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Europe's Decline

FT: China should stop cheating the system for its own good. Forbes: Democracy works best at bringing prosperity. Mother Jones: Urban legends thrive during the US election season.

China should stop cheating the system for its own good

Columnist David Pilling writes in the Financial Times that China has every right to “cheat” to boost its economy because other rising nations have done it throughout history. However, Pilling argues that it is no longer in China’s best interest to manipulate the system to such an extreme extent.

QUOTE: To continue along the current path risks bringing down the free trade system that has served China so well. It could force a US with high unemployment into protectionism.

Democracy works best at bringing prosperity

Columnist Joel Kotkin writes in Forbes that liberal capitalism works best at delivering the best economic environment and opportunities. Dictatorships can at times spark fast growth immediately, but nations need democratic systems for that growth to be sustainable.

QUOTE: The Legatum Prosperity Index found that all the more prosperous places – not only by income, but by quality of life, environment, education and health care – almost exclusively are democratic states.

Both American political parties ignore the mood of the people

Columnist Matt Miller writes in the Washington Post that the American people feel so much anxiety about the state of the economy they have become disgusted with both political parties. And yet after the elections, both the Republicans and Democrats will continue to ignore the country’s mood and focus on their own defeat or success.

QUOTE: If Republicans are happily deluded, however, Democrats are fatally condescending.

Is France leading Europe’s decline?

Dominique Moïsi, senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations, asks in the International Herald Tribune if France is leading Europe in its “process of decay” or if France’s problems are unique.

QUOTE: Instead of pondering how to rehabilitate the nobility of work, the French are calling it “exploitation,” and desperately defending their right to a second life — after work. Having abandoned any hope of changing their first life, they cling to the duration of the second one.

Obama must change his tune on multinational companies

Columnist John Gapper writes in the Financial Times that President Obama has treated multinational companies as “cartoon villains.” He argues that after the midterm elections, Obama must better understand and then communicate to the American public the role big business plays in helping the economy.

QUOTE: The jobs that have gone to China are not coming back, no matter what the dollar exchange rate or level of protectionist tariffs. The best hope is to replace them with higher value-added goods and services, and with education and infrastructure that draws investment by companies big and small.

China circumvents its laws to persecute troublemakers

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that the case of a missing human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, in China shows the extremes the nation goes to in order to silence its critics. The lawyer lacks all judicial protections because he is missing.

QUOTE: Mr. Gao's presumed detention is the most egregious example to date of China's new willingness to circumvent its own laws when persecuting troublemakers.

Britain is wrong to force such deep job losses

J. Bradford DeLong, a former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, writes in Project Syndicate that there is currently a divide between countries that attempt to “muddle through” difficult economic times, and Great Britain, which has plans to dramatically cut its budget and deficit. He argues that the British are wrong to force their country to undergo such radical fiscal consolidation.

QUOTE: What is humiliating is to have a government that cuts a half-million public-sector jobs and causes the loss of another half-million jobs in the private sector.

Japan and China’s fishing vessel crisis will have long-lasting repercussions

Journalist Frank Ching writes in the China Post that the recent clash between Japan and China over a fishing vessel captain has been resolved, but the incident will affect relations between the countries for a long time as it has deepened the nations’ mistrust of each other.

QUOTE: The ruckus over the Chinese fishing vessel, which was operating in waters surrounding disputed islands called the Senkakus by Japan, the Diaoyu islands by China, and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, now threatens the future of the region.

Urban legends thrive during US elections

Journalist Kevin Drum writes in Mother Jones that there have been many myths concerning the state of US politics and the economy this election season. But contrary to popular opinion, he argues, President Obama has not lost the popularity he built up in 2008, and the Democrats’ losses will not be a result of the party overstretching itself.

QUOTE: Plenty of research has been done on presidential elections, and the results are pretty unequivocal: The state of the economy plays by far the biggest role.

Japan stirs up trouble with rare earths controversy

Journalist Peter Lee writes in the Asia Times that it is highly likely that Japan has deliberately stirred up tensions with China over its embargo on rare earth exports to gain political points.

QUOTE: This incident represents another effort by Seiji Maehara, Japan's neo-conservative foreign minister, to reposition China as freedom's existential antagonist in Asia - and Japan as America's indispensable ally.