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Douthat is very occasionally perceptive to the degree that if he had a Substack, I might take the free tier. He’s not NYT op-ed material any more than I am, or rather, perhaps he is, but in the Brooks-Friedman genre of “wouldn’t it be nice” free-floating speculation untethered to reality.

I continue to be stunned by the bull-headed stupidity of Brexit. I’m not sure the right state for comparison in the US - perhaps Florida, a large state but not the largest, not obviously critical in logistical or resource terms, a large market, true, but not even potentially self-sufficient. How long would it take before it became like other peripheral Caribbean or central American nations?

If I had to pick one thing on “what to do better”, it would be devoting great resources to finding ways to make governance of publicly-owned enterprises effective. It can be done; we even have some in the US that are effective. But without a higher level of public ownership I think it’s very difficult to see how to redirect the flow of surplus value towards the general population. Perhaps stock market-mediated ownership is the best we can do, but if so, where’s the US SWF? CALPERS, maybe, but that’s for the favored few. And then there’s the problem of over-disbursement and self-dealing…

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