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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 17, 2009 / 23 Shevat 5769

Witless protection

By Anne Applebaum

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some think the New Deal rescued the United States from economic crisis in the 1930s. Others argue precisely the opposite. But whatever their ideology and whatever their credentials, most of the pundits, historians, and economists who debate the Great Depression agree about one thing: Whatever may have caused the crisis, protectionism, trade barriers, and, yes, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act helped ensure that it lasted as long as it did. So uncontroversial is this view that it is virtually U.S. government policy. "To this day," intones a State Department Web site, "the phrase 'Smoot-Hawley' remains a watchword for the perils of protectionism."


With equal solemnity, government officials everywhere are now echoing that sentiment. Last weekend, the finance ministers of the G-7 once again swore fealty to the official anti-tariff mantra, announcing that they remain "committed to avoiding protectionist measures, which would only exacerbate the downturn." U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner agreed: "All countries need to sustain a commitment to open trade and investment policies which are essential to economic growth." So did his German colleague: "We will have to do everything to ensure history does not repeat itself."


This is all very well — except that there are many ways to pursue protectionist policies, and rest assured that someone, somewhere, is right now trying every single one of them. New tariffs are already in force, for example, in Russia, where especially high ones have destroyed the previously thriving used-car import business (and thus inspired used-car salesmen to stage a series of unusually violent protests). Rumors of more tariffs pending — in Brazil, in the Philippines — are haunting the steel industry trade press. Still, these are minor infractions. The real story, over the next several years, will be the spread of more carefully camouflaged protectionism — measures, some legal and some not, deliberately designed to help one nation's workers or companies at the expense of those next-door.


These kinds of games are already being played stealthily in Europe, where, despite the pious recitations of G-7 finance ministers — and despite the free-trade rules that are supposed to be enforced by the European Union — almost everyone is seeking to protect domestic industry as fast as they can. The French have not only thrown heavy subsidies at their automobile industry, they have made it crystal clear that the money is to be spent in France. "If we are to give financial assistance to the auto industry, we don't want to see another factory being moved to the Czech Republic," declared French President Nicolas Sarkozy, failing to note that the Czechs and the French theoretically share the same free-trade zone with open borders. Meanwhile, the Slovaks, who live in the same free-trade zone, have declared that if the French try anything funny in Slovakia, they're going to "send Gaz de France packing."


The Germans, whose economy depends heavily on exports, often object to all this — but they are quietly playing a subtler game, offering special loans to German companies, for example, through German banks that the German government now partly owns. The Spanish have also joined in, with subsidies for Spanish companies, as have the Swedes. Both, like the United States, started with the automobile industry — but if cars, then why not other industries, too? Some British banks, meanwhile, have quietly told their employees not to invest abroad.


Whatever the finance ministers might say, all these measures are, of course, extremely popular, and political parties of all stripes have capitalized on them wherever possible. The U.S. Congress put its nonsensical "Buy American as long as no trade laws are broken" clause into the stimulus bill, thus guaranteeing that every infrastructure investment be accompanied by a flood of extra paperwork. A Spanish minister has called on his nation to "Buy Spanish." In England, the most popular strikers' slogan is now "British jobs for British workers." Expect more than one political leader, on more than one continent, to rise to power in the next few years riding a wave of protectionist sentiment.


But this should surprise no one. After all, Smoot-Hawley was popular. At the time of its passage, more than 1,000 economists of all ideologies signed a petition against it. Since then, historians have reckoned it reinforced the global slump: Between 1929 and 1934, world trade declined by 66 percent. Still, the politicians of the 1930s knew which way the popular winds were blowing — and those of the present know, too. There is no need to hold any further G-7 meetings to warn against the perils of a protectionist world: We're living in one already.

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APPLEBAUM'S LATEST
Gulag: A History  

Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. JWR's Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on JWR contributor Anne Applebaum's column by clicking here.


Previously:

02/10/09: Our Ticket Out of Afghanistan
01/27/09:Why some foreigners can't believe Obama won the presidency fair and square
01/20/09: A Flight Test for All of Us
01/14/09: Europe's New Cold War
01/07/09: Pointless Peace Proposals
12/30/08: The magnificent rhetorical legacy of the Founding Fathers
12/23/08: Do riots in Athens portend demonstrations in Paris and Cincinnati?
12/16/08: Breach of Trust: Bernard Madoff's massive fraud will cripple American capitalism
12/09/08: In praise of charismatic politicians
12/03/08: Moscow's Empire of Dust
11/20/08: Getting Past Mythmaking In Georgia
11/12/08: In Praise of Political Rock Stars
10/03/08: Election Day myths you must resist
09/30/08: Not just a metaphor: Lehman Brothers was economic's 9/11
09/04/08: Class of '64
08/28/08: Did Hillary really help the Barack cause?
08/27/08: ‘Show of Power,’ Indeed
08/19/08: What Is Russia Afraid Of?
08/13/08: When China Starved
08/11/08: Two of the world's rising powers are strutting their stuff
08/05/08: How Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago changed the world
07/29/08:‘The Hour of Europe’ Tolls Again But are European politicians up to the task?
07/15/08: Why Does Obama Want To Campaign in Berlin?
07/01/08: Citizen Athletes: How did a guy who can't speak Polish end up scoring Poland's only goal of Euro 2008?
06/24/08: Why do we expect presidential candidates to be kind?
06/17/08: Pity the Poor Eurocrats
06/12/08: Is the World Ready for a Black American President?
05/28/08: The Busiest Generation: America seems to value its children's status and achievements over their happiness
05/20/08: Leave Hitler Out of It: The craze for injecting the Nazis into political debate must end
05/13/08: A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma
05/07/08: A Warning Shot From Moscow?
04/23/08: Radio to stay tuned to
04/17/08: China learns the price of a few weeks of global attention
04/01/08: Head scarves are potent political symbols
03/26/08: The Olympics are the perfect place for a protest
03/19/08: Could Tibet bring down modern China?
03/12/08: Have political autobiographies made us more susceptible to fake memoirs?
03/05/08: Why does Russia bother to hold elections?
02/20/08: Kosovo is a textbook example of the law of unintended consequences
02/06/08: A Craven Canterbury Tale
02/06/08: French prez' whirlwind romance reminds voters of his political recklessness




© 2008, Anne Applebaum

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