The Cancellation of Trump

This is the most rational post so far about Trump’s suspension from Twitter and Facebook. What will it ultimately mean?

The worry is that the precedent set by Twitter will (unless overturned by the courts) result in a censorship regime in which a tiny minority of users are disadvantaged, essentially to show that the market can successfully discipline democracy.

David Timoney finds Trump’s supension odd. Indeed it is.

The suspension of Donald Trump from Twitter has been welcomed by many who believe that social media promotes echo chambers and disinformation. This strikes me as odd because Trump was clearly followed by people of all political persuasions, including opponents who derisively retweeted him. Short of blocking his account and muting the very mention of his name, it wasn’t possible to preserve your “filter bubble” from his yawping. He sought to expand his reach rather than limit it to the select few, and I can’t help wondering if he sometimes exaggerated the madness to this end. Contrary to his characterisation as a political exception, his strategy was a conventional one of both reinforcing his base and trying to attract additional supporters. He may be a racist but he was happy to welcome black and latinx voters to his camp. Similarly, his attempts at disinformation prompted broad and detailed pushback, not to mention ridicule. The actual echo chambers within which conspiracy theories are shared and plots hatched are to be found on private platforms, like WhatsApp and Telegram, not essentially public platforms like Twitter and Facebook. So why is there now a political focus on the latter?

Read the full post here.

On a lighter note, here is what we are missing. Some of his very best tweets.

The Germany Shock: The Largest Economy Nobody Understands

Partly cross-posted from Conrad Bastable. This an extraordinary good essay. It is a long read but more than worth it.

How Germany Is Able To Run The World’s Second Largest Export Economy In The Post-Industrial Era

The Germany Shock” describes European growth & the efficiency-maximizing centralization of European manufacturing activity after the launch of the Single Market and the Euro.

Two questions sparked this: 1) why did Europe only adopt the Euro & the Single Market after its Cold War-era existential challenge was over, and 2) how has Germany maintained an export-oriented Industrial Manufacturing Powerhouse while every other developed nation is going post-Industrial?

“The Germany Shock” — a summary:

  • Germany is a major outlier among high-GDP developed nations and nobody talks about it

    • International trade is a primary source of German economic prosperity

      • Only China runs a larger Surplus from Trade

    • No other nation has a customer base anywhere near as diversified as Germany

  • A China-USA Manufacturing Case Study:

    • i) It is possible for a region to straight up lose at trade

      • International competition can reduce employment in one geographic region without producing an offsetting increase in employment in that same region

    • ii) Manufacturing Network Effects: 3 – 1 = 0

      • When the primary economic engine leaves a community, all the supporting economic activity leaves too, from barbershops to component suppliers

    • iii) Exchange rates are a Cheat Code for selling stuff — you might not be willing to cheat, but China is

      • When China undervalues its currency, Chinese goods start looking real cheap

        • Foreigners then buy way more Chinese goods than they otherwise would have

    • iv) The price of your currency is a reflection of how desirable your whole nation’s economy is

      • The more successful your nation is, the more expensive it becomes for you to fight the free market and maintain the fiction of a cheap — undesirable — currency

        • China deals with this via intense autocratic market interventions that are unthinkable in the West or — when tried in our free markets — lead immediately to failure

  • Case Study Takeaway:

    • v) The price of industrial success is eventual failure: Industrial Exporter nations tend to become stable, regionally dominant economies…

      • …their currencies then become highly sought-after “Reserve Currencies” — making their products expensive and undermining the export-driven success that made their economies so great in the first place

        • This spells doom for Germany because of how dependant they are on selling to other countries

  • The German Solution:

    • vi) The European Single Market functions to make German goods maximally attractive to trading partners within the EU by raising the effective-cost of imported goods

    • vii) The German Euro — the currency — then has its value suppressed via contamination with all the other (poorer-performing, non-Exporting) European nations

      • This means German goods look cheaper than they otherwise would to non-EU markets

  • Result:

    • viii) The Euro & the Single Market make it possible for Germany to pursue a strategy of Export-driven Wealth-creation that would be considered impossible in any other Western, high-GDP, high-population, high-wage-paying nation

      • European nations that have found a way to support the German Productivity Engine have built a symbiotic relationship that strengthens their union

Full essay here. Highly recommended.