the point, a China-dominated Asia would hardly be friendly to Canadian values and ideas.
(1) Abandon our current policy of “comprehensive engagement” – the notion that we should say yes to just about anything related to China. Cancel the commitment of $256-million over five years to the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
(2) reassessment of our relationship with Taiwan.
(3) move from talking about human rights in China to actually doing something about them. We normally count on the United Nations to address major human-rights abuses, but the UN, anxious to avoid offending Beijing, has been silent in the face of the government’s mass detention of Uyghurs and its brutal assault on their religion, language and culture.
(4) do the same for China’s beleaguered Tibetans. Canada’s commitment would be a welcome signal to both communities that they haven’t been forgotten.
(5) investment at home, too. Put more money into domestic security, combatting Chinese interference more effectively. And we shouldn’t be afraid to name and shame perpetrators when we discover examples of meddling; Beijing won’t like it, but it will also probably tone down its more egregious activities.
(6) invest in China competence in Ottawa, where the commodity is alarmingly scarce. Future leaders in key departments, in the security agencies and in the Canadian Forces need to be far more aware of how China works and how it thinks. This isn’t about agreeing with China, but about understanding it – something that we’re having a hard time doing at present. To do so, Ottawa should create a special “China School” that not only offers language training but also exposes top people across government to the best thinking on China’s politics, economics and security issues.
AIIB  Beijing  bootcamps  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Canadian_Forces  China  China_rising  DND  human_rights  ideas  idea_generation  maritime  national_interests  op-ed  policymaking  policymakers  political_staffers  reinvention  security_&_intelligence  South_China_Sea  strategic_thinking  Taiwan  Tibet  Uyghurs  values  wishful_thinking 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.
Feb 28, 2019 | Kaieteur News | Columnists, Peeping Tom.

Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.

The style of governance since political Independence has not been conducive to development. It is ill-suited for modernization. Given the expansive nature of relations and issues which governments have to address, there is a need for greater devolution of power. Centralized government can no longer cope with the multiple, overlapping and multilayered aspects of governance.......Guyana, however, is going in the opposite direction. The more modern the bureaucracy, the more swollen and overstaffed it becomes. The more complex government becomes, the more centralized is decision-making. The greater demands on resources, the bigger the bureaucracy.
The public bureaucracy is now a cancer. It is sucking the life out of public administration. Merely keeping this inefficient and revenue-guzzling monstrosity alive is costing taxpayers in excess of 500 million dollars per day. This is wanton wastage. That money could have been put to help boost private sector development to create jobs for the thousands of young people who are unemployed. The more the government implements technology, the more inefficient it becomes. It is all part of what is known as cake shop management........Guyana is going to continue to be left behind the rest of the world. It has seen Guyana retrogress and we will always be in a fire fighting mode rather than ensuring forward thinking and planning. A country today simply cannot be run like a cake shop. The world is too modern, and too many things are taking place to allow for such a style of governance. Once the policy is made by the government, the mechanics should be left to lower level officials who should be held accountable for ensuring its implementation and who should be held responsible for any failures........What is required is for faster decision-making so as to allow for the multitasking.........Plantain chips and breadfruit chips and other small businesses cannot make the economy grow. It cannot generate the massive jobs needed to impact on unemployment. It will not lift large numbers out of poverty. This is catch-hand approach to helping poor people.
Cake shop management cannot run a modern economy. Never has; never will.
bureaucracies  centralization  complexity  decision_making  devolution  Guyana  inefficiencies  modernization  policymaking  public_sector  public_servants  technology  traffic_congestion  forward-thinking  multitasking  decentralization  digital_economy  governance  knowledge_economy  centralized_control  implementation  unsophisticated 
march 2019 by jerryking
Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments?
January 30, 2018 | FT | Robin Wigglesworth in New York.

Alberto Cavallo is today a professor of applied economics at MIT, where he runs the Billion Prices Project with Roberto Rigobon, another MIT professor. The project started in 2006, during a period when the then-Argentine government was accused of manipulating its inflation data. Professors Cavallo and Rigobon realised that by compiling the online prices listed by Argentine retailers they could build a more accurate and contemporaneous measure of the true inflation rate....The project’s commercial arm, PriceStats, now collects enough data to provide daily inflation updates for 22 economies. “It was kind of an accident. But we quickly realised that it had applications elsewhere,” Prof Cavallo says....Quandl, an alternative data provider

The project is just one example of a broader trend of trawling the swelling sea of big data for clues on how companies, industries or entire economies are performing.
alternative_data_provider  informational_advantages  massive_data_sets  MIT  Quandl  policymaking 
february 2018 by jerryking
Lex. London and Europe:hard-wired advantages
July 7, 2017 | Financial Times | Lex.

This hints at a wider strength. Laying cables across the sea was a high-risk venture in the 1850s. The risk was deemed worth taking because London was the financial centre of a trading empire. The city’s present-day concentration of expertise in areas like forex, trade finance, risk management, insurance and law is also a function of this mercantile history. Other European financial centres tend to have more specific strengths, such as asset management in Dublin and Luxembourg, or banking in Frankfurt.

More fibre could be installed across Europe, but that alone will not alter much. Europe’s politicians and regulators will find it harder to replicate London’s other strengths, however much they may wish to capitalise on the UK’s departure from the EU or secure regulatory oversight of euro-related clearing.

Their best hope of doing so is ham-fisted policymaking in the UK. There are precedents aplenty. President John Kennedy gifted London the Eurobond market in the 1960s. The Parti Québécois helped Toronto supplant Montreal as Canada’s financial capital in the 1980s. It is much easier to drive business away than it is to attract it — something the UK government, pondering its “red lines” over things like immigration and the remit of the ECJ, should bear in mind.
transatlantic  London  ECB  regulators  policymaking  competitive_advantage  epicenters  Brexit  poaching  red_lines 
august 2017 by jerryking
National Black Caucus of State Legislators: Preparing for the Age of Trump
BY: CHARLES D. ELLISON
Posted: December 4, 2016

As bad as that may look, however, don’t sleep on the NBCSL. With those numbers, none of the above eliminates the NBCSL’s truly massive importance as an august national body of black political power. Even if we can’t link to its website at the moment, it still manages to somehow connect and coordinate these 700 legislators, occasionally corralling crucial policy coordination on a wide range of issues when needed.

Black state legislators are like a first line of defense standing between national sanity and the global tempest that is Donald Trump, plus a fully decked GOP Congress. Need to change police-conduct standards? Call your local black state rep or senator because that’s in their wheelhouse. When Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan rolls out and trickles to states, black state officials will be key on oversight. And issues like education reform, charter schools and vouchers can’t really move without black state legislators’ eyes on them....."expressing frustration that the census woefully undercounts the national black population and that, unfortunately, many black constituents don’t help the situation by avoiding it. The significance of redistricting and racial gerrymandering cannot be underestimated: It plays a central role in structurally consolidating Republican political power to a gargantuan and potentially tyrannical degree."....New Jersey state Sen. Ron Rice (D-Newark), argued that’s why black elected officials must press aggressively for more collaboration among the state-, local- and federal-level groups, like NBCSL, the Congressional Black Caucus, the African American Mayors Association and the National Black Caucus of Locally Elected Officials. “This day and age, we can’t be playing around,” said Rice.

“We have to acknowledge the need to coordinate on a number of issues, like jobs, crime, education, and know what the other is doing,”
African-Americans  politicians  redistricting  constituencies  census  under-representation  undercounting  gerrymandering  organizational_capital  collaboration  coordination  policymakers  policymaking 
december 2016 by jerryking
Canada must fill three gaps to reach its high-growth future - The Globe and Mail
VICTOR DODIG
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

While Canada is roundly – and rightly – envied for its solid economy and how it withstood the financial crisis, we have three gaps to fill if we are going to continue to prosper and be leaders among the advanced economies.

First, I believe we need to do a better job of building the intellectual capital and skills necessary to fuel innovation and execute in a modern economy.

Second, we need to ensure our innovative entrepreneurs are able to attract both the formation and sustainability capital necessary to commercialize new ideas into valuable products and services.

Third, we need to ensure that we build an innovative ecosystem that effectively encourages and nurtures that development......Actually, some troubling issues lie behind those positive numbers:

* We have a much lower proportion of graduates in the all-important STEM sectors – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – than 22 other OECD countries.
* Only about 20 per cent of our graduates are from those disciplines.
* Postsecondary graduates rank 19th of 21 in numeracy, 18th of 21 in literacy and 14th of 18 in problem-solving skills.

We’re talking about the very people and very skills we need to need to lead Canada in innovation and create the high-value jobs for the future.

In effect, a postsecondary education is simply not enough in today’s modern economy. Our students, by and large, are choosing an educational path geared toward acquiring credentials rather than skills acquisition and what the labour market needs.

So, what do we need to do?....
(1) promote education choices that match the needs of the job market.
(2) promote policies and models to support emerging industries that focus on creating solutions in the global supply chain as opposed to just building products.

Canadians are no strangers to discovery and innovation, but today’s innovation ecosystem is highly complex. Far too many Canadian high-tech startups get bought out before they have a chance to grow. They often sell out before attaining their true potential.

When small and mid-sized startups are sold, the country is weaker for it.

Why? Because the really smart innovators never stop. After a successful sale, many are back the next day looking for the next opportunity and dreaming of the next big discovery. And retaining highly paid head-office jobs in Canada rather than seeing them farmed out elsewhere will help spread those benefits to the broader economy.
Canada  Canadian  future  CIBC  CEOs  high-growth  innovation  innovation_policies  policy  labour_markets  start_ups  sellout_culture  STEM  intellectual_capital  think_threes  smart_people  overambitious  policymaking  head_offices  ecosystems  digital_economy  Victor_Dodig 
may 2016 by jerryking
One Firm Getting What It Wants in Washington: BlackRock - WSJ
By RYAN TRACY and SARAH KROUSE
Updated April 20, 2016

The Problem: BlackRock believed that the U.S. Federal Reserve was leaning towards designating it as a source of financial system risk, like other big banks, and as such, be “too big to fail”.

What Was At Stake: the designation “systemically important” would draw BlackRock in for greater oversight by the Federal Reserve which would mean tougher rules and potentially higher capital requirements from U.S. regulators.

The Solution: BlackRock didn't take any chances. The company began spending heavily on lobbying and engaging policymakers. Executives at the firm began preparing for greater federal scrutiny of their business in the months following the 2008 financial crisis. BlackRock aggressively prepared a counter-narrative upon discovered a Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research report that asset-management firms and the funds they run were “vulnerable to shocks” and may engage in “herding” behavior that could amplify a shock to the financial system. The response took the form of a 40-plus-page paper rebutting the report. The firm suggested that instead of focusing on the size of a manager or fund, regulators should look at what specific practices, such as the use of leverage, might be the source of risks. While other money managers such as Fidelity and Vanguard sought to evade being labeled systemically important, BlackRock’s strategy stood out.
BlackRock  crony_capitalism  Washington_D.C.  risks  lobbying  too_big_to_fail  asset_management  advocacy  government_relations  influence  political_advocacy  policy  U.S._Federal_Reserve  systemic_risks  Communicating_&_Connecting  U.S.Treasury_Department  counternarratives  oversight  financial_system  leverage  debt  creating_valuable_content  think_differently  policymakers  policymaking 
april 2016 by jerryking
Looking for leadership on water - The Globe and Mail
JOHN POMEROY, BOB SANDFORD AND JAMES BRUCE
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

The federal government has essentially left water issues to the provinces. Yet more than 75 per cent of Canadians live in boundary water basins shared with the United States and most of the rest live in multiprovincial-territorial river basins. The lack of federal leadership ignores the reality of water flow and leaves Canada vulnerable to major water crises that can cripple components of the national economy and are already impoverishing regional economies.

Canada could rapidly start to address its water crisis by implementing flood and drought forecasting and management, and improving water quality and fishery protection and transboundary water management through advice based on enhanced water science and observations.

One way to do this is via a co-operatively formulated, comprehensive Canada Water Agency.
water  leadership  crisis  crossborder  policymaking 
november 2015 by jerryking
What Scented Candles Say to an Economist - The New York Times
By DIANE COYLE NOV. 7, 2015

We need a wider variety of indicators to help us take a more accurate reading of the economy. Some of these might seem frivolous, but paying close attention to worldly detail could make forecasting more reliable.
(1) height of hemlines
(2) the number of cranes visible on the skyline
(3) Spending on luxury items is another example. During a boom, sales of fast cars, expensive paintings, prime real estate and diamond necklaces all soar, as do their prices.

Less obvious are trends in retailing. When the good times roll, people decide that their great idea for a specialty store is viable. Thus booms bring all those boutiques selling just one type of good: socks or scented candles or freshly squeezed juices. But like flowers that display the behavior known as nyctinasty — opening to the sun’s light and warmth — they close as soon as the skies darken and things start to cool.

(4) how easy, or otherwise, it is to get restaurant reservations or tickets for shows.
(5) how many “help wanted” signs appear in the windows of stores and restaurants.

....G.D.P. almost certainly fails to capture newer areas of economic activity, such as today’s digital innovation — so other sources of information are needed to fill the gap....economic policy makers usually scrutinize tens, or even hundreds, of indicators, covering different industries and assets, different parts of the country, different groups of people. They monitor jobs reports, advertising rates, wage settlements, the cost of shipping freight, asset prices, sales of consumer durables and much, much more.
economics  economists  forecasting  non-obvious  GDP  indicators  trends  retailers  boutiques  detail_oriented  economic_data  information_sources  policymakers  policymaking 
november 2015 by jerryking
Think tanks need to show us the money - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Feb. 09 2015

Like Brookings, almost of all of Canada’s leading think tanks claim to be independent and non-partisan. But while none – not even the Broadbent Institute – is directly affiliated with a political party, it’s not hard to discern an identifiable political agenda in the research they produce. American think tanks, says former think-tank founder David Callahan, “often operate as the motherships of ideological movements – weaving together a jumble of values and ideas into a coherent story and actionable agenda.” You could easily say the same of most of their Canadian counterparts.
Konrad_Yakabuski  think_tanks  lobbying  Brookings  institution-building  networks  institutions  political_infrastructure  transparency  political_advocacy  policy_analysis  policy  conflicts_of_interest  policymaking 
february 2015 by jerryking
You can’t predict a black swan - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 29 2015

The New York snowstorm that wasn’t, like the Swiss currency storm that was, are reminders that sophisticated computer models used to predict the future are useless in the face of the unpredictable. Instead of seeking a false assurance in the models, it’s better to prepare, to the extent possible, to weather any storm Mother Nature or man dishes up.

Black swans are “large-scale, unpredictable and irregular events of massive consequence,” as defined by the author who popularized the term in a 2007 book. Given their unpredictability, says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the solution cannot lie in developing better predictive methods....Robust policy – such as sustainable public finances or effective bank regulations – must be designed to withstand black swans.
Konrad_Yakabuski  forecasting  weather  public_policy  reminders  modelling  unpredictability  assumptions  antifragility  Nassim_Taleb  black_swan  resilience  risk-management  policymaking 
january 2015 by jerryking
Where are the jobs? Without good stats, it’s bad data in, bad policy out - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 11 2014

The latest revelations of Ottawa’s cost-cutting on labour market data come as no surprise. This Conservative government has a solid track record of sacrificing information for budget cuts. The long-form census, Statistics Canada and Canada’s environmental libraries have all fallen victim to the government’s red pen. Frustratingly, these funding cuts only seem to come to light after they’ve been carried out.
data  budgets  Conservative_Party  Canada  Don_Drummond  cost-cutting  labour_markets  Statistics_Canada  policymaking  budget_cuts 
june 2014 by jerryking
What is good for a business isn’t necessarily good for the country
Aug. 27 2013 | The Globe and Mail |CHRISTOPHER RAGAN
...Most non-economists probably think economics and business are the same. But anyone who has studied economics knows they are very different. Having done so for about 30 years, I am very comfortable thinking about how markets work, how they often fail to function effectively and how various government policies affect their operation. But I readily admit to having no expertise about product development, marketing campaigns, distribution networks or managing employees.

I only wish more business people admitted to having the opposite ignorance. People successful in their businesses obviously know a lot about running their own companies and dealing with their unique competitive challenges. But many of them believe their business acumen extends to the broader economy. They suffer from the misconception that what is good for their business is good for the country as a whole. And this is where they are terribly wrong.... Adam Smith was crystal clear about business interests, writing in 1776 that “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”...Fortunately for us, [James Moore] understands the difference between business interests and the national interest.
Adam_Smith  business_acumen  business_interests  businessman_fallacy  delusions  economics  humility  misconceptions  marketing  national_interests  policymaking  pro-business  product_development  rent-seeking  self-interest 
november 2013 by jerryking
The FDIC's Sheila Bair: Going bare-knuckled against Wall Street - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 22 2013 | The Globe and Mail | KEVIN CARMICHAEL.

Deposit insurance agencies are vital to the smooth functioning of the financial system. Without them, banks would face cascading withdrawals at the first whisper of trouble. Yet within the constellation of financial regulators, deposit insurance agencies are more like Mars or Venus, dominated by the Jupiter-like presences of the finance ministries, central banks and securities commissions....Sherrod Brown and David Vitter, Democratic and Republican senators respectively, have co-sponsored legislation that would force the biggest banks to hold equity equal to 15 per cent of assets, which is much more onerous than current law. An idea that Ms. Bair long has advocated as a way to make the biggest banks less risky – forcing them to hold higher levels of long-term debt – is catching on with policy makers.....How did it get so bad? Ms. Bair has a theory. Over eggs and oatmeal in December, she explained what it was like to be on Capitol Hill in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, made an agreement to overhaul the tax code. That generation of leaders was influenced by the Second World War; many had fought in it. Such experience teaches you to “put country first,” Ms. Bair says. “We’re the pampered Baby Boom generation. We’re not willing to make the sacrifices as much as our parents were.”
too_big_to_fail  FDIC  financial_system  Sheila_Bair  profile  women  Wall_Street  WWII  the_Greatest_Generation  regulators  sacrifice  baby_boomers  Kevin_Carmichael  shared_experiences  shared_consciousness  policymaking  tax_codes 
june 2013 by jerryking
An Elizabethan Cyberwar - NYTimes.com
May 31, 2013 | NYT | By JORDAN CHANDLER HIRSCH and SAM ADELSBERG.

Instead of trying to beat back the New World instability of the Internet with an old playbook, American officials should embrace it. With the conflict placed in its proper perspective, policy makers could ratchet down the rhetoric and experiment with a new range of responses that go beyond condemnation but stop short of all-out cyberwar — giving them the room to maneuver without approaching cyberconflict as a path to Defcon 1.

In these legally uncharted waters, only Elizabethan guile, not cold war brinkmanship, will steer Washington through the storm.
cunning  cyber_warfare  China  China_rising  U.S.  security_&_intelligence  guile  lessons_learned  contextual  Elizabethan  cyber_security  instability  resilience  perspectives  tools  frenemies  espionage  risk-mitigation  policy_tools  cyberweapons  U.S.-China_relations  policymakers  policymaking  playbooks 
june 2013 by jerryking
Chrystia Freeland | Analysis & Opinion
May 23, 2013 | | Reuters.com |By Chrystia Freeland.

Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and James Robinson of Harvard University.

In their seminal 2012 book, “Why Nations Fail,” Acemoglu and Robinson offered a powerful new framework for understanding why some societies thrive and others decline – those based on inclusive growth succeed, while those where growth is extractive wither.

Their new study, “Economics Versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice,” will be published later this year in the Journal of Economic Perspectives and is available now in draft form as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. It tackles an essential subject in the age of technocracy: the limits of technocratic thinking as a basis for policy.

Their critique is not the standard technocrat’s lament that wise policy is, alas, politically impossible to implement. Instead, their concern is that policy which is eminently sensible in theory can fail in practice because of its unintended political consequences.
Chrystia_Freeland  books  economists  unintended_consequences  failed_states  Non-Integrating_Gap  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2013 by jerryking
Economist Ricardo Hausmann Says U.S. Should Reinvent Manufacturing
January 4, 2013 | MIT Technology Review | By Antonio Regalado.

[ less keen on setting up entire industries at home and instead try to insert themselves into global supply chains. Sometimes this means changing, not just exploiting, their comparative advantage.]

Using complexity theory and trade data, Hausmann looks at what a country is good at making and predicts what types of more valuable items it could produce next.

That sounds plain enough, but the results of Hausmann’s analyses are often surprising. A country with a competitive garment industry might want to move into electronics assembly—both need an industrial zone with quality electrical power and good logistics. A country that exports flowers may find it has the expertise in cold-storage logistics necessary to spark an export boom in fresh produce.
economists  manufacturers  reinvention  competitiveness_of_nations  industrial_zones  competitive_advantage  economies_of_scope  linkages  policymaking  kaleidoscopic  comparative_advantage  supply_chains  value_chains  capabilities  cold_storage 
march 2013 by jerryking
Some speculative truth about Canada’s new gun crime - The Globe and Mail
Jul. 20 2012 | The Globe and Mail | James Sheptycki.

So we have a poisonous mixture: A pistolized culture of masculinity. A socio-economic structure of exclusion. An illicit opportunity structure in the market for illegal drugs. And rising levels of gun availability on the streets.

There is probably even more to it than that, since society’s reactions are often one-sided. Some people advocate cracking down on the drug economy. Some advocate drug decriminalization. Some say banning guns or bullets will work, or that we need stiffer penalties. Others want better social programs.

These policy struggles, playing out in the context of fiscal crisis, are most often discussed in hyper-masculine terms. Looking for the cheapest bang for the buck, we end up “combatting gangs” or “fighting crime” while going to “war on drugs.”

These amount to attempts at repression. But repression does not solve problems; it displaces them. This suggests that the solutions become part of the problem.

This issue is extremely complex, but these speculations are the start of a plausible explanation to what has been taking place in Canada for some time. But they are only a start.

There is a demand for quick and easy solutions, and the solutions had better be cost-effective and inexpensive. There is impatience when the response from academic criminologists is for further research.

But in the face of such complexity, and to test our understanding, Canadians need to demand evidence-based policymaking. Rationality and reason are required, as well as political will. Gut instinct is no good.
Toronto  violence  evidence_based  research  criminality  masculinity  illicit  drugs  economy  social_exclusion  guns  gut_feelings  policymaking 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Limits of Intelligence - WSJ.com
December 10, 2007 | WSJ | By PETER HOEKSTRA and JANE HARMAN.

On one of our several trips together to Iraq, a senior intelligence official told us how she wrote her assessments -- on one page, with three sections: what we know, what we don't know, and what we think it means.

Sound simple? Actually, it's very hard....The information we receive from the intelligence community is but one piece of the puzzle in a rapidly changing world. It is not a substitute for policy, and the challenge for policy makers is to use good intelligence wisely to fashion good policy.

In fact, the new NIE on Iran comes closest to the three-part model our intelligence community strives for: It carefully describes sources and the analysts' assessment of their reliability, what gaps remain in their understanding of Iran's intentions and capabilities, and how confident they are of their conclusions....Nevertheless, Congress must engage in vigorous oversight -- to challenge those who do intelligence work, and to make site visits to see for ourselves.

Intelligence is an investment -- in people and technology. It requires sustained focus, funding and leadership. It also requires agency heads that prioritize their constitutional duty to keep the intelligence committees informed. Good intelligence will not guarantee good policy, but it can spare us some huge policy mistakes.
security_&_intelligence  critical_thinking  Iran  memoranda  policy  sense-making  unknowns  interpretation  interpretative  information_gaps  oversight  rapid_change  think_threes  assessments_&_evaluations  policymakers  policymaking  intelligence_analysts 
june 2012 by jerryking
A failure in generalship
May 2007 | Armed Forces Journal | By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling.

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war....generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy...“Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife,” by John Nagl
leadership  politics  war  warfare  strategy  strategic_thinking  organizational_culture  civilian-military_relations  Prussian  books  Carl_von_Clausewitz  generalship  probabilities  contextual  militaries  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2012 by jerryking
Why Intelligence and Policymakers Clash
Summer 2010 | POLITICAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY
Volume 125 · Number 2 | by ROBERT JERVIS
security_&_intelligence  spymasters  policymakers  policymaking 
december 2011 by jerryking
Five grim and essential lessons for world leaders - FT.com
November 2, 2011 6:24 pm
Five grim and essential lessons for world leaders

By Lawrence Summers
G20  Larry_Summers  lessons_learned  advice  leaders  policymaking 
november 2011 by jerryking
Agenda 2002: Bite this, Canada
Dec 22, 2001| The Globe and Mail pg. A.23 | Edward Greenspon. .

Sept. 11 caused many Canadians to confront hard questions about what matters to them and about the kind of country they want Canada to be. The challenge of 2002, therefore, is to settle on those things that distinguish us -- the areas of sovereignty we truly want to protect and promote in differentiating ourselves in North America and the world.

By and large, these will not be economic, at least in the sense of the old instruments of nationalism. Canadians accept that economic integration provides a net benefit to them and would look askance at policies that impede the free flow of goods, services and people. As Mr. Chrétien put it this week: "You don't need to be anti-American to be pro-Canadian."

So where should we be looking for our national definition? What are the points of departure for a policy that is pro-Canadian without being anti-American?
truth-clarity  ProQuest  Edward_Greenspon  Canada  9/11  cohesiveness  national_identity  truth-telling  hard_questions  policymaking 
october 2011 by jerryking
The Untapped Talent That Can Juice the Economy - BusinessWeek
September 30, 2011, 4:25 PM EDT

...Trying to stimulate the economy by encouraging more people to go into business for themselves doesn’t appear to work. That’s because entrepreneurial talent can’t be quickly built by giving people a short class in writing a business plan or using QuickBooks. If we can influence entrepreneurial talent at all—an open question—it takes long-term investments in education.....The levers policymakers can influence in the short term—giving entrepreneurs more access to credit or training people in business startup skills—also do little because these factors are only a small part of what limits the supply of entrepreneurial talent. .... Instead of trying to increase the amount of entrepreneurial talent in the economy, policymakers should provide incentives to reallocate that talent from unproductive or destructive forms of entrepreneurship to more productive forms.
To Baumol, entrepreneurship takes three forms: productive, unproductive, and destructive. Productive entrepreneurship is the kind we all want. ...policymakers will get more bang for the policy buck if they concentrate instead on encouraging those who have entrepreneurial talent to use it for productive purposes.

Examples of incentive are: tax earnings from business activities that merely shift wealth from one party to another at a higher rate than money made from productive entrepreneurship. We could forgive student loans of productive entrepreneurs, but not the unproductive ones. We could even make credit cheaper for productive entrepreneurs than for the wealth-shifting types.

Efforts to encourage anyone to start a business have done little for growth. Getting skilled professionals to focus on "productive" ventures makes more sense

By Scott Shane
entrepreneurship  policymaking  policymakers  economists  small_business  productivity  talent_allocation  gazelles  incentives 
october 2011 by jerryking
9/11 and the age of sovereign failure -
Sep. 10, 2011 | The Globe & Mail | Michael Ignatieff.. One
of the tasks we ask govt. to perform is to think the unthinkable. Yet on
9/11, govt. institutions failed...A sovereign is a state with a
monopoly on the means of force...It is there to think the unthinkable
and plan for it. A sovereign failed that morning.... There has been a
cascade of failure: (1) No WMDs found in Iraq; (2) The failure of the
levees & New Orleans civil authority following Hurricane Katrina;
(3) the 2008 mortgage bubble and govt. regulators; (4) the failure of
govt. regulators to catch BP before the Spring 2010 oil spill. ...While
there are a lot of things a govt. might do, there are a few things that
only a govt. can do: protect the people, rescue them when they are in
danger, regulate against catastrophic risk and safeguard the full faith
and credit of their currency. Sovereigns matter. And rebuilding their
legitimacy, their capacity and their competence is the political task
that matters most......It is always good to be skeptical about what governments tell us. But we are beyond skepticism now, into a deep and enduring cynicism. There will come a day when they are not crying wolf and we will not believe them. Then we will be in trouble. Some trust in government is a condition of democracy and security alike. That trust has been weakened and can't be rebuilt until sovereigns say what they mean, mean what they say and do what they promise.
cynicism  Michael_Ignatieff  failure  government  9/11  low_probability  catastrophic_risk  priorities  unthinkable  sovereign-risk  legitimacy  capacity  competence  skepticism  oil_spills  policymaking 
september 2011 by jerryking
With a Long List but Short on Money, F.D.A. Tackles Food Safety - NYTimes.com
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
August 22, 2011

A landmark food safety law passed by Congress last December is supposed
to reduce the frequency and severity of food safety problems, but the
roll call of recent cases underlines the magnitude of the task....The
agency is taking on the expanded mission at a time when Washington
budget-slashing means that regulators have little hope of getting
additional money and may instead have their budgets cut by Congress....A
budget freeze or cuts would have the greatest impact on the ambitious
increase in inspections called for under the new law, which ramp up each
year.

“Writing rules is inexpensive (jk: i.e. policymaking is easy); enforcing them is expensive (jk i.e. implementation is hard), said David W. Acheson, a former associate commissioner of the F.D.A. who is now a
food safety consultant. “There will be a public health impact because
enforcement won’t be to the extent they want to do it.”
product_recalls  implementation  food_safety  hard_work  FDA  cost-cutting  policymaking  public_health  enforcement  regulation  pairs  frequency_and_severity  regulators  cutbacks  quotes  rule-writing  budget_cuts 
august 2011 by jerryking
To Boost the Economy, Help the Self-Employed -
June 7, 2011 BusinessWeek By Richard Greenwald
Despite their importance to our economic health, we impede nearly
one-third of our workforce by making so-called freelancers, contractors,
and consultants play by outdated rules.

Despite their increasing importance to the economy, the growth of these
freelancers' businesses is stymied by our tax and labor
codes....Freelancers Shoulder All Risks

Today, the fast-growing freelance workforce is shouldering costs and
risks that were formerly borne by companies. The self-employed can't get
unemployment insurance or file for workman's compensation. They aren't
covered by most federal or state employee labor laws, leaving them
little recourse but to spend precious time and money in small claims
court when they aren't paid.

Worse, the self-employed are taxed as if they're medium-sized employers,
but they can't deduct health-insurance premiums and other expenses that
big companies can deduct.
freelancing  challenges  economy  self-employment  gig_economy  policymaking 
july 2011 by jerryking
The Unexamined Society - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
July 7, 2011

Eldar Shafir of Princeton and Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard have a
book coming out next year, exploring how scarcity — whether of time,
money or calories (while dieting) — affects your psychology, how it
produces its own cognitive traits. It is a 3rd theory alongside two
more traditional understandings of poverty: The first presumes people
are rational. They are pursuing their goals effectively and don’t need
much help in changing their behavior. The second presumes that the poor
are afflicted by cultural or psychological dysfunctions that sometimes
lead them to behave in shortsighted ways. Neither of these traditional
theories has produced much in the way of effective policies.
David_Brooks  scarcity  psychology  decision_making  books  constraints  policymaking 
july 2011 by jerryking
World Bank Is Opening Its Treasure Chest of Data
July 2, 2011 | NYT|By STEPHANIE STROM. The World Bank’s
traditional role has been to finance specific projects that foster eco.
dvlpmnt,...it might come as a surprise that its president , Robert
Zoellick, argues that the most valuable currency of the WB isn’t its $—
it is its information. ...For > a yr, the WB has been releasing its
prized data sets, currently giving public access to more than 7,000 that
were previously available only to some 140,000 subscribers — mostly
govts & researchers, who paid for access. ...Those data sets contain
all sorts of info. about the developing world, whether workaday
economic stats — GDP, CPI & the like — or arcana like the # of women
are breast-feeding their children in rural Peru.

It is a trove unlike anything else in the world, and, it turns out,
highly valuable. For whatever its accuracy or biases, this data defines
the economic reality of billions of people and is used in making
policies & decisions that enormously impact their lives.
World_Bank  information_flows  data  databases  massive_data_sets  transparency  open_source  Robert_Zoellick  crowdsourcing  mashups  datasets  decision_making  policymaking  developing_countries 
july 2011 by jerryking
Pentagon: Online Cyber Attacks Can Count as Acts of War - WSJ.com
MAY 31, 2011 | WSJ |By SIOBHAN GORMAN And JULIAN E. BARNES
Cyber Combat: Act of War
Pentagon Sets Stage for U.S. to Respond to Computer Sabotage With Military Force
cyber_warfare  cyber_security  Pentagon  policymaking  cyberattacks  offensive_tactics 
may 2011 by jerryking
What Went Wrong
June 2007 | WSJ | By Dennis Ross. Statecraft is essentially
matching objectives (or purpose) and means. Start with assessments that are grounded in reality, and not in wishful thinking. Don't shape policy on erroneous assessments. Statecraft is often about working to transform current realities so what is not possible today becomes possible over time. Before you can change an unacceptable reality, understand what it is in the first place...When negotiating or serving as a peace keeper, it is imperative to know the power limitations of
the parties you are assisting. Good statecraft means testing the parties on their individual willingess to compromise on issues BEFORE trying to resolve them. E.g. announce that neither side will get 100% of what they want. Such an announcement not only conditions the publics, it also prepares leaders for what would be required of them: an ability to withstand withering criticism. Such ability is a measure of seriousness in tackling core issues.

If one party is unwilling or unable to take such step, then you need to adjust your objectives. Create conditions that you want (e.g. peace-making) so that they might take hold after one of the weak decision makers leaves the scene.
Dennis_Ross  statecraft  compromise  preparation  seriousness  leaders  public_opinion  negotiations  wishful_thinking  assessments_&_evaluations  policymaking 
may 2011 by jerryking
Rumsfeld: Know the Unknowns - WSJ.com
APRIL 4, 2011| WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ. Before 9/11,
Rumsfeld distributed to colleagues a comment about Pearl Harbor by
economist Thomas Schelling: "There is a tendency in our planning to
confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Rumsfeld focuses on
unknown unknowns in order to encourage more "intellectual humility" ."It
is difficult to accept—to know—that there may be important unknowns."
"In the run-up to the war in Iraq, we heard a great deal about what our
intel community knew or thought they knew," he writes, "but not enough
about what they knew they didn't know." Policy makers can't afford to
be paralyzed by a lack of info., inaction by the world's superpower has
its own risks. Instead, Rumsfeld says the known known of info. gaps
should force a more robust give-and-take between policy makers &
intelligence analysts, allowing analysts to understand what policymakers
need to know & policymakers to understand what info. they can and
cannot get from intelligence.
Donald_Rumsfeld  superpowers  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  memoirs  decision_making  security_&_intelligence  information_gaps  humility  uncertainty  cost_of_inaction  unknowns  Thomas_Schelling  improbables  quotes  unfamiliarity  SecDef  policymakers  policymaking  intelligence_analysts 
april 2011 by jerryking
The New Machiavelli
October 25 2010 Financial Times Review by Carl Wilkinson who
reviews The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World, by
Jonathan Powell, Bodley Head RRP£20, 352 pages.
This book, he writes, “is not another memoir of the Blair years”.
Powell’s intriguing and engaging book takes as its foundation The
Prince, Machiavelli’s infamous 16th-century treatise on power. Through
the prism of Machiavelli, Powell explores the heady world of
21st-century political leadership, policymaking and war alongside the
“constructive tension” between Blair and Brown.
DA589.7 .P694 2010 Robarts Stacks 1 copy.
book_reviews  chief_of_staff  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Tony_Blair  power  political_power  leadership  policymaking  war 
march 2011 by jerryking
Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers | Foreign Policy
DECEMBER 2010 | The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. Foreign Policy
presents a unique portrait of 2010's global marketplace of ideas and
the thinkers who make them.
thought_leadership  best_of  lists  globalization  foreign_policy  booklists  policymakers  policymaking 
december 2010 by jerryking
Unboxed - Governments Embracing a Role in Innovation - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2009 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR. Innovation policy, to
be sure, is an emerging discipline, lacking crisp definitions or
metrics. What is the appropriate government role in creating industries
and jobs in today’s high-technology, global economy?...John Kao, a
former professor at HBS and founder of the Institute for Large Scale
Innovation....innovation policy is an attempt to bring some coordination
to often disparate government initiatives in scientific research,
education, business incentives, immigration and even intellectual
property....governments are increasingly wading into the innovation
game, declaring innovation agendas and appointing senior innovation
officials. The impetus comes from two fronts: daunting challenges in
fields like energy, the environment and health care that require
collaboration between the public and private sectors; and shortcomings
of traditional economic development and industrial policies.
innovation  large_companies  Finland  government  John_Kao  industrial_policies  shortcomings  scaling  policy  state-as-facilitator  global_economy  policymaking  innovation_policies 
december 2010 by jerryking
In cyber warfare, policy lags technology
Nov. 24, 2010 | Reuters via The Globe and Mail | Peter Apps
cyber_warfare  policymaking 
december 2010 by jerryking
Other Governments Lend Their Might to Design. Why Can't America? | Co.Design
Oct. 22, 2010 | Fast Company | by Thomas Lockwood. my
experience in Helsinki is a sign of things to come. The role of design
is expanding well beyond artifacts, communications, and experiences to
broader problem solving -- an interesting definition of "strategic
design" may be "design that solves the right problems." The whole notion
of "business transformation" can indeed be shifted to "government
transformation," if we dare try.
It's time for professional design managers to step up. We need serious
design leaders like never before.
design  problem_solving  leadership  Helsinki  transformational  problem_definition  problem_framing  policymaking  worthwhile_problems 
october 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - The Limits of Policy - NYTimes.com
May 3, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS. As Brooks
notes, "The influence of politics and policy is usually swamped by the
influence of culture, ethnicity, psychology and a dozen other factors."
" So when we’re arguing about politics, we should be aware of how
policy fits into the larger scheme of cultural and social influences.
Bad policy can decimate the social fabric, but good policy can only
modestly improve it. Therefore, the rules of policy-making should be:
(1) don’t promulgate policies that destroy social bonds. If tribes of
people are exiled from their homelands and shipped to strange, arid
lands, bad outcomes result for generations. (2), try to establish basic
security. If the govt. can establish a basic level of economic and
physical security, people may create a culture of achievement — if
you’re lucky. (3), try to use policy to strengthen relationships. The
best policies, like good preschool and military service, fortify
emotional bonds."
David_Brooks  limitations  policymaking  relationships  social_fabric 
may 2010 by jerryking
Changing Mind-Sets About School, and Hygiene
January 11, 2010 | New York Times | By JENNIFER 8. LEE.
"Decoding the job title: It means that I do a lot of content and design
of school leadership stuff to develop the principals, the assistant
principals and the aspiring principals across the city. The office is
relatively new, in general. It was only created in 2007.

Before that? Achievement First Bushwick Middle School — I was the dean
of the students. I was basically the person in charge of culture,
discipline, student investment, student incentives, parent groups. The
whole theme of the school, as at all Achievement First schools, is to
strive to go to college. The fifth grade wasn’t known as the fifth
grade, it was known as the class of 2019, because that would be the year
that they would go to college."
leadership_development  teaching  education  role_models  schools  charter_schools  mindsets  policymaking 
january 2010 by jerryking
Unboxed - Governments Embracing a Role in Innovation - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2009 | New York Times | By STEVE LOHR. The rising
worldwide interest in innovation policy represents the search to answer
an important question: What is the appropriate government role in
creating industries and jobs in today’s high-technology, global economy?
San_Antonio  innovation  government  start_ups  Steve_Lohr  PPP  economic_development  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  global_economy  policymaking 
june 2009 by jerryking
To outsmart the bad guys, CSIS's next boss must play it smart
April 29, 2009 | The Globe & Mail | by WESLEY WARK. CSIS'
current director is set to retire. Wark lays out what's required by his
successor to ensure that the agency's "product" gains relevance amongst
Canadian policymakers. "The more radical challenges lie elsewhere. They
have to do with people, thinking skills, and transformative
capabilities". CSIS has to improve it record on analysis. Too much of
its past product has been superficial, irrelevant and driven by
ill-thought-out demands. Climate security, failed states, environmental
degradation, natural disasters, pandemics, cyber crimes, people
smuggling, international drug trafficking--which should CSIS be focused
on?
security_&_intelligence  CSIS  succession  Wesley_Wark  Canada  Canadian  threats  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2009 by jerryking
Summers Crafts Broad Role in Reshaping Economy - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 7, 2009 WSJ article By MONICA LANGLEY profiling Larry
Summers' settling into, and shaping, his new role as chief White House
economic adviser.
policy  economics  profile  Larry_Summers  policymakers  policymaking 
february 2009 by jerryking
Regulations: Alternative Approaches - WSJ.com
February 12, 2007 | WSJ | LEILA ABBOUD. Govts. struggle to find
policies that will spur renewable energy industries--without coddling
them
regulation  alternative_energy  industrial_policies  renewable  green  policymaking 
february 2009 by jerryking

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