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Posts Tagged ‘Free Trade’

Via Mark Thoma, I learn that the “Perimeter Institute conference on economics is being organized in an effort to better evaluate the state of economics as a predictive and descriptive science in light of the current market crisis.”

A couple abstracts stick out in particular:

A Science Less Dismal: Welcome to the Economic Manhattan Project (pdf)
Speaker(s): Eric Weinstein
Abstract: An unexpected economic crisis provides an excellent opportunity to better understand the state of Economic theory as a science. While there appears to have been a broad systemic failure within the community of professional economists to predict the current collapse, it must be noted that there have been scattered successes which appear striking and demand our attention. The goal of this conference is to bring together economists, biologists, mathematicians, physicists, programmers, and financial professionals to explore the opportunities for bringing economic theory into closer contact with the more traditional sciences as the basis for ongoing work, partnership, and collaboration.
And then this one:
Scientists, Scienster, Anti-Scientists & Economists (pdf)
Speaker(s): Emanuel Derman
Abstract: The syntax of economic theory closely resembles the syntax of physics. But physics deals with what seems to be the objective world. In contrast, the essence of economics is subjectivity and moral choice. What can you reasonably expect from treating economics as a branch of science? This talk compares the nature and efficacy of models in both physics and finance, and tries to reach a sane answer to the question above. (more…)

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Free Trade Under Fire

From the NYTimes

After repeated pledges by world leaders to avoid erecting trade barriers, protectionism is on the march, provoking nasty trade disputes and undermining efforts to plot a coordinated response to the deepest global economic downturn since World War II.

From a looming battle with China over tariffs on carbon-intensive goods to a spat over Mexican trucks using American roads, barriers are going up around the world. As the recession’s grip tightens, these pressures are likely to intensify, several experts said.

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Not what you think

Once you put down the flags and shut off all the television ads with their Heartland, apple-pie America imagery, the truth of the car business is that it transcends national boundaries. A car or truck sold by a “Detroit” auto maker such as GM, Ford or Chrysler could be less American — as defined by the government’s standards for “domestic content” — than a car sold by Toyota, Honda or Nissan — all of which have substantial assembly and components operations in the U.S.

[…]

as of 2006 about 25% of the parts used in vehicles assembled in the U.S. came from overseas, and another 25% were manufactured here by foreign-owned parts makers. The Detroit companies wave the Stars and Stripes when they advertise their wares or look for loans in Washington, but when they talk to investors or the business press, they stress their aggressive efforts to promote “global sourcing,” a code for, “Buy More Parts from China and Mexico.”

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South Korean parliament members are fighting over a proposed free trade pact with the United States.  Members of the party opposing the deal were locked out of a discussion meeting today, leading to physical clashes and “at least one person bleeding from the face.”

The parliamentary battle over a contentious free trade deal in South Korea led to a confrontation on Thursday in which opposition lawmakers used a sledgehammer to knock down the doors of a blockaded room in which a committee was discussing the agreement.

What’s at stake?

The members of the opposition Democratic Party were trying to stop the trade agreement with the United States from advancing to the floor of parliament for a final vote. The governing party has been seeking to ratify the trade pact by year’s end, saying it would improve South Korea’s competitiveness and ties with the United States. Opponents say it will hurt South Korean farmers.

Across the pond…

The pact faces stiff opposition in United States Congress, where many fear it could disadvantage struggling American automakers.

UPDATE: More coverage and a video.

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