1. Thread. crookedtimber.org/2021/05/03/the… We’re running a Crooked Timber seminar on Kim Stanley Robinson’s extraordinary book the Ministry for the Future. This book has already gotten lots of attention (see @ezraklein vox.com/2020/11/30/217… and @BarackObama )
2. So what we want to do is to help the book start doing its practical work in the world. It's a novel that both sets out to make the consequences of climate change as viscerally as possible, and to think through what other economic, technological, political and social changes...
3. might help fight it and perhaps, over the longer term, even start to turn it back. It is in short, a book that is intended to be read as a novel, but also to start arguments and get people moving to start doing things. We've brought together a number of different people.
4. The first piece is by @OlufemiOTaiwo crookedtimber.org/2021/05/03/wha… . He asks why the book depicts catastrophe leading to political transformation in India, but more of the same in the US and developed world - a doubling down on a refreshed version of elite led global capitalism.
5. The participants variously engage with the book, argue with it, talk through its fictional choices and use it to think through which of the changes it talks about might work, which won't, and what could maybe be done instead. When it's finished, we'll publish Stan's reply.
6. We hope that others engage as we have, and start doing things too. One reason why the book has had such an extraordinary reception is that it's a catalyst for these kinds of conversation - people have needed a book like this for a long time. Now let's get working. Finis.

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More from @henryfarrell

12 Mar
1. @ANewman_forward and I have seen our term #WeaponizedInterdependence become a broadly used shorthand for describing the emerging world (article: direct.mit.edu/isec/article/4… , coedited book with @dandrezner amzn.to/2OnGNLO. Two new examples suggest it's going international:
2. One is @StevenErlanger new NYT piece nytimes.com/2021/03/12/wor… , talking about how the US has "weaponized" the dollar, and Europe wants to respond. In @GuntramWolff words, "To be credible you need reciprocity, and retaliation is the only way to do it." But as Guntram elaborates,
3. the problem is that ""the politics are more difficult,’’ ... given the asymmetrical power of the U.S. Treasury and the global role of the dollar. “The reality is that there is no united European power able to project power on that scale.’’"
Read 20 tweets
2 Mar
1. amzn.to/2MILMpM Today's the launch date for The Uses And Abuses of Weaponized Interdependence, which @dandrezner @ANewman_forward and I have co-edited. This is, for better or worse, a timely book - the issues that we all talk about are core problems in global politics
2. bloomberg.com/news/articles/… Take this @business piece by @NickWadhams that came out yesterday - it describes how the US-China rivalry is focused on fights over technology more than traditional military confrontation.
3. Wadham's piece is based on conversations with U.S. sources, who emphasize China's threat. The people he talked to describe "a sense that China has essentially forced the U.S. to start breaking off elements of business and technology relations in a pattern known as decoupling."
Read 18 tweets
10 Jan
1. Short thread - on the various claims we're seeing from Republican politicians over the last few days that the Democratic push for accountability is "divisive." Damn right it's divisive - that is what it has to be.
2. It is intended to enforce a clear division between those who accept and are committed to democracy and those who are willing to turn to violence when the vote doesn't turn out the way that they want it to.
3. One of the basic implications of Adam Przeworski's theoretic work is that democracy is made out of mutually reinforcing expectations, and those expectations are fragile. If some actors think they would be better off defecting from the democratic bargain, they will.
Read 11 tweets
23 Nov 20
1. Today, @schneierblog and I have a piece in the New York Times, on how Trump's enablers are damaging democracy - nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opi… (read it together with nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opi… by @rickhasen - both published on the same day and cover different aspects of same problem).
2. What our piece does is the following. First, to argue that democracy is an information system, where the most crucial information that needs to be protected is the scaffolding of beliefs that democracy needs to work.
3. Second, that like other more traditional information systems (think computer servers) the key vulnerabilities are much more easily exploited by insiders (U.S. politicians) than outsiders (Russian trolling efforts). And that explains why U.S. democracy is in trouble.
Read 12 tweets
7 Nov 20
1. washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/… My @monkeycageblog take on the plausible story behind the decision of the NYT/networks all to jump at once after days of waiting. Brief summary below.
2. The role of major newspapers and networks in the U.S. "saying" that the presidential election has been won is weird, and as far as I know highly unusual internationally. It obviously isn't a law - but it has become a collective norm/expectation.
3. While I don't know of any research on this (but IANA Americanist), my presumption is that this is a contingent byproduct of a decentralized vote counting system, where there isn't any immediate official decision as to what has happened overall.
Read 14 tweets
31 Jul 20
1. (thread) reuters.com/article/us-chi… This story talks about a report suggesting that China should move away from the SWIFT financial network to reduce its vulnerabilities to US penalties and surveillance. It's _just_ a report. Still, as @RichardMNephew says, "Watch this space."
2. The background to this is the way in which the US has weaponized global economic networks such as SWIFT (which is lynchpin of world financial system) against adversaries, as @ANewman_forward and I describe in our work on #WeaponizedInterdependence mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.116….
3. Systems such as SWIFT used to be disregarded in the same ways as the plumbing of a building is disregarded - so long as it works, who cares? Now, however, the plumbing is becoming political as networks are weaponized. China's problem is that it can't readily retaliate in kind.
Read 20 tweets

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