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What We Read Today 16 July 2016

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).

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Topics today include:

  • Failed Coup in Turkey

  • Was a Muslim Cleric in Pennsylvania Responsible for the Coup Attempt?

  • How Popular is President Erdogan in Turkey?

  • U.S. Airbase in Turkey Closed

  • Investors Get Stung Twice by High Exec Comp

  • Ideas vs. Facts

  • Lump-of-Labor Fallacy

  • Don't Ask Noam Chomsky for Homework Help

  • The Future of the World - Youth Unemployment

  • Is Violence in America Going Up?

  • Is GOP Campaign Through 'Screwing Around' with Trump-Pence Logo?

  • Four Arrested in ISIS Claimed Attack in Nice

  • Honor Killings in Pakistan

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

  • Youth Unemployment (Twitter)  Hat tip to Frances Copolla.  Econintersect:  And just where does the future come from?

global.youth.unemployment

U.S.

  • Is Violence in America Going Up or Down? (The Atlantic)  Homicides in the U.S. are down more than 45% since the peak in 1991.  The graph shows Econintersect's guess along with the distributions of other guesses.  

violence.america.1986.2014

  • Erdogan Urges U.S. to Hand Over Cleric Blamed for Coup Attempt (Bloomberg)  Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called on the U.S. to extradite an Islamic cleric accused by Turkish authorities of being the ringleader behind an attempted military coup less than 24 hours earlier.  Turkey has long sought action against Fethullah Gulen, who’s been living in the U.S. for more than 15 years, Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in Istanbul. He addressed his American counterpart, Barack Obama, directly: “Dear Mr. President, I told you this before. Either deport Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen. I call on you again.” He said Turkey has been preparing a formal application with detailed information about Gulen’s illegal activities.  Gulen, who’s based in Pennsylvania, denied any connection with the coup.  For more on the attempted coup, see articles under 'Turkey'.

  • Bernie Sanders is right the economy is rigged. He’s dead wrong about why. (Vox)  Many Americans, from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to Charles Koch, think the  economy is rigged.  Only 29% think it is not rigged.  This author thinks the 29% are wrong.  The argument here is that the biggest rigging comes from a myriad of regulations and licensing requirements that present s high barrier to admission to many occupations.

  • Trump-Pence campaign unveils new logo (The Hill)  Previous logo was shown in Early Bird this morning.

trump.pence.logo.new

France

  • 4 Arrested Over Nice Attack as ISIS Claims Credit (The Daily Beast)  As France began a day of mourning Saturday for the 84 killed in a terrorist attack in Nice, four men were reportedly arrested over their ties to the suspect in the attack and ISIS apparently claimed responsibility. Al-Amaq, a pro-Islamic State media outlet, said the group was behind the attack on Twitter on Saturday. Meanwhile, in France, one man was arrested late Friday and another three Saturday morning, though their identities have not yet been released, French media reported. French President François Hollande called for three days of mourning following the attack, warning that 50 people injured in the attack are still fighting for their lives in the hospital.

Turkey

  • Who’s Really To Blame For Turkey’s Coup? (The Daily Beast)  The Turkish government said Saturday it had suppressed a coup by a military faction and arrested thousands of soldiers after a chaotic night that saw armed attacks on the national parliament and an apparent assassination attempt against President Recip Tayyip Erdogan.

  • Turkish PM: Any country that stands by cleric Gulen will be at war with Turkey (Reuters)  Any country that stands by the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen will not be a friend of Turkey and will be considered at war with the NATO member, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.  The government said that followers of Gulen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for years, were behind the attempted coup by a faction of the military on Friday.  The government accuses Gulen of trying to build a "parallel structure" within the judiciary, education system, media and military as a way to overthrow the state, a charge the cleric denies.

  • Key U.S. Base in Turkey Shut Down (The Daily Beast)  A key U.S. military base in Turkey halted its air operations on Saturday immediately following the coup attempt in the country, the Pentagon said. The move came after the Turkish government closed its airspace to military aircraft, thereby putting the base—which is key to the U.S.-led coalition campaign against ISIS—at a standstill. “In the meantime, U.S. Central Command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said. The base also experienced a loss of commercial power, Cook said, but that is not affecting overall base operations because internal power sources kicked in.

  • Who is Fethullah Gulen, the man blamed for coup attempt in Turkey? (CNN)  Was a plan to overthrow Turkey's government really hatched behind a gated compound in a small, leafy Pennsylvania town, or is that merely a smoke screen?  In the throes of a military coup attempt, Turkey's embattled president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pointed the finger of blame squarely at his bitter rival: Fethullah Gulen.  At the center of this rivalry, a fundamental division in Turkish society between secularists -- some within the country's top military brass -- and Islamists, including Erdogan's AKP party.  Gullen is a muslim cleric who believes in secular government (limited role for church in the state).  Here is some of the CNN summary:

The 75-year old imam went into self-imposed exile when he moved from Turkey to the United States in 1999 and settled in Saylorsburg, Pennsyvlania.

He rarely speaks to journalists and has turned down interview requests from CNN for more than four years.

Supporters describe Gulen as a moderate Muslim cleric who champions interfaith dialogue. Promotional videosshow him meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in the 1990s. He also met frequently with rabbis and Christian priests in Turkey.

Gulen has a loyal following -- known as Gulenists -- in Turkey, who all subscribe to the Hizmet movement.

Hizmet is a global initiative inspired by Gulen, who espouses what The New York Times has described as "a moderate, pro-Western brand of Sunni Islam that appeals to many well-educated and professional Turks." NGOs founded by the Hizmet movement, including hundreds of secular co-ed schools, free tutoring centers, hospitals and relief agencies, are credited with addressing many of Turkey's social problems.

The preacher and his movement also spawned a global network of schools and universities that operate in more than 100 countries.

In the United States, this academic empire includes Harmony Public Schools, the largest charter school network in Texas.

Within Turkey, volunteers in the Gulen movement also own TV stations, the largest-circulation newspaper, gold mines and at least one Turkish bank.

  • Coup Plotters ‘Request Asylum’ in Greece (The Daily Beast)  Greek police say a Turkish military helicopter has landed in the country with eight of last night’s coup plotters on board. Seven of those on the helicopter were wearing military uniforms, and all eight of them have reportedly requested asylum from Greek authorities after last night’s failed coup attempt. The group included three majors, three captains, and two sergeant majors. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has asked Greek authorities to send back the “eight traitors”. The group's arrival in Greece comes as thousands of other military personnel have been arrested in connection with the failed coup. Turkey’s prime minister has hinted that the constitution could be amended to allow for the death penalty after last night’s events, according to Al Arabiya

  • Turkey’s Continental Divide (Bloomberg)  As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has progressively extended his power over the Turkish government during his term as prime minister (2003-2014) and then as president (2014 to date) his approval ratings have trended lower, remaining below 50% since just before the 2014 election.

Turkey straddles Europe and Asia with a political identity that’s likewise divided. The father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dreamed of achieving the “highest level of civilization” as a western-looking secular state. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instead emphasized Turkey’s historical role as an Islamic-world power since his party was first elected in 2002. That’s the backdrop for Turkey’s current political dramas, including a failed coup July 15 by army officers who said Erdogan was undermining democracy. Over the last three years, Erdogan had been tightening his grip on power, stifling debate while fighting accusations of corruption. That has polarized the nation and rattled investors, sending the currency to record lows. It also dimmed chances that Turkey — with 77 million people, almost all Muslims — could find a model that reconciled democratic secular government with Islam and join the European Union.

Click to read complete thread.
erdogan.isil.ties
 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan had it coming. The Turkish army was never going to remain compliant while the man who would recreate the Ottoman Empire turned his neighbours into enemies and his country into a mockery of itself. But it would be a grave mistake to assume two things: that the putting down of a military coup is a momentary matter after which the Turkish army will remain obedient to its sultan; and to regard at least 161 deaths and more than 2,839 detained in isolation from the collapse of the nation-states of the Middle East.

For the weekend’s events in Istanbul and Ankara are intimately related to the breakdown of frontiers and state-belief – the assumption that Middle East nations have permanent institutions and borders – that has inflicted such wounds across Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world. Instability is now as contagious as corruption in the region, especially among its potentates and dictators, a class of autocrat of which Erdogan has been a member ever since he changed the constitution for his own benefit and restarted his wicked conflict with the Kurds.

Pakistan

  • Pakistani Model Killed After Ramadan Joke (The Daily Beast)  A Pakistani fashion model has been strangled to death by her brother after posting a photo with a Muslim cleric and joking about Ramadan online. Qandeel Baloch, real name Fauzia Azeem, was killed in her sleep by one of her six brothers, police said Saturday. She had recently posted a photograph with Mufti Qavi, a well-known cleric, saying the two of them had smoked cigarettes and downed soft drinks together during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are meant to be fasting. The joke triggered outrage among conservatives and a scandal as Qavi faced major backlash. Baloch has suffered the same fate as hundreds of other Pakistani women each year, as honor killings continue unabated.  For other news of oppression see Pakistani Woman Burns Daughter Alive for Eloping.  Honor killings are depressingly common in Pakistan, with more than 1,000 last year alone. 

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

German sociologist Jens Beckert tackles this problem head-on, making imagination the focus of an extended meditation on the role of the unpredictable future in creating modern capitalism. His new book, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics, makes a thorough, exhaustively documented argument in support of what many have suspected about capitalism: It's a castle in the air, built on fantasy shading into fraud. He makes a compelling case that no corner of the market is untouched by the process of generating imagined futures. The novelty of his work lies in offering a way to understand that process as a social system in which everyone, from individuals to institutions, is implicated.

Among the most daring and distinctive aspects of this book is Beckert's argument that literary theory can be used to analyze phenomena that economics has been unable to explain or predict. In essence, Beckert asserts that if readers are willing to accept that fiction plays a large role in capitalism, then they need to follow that insight to its logical conclusion by applying to markets the analytical tools developed for studying works of literature. While this may come as a shock to readers more accustomed to the dominance of economic theory in analyzing markets, it is an opportune moment to reconsider those orthodoxies, for two reasons. First, memory of the abject failure of economic models in the 2008 global financial crisis is still fresh. Second, post-mortems in the form of popular films like The Big Short and Inside Job keep cropping up as vivid reminders of just how much fiction was pumped into the markets and the media before the crash. Beckert's book, while far more scholarly and conceptual in approach, complements those popular works by offering a big picture view of the social processes that make such catastrophes happen.

  • Investors Get Stung Twice by Executives’ Lavish Pay Packages (The New York Times)  There are two kinds of costs high executive compensation packages  impose on shareholders.  Stock grants are a substantial piece of the pay puzzle: Last year, they accounted for $8.7 million of the $20 million median C.E.O. package, according to Equilar, a compensation analysis firm in Redwood City, Calif.  Cost No. 1 is the dilution for existing shareholders that results from these grants. As a company issues shares, it reduces the value of existing stockholders’ stakes.  A second cost to consider, Mr. Winters said, is the money companies pay to repurchase their shares in trying to offset that dilutive effect on other stockholders’ stakes.

  • How Economic Ideas Change the World: Keynes, Hayek, Friedman, Reagan…And You (Evonomics)  Why belief trumps logic is the topic discussed.  If you doubt that is correct, how often have you successfully argued with a "believer" by using logic that counters his belief?  From this essay:

“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change.” So opens Leon Festinger’s account of these events in 'When Prophecy Fails', first published in 1956 and a seminal text in social psychology to this day. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away,” Festinger continues. “Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.”

I read with interest your column, Jennifer, which led me to your chapter, John, inBlueprint for America on trade and immigration. I have studied the history of the lump-of-labor fallacy claim for nearly 20 years and have have published several articles dealing with that history. I have to wonder if there is any other assertion that has endured for so long, produced so little evidence, ignored all refutation and enjoyed so much authoritative consensus as the lump-of-labor fallacy claim.  

Let me repeat, so as not to be misunderstood: I am talking about the bogus fallacy claimand not the fallacy itself. The claim consists of two parts, one of which is self-evidently true and the other of which is not proven. The self-evident part is that there is not a fixed amount of work to be done. The unproven part is that belief to the contrary -- that there is only so much work to be done -- is the driving force or the "idea behind" opposition to some policies and support for others.

Not proven is an understatement. In my research of 236 years of the fallacy claim, I have come across very few examples of claimants offering any evidence whatsoever for the existence of the belief. In a virtuoso display of circular reasoning, support for or opposition to particular policies is offered as prima facie evidence for the fallacious belief, which is then posited as the motive for support or opposition to those particular policies.

The claim has been refuted definitively by several economists, including A. C. Pigou and Maurice Dobb, but claimants have never addressed or even acknowledged those counter-arguments.

“I get a ton of correspondence, mostly email.  I’ll often get questions from high school students saying, ‘I have to write a paper Thursday on the French Revolution,’ or whatever it may be. I tell them, ‘Well here’s somebody you could look up. And the next question routinely comes back, ‘How can I find it on the internet.’ And sometimes these come from prep schools - places with good libraries, educated students privileged students, I say, ‘Well walk across the street to the school library and look it up.'"

 


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