Saturday, March 8, 2008

Town and Country

Bakchich proposes in advance of the municipal elections a thesis to explain why the Left may increase its hold on cities without regaining its hold on le peuple de gauche. The idea is that the rising cost of lodging in urban centers has led to a redistribution of the population, with the working class increasingly forced out of the center and into the semi-rural periphery. The cadres who live in the cities increasingly favor the Left, while the working class increasingly votes for the right. It's a provocative idea, for which it would be nice to see some persuasive evidence.

Gérard Courtois, Le Monde's editorial director, offers exactly the same analysis here.

Dissension in the Ranks of Radical Islam

Le Monde has an interesting story on a debate that has broken out in the ranks of radical Islam about the wisdom and sanctity of suicide bombings and armed struggle. Sayed Imam al-Cherif, the mentor of al Qaeda's no. 2 Ayman al Zawihiri, published a book at the end of last year condemning suicide attacks, and Zawahiri has now responded.

Municipal Elections Tomorrow

The first round of the municipal elections is tomorrow. Here are Le Monde's predictions for 64 major cities.

More on Inflation

Central bank actions may be contributing to sharp price rises in storeable commodities, according to James Hamilton's analysis. Here, the divergent interest-rate policies of the Fed and ECB don't matter. Both are pouring liquidity into the global economy, and part of that liquidity is going into commodity speculation for want of productive investments.

And here is an excellent overview of the current economic crisis by the head of the New York Fed.

And an interesting analysis by Paul Krugman.