Commentary from the Web, Week 31, 2020

‘That’s ridiculous’: How America’s corona virus response looks abroad.

The United States leads the world in Covid-19 deaths, nearing 150,000 lost lives. The unemployment figures brought on by the pandemic are mind-boggling. The Trump administration’s slow and haphazard response has been widely criticized. But what does it look like to young people around the world, whose governments moved quickly and aggressively to contain the coronavirus?

This video from the New York Times will be a revelation. You will find it at this link.

Cyber security: why we have to coexist with China

From the Financial Times, July 27, 2020
We need to face Chinese tech with scrutiny and safeguards — not with disengagement
‘We cannot hermetically seal ourselves off from China and its companies — nor should we do so’ Yuan Yang explains why to attempt to do so is impractical and futile.
Yuan Yang is the FT’s deputy Beijing bureau chief.
The article may be found here.

The Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Agenda

Project Syndicate, July 27, 2020 by JEAN PISANI-FERRY
The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of human societies and fortified support for urgent climate action. But while the small government, free-market template of the last four decades suddenly looks terribly outdated, history suggests that transitions between phases of capitalist development can be harsh and uncertain.
“Next comes less reliance on global markets for essential supplies. Although China’s participation in the global economy has been disruptive for workers, it has benefited consumers massively. As Robert Feenstra of the University of California, Davis and his colleagues have shown, China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 lowered US manufacturing prices by 1% per year – a 0.3% gain in purchasing power. Using a different methodology, Lionel Fontagné and Charlotte Emlinger of CEPII

(Paris) have found that by 2010, imports from low-wage countries had made the median French household 8% richer. By now, the boon to consumers could have reached 10% in Europe and the US.” Jean Pisani-Ferry, a senior fellow at Brussels-based think tank Bruegel and a senior non-resident fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, holds the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa chair at the European University Institute.
The above quote from the article by Pisani-Ferry caught my eye because it makes the point, so seldom recognized, of the great benefit that China’s productivity had brought to consumers everywhere in the world. The article is to be found at this link.

Harris Bricken, China Law Blog, Interview with James Moore

July 10, 2020.
A fascinating and unique first-hand account of the functioning of the Chinese government, by an American who worked until recently in the Government of Hangzhou Municipality. The fact that the interviewee is a practicing member of the Mormon faith is testament to the potential of people-to-people contact in breaking down barriers.
Thanks to Rasheed Griffith for bringing this to my attention.
The podcast may be found here.