“In the 1980s, Japan was feared in the US to be a lethal combination of Superman and the evil genius Lex Luthor in a classic case of what I have called the Diminished Giant Syndrome.
“Members of Congress famously smashed a Toshiba radio cassette recorder on the steps of Capitol Hill in protest in 1987. Great Britain at the turn of the 19th century had been marked by similar diffidence, despair and recrimination when Germany and the US were emerging on the world scene. There, Sir Howard Vincent entered parliament festooned with mops, pails and brushes marked ‘Made in Germany’.
“US hegemony survived the exaggerated threat from Japan. But the US is now once again a fearful giant. Many Americans see trade as a peril rather than an opportunity. This has turned the US from what the economist Charles Kindleberger famously called an ‘altruistic’ hegemon into a ‘selfish’ hegemon. … The writer, university professor, economics and law, at Columbia University and senior fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, has just published Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade.
SPECTATOR: Russia’s aggression in Georgia is a portent of perils to come August 13, 2008 BYLINE: Philip Bobbitt “Georgia, which was admitted to the UN in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, was beset from the outset by the fatal conundrum at the heart of the national self-determination of the nation state: when is a nation — an ethnic, linguistic, historic-cultural idea — entitled to its own state? … Philip Bobbitt is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia, Senior Fellow at the Robert Strauss Centre for International Security and Law at the University of Texas, and a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law at Stanford.”
THE NATION: Tested, Tried, Untrue August 13, 2008 (September 1, 2008 edition) BYLINE: Patricia J. Williams “Senator Joseph Lieberman almost became the Vice President of the United States in what would have been a Democratic administration. Now an independent, he speaks on behalf of John McCain, who has voted in lockstep with the Bush Administration 95 percent of the time. … Obama's campaign has been bookended by astonishingly contradictory stereotypes. In the beginning, Senator Joe Biden framed him as surprisingly clean, articulate and unsaddled with racial baggage. As we come to the finish line, Obama is being assaulted by an inventive hybridity of prejudices: he's under-qualified yet overeducated; he's holier-than-thou but wallows in the mud of slinging the race card; he's effete and effeminate but simultaneously an angry black hate-ah who swears secret allegiance to a separatist Afrocentric Nation; he's a liberation-theology Christian who prays to a Muslim God; he ‘dictates’ from on high while having no clear positions, ‘allowing others to define him.’ … Patricia J. Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University and a member of the State Bar of California, writes The Nation column ‘Diary of a Mad Law Professor.’ ”
SLATE: Dispatches From Beijing: Are the Media Being too Mean to China? August 11, 2008 BYLINE: Tim Wu “To say Beijing is eager to welcome foreign guests to the Olympics may be the understatement of the century. The new airport terminal features a welcome robot, there are ‘welcome booths’ on just about every downtown street, the names of the Olympic mascots spell ‘Welcome to Beijing’ in Chinese. If you're not careful, you may be walking down a normal street only to find yourself surrounded by eager volunteers clad in blue shirts who point out everything you ever wanted to know about Beijing and plenty more you didn't. In the Olympic Village, where the athletes live, friends say that the enthusiasm and attentiveness of the volunteers borders on harassment. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?”
FORBES: Where Are the Cures? August 11, 2008 BYLINE: Michael Heller “A curious thing happened on the way to the biotech revolution. While investment in biotech research and development has increased over the last three decades, new drugs that improve human health have not been forthcoming at the same rate. What explains this drug discovery gap? Patent gridlock plays a large role. … Michael Heller is a professor of Real Estate Law at Columbia Law School and author of The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives (Basic Books, $26).”
NEW YORK TIMES: OPEC 2.0 July 30, 2008 BYLINE: Tim Wu “AMERICANS today spend almost as much on bandwidth — the capacity to move information — as we do on energy. A family of four likely spends several hundred dollars a month on cellphones, cable television and Internet connections, which is about what we spend on gas and heating oil. Just as the industrial revolution depended on oil and other energy sources, the information revolution is fueled by bandwidth. If we aren’t careful, we’re going to repeat the history of the oil industry by creating a bandwidth cartel. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and the co-author of “Who Controls the Internet?”
SLATE: Move Over, Marx July 14, 2008 BYLINE: Tim Wu “The last decade has produced enough books challenging received wisdom to fill a small—and stupendously popular—library called the Compendium of Counterintuition. … The newest addition to the collection is Michael Heller'sThe Gridlock Economy, which does for property rights what the Long Tail does for product marketing. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?”
NEW YORK SUN: Termites in the Trade System July 2, 2008 BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati “Two different questions must be distinguished in the current political debate on free trade for America: Should we have free trade? If we agree that we should, how should we trade freely? Often, the press announces that the consensus on the desirability of free trade among economists has disappeared. But in each instance, they have been disproven. Today, the most potent argument is that free trade may increase income and wealth, but that it suppresses workers' wages ands even harms the middle class. Nearly all research shows that this claim also is mistaken.”
NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Enact the ADAAA June 30, 2008 BYLINE: Vivian Berger “On June 25, almost 18 years after enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3195, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), by a 402-17 vote. According to its drafters, the U.S. Supreme Court had flouted congressional expectations that the ADA would ‘ “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities,” ’ and establish a broad shield for its intended beneficiaries. The ADAAA, designed to reverse judicial inroads on the ADA, now awaits Senate action — and, one hopes, prompt approval by President Bush. Indeed, it is high time that Congress give back what the justices have taken away. In fairness, the court has not wholly ignored the ADA's expansive remedial intent; it has, for example, applied the act to state prisoners and people seeking access to courts. But as a result of grudging construction, the ADA's workplace provisions (Title I) fall far short of furnishing the protective umbrella envisioned by the act's architects. … Vivian Berger is professor emerita at Columbia Law School.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES: How gun makers can help us June 29, 2008 BYLINE: Jeffrey Fagan and Stephen Sugarman “This year, about 12,000 Americans will be shot to death. It's a staggering figure, and even though lawmakers have continued to pass gun-control laws to try to bring the number down, they have not significantly reduced the murder rate. Indeed, for the last decade, guns have steadily remained the cause of about two-thirds of all homicides. … We propose a new way to prod gun makers to reduce gun deaths, one that would be unlikely to put them out of business or to prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns. By using a strategy known as ‘performance-based regulation,’ we would deputize private actors -- the gun makers -- to deal with the negative effects of their products in ways that promote the public good. … Jeffrey Fagan is a professor of law and public health at Columbia University.”
FINANCIAL TIMES: Regulators need to shed light on derivatives June 29, 2008 BYLINE: John Coffee “Worldwide, if securities regulators believe in one thing, it is the value of transparency. Sunlight, they know, is the best disinfectant. But sometimes in confusion they pull down the blinds. This has just happened in the US and, as a result, transparency in the market for corporate control is in danger. Unlike other regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission has chosen – at least provisionally – to disregard equity derivatives and thus allow acquirers to use them to outflank the early warning disclosures that the US (and most other big countries) impose on the assembly of a potentially controlling block of stock. … The writer is the Adolf A. Berle professor of law at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance”
FINANCIAL TIMES: How the food crisis could solve the Doha round June 23, 2008 BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya “With the Doha trade round in danger of slipping from our grasp, the temptation is to grab hold of any opportunities for optimism. It has therefore become commonplace to assert that the food crisis, while a tragedy, is a shot in the arm for Doha. But of the three arguments that can be offered in support of such a pleasing proposition, only one passes muster; and even in this case, the argument is not a slam-dunk. … Jagdish Bhagwati, university professor, Columbia University, and senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, has just published Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade (Oxford).”
NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: SEC Diplomacy (subscription required) June 16, 2008 BYLINE: John C. Coffee Jr. “Few federal agencies conduct their own foreign policy, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as usual, is a case apart. Earlier this year, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McGreevy agreed on the outlines of a common policy, known as ‘mutual recognition,’ under which the SEC will grant foreign exchanges and broker-dealers liberalized access to the U.S. market without requiring them to register with the SEC. In effect, the SEC will rely on the foreign regulator's standards and oversight capability, but only if the foreign regulator qualifies in the SEC's judgment as a ‘high-quality regulatory regime.’ To implement this new policy, the SEC plans to negotiate a ‘memorandum of understanding’ on a country-by-country basis with those countries that it deems to possess adequate regulatory systems. Negotiations are already well under way with Australia, whose memorandum the SEC hopes will serve as a template for future negotiations. … John C. Coffee Jr. is the Adolf A. Berle Professor at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance.”
SLATE: iSurrender June 10, 2008 BYLINE: Tim Wu “If my iPhone were a motorcycle, she'd be a chopper. I'm the owner of an unlocked, jail-broken iPhone 1.3 that runs on the T-Mobile network, fortified with third-party apps (like Tap Tap Revolution), adorned with Death Star wall paper, and running a natty customized interface named "Manhattan." Sure, not everything works perfectly (recently, the clock went off by an hour or so, for no apparent reason). But that's part of the fun of iPhone-modding, a vibrant scene that resembles the Apple II culture of the 1980s. Unfortunately, for me at least, it may all be coming to an end. After Monday's iPhone 2.0 debut, it's just a matter of time before I trade in my chopper phone for Apple's new 3G phone—and swallow that AT&T contract. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?” Back to top