87 Comments
Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

India 🤘🏼

Biden 🤘🏼

Renewables & EVs 🤘🏼

Functioning Govt 👍🏼

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

Um, the BJP is not going to do better this time than previously.

They have 293 seats in the Lok Sabha as of now (total of 543 seats). Their alliance, the NDA, holds 342. That is a huge majority.

As of 2:30 PM India time on June 4th The BJP leads in 239 seats, (with one victory already declared) and the NDA as a whole leads in 288.

This is a loss of support.

The Opposition, INDIA,currently leads in 201 seats, (up from 167), and Congress, the largest party in the opposition, leads in 99 seats (up from 51).

Also, why are you sending a link to a subscription article? Why not a link to the election coverage in an Indian newspaper? Would you cover an American election by putting a link to Der Spiegel?

This is the election tracker from "The Hindu." https://www.thehindu.com/elections/results/

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

It's not the final tally, though! But yes, it's not as decisivie as exit polls suggested which, famously, suck

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Another excellent selection.

On interest rates, I think we're all anchored to the unprecedented period in our lifetimes of low rates from 2008 until 2022. The best guess for average interest rates for the next thirty years is 4.55%, which is the latest rate on thirty year treasuries. That should be the starting point for any conversation about interest rates.

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Over the long term, I think Paul Schmelzing's research[1] is pretty strong evidence that we're headed toward a very low interest rate world. That isn't to say you are wrong about what happens over the next 30 years. The famous chart of interest rate predictions[2] shows that everyone is basically always wrong about future interest rates, always assuming some kind of return to "normal" even though it is clear nobody has any idea what the future normal is going to be.

Which is just a long-winded way for me to say that there's plenty of strong evidence that interest rates 5 years from now could be anywhere from 0% to 5% and anyone making predictions without a really big confidence interval like that is just hoping & wishing rather than making a meaningful forecast.

[1]: reported on here, among other places https://www.nber.org/digest/202212/real-interest-rate-decline-long-historical-perspective

[2]: One of many variations on the theme you can find https://southstatecorrespondent.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Historical-Rates.jpg

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

I'm on the same page as a liberal turned realist over the years but Modi's alliance in a majority in early India vote count, but opposition also gains | https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indias-modi-eyes-biggest-win-yet-when-votes-counted-giant-election-2024-06-03/

Democracy is in action and it's great news in sociopolitical terms (assuming early counting holds up)!

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author

Updated!

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The non-profit network in cities like Portland has become a "woke Tammany Hall," good at creating jobs for partisans with government funding but more interested in self-justifying their causes than achieving their purposes.

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

So, time to invest in long term bonds?

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

Non-profits really are the worst of both worlds.

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Biden doing the same thing as Trump on border security after 3+ years of irresponsible policies shows the Trump Derangement Syndrome on the Democratic side. Hating Trump doesn’t mean that you have to adopt policies that are the exact opposite of his policies. In order to neutralize Trump it is very important to understand why he is popular among independents and partially adopt some of his policies. Quite honestly, if Democrats are unwilling to change the asylum law, they don’t deserve to be in charge.

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Good list today

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Just when I'm about to volunteer with a nonprofit, you tell me they are bad.

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What price is worth India's slow lurch out of poverty? Modi has sanctioned and encouraged outright racism against a huge a Muslin population. This isn't to say someone other than Modi, someonexwho wasn't a racist, couldn't have enacted the same economic policies. But it might. And as far as getting the women off the farm and in front of the machine goes, yeah that's the prescription to having more money. But have you ever heard anyone wax rhapsodic about the joy of factory work?

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author

It's not really a slow lurch. Even very fast growth takes many decades to make a country rich.

https://www.brookings.edu/articles/india-eliminates-extreme-poverty/

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>This isn't to say someone other than Modi, someonexwho wasn't a racist, couldn't have enacted the same economic policies. But it might.

It made me wonder and I somehow stumbled upon the World Socialist Website which, despite its obviously biased mumbo jumbo, points out the two main parties are not that dissimilar in terms of economic policy making | https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2024/05/29/onae-m29.html

Still, the opposition is made up of way too many parties and would have never agreed to much and they want to continue to subsidise the agricultural sector and retard urbanisation/industrialisation.

What price is worth India's slow lurch out of poverty? Consider the opposite: Mired in poverty due to a collectivist ethos, an India that would stay poor for longer would have greater communal strife and be in no position to have much of a say in international affairs allowing China and Russia to run ramshod over Asian and Central Asian countries.

A narrow majority for the BJP is the best outcome possible. Not only does it signal to the BJP that they need to change tack swiftly as Modi won't be around forever, it also ensures a degree of policy continuity assuring foreign investors and foreign companies that any attempts to diversify their supply chains by opening factories in India will be supported over the medium to long term. Reducing import tariffs and promoting women in the labour force is not something the BJP can do but it will continue to promote manufacturing, reform labour laws and, perhaps, even establish more SOEs the way China once did (happily supported by Western capital and companies).

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That's for the Indian voters to decide, not you or me or Noah. Based on what happened in 2020 and beyond, I would consider India to be a much more functioning democracy than US right now.

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> But have you ever heard anyone wax rhapsodic about the joy of factory work?

I actually live in a developing country with a massive farm to factory movement. My brother in law has worked at a nearby Nike factory (well, really a South Korean factory under contract to Nike) for a decade.

And, yes, I have heard people wax about their $400/month job at a Samsung factory.

By contrast, I've never heard a farmer here wax rhapsodic; they all leave for factory jobs the second they can. That seems to be reserved for millionaire farmers in the West who have massive amounts of government support.

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I'm embarrassed to have imagined otherwise. I had some vague memories of Orwell and 19th century American literature floating through my head when I wrote that. Even if it's the the only one I have, It's a ridiculous perspective to think one can offer judgement.

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I don't think there's anything to be agnostic about with regard to Modi, even if I agree with your reasons for rooting for economic growth in India and for the shifting geopolitical role of India internationally. Not only has he unquestionably moved India in an illiberal and anti-democratic direction (most visibly through his heavy handed censorship of criticism, the most typical first move in the direction of competitive authoritarianism) he has governed entirely on a Hindu-Nationalist basis and not been shy about the use of force to suppress minorities. Never mind his role in the Gujarat riots when he was chief minister there. Modi is unambiguously awful, it is *India* as a geopolitical partner that is ambiguous. It's certainly true that on his worse day Modi isn't Xi, but Modi also doesn't have the CCP and the Chinese political system to work with. Let's not also forget the escalating use of assassination attempts on foreign soil, on specifically the soil of the countries that are supposed to become more closely aligned with him. Modi is bad news.

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Jun 4Liked by Noah Smith

I'm with Noah on this. Surely the great gains against poverty in India is a good thing and something to set against fears of an illiberal and anti-democratic direction. I would note that a first step can also be seen as a last step. This election with Modi's surprise loss of a party majority may well help contain illiberal moves. BTW, if Modi opens the Indian economy to more foreign trade and foreign presence inside India is that liberal or illiberal?

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The move of opening up to trade is a liberal move. Modi is a pretty overwhelmingly illiberal character. And India was already getting wealthier before he came along, so I'm not sure why we're laying great gains against poverty in India at his feet specifically.

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Yes, trade is a liberal move. Are you saying Modi won't pursue it because he's illiberal? Modi has been PM for 10 years now. Making the claim that India 'was already getting richer' seems a bit wispy.

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No I'm saying illiberal figures can make specifically liberal moves. And India has been getting richer, as a long term trend, sorry if that is a "wispy" observation. You'll also forgive me if I'm not one of those people who thinks that the ends justifies the means, e.g., more economic development makes it OK to engage in ramping up the temperature of ethnic conflicts

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It is wispy if you choose to give Modi no credit for it. It seems to me that economies and democracies are inclined toward utilitarian methods. I was under the impression that Modi had gone some distance toward ameliorating the curse of the caste system, which may not be an ethnic conflict by your standards but fits the outlines of one.

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reducing caste tension by killing Muslims is a time honored tradition in India and one I will not give anyone "credit" for.

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I know this is not the area of focus for Noah’s writing - but man, what a deeply unsatisfying and stomach turning hand-waving towards Modi’s unsavory Hindu nationalist politics. Plenty of words devoted to his economic policies, but then just a vague phrase about the “bad stuff”. At least some mention of the undermining of the secular state and violence towards Muslims would have gone a long way.

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A side point but I think kind of important; in his section on the asylum executive order Noah slips into an all too common linguistic trope of too many news organizations. Namely, he speculates as the reasons why GOP would scupper a reform to US asylum law.

This is an especially weird thing to do since earlier in the same section Noah notes that GOP blocked a previous Biden led effort to reform the asylum process at the behest of Trump who very explicitly wanted this an active issue for the campaign. Like there is a very clear answer as to why GOP is not actively trying to solve an issue right now they supposedly care so much about. This would be the equivalent of a sports writer asking “why are the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics practicing so much right now? Is it because game 1 is on Thursday or is it something else?” Like no, that would be an absurd way to frame a story. So why is Noah spinning this hypothetical when there is an actual definitive answer?

Again, seems like a small thing but I think these journalist short cuts are important to point out because I think it’s more important that we realize in shaping news coverage. It’s especially irksome when it’s Trump because he’s famous for saying that quiet part out loud. But it’s hardly just him and it’s hardly just people on the right that journalists do this sort of thing with.

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author

Look, I don't know why the GOP isn't trying to reform asylum law. I can only speculate.

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The way around the border dilemma (I hope Biden succeeds even though it NOT the best way) is to have sent lots of asylum claims hearing officer to the border as part of ARA to dispatch the clams expeditiously and deport those w/o a valid claim

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author

That is logistically impossible.

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I just want to point out that "violence interrupters who are convicted felons" in many cases are reformed criminals who have credibility with the young men they're trying to prevent from becoming career criminals.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentary/interrupters/

Maybe there should be clearer lines of accountability and control for folks like this, to elected officials who are charged with reducing crime / maintaining public order, but this is a strategy that has shown some promising results, and part of making it work _is_ keeping the interrupters at a bit of arm's length from the police, who are _not_ trusted by the people the interrupters can reach.

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