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February 21 2014


January 30 2014


The Next Trade Frontier

President Obama is pushing for two big new trade deals – in the Pacific, with Europe. Democrats are resisting. We’ll dig in.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, speaks with his country's Trade Representative Michael Froman, as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, second left, speaks with his Trade Minister Tim Groser, left, at the Trans-Pacific Partnership meet in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Leaders of the dozen countries involved in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership met in Bali after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to work on plans for a free trade area they hope will eventually encompass the entire region. (AP)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, speaks with his country’s Trade Representative Michael Froman, as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, second left, speaks with his Trade Minister Tim Groser, left, at the Trans-Pacific Partnership meet in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Leaders of the dozen countries involved in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership met in Bali after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to work on plans for a free trade area they hope will eventually encompass the entire region. (AP)


William Mauldin, international economics and trade correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. (@willmauldin)

Jim Kolbe, senior transatlantic fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Former 11-term Congressman (R-Arizona). Strategic consultant to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research. (@markweisbrot)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: NAFTA: 20 years of regret for Mexico — “Our neglected infrastructure aside, it is easy to see that NAFTA was a bad deal for most Americans. The promised trade surpluses with Mexico turned out to be deficits, some hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, and there was downward pressure on US wages – which was, after all, the purpose of the agreement. This was not like the European Union’s (pre-Eurozone) economic integration, which allocated hundreds of billions of dollars of development aid to the poorer countries of Europe so as to pull their living standards up toward the average. ”

Washington Post: In Davos, nations vow to extend global trade deal — “WTO Director-General Robert Azevedo said negotiating process must be transparent and inclusive, so every member can have a voice and participate, but that ‘the do-ability test is very important” in working toward an expanded free-trade deal that balances “ambition and realism.’ The Bali deal could boost global trade by $1 trillion over time, and its centerpiece was an agreement on measures to ease barriers to trade by simplifying customs procedures and making them more transparent.”

Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Unveil ‘Fast Track’ Bill for Trade Agreements — “Under the fast-track procedure, known formally as ‘trade promotion authority,’ Congress agrees to approve trade deals with an up-or-down vote, without amending them or slowing them down with procedural tactics. But the measure is shaping up as a hard sell on Capitol Hill, and even groups that support it say they don’t expect it to advance without a fight. Labor groups and some environmental organizations oppose it, and a number of Democrats are unhappy that the currency language is nonbinding, meaning negotiators will press countries to comply but can fall short of the goal.”

January 24 2014


Can culture trump the sound of Kalashnikovs in Marseille? | Public Radio International

Marseille was Europe's Capital of Culture in 2013, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the European Union to boost the arts. Officials there say visits to museums doubled over the course of the year, though it seems many French are still afraid to go there. http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-23/can-culture-trump-sound-kalashnikovs-marseille

January 07 2014


Europe, the USA and Identity Ecosystems

Talk introducing NSTIC and COM 238, i.e. the current digital identity policy proposals in the USA and European discussing their similarities, differences and possible conflicts. In the past two years both the US Government as well as the European Commission have declared their intend to create “Identity Ecosystems” and are actively pursuing the creation of regulatory and technical frameworks for digital authentication of their citizens. Both the USA and the European Union expect the implementation of state-recognized digital identities in the coming three to five years. The American initiative is called “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), its European counterpart “electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market“ (COM(2012) 238). Given the scope of these programs, the number of people affected and the fact that identity technologies necessarily have to negotiate conflicting values of individual liberty and social control, it is reasonable to expect that the developments around NSTIC and COM (2012) 238 will become dominant in the debate on the future of the Internet. In my talk I will introduce the basics of the White Houses NSTIC initiative and the European Unions COM(2012) 238, explaining the common traits as well as the conflicting aspects of the electronic identity programs of two of the worlds largest and most influential state entities. I will outline how both programs share the assumption that providing “secure” and “trusted” identities is essential for the future development of the Internet, is necessary to fully realize citizenship status on the Net as well as to foster further economic growth. I will also scrutinize the importance and function of the term “transaction” that is prominent in both NSTIC and COM (2012) 238. Subsequently I will show that NSTIC and COM (2012) 238 differ fundamentally in their view on the role of the state, of the private sector and of civil society in providing and controlling the standards, protocols and infrastructures of digital identities. Here I will outline how the NSTIC employs a neoliberal market rhetoric, declaring that “the Identity Ecosystem should be market- driven“ while the European Union follows an etaistic vision of governmental identity provision. In this context I will show the importance of the different approaches between Europe and the USA concerning the relation of existing offline and online identity solutions. The goal of the talk is to raise awareness to the importance of these programs, to enable an understanding of the paradoxes of digital identity provision and its function in both enabling and sustaining statehood and capitalism. The talk will close with a statement locating the differences between the European and the United States approach in the larger conflict on the question of means and legitimacy of intervening and regulating capitalism. Duration 40 mins + 20 min discussion, presentation style will be slides and accompanying talk, discussion afterwards. http://events.ccc.de/congress/2013/Fahrplan/events/5483.html Day: 2013-12-29 Start time: 11:30 Duration: 01:00 Room: Saal 2 Track: Ethics, Society & Politics Language: en

December 04 2013


Ukraine Splits Over East-West Economic Rivalry

The battle over Ukraine. The reach of the West. Russia’s sphere of influence. Ukrainians in the streets.


Sergei Loiko, Moscow correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, covering the protests in Kiev.

Serhii Plokhii, professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University. Author of “Ukraine And Russia; Representations of the Past” and “The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

Gwendolyn Sasse, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Oxford. Author of “The Crimea Question: Identity, Transition And Conflict,” “Europeanization and Reorganization in the EU’s Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe: The Myth of Conditionality” and “Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union: Regions in Conflict.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Ukrainian opposition fails to pass no-confidence vote in parliament — “After several days of of mass protests over President Viktor Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the trade and association agreement with Europe, the opposition leaders counted on support from communist lawmakers and defectors from the ruling Party of Regions faction to pass the measure. A vote of no confidence was seen as a first step in bringing down the government.”

Reuters: Ukraine government survives in parliament while rage boils outside — “The government’s November 21 decision to reject a deal on closer trade ties and integration with the EU has laid bare once more a split in world view between Ukraine’s Russian-speaking East and Ukrainian-speaking West.Protesters see the rejection of the EU trade deal as a fundamental shift in the future outlook of their country, away from the European mainstream and back into the orbit of their former Soviet masters in Moscow.”

The Economist: Battle for Ukraine – “Ukraine is not Belarus. It has a vibrant middle class, television is controlled by oligarchs (many of whom are extremely angry with Mr Yanukovych) and, most importantly, a diverse population. Although Mr Yanukovych, whose popularity rating is less than 20%, is still backed by his native Russian-speaking industrial region of Donetsk, he has never had much legitimacy in the Ukrainian-speaking west of the country. His latest actions could lead to a split in the country, with its western part and Kiev simply refusing to recognise the government’s authority.”

January 10 2012


Audio: The European Union Summit: Boon or Bust? - Foreign and Defense Policy - AEI

March 24 2011


Artworks Feature: The Art of Being Europe Pt.2 – The Economy of Culture - RN Artworks - 13 March 2011

In Europe, creative and cultural industries generate 2.6% of gross domestic product. That's more than the chemical industry and more than the real estate sector. But how does this figure help the arts during an economic downturn? The European Cultural Agenda is the source of funding for all sorts of programs. Within the EU, and even in countries like ours, EU policies have helped Australian artists, students, researchers, curators and radio program makers alike. It all points to a new emphasis on creativity. This week's episode of the The Art of Being Europe begins in Helsinki at the final rehearsal for the International Jean Sibelius violin competition. It is one of the top violin competitions in the world. Everyone is a little tense, particularly the competitors. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/artworks/stories/2011/3160349.htm

Artworks Feature: The Art of Being Europe Pt.1 – The Soul of Europe is Steeped in Blood - RN Artworks - 6 March 2011

What is the connection between art, politics, economics and the European soul? In answer to this question we take the long view, going back to the beginning of European Union, to what Victor Hugo calls its 'noble gestation.' http://www.abc.net.au/rn/artworks/stories/2011/3154169.htm
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