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jerryking : economic_policy   13

Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  human_ingenuity  ingenuity  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself - The New York Times
By ANDREW SCOTT COOPERMARCH 12, 2016

The 1973-74 oil embargo was the first demonstration that the House of Saud was willing to weaponize the oil markets. In October 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly halted oil shipments in retaliation for America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The price of a barrel of oil quickly quadrupled; the resulting shock to the oil-dependent economies of the West led to a sharp rise in the cost of living, mass unemployment and growing social discontent.

“If I was the president,” Secretary of State Henry Kissinger fumed to his deputy Brent Scowcroft, “I would tell the Arabs to shove their oil.” But the president, Richard M. Nixon, was in no position to dictate to the Saudis....In recent years, the Saudis have made clear that they regard the oil markets as a critical front line in the Sunni Muslim-majority kingdom’s battle against its Shiite-dominated rival, Iran. Their favored tactic of “flooding,” pumping surplus crude into a soft market, is tantamount to war by economic means: the oil trade’s equivalent of dropping the bomb on a rival.

In 2006, Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi security adviser, warned that Riyadh was prepared to force prices down to “strangle” Iran’s economy. Two years later, the Saudis did just that, with the aim of hampering Tehran’s ability to support Shiite militia groups in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Then, in 2011, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former chief of Saudi intelligence, told NATO officials that Riyadh was prepared to flood the market to stir unrest inside Iran. Three years later, the Saudis struck again, turning on the spigot.

But this time, they overplayed their hand.
Saudi_Arabia  petro-politics  tools  economic_warfare  Iran  geopolitics  statecraft  Yom_Kippur_War  economic_policy 
march 2016 by jerryking
Aiming Financial Weapons From Treasury War Room - NYTimes.com
By ANNIE LOWREYJUNE 3, 2014

“The United States needs to remain involved in the world, but does not necessarily need to remain involved just through military power,” said David S. Cohen, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who is sometimes described within the administration as President Obama’s favorite combatant commander. “There are other ways of projecting U.S. power that are consequential.”

Mr. Cohen oversees the obscure Office of Foreign Assets Control, the engine that creates and administers the steadily increasing number of financial sanctions. They are a policy tool once considered largely ineffectual but are now used against a wide range of actors, from Iran’s revolutionary guard to Mexican drug traffickers to cronies of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia....Sanctions have also become a central policy lever with Iran, Syria, South Sudan and North Korea — as well as drug cartels, arms traders and terrorists. In no small part, their swelling number is because of their improved potency, analysts said: Today’s sanctions tend to be “smart,” narrow rather than broad, and designed to pressure elites rather than squeezing average citizens....Legal changes during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations bolstered the tool. Analysts started focusing on travel bans and asset freezes, rather than whole-country or whole-industry sanctions. The interconnectedness of the global economy has also made sanctions stronger.

“We’re very nuanced about how to use the tool and, I think, very thoughtful about it,”
Iran  geopolitics  U.S.Treasury_Department  statecraft  21st._century  travel_bans  asset_freezes  sanctions  North_Korea  interconnections  economic_warfare  economic_policy  specificity  hard_power  rogue_actors  policy_tools  potency  global_economy 
june 2014 by jerryking
In ‘Treasury’s War,’ Missiles for a Financial Battlefield - NYTimes.com
August 31, 2013 | NYT | By BRYAN BURROUGH.

THE 21st century has ushered in new kinds of warfare that don’t involve soldiers wielding weapons. One type, cyberwarfare, seems to have drawn the most commentary and analysis. A less publicized type of attack, financial warfare, is covered in “Treasury’s War,” a useful new book by one of this strategy’s architects, Juan C. Zarate, a former assistant Treasury secretary. ... “Treasury’s War” chronicles an array of the department’s enforcement efforts, from corralling informal Middle Eastern money-transfer networks useful to Al Qaeda to tracking Saddam’s missing millions. But the heart of the book is the emergence and evolution of Section 311 of the Patriot Act, which allows the Treasury Department to designate any bank in the world as a “primary money-laundering concern” and prevent it from doing business with any American bank.

In today’s financial world, where every bank wants to do business with every other bank, and where New York and the United States dollar remain of paramount importance, “hitting” a bank with a Section 311 order has the effect of transforming it into an overnight pariah. Mr. Zarate cites example after example in which 311’s have all but destroyed rogue banks that had been important conduits for money flows involving, for example, Al Qaeda or Iran....“Geopolitics is now a game best played with financial and commercial weapons,” Mr. Zarate writes. “The new geoeconomic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive.”
books  book_reviews  Iran  al_Qaeda  geopolitics  U.S.Treasury_Department  statecraft  money_laundering  21st._century  interconnections  sanctions  economic_warfare  economic_policy  banks  policy_tools 
september 2013 by jerryking
An Economic Statecraft Model - NYTimes.com
By DAVID ROHDE
Published: May 7, 2013

The Obama administration’s efforts in the region should be more economic than military. “The United States government has done a terrible job of focusing on economic issues in the Middle East,” Thomas R. Nides, a former deputy secretary of state, told me recently. “You have huge youth unemployment and no hope.”

This argument is hardly new. “To succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening,” Mrs. Clinton said, more than a year ago. “Economic policy is foreign policy,” her successor, John Kerry, said this week.

Last month he asked Congress to approve the creation of a $580 million “incentive fund” that would reward countries in the Middle East and North Africa for enacting reforms that foster market-based economies, democratic norms, independent courts and civil societies.
Africa  statecraft  foreign_aid  foreign_policy  economic_policy  Arab-Muslim_world  Junior_Achievement  economic_warfare 
may 2013 by jerryking
A New U.S. International Economic Strategy - WSJ.com
February 5, 2013 | WSJ | by Robert Zoellick.

A New U.S. International Economic Strategy
Taking the lead on trade and open markets can enhance global security, opportunity and the prospects for liberty.

(1) First, this country should strengthen its continental base by building on the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
(2) the extraordinary monetary policies of late, led by the Federal Reserve's continued near-zero interest-rate policy, are taking us into uncharted territory.
(3)the U.S. needs to break the logjam on opening markets.
(4)Fourth, gender equality is not only fair and right—it is smart economics.
(5) Finally, the U.S. needs to match growth priorities of developing economies.
globalization  international_trade  Robert_Zoellick  NAFTA  IMF  WTO  economic_policy  gender_gap  entrepreneurship  Junior_Achievement  infrastructure 
february 2013 by jerryking
For U.S. foreign policy, it should be all about the economy - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 03, 2010 |G&M| CHRYSTIA FREELAND. The most
significant revelation from WikiLeaks isn’t what is in the documents –
it`s what is missing from them. The financial crisis of 2008, and its
agonizing aftermath, changed the world profoundly. It didn’t change the
State Dept. The most important take-away from the Wikileaks is that the
U.S. needs a new foreign policy paradigm to deal with the post-crisis
world. The starting pt. for that paradigm must be to put the economy at
the heart of foreign policy. Some of the savviest wise men in the U.S.
are making that pt., in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, with two
essays on the importance of the economy for statecraft.....The country
needs a new paradigm because: (1) it has run out of $ to be the world’s
police officer; (2) the recession requires everyone – including
diplomats – to pitch in to put the country back to work; and (3)
national security & int. relations – the classic concerns of
diplomacy – are now driven by economic concerns.
foreign_policy  Chrystia_Freeland  U.S.foreign_policy  economy  economic_policy  WikiLeaks  diplomacy  statecraft 
december 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower? - NYTimes.com
September 4, 2010 ! NYT ! By Tom FRIEDMAN. Builds on the
message contained in “The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership
in a Cash-Strapped Era” a very timely book by Michael Mandelbaum. How
to mitigate this trend? Mandelbaum argues for 3 things: (1) we need to
get ourselves back on a sustainable path to economic growth and
reindustrialization, with whatever sacrifices, hard work and political
consensus that requires. (2), we need to set priorities. We have enjoyed
a century in which we could have, in foreign policy terms, both what is
vital and what is desirable. e.g. with infinite men & money we can
succeed in Afghanistan. But is it vital? it may be desirable, but
vital? (3), we need to shore up our balance sheet and weaken that of our
enemies, and the best way to do that in one move is with a much higher
gasoline tax. ..There was a time when thinking seriously about U.S.
foreign policy did not require thinking seriously about economic policy.
That time is also over.
Tom_Friedman  U.S.foreign_policy  imperial_overstretch  cash-strapped  geopolitics  austerity  economic_policy  priorities  sacrifice  reindustrialization  frugality  superpowers  hard_work 
september 2010 by jerryking
A Harvard Lightning Rod Finds Path to Renewal - NYTimes.com
December 6, 2008 | New York Times | By JODI KANTOR and JAVIER
C. HERNANDEZ.

As economics came to the forefront of the presidential campaign, Mr.
Obama faced constant decisions on the subject. Mr. Summers’s allies in
the campaign put Mr. Summers on the phone, giving him a key task: to
synthesize the developments for Mr. Obama. Mr. Summers made himself into
an essential guide, Obama aides say, and earned a place in the
administration.
indispensable  Larry_Summers  Obama  Harvard  economic_policy  economic_analyses 
may 2009 by jerryking
The Start-Ups We Don’t Need
January 7, 2009 | — The American, A Magazine of Ideas | By Scott Shane From the Magazine: Wednesday,
start_ups  economic_development  economic_policy 
april 2009 by jerryking

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