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Tom Rekdal

Since we do not yet know the outcome of these "revolutionary" events, I fail to see why it should qualify as "the most important world development in the past twenty years", unless the mere stirring of Arab political consciousness is itself the epic event.

If this turns out to be another 1848, with a new set of tyrants and corrupt despots replacing another, it is not even clear why this uprising should be considered a "revolution."

But while the future is unclear, maybe we know enough already to say which explanatory framework sheds the most light on why the uprising occurred in the first place. Is this an example of the "J-curve", or something else? I would be interested in what experts on the history of revolutions have to say on the subject.

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Posner speculates that developments in the Mideast may be a repeat of 1848 and concludes his post by reference to Mexico.

To further connect the historical dots, in 1848 the United States fought and won a just war against Mexico, chiefly for the sake of tamping down an undemocratic and troublemaking regime -- an aim no less legitimate today in the case of troublemaking Mideast autocracies.

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Tom: I think Posners' "are a momentous development in world affairs," indicates its extreme importance to the rest of the world whether to the positive or negative side.

Those of us who are skeptical about positive outcomes, and this week, I'm reluctantly with their skeptical outlook. In that region there has been "crusades" between Christians, Jews, and Islamics for more than a millenium and Libya is made up of three "tribes" and others.

Were our own democracy and economic order to lose its stability and momentum and falter as it nearly did during the last Depression, imagine trying to reconcile the political interests of the regional interests, those of the rich and poor, those with fundamentalist beliefs they feel should be imposed on others, etc. Those nations have some tough uphill sledding to do.


Hey, have you heard about peakoil?


Lump -- I assume you're another driveby graffiti spammer here, but if not, what comes well before "peak oil" is the day when the supply curve, world-wide actually begins falling below the demand curve.

If you think the oil price manipulators have had a fine time emptying your wallet with nothing approaching a shortfall, ha! wait 'til they have the leverage of actual shortfalls!


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Posner speculates that developments in the Mideast may be a repeat of 1848 and concludes his post by reference to Mexico.

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After the smoke clears the new Middle East economies will continue to pump oil to maximize revenue - they have no other alternative. Trouble in the Middle East highlights the real problem - the inability of our country to develop an energy policy that is driven by our national security interests instead of pandering to special interests on both the right and the left.

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I have reason to doubt that it will or, if it does for a time, other forces will supplant it. One reason for my pessimism is the authoritarian nature of the regime that has just exited the stage.

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In wealthy countries in which there is a reasonable equality of incomes across persons, people are self-confident and independent and so don’t like to be told what to do or say by government, and so there is strong pressure for liberty and democracy.

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At some point it all becomes an embarrassment to the professional status of those economists who tell us that Krugman is a good economists .

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