Basic Economics of Trade Agreements (Krugman)

The case for free trade is about microeconomics, about raising efficiency. There’s no particular reason to think that trade liberalization is good for fixing problems of inadequate demand. I mean, you learn in Econ 101 that aggregate spending is Y = C+I+G+X-M; that is, consumer spending, plus investment spending, plus government purchases, plus exports, minus imports. Trade liberalization raises X, but it also raises M. For any individual county it can go either way; for the world as a whole it’s a wash, since total exports equal total imports.

via Wrong To Be Right –

Cuba’s MIlitary Dictatorship–A Lost Reform

Even the Chavez model seems neoliberal compared to the CubanMilitary-Based Economy.  The Cuba’s will not find much solace in these so-called “reforms.”  Sad but true for those who might have had some hope that there would be changes–I guess not in our lifetime

Raúl Castro’s consolidation of his position as successor to his brother Fidel confirms that his Cuba will give the military domestic hegemony, which makes any serious political or economic opening in the near future seemingly impossible. The Cuban Communist Party’s recent Sixth Congress reflected this, offering little new and rehashing a lot of the old.

via Has Cuba Lost its Last Chance? by Carlos Perez Llana – Project Syndicate.

A Special Welcome to International Delegations: Miami Council for International Visitors (MCIV)

Coral Gables is privileged to be the home of the Miami Council for International Visitors (MCIV;  This premier local organization, which is a member of the National Council for International Visitor (NCIV), is host to delegations to the South Florida region from throughout the world, whose participants are here experiencing the culture, society, politics, economics and social dimensions of our great region and city.

These visitors’ activities are financed through the Department of State and NCIV, and the delegations are selected by our U.S. embassies in the world.  MCIV Miami is host to literally hundreds of visitors during the year and its “citizen diplomat” members of MCIV, host the visitors in their homes, offices and work places.

For those interested in becoming “citizen diplomats,” collaborating with MCIV and meeting these international visitors, you can contact Annette Alvarez, Executive Director MCIV, through their website at

Long-Term Economic Impact of Japan Disaster Is Likely Smaller Than Thought

This explains that the actual permanent impact of significant disasters have been relative less than thought and that is likely to be the case in Japan.

…while the fear is understandable, this may turn out to have been an overreaction: history suggests that, despite the terrifying destruction and the horrific human toll, the long-term impact of the quake on the Japanese economy could be surprisingly small.

via Japan and the Economics of Natural Disasters : The New Yorker.

Fast Facts about Radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors: Scientific American

Of interest to reference in these days of the nuclear accident in Japan.

Below are some facts and figures about the radiation hazard posed by the Fukushima breakdown and how it compares with other nuclear accidents in history. Many of the figures are measured in millisieverts, an international unit of radiation dosage. (One sievert is equal to 100 rems, which is a dosage unit of x-ray and gamma-ray radiation exposure; one millisievert is 0.1 rem.)

Radiation dose at the boundary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station on March 16: 1.9 millisieverts (mSv) per hour

Peak radiation dose measured inside Fukushima Daiichi on March 15: 400 mSv per hour

Maximum allowable exposure for U.S. radiation workers: 50 mSv per year

Average exposure of U.S. residents from natural and man-made radiation sources: 6.2 mSv per year

Estimated total exposure at the boundary of the Three Mile Island site in Pennsylvania during the 1979 accident there: one mSv or less

Average total radiation dose to the 114,500 individuals evacuated during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster: 31 mSv

Half-life of iodine 131, a dangerous radioactive isotope released in nuclear accidents: eight days

Half-life of cesium 137, another major radionuclide released in nuclear accidents: 30 years

Decay products of iodine 131 and cesium 137: both emit gamma rays and beta particles (electrons or positrons)

Amount of nuclear fuel in Chernobyl reactor No. 4 that exploded in 1986: 190 metric tons

Amount of nuclear fuel and fission by-products released into the atmosphere during Chernobyl disaster: 25 to 57 metric tons

Approximate amount of nuclear fuel in each crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor: 70 to 100 metric tons

via Fast Facts about Radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors: Scientific American.

How to Make Donations Directly to Japanese Red Cross Society via Google Crisis Center

I have found this way to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross via Google.

I personally find this is the most efficient and rapid way of helping out without paying the overhead of US  organizations.

The site is

Have You Even Heard of this Guy

Jonathan Ive has long been credited for being the principle designer for many of Apple’s iconic products. Ive joined Apple in 1992 and has been responsible for the design of the unibody MacBook Pro, iPod, iPhone and iPad. His name was even thrown around as a possible successor to Steve Jobs in 2007.

via Apple’s Jonathan Ive Considering Moving Back to England? – Mac Rumors.