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News

Why ‘GMO’ is a meaningless term and how to fix that

By Henry I. Miller* and Dr. Frank Young**
Fox News -> Opinions, March 29, 2018

There’s a saying in French, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We were reminded of that on the 30th anniversary of an op-ed about genetic engineering that we published in the Wall Street Journal when one of us (Dr. Young) headed the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the other (Dr. Miller) was his special assistant. The article began this way:

Defining the terms “biotechnology” and “genetic engineering” isn’t an easy task, since the terms don’t represent natural groupings of processes or products. They connote something different to individual commentators, journalists, organizations, congressional staffers and members of the public. The terms are ambiguous, the source of much confusion and little advantage, and we would do well to return to more specific and descriptive terms.

Why GMO is a meaningless term and how to fix that

Those vague, problematic terms have now morphed into “genetic modification” and “genetically modified organisms,” or “GMOs,” but our observations remain equally valid. Imprecise, confusing terminology still leads to fuzzy thinking about alterations of the genomes of plants, animals and microorganisms. And that has given rise to unwarranted, draconian regulation of this non-category that has been costly in terms of foregone advances in many sectors of R&D worldwide …

Read the full article here ->
Why GMO is a meaningless term


* Henry I. Miller, a physician, molecular biologist and former flu virus researcher, is the Robert Wesson fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was the founding director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology. Twitter: @henryimiller

** Dr. Frank Young, a physician and molecular biologist, has held a number of senior academic and government positions; he headed the FDA from 1984 to 1989.”

Feinde des Besseren – Die Disruptionsphobie der Stabilitätspolitiker

von Carlos A. Gebauer*

Weil der Staat häufig den Status quo erhalten will, blockiert er Dynamik und Innovation. Doch statt auf Abschottung sollte er lieber auf Kreativität setzen. Auch weil in einer offenen Welt, die völlige Beherrschbarkeit eine Utopie ist. Im ersten Teil einer vierteiligen Serie über Innovation und Disruption beleuchtet der Autor Carlos A. Gebauer im INSM-Ökonmenenblog, wie eine fehlgeleitete Stabilitätspolitik Innovationen bremst. 

Carlos A Gebauer INSM Ökomenenblog | Die Disruptionsphobie der Stabilitätspolitiker
Carlos A Gebauer INSM Ökomenenblog | Die Disruptionsphobie der Stabilitätspolitiker

Zu den faszinierenden Dimensionen der Staatstheorie gehört es, dass wir uns angewöhnt haben, das Wort vom „Staat“ in aller Regel unbedacht für so verschiedene Phänomene wie das Machtkonstrukt der (west-)römischen Könige, der (ost-)römischen Kaiser und ebenso für unsere heutigen Staaten in Europa zu verwenden. Man wird bei allem kaum fehlgehen in der Annahme, dass ein römischer Herrscher im Alltagsgeschäft tatsächlich simpel damit befasst war, seine eigenen gesellschaftlichen Privilegien zu erweitern und zu erhalten. Auf die Idee, dass es seine vordringliche Aufgabe sein könnte, in Tat und Wahrheit für Arme und Benachteiligte sozialverträgliche Politik zu betreiben, dürfte jedenfalls der durchschnittliche Patrizier nicht gekommen sein. Die jüngere Staatstheorie verortet den ernsthaft vorgetragenen Gedanken von einem „Staat für das Volk“ auch historisch erstmals bei dem deutschen Kanzler Otto von Bismarck.

In diesem Kontext war es also nur konsequent, dass die Staatstheoretiker des 19. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland auch intensiv über den legitimen Umfang staatlicher Machtbefugnisse stritten. Anders als die Sozialisten gingen die Liberalen davon aus, dass es primäre Aufgabe eines Staates sein solle, bestehende Rechte zu verteidigen, nicht aber neue Rechte erst entstehen zu lassen und dann machtvoll durchzusetzen. Die Polemik der Sozialisten gegen einen derart „schlanken“ Staat kulminierte in dem bis heute bekannten Schmähbegriff vom „Nachtwächterstaat“. In sozialistischen Augen war es völlig unzureichend, die Aufgabe eines Staates nur darin zu sehen, simpel bei Tag und Nacht für Ruhe und Ordnung zu sorgen. Sozialisten betrachteten die Nivellierung der massiven Unterschiede der damaligen Vermögensverteilung vielmehr als die zentrale moralische Herausforderung für eine Politik durch das Volk und seine Repräsentanten – ein Umstand, der durch die industrielle Revolution, die mit dem 19. Jahrhundert in Europa machtvoll Einzug hielt, noch an Dynamik gewann …

Lesen Sie den gesamten Beitrag hier ->
Feinde des Besseren – Disruptionsphobie der Stabilitätspolitiker
Der Artikel erschien zuerst in der Printausgabe des Politikmagazins Novo.


* Carlos A. Gebauer ist Rechtsanwalt und Fachanwalt für Medizinrecht in Düsseldorf, Richter am Anwaltsgerichtshof NRW und publiziert darüber hinaus puristisch liberale Texte, u.a. beim Politikmagazin Novo

Europe and Germany’s coalition of losers

GIS Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

The talks between Germany’s Christian Democrats (the CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (the SPD) have ended in an agreement that will create a coalition of the biggest losers of last September’s federal elections. The parties’ rank-and-file members must still approve the deal. For Chancellor Angela Merkel and SPD leader Martin Schulz, the coalition is the only option to keep their political careers alive.

On the evening of the election, the SPD said it would go into opposition, while Angela Merkel declared herself the winner. She deluded herself into believing that her governments’ actions had somehow received a seal of approval, ignoring the failures that had led to the CDU/CSU losing more than one-fifth of its voters.

No Jamaica coalition

With the SPD, her previous grand-coalition partners, deciding to enter opposition, Chancellor Merkel (with the support of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier) tried to form a “Jamaica coalition.” The strange political hybrid of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party the CSU, the Greens and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) was so called since the parties’ colors (black, green and yellow, respectively) corresponded to those of Jamaica’s flag.

The resulting government would have had a very socialist bent, with the Greens and the CDU’s left wing dominating. Fortunately, the FDP pulled the plug on the talks, not wanting to associate itself with a rather authoritarian, left-wing government that would have worked for a planned economy. This is very much to the credit of the FDP’s leadership.

To avoid new elections and further losses, the two losers – again very much supported by the president – decided to try a coalition once more.

Avoiding the real problems

Germany’s political parties, with the exception of some personalities in Bavaria’s CSU, the FDP and the sometimes brash protest party Alternative for Germany (AfD), avoid mentioning the country’s real problems. They prattle on about the dangers of globalization, inequality, hate speech on the internet, the nasty British and the so-called “illiberal democracies” in Hungary and Poland. They refuse to address the basic issues of immigration aside from quotas: crime committed by foreigners, the loss of family values and the fact that Germany’s Christian identity is under threat.

They pontificate on the economy, which is doing well now, but ignore substantial threats, especially the country’s sovereign debt, which has not been calculated properly. If pension obligations are added in, Germany has a total debt equal to some 400 percent of its gross domestic product. That many other eurozone countries have debt problems of comparable size does not improve the situation.

If this coalition comes to life, we cannot expect that any of Germany’s most urgent problems will be addressed, because its major players are convinced that they have been doing a wonderful job. Chancellor Merkel called the initial agreement a “fresh start” for Germany, which begs the question as to why one is needed after her last 12 years in power. It is difficult to believe that this coalition, if it comes about, will be strong. It looks like a recipe for further populist expediency, more socialism and technocratic centralization.

In summary, we wonder why the only solutions seem to be this weak coalition or the dreaded new elections. One can also wonder why Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz did not resign after their crushing defeats. It might be that Chancellor Merkel has become the only person in her party who can lead – a very negative sign for Germany’s Christian Democrats.

Unfortunately, former Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble left office in October. He was the bulwark against eurozone overspending. The new coalition is likely to be open to French calls for stronger European Union centralization and sharing sovereign debt within the eurozone. This “unionization” of debt would oblige countries like Germany to pay for the oversized deficits of countries like France, Greece and Italy. Both proposals will weaken Europe’s economy in the long term and have all the ingredients necessary to break the EU’s already fragile cohesion.

Read the original article here ->
Coalition of Losers


*GIS is a global intelligence service providing independent, analytical, fact-based reports from a team of experts around the world. We also provide bespoke geopolitical consultancy services to businesses to support their international investment decisions. Our clients have access to expert insights in the fields of geopolitics, economics, defense, security and energy. Our experts provide scenarios on significant geopolitical events and trends. They use their knowledge to analyze the big picture and provide valuable recommendations of what is likely to happen next, in a way which informs long-term decision-making. Our experts play active roles in top universities, think-tanks, intelligence services, business and as government advisors. They have a unique blend of backgrounds and experience to deliver the narrative and understanding of global developments. They will help you develop a complete understanding of international affairs because they identify the key players, their motivations and what really matters in a changing world. Our experts examine the challenges and opportunities in economies old and new, identify emerging politicians and analyze and appraise new threats in a fast-changing world. They offer new ideas, fresh perspectives and rigorous study.

Newspaper Articles by Boehm-Bawerk and Mises re-discovered

ecaef boehm-bawerk mises
Newspaper articles by Eugen Boehm von Bawerk and Ludwig von Mises. Found at Österreichische Nationalbibliothek digital service.

by Federico Salazar (Mises Institute, Peru)

Eugen Böhm v. Bawerk “Der Zweck der Volkswirtschaft” | This last book commentary was published in Neue Freie Presse, on Feb 2, 1910. I was very lucky to find it during my research for another topic in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek digital service. Reading Böhm-Bawerk the theorist, the polemicist and the politician on interventionism and its flawed groundings is not only pleasant but also, specially at this moment, enlightening.

Eugen Böhm von Bawerk’s “Macht oder ökonomisches Gesetz?” (english: Power or Economic Law?”), was one of his works published posthumously, in 1914. His epistemological insights converge with his view of public policy based on economic science. There he quarrels with historicism. To justify political interventionism this school of thought denied the methodology of economics based on logic and deduction. Predecessors of this text are the reviews Böhm-Bawerk dedicated to Rudolf Stolzmann’s “Die sociale Kategorie in der Volkswirtschaftslehre” (1896), and “Der Zweck in der Volkswirtschaft” (1909).

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Eugen Böhm v. Bawerk “Der Zweck der Volkswirtschaft”


Ludwig v. Mises “Wiederaufbau und Währungsreform” | Only a radical change in the politics of destructionism and decadency, the politics of collectivism and socialism, said Mises in 1921, would allow the take-off of reconstruction in Austria. Not foreign aid or credit but the deficit clean-up is the first step in order to build up the country. As Mises said at the end of his piece, “to construct, at any rate, goes slower than destruction.” (German: “Aufbauen geht allerdings langsamer vonstatten als zerstören”). Mises’ article on “Reconstruction and Currency Reform”, was published on  June 3, 1921 in Neues Wiener Tagblatt. It’s based on a speech in the Political Society, throwing light on Austrian political and economic problems of that time, problems that are not too different than those we face now in western societies.

Download PDF here ->
Ludwig v. Mises “Wiederaufbau und Währungsreform”

Brennan

Raffaele De Mucci

Introduzione

“E’ stato detto che la democrazia è la peggior forma di governo, eccezion fatta per tutte quelle altre forme che si sono sperimentate finora”. Così, letteralmente, Winston Churchill fissava un principio fondamentale di supremazia storica del regime democratico nel discorso rivolto alla Camera dei comuni alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale nel 1947. A questa concezione relativistica della democrazia come “male minore” si richiamano un po’ tutte le analisi e le teorie moderne, di scienza politica o persino di filosofia, ispirate alla metodologia del “realismo”: da Machiavelli a Sartori, passando per Weber e Shumpeter, si cerca di capire cosa è effettivamente la democrazia, come funzionano concretamente i suoi processi e i suoi attori, inevitabilmente controllati e influenzati da élite e gruppi di potere in competizione fra loro [Sartori 1996].

Già nel 1957, nel celeberrimo libro Democrazia e definizioni – un vero e proprio mainstream della teoria democratica (in seguito più volte pubblicato) – Giovanni Sartori scrive: “Il termine democrazia indica sia un insieme di ideali, sia un sistema politico, caratteristica che condivide con i termini comunismo e socialismo (…). Ma, a differenza di questi, la democrazia non si è mai identificata con una specifica corrente di pensiero: essa è piuttosto un prodotto di tutto lo sviluppo della civiltà occidentale. E quanto più democrazia ha assunto un significato elogiativo universalmente riconosciuto, tanto più ha subito un’evaporazione concettuale, diventando l’etichetta più indefinita del suo genere. Non tutti i sistemi politici si professano socialisti, ma anche i sistemi comunisti affermano di essere democratici (…): democrazia abbrevia tutto”. In questo senso, i sistemi democratici si compongono di un mix, variamente combinato, di strutture politiche e di procedure normative (rule of law) da una parte, di “capitale assiologico” e “partite invisibili” dall’altra: per dire, con queste espressioni, del peso che esercitano sugli attori i valori di libertà e uguaglianza [Sartori 1969, p. 321: corsivi nostri].

Dello stesso tenore è la posizione di Norberto Bobbio quando afferma che l’idea di democrazia è una di quelle che possono facilmente indurre a “smarrirsi in discussioni inconcludenti” [Bobbio 2014], sulla scia di quanto aveva sostenuto Tocqueville circa “l’uso che si fa delle parole democrazia e governo democratico [il quale uso] getta il massimo di confusione nello spirito” [De Capraris 1962, p. 55].

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“Brennan” by Raffaele De Mucci (DOC,  88kb)


* Prof. Raffaele De Mucci is Professor at the University Luiss Guido Carli, Rome (Italy) – Full Professor of Political Sociology, Comparative Politics, Department of Political Science