👓 U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials | New York Times

Read U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials by Andrew Jacobs (nytimes.com)
Trade sanctions. Withdrawal of military aid. The Trump administration used both to try to block a measure that was considered uncontroversial and embraced by countries around the world.

You know what I want for my birthday? Stupidity like that described in this article not to exist.

Nestle gave a half-assed response here. They can do far better. Now that their US headquarters has left Glendale, California for Virginia, I suspect their political stance will actually get worse on these issues.

A 2016 Lancet study found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.  

Pure corruption here. Protectionism to prop up profits of approximately 630 million versus major benefits and savings of 300 billion. Even if you look at the calculus of the entire industry of 70 billion it becomes a no brainer.

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👓 Save Barnes & Noble! | New York Times

Read Opinion | Save Barnes & Noble! by David LeonhardtDavid Leonhardt (nytimes.com)
It’s in trouble. And Washington’s flawed antitrust policy is a big reason.

There are some squirrel-ly things that Amazon is managing to get away with, and they’re not all necessarily good.

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🎧 Trump’s Tariffs | The Daily – New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Trump’s Tariffs by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
President Trump said that protections on steel and aluminum imports were in the interest of national security. But could the threat be the tariffs themselves?

A nice breakdown of the history of trade in the 20th century.

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Chris Aldrich is reading “How Donald Trump is changing the rules for American business”

Read The president and corporations: How Donald Trump is changing the rules for American business (The Economist)
HIS inauguration is still six weeks away but Donald Trump has already sent shock waves through American business. Chief executives—and their companies’ shareholders—are giddy at the president-elect’s promises to slash burdensome regulation, cut taxes and boost the economy with infrastructure spending.

This article takes much the same view of Trump’s economic policies as I (and I’m sure many) do. I’ve been hoping every day for more than a year and a half that more politicians would take Cesar Hidalgo’s book Why Information Grows as the basis for their economic policies. Alas…

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

American capitalism has flourished thanks to the predictable application of rules. If, at the margin, that rules-based system is superseded by an ad hoc approach in which businessmen must take heed and pay homage to the whim of King Donald, the long-term damage to America’s economy will be grave.

Such tariffs would be hugely disruptive. They would make goods more expensive for American consumers. By preventing American firms from maximising their efficiency using complex supply chains, they would reduce their competitiveness, deter new investment and, eventually, hurt workers’ wages across the economy. They would also encourage a tit-for-tat response.

The role of lobbyists will grow—an irony given that Mr Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp of special interests.

Nonetheless, Mr Trump’s approach is worrying. Unlike the Depression, when Hoover and then Roosevelt got companies to act in what they (often wrongly) saw as the national interest; or 2009, when Mr Obama corralled the banks and bailed out Detroit, America today is not in crisis. Mr Trump’s meddling is thus likely to be the new normal. Worse, his penchant for unpredictable and often vindictive bullying is likely to be more corrosive than the handouts most politicians favour.

Mr Trump’s mercantilism is long-held and could prove fierce, particularly if the strong dollar pushes America’s trade deficit higher (see article). Congress would have only limited powers to restrain the president’s urge to impose tariffs. More important, even if rash protectionism is avoided, a strategy based on bribing and bullying individual companies will itself be a problem.

But over time the damage will accumulate: misallocated capital, lower competitiveness and reduced faith in America’s institutions. Those who will suffer most are the very workers Mr Trump is promising to help. That is why, if he really wants to make America great again, Mr Trump should lay off the protectionism and steer clear of the bullying right now.

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