The death of globalisation has been greatly exaggerated So far, slowdown in cross-border activity reflects slowdown in growth ........ The global elite gathered at Davos this week for what by all accounts has been a gloomy affair. The head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, set the tone by warning against “geoeconomic fragmentation”. Among business leaders the talk is all about globalisation going into reverse. So here, in the spirit of constructive contrarianism, are some ideas to sprinkle a little nuance over the debate. ........ Start with trade, which has grown strongly from the short-term collapse in the early months of the pandemic. As the chart below shows, until the first quarter of this year merchandise trade gave little indication of deglobalisation for rich countries, China, or the 20 biggest economies (advanced and emerging) taken together......... the IMF’s own research shows that the world now trades more than it had projected three years ago. ........ Russia is being cut off from global economic activity, as it should be, and more comprehensively than has happened to date. The World Trade Monitor estimates that Russia’s imports collapsed by 40 per cent from February to March. And Ukraine is having much of its trade shackled by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s assault, which beyond the sheer violence of his warfare ranges from
blocking the country’s ports to stealing and destroying grain in a macabre echo of the famines engineered by Stalin in the 1930s. .......... If the worry is being held economically hostage by hostile governments, this can be addressed not by trying to “reshore” all your supply chains but by reorganising them around the economies of allied countries — what US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen calls “friend-shoring”.......... the EU’s plan to reconfigure its energy system. It aims to end energy imports from Russia, but it does so in part by intensifying other regional and global trade in energy, in particular finding new suppliers for imports of natural gas today and hydrogen in the future. ......... the efforts among democracies to agree rules of the road for the digital economy and the handling of sensitive data, which may lead to fewer digital transfers between democracies and non-democracies while deepening data connectivity within these blocs. ........ the global economy may be reorganised along big regional blocs defined not just by geography but by common values and governance. That would be “deglobalisation” in the literal sense. But it would involve more globalisation in the economically meaningful sense — that of deepening cross-border economic integration. “Regionalised globalisation” would be a better term......... The question, then, would be whether further globalisation within such regional, politically delineated blocs could be as efficient and productive as a literally global integrated economy. My hunch is that
for the advanced economies centred on the transatlantic west, the answer is yes — and that there is much more doubt for less advanced economies. But that is, to be sure, an uncertain gamble. If regionalised globalisation is the way we are headed, we shall find out whether China needs the west more than the west needs China.
Building your Digital Identity in Web3 Digital identity in DeFi and crypto looks different from the way people express their identities in other online communities. ........ Web2 platforms, personal branding is about putting forward a polished look of your everyday life, offering your followers a curated glimpse into how you spend your time and what your interests are. ......... On Crypto Twitter (CT), Discord, NFT marketplaces, and other platforms favoured by the crypto community, who you are and what your everyday life looks like does not matter as much as your engagement with the ideas circulating in the space and how you demonstrate that engagement through the construction of your digital identity. .......... Web3 will be decentralized, open source, resistant to censorship, and users will own their own data. Since social platforms built on Web3 will adopt the principles of decentralization and privacy enabled by blockchain, people who are involved in this space have found creative ways to build a digital identity that demonstrates an alignment with those principles. .......... Since all blockchain transactions are verifiable on a public ledger, sharing a public key with a long history of making educated and savvy investments, participating in crypto events, and holding culturally significant NFTs is becoming the Web3 equivalent of a resume. ........... some Web3 companies are accepting this type of record for job applications along with or even instead of a traditional resume.
The Answer to Stopping the Coronavirus May Be Up Your Nose
Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism The writer discusses what Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” reveals about the fragility of liberal democracy. ......... So much of what we imagine to be new is old. So many of the seemingly novel illnesses that afflict modern society are really just resurgent cancers, diagnosed and described long ago. ........... Arendt was the master theorist of liberalism’s most fundamental blind spot, its inability to account for or even understand the appeal of its shadow, of illiberalism. And look around today, it’s still happening — look at Putin, look at Trump, look at Xi. Look at how deeply liberals underestimated all of them, and the appeal they would have and continue having, even when they failed the very movements they promised to help. ............. our diagnosis is fundamentally about the weaknesses of liberal societies, the way liberal, political and economic systems can paradoxically open the door to the figures they fear most, to the passions and yearnings they refuse to understand ............ moments of technicolor prescience ........ she was observing liberal societies of the 1940s, which we now are nostalgic about, and we imagined to be so much more solid and deep and rich than our own. ........ she talks about Stalin actually using the purges, using these periodic assaults on society as a way of creating fear between people and creating distance between people. ........ there are other sources of this kind of radical loneliness, and loneliness meeting people who are not connected to institutions. They’re not part of groups. They’re not part of churches. They’re not part of civic organizations. .......... people who aren’t connected to other people in society, she believes, are much more liable to be persuaded by forms of totalitarian or autocratic propaganda ......... what prepared men for totalitarian domination in the non totalitarian world is the act of loneliness, once a borderline experience — so once, something that only elderly people experienced — and now, it has become an everyday experience. ............ Almost every form of modern technology, almost every economic change and every technological change, often has the impact of separating people even more from one another — even new forms of entertainment, where we watch movies by ourselves on Netflix, rather than in movie theaters. .........
her description and discussion of loneliness is really quite important ........ what makes a society vulnerable to takeover is loneliness. ......... “the experience of not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.” ......... of belonging to a shared sense of meaning. Belonging to a story, feeling a place for yourself, whether that place is literal as in a church, or just conceptual, as in part of the narrative of your own country and the time in which you live. ........... in the modern world, we now see that people are capable of being part of communities that exist only online .......... QAnon is an excellent example of a community of belief. ......... Once you accept the basic premises of QAnon, you know, that there is a conspiracy, that American elites are involved in massive pedophilia scandals and complicated relationships with one another that involve abusing children, when you believe that there is a prophet out there named Q who’s going to tell you what happens in the future, and is going to shape reality for you — once you’re inside that world, you are constantly reinforced. So you join it. When you post things about it inside that community, people write back with enthusiastic acceptance and admiration. You read other people who believe the same kinds of things. You form a group that feels very strongly that all of this is true, and that you have — even more importantly, that you have access to special and secret information that most Americans don’t have. So you’re a community that has special knowledge. You’ve been gifted with this special access to a different reality. ............. And once you’re inside it, it’s extremely powerful. And it turns out that it’s more powerful than the real reality. ........ why propaganda is effective, because many people do not believe in anything visible in the reality of their own experience. They do not trust their eyes and ears, but only their imaginations. ............ it’s much easier to create these kinds of communities, and to give them that reinforcing power, because when people are surrounded all the time by the same images, the same messages, when they see them on their phones and their laptops and so on, it has the effect of seeming more real than what they can see out the window. ............ on the other side, it can be a very sharp accelerant of loneliness. ......... “loneliness is not solitude. Solitude requires being alone, whereas loneliness shows itself most sharply in company with others.” ......... “the lonely man finds himself surrounded by others with whom he cannot establish contact, or to whose hostility he is exposed.” ......... a description of loneliness as being surrounded by others with whom you cannot establish contact, or whose hostility you are exposed, actually strikes me as a very good description of what being online and being in social media often feels like for people. To the extent you establish contact, it’s not the kind of generative, nourishing contact you really want. And you’re constantly either exposed to hostility or on the knife’s edge of being exposed to it. And so what superficially looks like a way of coming out of loneliness, at least you’re there on Twitter with everybody, in fact is a more intense experience of it. .......... And sometimes, you’ll read these passages of just startling insight, where you feel they’ve got into something that studies and empirics can’t get you to. .........
what makes a society vulnerable to takeover is loneliness ......... some of the older people in my life who have drifted right, or when I go and report with right wing thinkers who have become much more radicalized in recent years — something I hear again and again is that sense of non belonging, this feeling the world has changed too much for them to find a place in it, or that its mores have changed in a way where they feel like people are hostile to them and what they think. ............. if you are in a white supremacist movement, you have actual meetings. You do military training together. You have projects that you do on the weekends. You plan things together. ............. what Jobbik started out with — what it started as, rather — was as a paramilitary organization. It literally just organized marching events for men on the weekends. And it was very, very successful in rural parts of Hungary where there wasn’t anything else to do. .......... they attack and undermine existing morality. So they mock and make fun of not just the current political setup, but you know, the morals of normal people. They set themselves up as something outside of normal morality. ............. that means they admire different things. So they admire violence, or they admire power in an old fashioned form, or they admire old fashioned kinds of hierarchies, male-female hierarchies or racial hierarchies that are now taboo ........... This is a community that breaks the rules, exists outside of institutions, and offers you a full experience of entertainment, connection, comradeship, that almost nothing else can. .......... how a lot of people I know on the right, who believed totally different things about how you should comport yourself in public a couple of years before, ended up responding to Trump — that yes, he is cruel and bullying and vulgar and unkind. But you know what? It just shows. It just goes to show how sick our society has become that we needed someone like that. And they began to take an almost delight in it. He’s our fighter. .............. the more corrupt the society, or the more people sense it to be corrupt, the more you get this phenomenon. ........... I mean, modern Washington, with its lobbyists, with its really ridiculous rules about money — I have European friends who come to America. And when they learn how the American political system works, and how important money is for congressional campaigns or senatorial campaigns, they’re often really shocked by it. And once people understand how corrupt, how dark money works, how lobbyists work, once they understand that, they can often feel so much disgust for the system that they think, well, you know, anybody who wants to smash that is right. And that was why Trump’s language about destroying the swamp was so successful ................. And never mind that Trump was the swampiest creature in America. I mean, he ran the White House as if it were an adjunct to his private business, which is something that has never been done before in American history, at least not at that scale. But that didn’t bother his followers, because they thought, well, he’s simply doing in public and openly things that were done privately in the past. ............... that’s very powerful, a powerful human phenomenon that we have now, and we also had in the 1930s. ............ “The bourgeoisie claimed to be the guardian of Western traditions, and confounded all moral issues by parading publicly virtues, which it not only did not possess in private and business life, but actually held in contempt.” .............. that they’re out there telling you, you’re racist, you’re sexist, you’re bigoted, you’re backwards, you’re deplorable. .............. And there they are, taking millions of dollars from Goldman Sachs and jet setting all around the world, and telling you how bad climate change is while they fly in their private jets and have their big mansions. ............ If you’re cynical, you can’t be gullible. If you’re gullible, you’re definitely not cynical. But her argument is that they play off of each other. They coexist in a way that’s really important to these movements. ............ it is the policy of Putin’s Kremlin, of his propaganda, to make Russians apathetic. ............ That’s done by offering them contradictory and sometimes ridiculous pieces of information that don’t make sense. ............. the fact checker’s fallacy, that if you can prove, or think you can prove, that somebody who claims to tell the truth is lying, that you will deeply damage their relationship with those who trust them. ............. Tony Blair used to say have this thing, if I could just get two people in the room at the same time and get them talking to one another, they would agree. I could come up with a compromise. Bill Clinton had that as well, this belief that you could solve problems through rational conversation and discussion. .......... the founders of the United States of America ..... they were actively worried about a Caesar coming to power. And there’s the famous Alexander Hamilton quote about, you know, someday a demagogue will come to power and people will fall in behind him. And they’ll gullibly believe whatever it is that he says. ............ So we became a society that was the richest, the most prosperous, the most powerful, the most culturally attractive society in the world. And we simply were that way for many decades. And that gave us the assumption that we’ve found the solution, we found the best of all possible worlds. Within this system, everything can be resolved reasonably, and there aren’t any challenges to it that are serious. ............ there are other impulses in human natures. There’s an attraction to the irrational. There is a desire to smash whatever the existing system is ............. self-interest is much weaker than people think, and people are willing to sacrifice quite a lot of material gain to be part of these larger movements. ........... And he’s offering people something completely different. And the expression he uses is
guns, flags and loyalty parades. So he’s offering people a way of being part of a spectacle. And the rest of us are over here arguing about things that can often seem trivial. ......... the height of this was really the era of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. They were both excellent leaders. They were both excellent speakers. And they were both policy wonks who absolutely believed that if they could just get people in the same room and have them talk to one another, they would soon see the light, and rational conversation would solve all problems, and what people really wanted was better policies to deliver better things. ............... people also sometimes want something more. They want to be part of a movement. They want to be part of a big change. They want to be on the cutting edge. They want to be marching in the parade. And when liberalism shrinks to being only about economics, that’s what can happen. .......... Donald Trump’s contempt, very, very often stated, for the other politicians, whose rallies are not very well attended, or who don’t do that many rallies ................ he’s right that he has something important that they don’t. ........ And they especially want it in periods when politics has become very technocratic, and very boring, and very focused on policy. And then, people begin to feel the need for something bigger. .............. people communicate on many levels aside from the literal. .......... people need myths and spirit and stories and communion and narrative to thrive, not just for politics to work, but for them to thrive. ........ identifying this as something that liberalism, when it is in its governing mode, begins to lose. ........... there’s a tendency to miss the importance of myth in politics. ............. A really interesting example of this is with us right now. And we see it in the popularity, the incredible popularity, actually, of the Ukrainian president in the rest of the world, and especially in the democratic world. ............... Why is Zelensky so popular — because he’s seen as somebody who is speaking for and defending a liberal society, one which is profoundly tolerant, in which people can speak more than one language, and they can have different religions, and they believe in freedom and the rule of law. And yet, he’s doing it with a military campaign, and in this vigorous and extremely brave way. .................... and the fact that everybody wants Ukrainian flags hanging from their flag poles, or stuck onto their Twitter accounts. ............ And then Russia actually invades, and Zelensky becomes this world historic figure. ........... and one reason that totalitarians so often, and authoritarians so often actually do launch wars, which is that it is hard to sustain the inspiration that comes from life or death stakes without life or death stakes. ............. totalitarians often create the world they tell people is inevitable. .......... war is a force that gives us meaning. .......... the Nazis, actually — she talks about them in the 1930s, artificially creating civil war conditions. In other words, they sought to increase the feeling of violence so that people would feel more safe inside their movement than outside it, but also to create exactly what you said, which is this life or death stakes. .......... He needs to create the sense that an outsider is threatening Russia in order to justify his rule, so he’s somebody who is profoundly corrupt, and is known to be corrupt, and who runs a very unfair and unequal society, and one that has actually been getting poorer in recent years, which he also knows. .......... He sought to create an enemy, and the enemy is a combination of Europe, which is degenerate and threatening our values, and America, which is violent and is prepared to attack us. And then Ukraine, which is a kind of proxy for both of those things — you know, Ukraine, he describes Ukraine as a fake state, and we need to attack this state, because Ukraine is the symbol of this degeneracy and this violence that are coming from outside. ........... He’s trying to create a rally around the flag sentiment and a feeling of unity in the face of this war. ......... He has created something much closer to the world he has told Russians they are living in, and the world he has told them he is the only answer to. ..........
Putin has not told the Russians yet that they’re at war. ............ The Soviet Union had this very consistent and actually inspiring narrative, one that was much more inspiring than what Putin offers people, about international brotherhood and peace, and so on. And of course, it was hypocritical. And of course, it wasn’t true. And for a lot of people who lived inside that system, it still had a deep appeal. .......... communism essentially fell because the narrative no longer worked. .......... when the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union could have invaded and protected East Berlin. And they talked about doing that, but nobody had the conviction anymore that would work, or that it was a good idea. I mean, it’s as if the idea failed, and from the failure of the idea, all these other consequences followed. ............... reality can contradict a propaganda narrative ......... she underestimated the creativity of Western societies, of Western democracies, and American democracy.......... Western economies and societies simply became so much more sophisticated than totalitarian dictatorships, and they became able to solve problems that the dictatorships themselves barely could even know existed .............. social media, as we discussed at the beginning of this conversation, has created new divisions between people that are much harder to surmount .......... people don’t disagree anymore just about their opinions, but they disagree about what happened yesterday. And we can’t agree on our problem. And if we can’t define the problem, then we can’t solve it. ........ this is the problem that the Soviet Union had. I mean, there was so much lying and so much dishonesty that they couldn’t analyze what was wrong with their society. ......... something that was tried in other post-civil war, post-conflict zones, where they try to get people to talk about practical solutions that don’t have existential answers. ......... Americans, especially in the area of national politics, are so caught up in the culture wars ......... a time when people aren’t even focused on the outer world? They’re just focused on online, or theoretical conflicts between narratives. ........... people are caught up in online conflicts that they care more about. ......... Cuba was a slave state past the time when America was, and so it became a place that was where former secessionist Jefferson Davis went on holiday.
‘Elon Musk’s Crash Course’ “I have lots of ideas, more ideas than I can act upon” ....... “I tend to bite off more than I can chew and then just sit there with chipmunk cheeks.” ......... “Elon Musk had a very specific way of motivating people,” JT Stukes, a former Tesla project engineer, said. “He would say really cool things, science fiction things, and he would make you believe that you could do it.” ......... he has spoken publicly of a future in which a driver gets in a car, falls asleep and wakes up at their destination. ......... a disconnect between the vision being espoused by the chief executive and the technological reality