The most interesting thing you will read today is this dynamite long essay on the politics of sugar in Indonesia @newmandala. Very few essays are as deserving of a Simpsons gif as this one newmandala.org/indonesias-sug…
This essay has it all: sugar lords and the opium trade under Dutch colonialism, the rise of Soeharto and konglomerat from the postwar sugar trade, contemporary smuggling, and the shocking inefficiency of Indonesia's sky-high sugar tariffs
Nothing demonstrates the principle of comparative advantage better than Indonesia's sugar industry: capable of producing sugar at scale, but a huge deadweight loss to Indonesian society given other sugar cultivation regions and other agricultural commodities Indonesia can produce
Confirms a core maxim of political economy: the politics of sugar is ALWAYS interesting.

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More from @TomPepinsky

26 Sep
The noise around this article on left wing authoritarianism would lessen if people realized that authoritarianism the political system is not government by people with authoritarian values 1/n theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
This point is subtle to articulate, but obvious when you understand it. Political systems are not the collective psychological dispositions of the people over whom they rule, they are... systems 2/ tompepinsky.com/2017/02/09/dem…
That is why democratization can happen. If we had to reduce political systems to psychological orientations, this would mean that democratization happens because psychological attributes change en masse, all the sudden (and it seems unlikely that that is what happens) 3/
Read 8 tweets
21 Sep
I know of several very good guidelines for how to write an introduction to an academic paper in the social sciences. How about for conclusions?

My favorite approach is to think of a conclusion like an airport runway. 🧵
A runway is good for two things: it is where planes land, and it is where planes take off. So too with conclusions: that's where your paper lands, and where future papers take off
(If you're driving a city bus around the runaway in endless circles, something has gone wrong. So too with conclusions...) Image
Read 8 tweets
7 Aug
I'm not seeing nearly enough discussion of the 30 year anniversary of late summer 1991, a truly epic two months in American music 1/n
August 7, 1991 there was no such thing as grunge, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden were still heavy metal bands, and people were honestly looking forward to new things associated with Guns and Roses 2/
In the next seven weeks of 1991, the follow albums were released 3/n:

Nirvana, NEVERMIND
Read 11 tweets
1 Feb
Burma or Myanmar? What's the difference? Does it matter? A thread on political linguistics in Southeast Asia 👇
First, what's the difference between "Burma" and "Myanmar"? You might be surprised that these are basically the same word, borrowed into English twice from two different registers of the Burmese language. (A "register" describes the level of formality of a language)
Burma comes from "Bama." Myanmar comes from "Myanma." "Bama" (pronounced buh-mah) is a colloquial version of "Myanma", which incidentally has two syllables (myuh-ma), not three
Read 17 tweets
9 Jan
The point of impeachment is not to unify Americans. The point of impeachment is to punish a criminal who holds office. Constitutional conservatives, Democrats, libertarians, and progressives are at risk of losing the narrative 🧵
It is abundantly plain that no policy choice adopted by a Democrat administration will mollify the GOP establishment. Obamacare? A Republican plan that the institutional GOP has fought tooth and nail for a decade now.
Impeaching the president isn't a political stunt. That man invited a mob to ransack the US Capitol. People died. He is not sorry and he is not stopping, and the mob won't stop either.
Read 6 tweets
8 Jan
As a longtime watcher of Malaysian politics, let me tell you what we can infer about the likelihood of executive removal from the tweets of partisan politicians on either side
Those tweets---by Lindsey Graham, by George Conway---are statements that try to *create* reality, not statements that *reflect* reality
If you have the votes to impeach, you don't have to project that to the twitterverse. On the other hand, if you *don't* have the votes to stop impeachment, that's exactly when you'd take to twitter to insist that impeachment is futile and dangerous
Read 5 tweets

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