Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Friedrich List

Cotton is Not What Made the United States Rich

Lately, everyone is arguing that the United States got rich off of cotton. The New York Times recently put out a story arguing that American capitalism “begins on the plantation”. This completely misunderstands the relationship between slave and serf-based agriculture and industrial capitalism. A dominant agricultural industry is not the foundation for industrial success–it is an impediment. Let me show you why…

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Theresa May’s Wretched Plan to Expel Talented Young People from Britain

UK Home Secretary Theresa May has a new proposal that would force international students at British universities to leave the country immediately after graduating, making it far more difficult for them to get work visas and remain in the UK. I was reluctant to write about this because I myself could be personally affected–I’m starting a PhD at Cambridge this autumn, and I am certainly interested in the possibility that I might get a job in the UK when I finish. I generally try to avoid topics where I have a significant personal stake that might bias my analysis. But in this case, the arguments against the policy are too clear and too definitive. Even if you ignore the interests of foreign students like me, this is an irrational policy that does unequivocal, quantifiable harm to Britain.

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Who is Right about Free Trade? Barack Obama vs. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

In recent weeks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is back in the news. TPP aims to lower barriers to trade among the United States and a variety of other nations including rich countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia and developing countries like Chile, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has come out strongly against TPP, as has senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT). President Barack Obama continues to support TPP–he recently succeeded in having the agreement fast-tracked by the senate and will likely replicate that success in the house. Once TPP is fast-tracked, congress cannot debate the treaty’s contents or make amendments to it. Is TPP good for the United States? Who is right?

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Niall Ferguson is Wrong about World War I

I ran across a piece in The Guardian in which Niall Ferguson, a British historian, made the increasingly popular argument that it was in the British national interest to avoid participating in World War I, that the decision to do so was a mistake. This argument, which I am seeing made all over the place in the popular press (as 2014 is the 100-year anniversary of the 1914 start of the war), is deeply misguided. I contend that it was an absolute strategic necessity that Britain enter the war to prevent Germany from defeating France. Here’s why.

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Obama at the UN

Barack Obama addressed the United Nations yesterday on the subject of Middle East policy. In the meantime, Mitt Romney continued to criticise the Obama administration on the same issue. Today I would like to discuss the remarks of each, and point out one key flaw at the heart of both men’s policies.

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