|Man Without Qualities|
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The Wall Street Journal reports:
In a book slated for release next month, Justice Breyer -- among the more liberal members of the court -- gives a detailed insight into his philosophy of deciding cases, namely that the Constitution should be viewed in light of its overarching goal, which he sees as creating a participatory, democratic society. In the process, he offers a rejoinder to a longtime intellectual opponent, Justice Antonin Scalia, who advocates "originalism," or a more literal interpretation of the Constitution's meaning at the time of its writing. ... Justice Breyer's "Active Liberty" contends that judges can undercut the democratic system the Constitution's Framers sought to build if they adhere too literally to legal text and disregard the "real world" consequences of the decisions they render.
Doesn't that sound nice? I'm so anxious to read Justice Breyer's book, because he sounds like a man who really wants to get big things done right now.
And nothing could be more consistent with creating a participatory, democratic society than creating a United States Senate whose Senators are allocated among the states in proportion to their populations! Allocating just two Senators to both California (population about 35 million) and Wyoming (population under 1/2 million) is utterly inconsistent with creating a participatory, democratic society, since under the present system each Wyoming voter has seventy times as much representation in the Senate as does each California voter.
Yep, I can hardly wait to read "Active Liberty." There's always the chance that the Wall Street Journal misunderstood which document Justice Breyer is construing in his book. It was the Port Huron Statement (1962) of the Students for a Democratic Society, not the Constitution, that presented a vision of a movement to establish “participatory democracy.” Some might say that there was lots of "Active Liberty" in that group - although "Active License" better carries the meaning.
Monday, August 22, 2005
The Man Without Qualities has noted (here and here) that political risk appears to be vastly underplayed as a determining element in the continuing US trade deficit, and in the corresponding continuing willingness of foreigners (especially in China, recently ) to finance those deficits. The situation has, in my opinion, reached the point where the main export of the United States should be properly considered to be political risk insurance.
The interested reader may wish to consider a thought experiment and imagine that he or she is a very wealthy Chinese businessman considering whether to keep more wealth in China, or whether to acquire additional American securities or currency. While holding that exotic thought, the reader may also wish to peruse this item from Agence France-Presse,brought to our attention by James Taranto:
China's rapidly widening income gap has reached dangerous levels, risking social instability by 2010 if the present trend continues, a government report warns. "China's growing income gap is likely to trigger social instability after 2010 if the government finds no effective solutions to end the disparity," the Ministry of Labour and Social Security warned in the China Daily. Su Hainan, president of the ministry's income research institute, found income disparity in China had reached the crucial "yellow" stage--the second most serious in a scale of four defined by the institute. The situation would deteriorate to the most dangerous "red" stage in 2010 if no effective measures were taken within the next five years, he said.After reading this article, does the reader fell a strong inclination to obtain and hold more (1) Chinese assets or (2) American currency and securities?
Think hard and fast now. The clock is ticking.