May 3, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 4:13 PM


Posted by orrinj at 2:12 PM


Democrats are slight favorites for Senate control (Harry Enten, 4/02/20, CNN)

To gain Senate control from Republicans in November's elections, Democrats will need a net gain of three seats (if former Vice President Joe Biden holds onto his lead over President Donald Trump and claims victory) or four seats (if Trump wins).

An early look at the data finds that Democrats are the slightest of favorites to take back the Senate. The chance Democrats net gain at least 3 seats is about 3-in-5 (60%), while the chance they net gain at least 4 seats is about 1-in-2 (50%).

There is still a lot of uncertainty. Democrats could realistically end up anywhere from a net loss of 4 seats to a net gain of 11 seats, though a few more times than not, they'll end up in the majority.

Posted by orrinj at 10:54 AM


Constitutional Stupidity, Constitutional Tragedy (GEORGE THOMAS,  MAY 3, 2020, The Bulwark0

While insisting on a broad understanding of "the liberty of the individual protected by the Fourteenth Amendment," the Lochner Court nevertheless recognized that liberty was subject to regulation for legitimate public purposes.

Under what have been termed the police powers, the states have wide latitude to regulate for the "safety, health, morals, and general welfare of the public."

The Court acknowledged, as it did long before and has long after, that the police powers are somewhat vaguely defined. But even from an expansive understanding of liberty, the key question is whether the law or regulation at issue is plainly adapted to a legitimate public purpose. In Lochner, the Court was skeptical that regulating "the hours of labor in the occupation of a baker," and treating bakers in a manner different from the printer, carpenter, or clerk, was plainly adapted to legitimate concerns of safety, health, morals, or public welfare.

Why bakers? What is the connection between the hours the baker works and "the healthful quality of the bread" he makes? Justice John Marshall Harlan, the great dissenter from Plessy v. Ferguson, also dissented in Lochner, urging that the regulation could be upheld "to protect the physical well-being of those who work in bakery and confectionery establishments."

Just two months before Lochner was handed down, Justice Harlan wrote an opinion in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that upheld a state law allowing local authorities to require vaccinations. Against an outbreak of smallpox, the city of Cambridge required such vaccinations. The Court, recognizing "liberty itself" as "the greatest of all rights," nevertheless insisted that it does not include "an absolute right in each person" to be "wholly freed from restraint." The "safety of the general public" may demand regulations of liberty with regard to public health. All the more so "against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members." Indeed, an epidemic might justify regulations we would not ordinarily tolerate if the public health and safety required it.

The problem with Lochner--that it applies only to a discrete profession--is not present in Jacobson, which applied universally.  Liberty is not, by definition, individual.

Posted by orrinj at 10:47 AM


Anti-quarantine protesters are being kicked off Facebook and quickly finding refuge on a site loved by conspiracy theorists (Paige Leskin, 5/03/20, Business Insider) 

Facebook now requires all events to explicitly tell attendees to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and has banned groups that encourage users to break state mandates. There are no similar guidelines on MeWe.

More than 20 MeWe groups against state shelter-in-place orders have popped in the last week, Business Insider has found. Inside these groups, members rail against Facebook for censoring their movement and mock the state governors and health experts who talk about the dangers of re-opening the economy too quickly. [...]

MeWe's founder, Mark Weinstein, has said he started the site as a protection against what he calls Facebook's overreach on privacy and user rights, and that his site protects the privacy and rights of its users better.

But MeWe's hands-off approach has attracted those who have been kicked off of Facebook and Twitter for violating their policies. While many of MeWe's groups are home to innocuous discussions of conservative values, some of MeWe's most popular groups revolve around extremist rhetoric.

A group called "Stop Mandatory Vaccination Official" that has more than 13,000 members spreads dangerous falsehoods about vaccines. Another called "Wake the f--- up" prompts interested members to answer the prompt, "Who was really responsible for 9/11?" A group called "HERBAL SURVIVAL AND HOMESTEADING" falsely promotes plants as cures for coronavirus.

In 2019, Rolling Stone discovered a number of groups on MeWe catering to conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and flat-Earthers. The report also found several examples of content violating MeWe's own community guidelines, which includes a ban on "unlawful, harmful, obscene, or pornographic content."

This is almost exactly the plot of Episode 3 of Mythic Quest, where they trick the Nazis into chasing themselves around on an isolated server, so they can't bother decent people.

Posted by orrinj at 10:29 AM


What Might Be Speeding Up the Universe's Expansion? (Thomas Lewton, April 27, 2020, Quanta)

The discrepancy between how fast the universe seems to be expanding and how fast we expect it to expand is one of cosmology's most stubbornly persistent anomalies.

Cosmologists base their expectation of the expansion rate -- a rate known as the Hubble constant -- on measurements of radiation emitted shortly after the Big Bang. This radiation reveals the precise ingredients of the early universe. Cosmologists plug the ingredients into their model of cosmic evolution and run the model forward to see how quickly space should be expanding today.

Yet the prediction falls short: When cosmologists observe astronomical objects such as pulsating stars and exploding supernovas, they see a universe that's expanding faster, with a larger Hubble constant.

The discrepancy, known as the Hubble tension, has persisted even as all the measurements have grown more precise. Some astrophysicists continue to debate whether the tension might be nothing more than a measurement error. But if the discrepancy is real, it means something is missing from cosmologists' model of the universe.

You call them anomalies...

Posted by orrinj at 10:17 AM


Endangered Republicans keeping distance from Trump (Josh Kraushaar, 5/03/20, National Journal)

Here's what I'm hearing from smart GOP strategists now: Republicans should be talking about their work to help their communities in the wake of the pandemic, and avoid referencing Trump's role in managing the crisis. To win battleground Senate seats that are looking more tenuous, it will be crucial to maintain support from some Trump-skeptical independents. If Trump's political condition doesn't improve by the fall, prepare to talk about keeping the Senate as a check against Democratic power, even if it means acknowledging the presidency is likely lost.

"The Republican argument could pivot: If you don't like Trump, you also don't want to give Democrats the keys to the kingdom. You've got to put a check on Biden," said former Republican congressman Tom Davis. "You can't let them control everything. That's a tenable argument for independent voters."

Driving this subdued pragmatism are Trump's sliding poll numbers across the country, particularly in GOP-leaning states that once looked safely in the president's column. Trump, who is planning to visit Arizona and Ohio as part of his first trip outside Washington since the pandemic hit, is now playing political defense in states he comfortably carried in 2016. Trump won Ohio by eight points in 2016, and the state wasn't considered a leading battleground for 2020. Both parties view Arizona as highly competitive, but the state hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.

A new slate of reputable red-state polls released this week will raise further alarm at the White House, where the president has already been fuming over his declining numbers. A survey commissioned by Georgia House Republicans painted a grim picture across the state for the entire party. Trump only led Biden by one point in the survey, 45 to 44 percent, well within the margin of error. Biden leads Trump by 15 points among independent voters in the state, and by a whopping 43 points among moderates.

Equally worrisome for Republicans are signs that Trump's problems are affecting downballot GOP candidates. Sen. David Perdue only polled at 45 percent in the Georgia survey, leading Democrat Jon Ossoff by a mere six points. Perdue's race has been seen as an afterthought, compared to the state's higher-profile Senate special election in November. In the special election, appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler holds a dismal 20-47 favorability rating, and is at risk of not making the expected runoff. (The silver lining for Republicans: GOP Rep. Doug Collins is viewed much more favorably, and would start out as the favorite in a runoff.)

In Texas, a state that the president should have locked down, a recent poll conducted for the Texas Tribune shows a surprisingly competitive race. Trump leads Biden by five points, 49 to 44 percent, holding a mere 49 percent job approval rating in a reliably Republican bastion. Trump's saving grace is that Biden looks even less popular in the red state, with a net -16 favorability rating (35-51).

And in North Carolina, poll after poll paints a challenging picture for Republicans. Four separate statewide polls conducted in the last two weeks all show Biden holding leads ranging from three to seven points. This state is the most consequential of all the battlegrounds, since it features a bellwether Senate race that's likely to determine which party controls the upper chamber. Republican strategists tracking the race believe that Trump needs to carry the state for Sen. Thom Tillis to win; they're skeptical that the freshman senator can run ahead of the president.

The question of whether most Republican candidates are capable of running ahead of Trump will soon become more urgent--especially if the president's popularity continues to sag.

In 2016, Republicans downticket ran well ahead of Donald, far enough to carry him into office despite his losing to the historically unpopular Hillary by three million votes.  Suburbanites, moderates, the college-educated, etc. could convince ourselves that our own guys would hold Donald in check or maybe even tame him.  Now, not only has he been worse than advertised, but the Congressional GOP has capitulated to him or, in too many cases, joined him.

Not only is he running against a normal opponent but he's lost the support from below that was propping him up.  And, where in 2016 he could contest Purple and even some Blue states, now he's going to have to fight a rearguard action just to hold the Red.  we're just quibbling over the size of the debacle from here on out.

Posted by orrinj at 10:09 AM


The Auschwitz slogan 'Work sets you free' seen at the Re-Open Illinois protest aimed at governor, JB Pritzker, who is of Jewish descent (Sophia Ankel, 5/02/20, Business Insider0

The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has condemned a photo of a sign from an anti-lockdown protest in Chicago that bore the Nazi slogan: "Arbeit Macht Frei, JB."

The sign, which was held by an unidentified woman attending the "Re-Open Illinois" protest on May 1, is referring to Illinois governor JB Pritzker, who is of Jewish descent. 

"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase which means "Work sets you free", and was placed above the gates of Auschwitz --  the largest Nazi extermination camp during the Holocaust, where at least 1.1 million people died.

The font of the letter "B" used on the sign also bore a strong resemblance to that used in the sign above the gates of Auschwitz.

Funny how these volk--who are totally not a racist cult!--always seem to have Confederate and Nazi memorabilia handy.

Posted by orrinj at 10:06 AM


'A phantom plague': America's Bible Belt played down the pandemic and even cashed in. Now dozens of pastors are dead (Alex Woodward, 24 April 2020, The Independent)

Dozens of pastors across the Bible Belt have succumbed to coronavirus after churches and televangelists played down the pandemic and actively encouraged churchgoers to flout self-distancing guidelines.

As many as 30 church leaders from the nation's largest African American Pentecostal denomination have now been confirmed to have died in the outbreak, as members defied public health warnings to avoid large gatherings to prevent transmitting the virus.

Deaths across the US in areas where the Church of God in Christ has a presence have reportedly stemmed from funerals and other meetings among clergy and other church staff held during the pandemic.

The tragedy among one of the largest black Pentecostal groups follows a message of defiance from many American churches, particularly conservative Christian groups, to ignore state and local government mandates against group gatherings, with police increasingly called in to enforce the bans and hold preachers accountable.

The virus has had a wildly disproportionate impact among black congregations, many of which have relied on group worship.

Posted by orrinj at 9:03 AM


Is a Progressive Reading of the Constitution Possible?: a review of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century, by Erwin Chemerinsky (CHARLES BARZUN, 8/21/19, The New Rambler)

A better approach to interpreting the Constitution would thus look not to constitutional meaning, as originalists do, but rather to constitutional values (p. 49). "We must develop and defend an alternative progressive vision for the Constitution," Chemerinsky insists (p. xvi). Part II sketches out such a constitutional vision--one that Chemerinsky calls the "progressive reading" of the Constitution. The progressive reading is both more honest about the role values play in constitutional adjudication and more consistent with the Constitution's own values.  

What are those values, and how do we know them? According to Chemerinsky, they can be found primarily in the preamble to the Constitution, which reads: 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (emphasis added) 

In these fifty-two words, Chemerinsky finds explicit recognition of four constitutional values and implicit recognition of a fifth: democracy, effective governance, justice, and liberty are stated outright (see italics). And although equality is not mentioned explicitly, it is implicit in a proper understanding of liberty and anyhow is explicitly recognized in the Fourteenth Amendment (p. 74).  

Each of the remaining chapters (4-8) are devoted to explaining how these values have been understood (or misunderstood) in the past and what their application entails in particular areas of constitutional controversy today. Protecting democracy, for instance, requires that it recognize that the electoral college violates the Fifth Amendment (p. 87), that the Court strike down efforts of political gerrymandering (p. 90), and that it enforce the Voting Rights Act to guard against racially discriminatory policies (contra Shelby County v. Holder (2013)) (p. 97). Providing effective governance means that the Court should aim to "empower government at all levels to deal with social problems" (contra US v. Lopez (1995) and US v. Morrison (2000)) (p. 123) but that it should enforce the system of checks and balances to constrain the increasingly powerful office of president. "Establishing justice" requires that the Court relax or abandon completely its absolute and qualified immunity doctrines (contra Van de Camp v. Goldstein (1982) and Plumhoff v. Rickard (2014)), which frustrate efforts to hold police officers accountable when they violate people's rights, especially those of racial minorities (p. 132). It also means treating problems of excessive punishments, including the death penalty, as violations of the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" (contra Lockyer v. Andrade (2003) and Glossip v. Gross (2015)) (p.158).  

When it comes to "securing liberty," Chemerinsky focuses primarily on various rights to privacy and on religious liberty. He argues that privacy rights deserve fierce protection, particularly in the abortion context, where the state has an obligation to remain "neutral" on the issue, leaving the decision of whether to abort a fetus mainly to the woman and her doctor (p. 187), as Roe v. Wade (1973) held. Religious liberty, however, must not be used so as to inflict harm on others. Yet that is precisely what the Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013) authorized companies to do by holding that the First Amendment protects a company's right not to provide its employees with health-insurance coverage for birth control even though a federal statute mandated such coverage. 

Chemerinksy's most ambitious interpretive proposals come when filling out what "achieving equality" requires today. There he not only defends the constitutionality and wisdom of affirmative-action programs but also argues for abandoning the requirement, entrenched in the Court's equal protection doctrine since the 1970s, that racial or gender-based discrimination must be intentional to qualify for constitutional protection (pp. 202-20). More ambitiously, he argues that a progressive reading of the Fourteenth Amendment would read it to include a right to "minimum entitlements, including education and food and shelter and medical care" (p. 201). Although that idea now seems "unthinkable," he suggests that, had Hubert Humphrey won the presidency in 1968, rather than Richard Nixon, such rights would have become part of our constitutional law (pp. 221-22). 

Mr. Cherminsky is obviously not wrong that, as a simple matter of textual construction, primacy needs to be given to the Preamble, which describes the purposes of the entire document and actions that transgress those purposes are prima facie not protected by it. But, while those are the Ends, the rest of the Constitution describes the Means we have chosen to realize them and there he seems to have no regard for the actual text. Indeed, he reflects the inevitable hostility to the constitutional order that we always find in those who desire results that republic liberty and the Separation of Powers will not render.

Several of his objections are easily dispensed with; the Electoral College and gerrymandering (drawing unequal legislative districts for nakedly political purposes--like two Senators per state) are explicit in the Constitution, so arguing that they are inconsistent with the purposes of the document is simply bizarre.  The giveaway is that he has ditched the wording of the Preamble in favor of "democracy" which a republic is explicitly not.  Of course, the Amendment process affords us a means of changing these anti-democratic provisions--as we disastrously did with the appointment of Senators--but, thus far, we have not chosen to do so.

And, while we have properly chosen to reduce use of the death penalty or even ban it on state levels, the argument that it is inconsistent with the Constitution can not get around the fact that it was not considered so by the authors.  the proper remedy for those who consider it cruel and unusual is legislative, not interpretive.

Meanwhile, he has clearly lost the plot when he insists on some panoply of privacy rights, a concept nowhere mentioned in the Preamble nor the rest of the text.  On the other hand, free exercise of religion is mentioned and, therefore, protected, so he needs some other way to achieve his results.  The simplest in the specific circumstance he raises would be to differentiate between employers.  Thus, a businessman who owns his own company or a religious organization could not be bound to provide abortion coverage, but a corporation or 501c3 could, not being either persons or religious institutions.

But the most troubling part of his whole program and the point where it most clearly departs from the text is in his notion that the Executive and Judiciary branches should exercise the Legislative function (the Court should aim to "empower government at all levels to deal with social problems").   Given that republican liberty requires not only that we all be bound equally by every law but that we be allowed to participate in the deliberations over and process of adopting such laws, the idea that unelected officials should be able to effectively write laws on their own is antithetical to our Republic.  (Neil Gorsuch's book is good on some of this.)

ultimately, the answer to the question the review raises--is a Progressive reading of the Constitution possible?--is the same as the answer to the question of whether a Regressive reading (as the Right prefers) is possible: No. The Left and Right do not have an argument with how to read the text but with the purposes of the text.  It is the Republic they want to get rid of.

Posted by orrinj at 8:51 AM


The Book of the Dead: review of The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace, by Paul Thomas Chamberlin (JOHN MCCALLUM, 2/12/20, The New Rambler)

Paul Thomas Chamberlin's new history of the Cold War puts this killing in a different light. Ambassador Dubs was a casualty of war--if not in a formal or legal sense, then as a matter of geopolitical reality. Rather than an aberration, his shooting affords an all too typical glimpse of a ghastly half-century of combat along the Asian frontier between liberal capitalism and revolutionary communism. In the forty-five years after the termination of World War II, twenty million people died in violent international conflicts and civil wars (19). Most of them were civilians, and their deaths followed a well-defined geography. The killing happened in wars with a close nexus to Cold War competition, and took place in an interconnected set of "bloodlands" that sprawled from Beirut in the west to Seoul and Pyongyang in the east, running through Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. What the historian John Lewis Gaddis famously called the "long peace" between the Soviet Union and the United States was, from the perspective of Asia's southern tier, as bloody as the First World War.   [...]

The methodology of following the bodies yields two basic insights into the architecture of Cold War violence. First, it had a distinct shape. Mass death was heavily concentrated along the fluid, postcolonial contact zone between the capitalist world and the two major Communist states, China and the Soviet Union. This physical expanse had been identified as a coherent territory in the middle of World War II by the director of the Yale Institute of International Studies, Nicholas Spykman, who called it "the rimland," and described it as "a vast buffer zone of conflict between sea power and land power" (44).  

In Spykman's estimate, control over these territories by a sea power--like the United States or Britain--would permit that power to encircle and dominate the "heartlands" of Russia and Eastern Europe. Spykman's rimland included much of the European subcontinent, but in Europe the heavily militarized and precisely demarcated national frontiers froze the superpower confrontation into a tense, but stable, standoff. Between Turkey and the eastern reaches of Asia, however, the collapse of formal and informal imperial power structures left room for open competition. And the paranoid, zero-sum logic that descended on the world capitals between 1945 and the start of the Korean War in 1950 militarized that competition, while also detaching it from any reasonably limited strategic aims. Vietnam or Afghanistan, if viewed through this lens, could take on almost incalculable significance, despite never having previously figured into the thinking of American diplomats. As Chamberlin puts it, "The horrors of the Second World War were over, but the wars of containment were just beginning" (46).  

The second, and perhaps the more interesting, feature of Chamberlin's analysis is that Cold War killing had a temporal structure of its own, marked by three major "waves" of violence that do not perfectly correspond to existing narratives of the wider conflict. Chamberlin lets these waves shape his chronology, decisively downplaying some of the major episodes of superpower tensions (his index does not mention détente or the Bay of Pigs, for example) in order to pivot around successive bloodlettings between 1949-51, the early 1970s, and the mid-1980s. These waves began in northern China, swept south and west through Indonesia and South Asia, and culminated with an effort to instrumentalize Islam as a weapon of superpower struggle in a set of interconnected conflicts in the greater Middle East. As these waves crested and broke, the prospects of secular revolution rose and fell, and utopian socialism gave way to ethno-religious mobilizations.  

Mao Zedong's Communist Party was in the cockpit of the first spike in violence, which Chamberlin calls the "East Asian Offensive." Beginning with the Chinese Civil War and extending to Korea and Indochina, this offensive blended revolutionary socialist aspirations with the contested establishment of sovereign nations out of the Japanese and French empires. In 1945 and 1946 it seemed just barely possible that the long-simmering war between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and Mao's Chinese Communist Party could be papered over with some kind of political resolution. But what looked to Moscow and Washington like political differences were profound social ruptures, and civil war embroiled the Chinese countryside almost from the start. The violence was staggering. In 1949, Mao gave Stalin a progress report: "In three years of fighting, he boasted, the PLA had killed '5 million 590 thousand people.' Mao estimated that no more than 500,000 GMD forces remained" (98). In the most populous nation in the world, a revolutionary party had wrested the initiative from both Moscow and Washington, and won a transformative victory. 

The Chinese Communist Party's takeover demonstrated the potential of revolutionary violence to reshape Asia. Mao's example electrified left-wing movements across the region, terrified Washington, and gave Moscow a partner and competitor. With Korean and Indochinese revolutions perched on the edge of reproducing Mao's triumph, the Truman administration militarized its commitment to containment, propping up the French war in the south and pouring the full weight of American conventional arms into the Korean peninsula. Containment had been transformed from a watchful presence in Germany to the routine use of high-altitude strategic bombers against Korean cities. By 1954, millions had been killed to secure uneasy stalemates. One offensive was over, and its close brought a real and massive reduction in the scale of warfare. But the peace would not last long. By the early 1960s, a new wave of violence was cresting as communist revolution slipped further out of the control of either Moscow or Beijing.  

What Chamberlin labels the "Indo-Asian Bloodbaths of the Middle Cold War" (179) were far more complex and heterogeneous than the surge of revolution after 1945. This second wave of violence included the American phase of the war in Vietnam; the entanglement of Laos and Cambodia in that conflict, culminating in the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime; the decimation of the Indonesian left-wing in a wave of political massacres in 1965; and Bangladesh's secession from Pakistan in 1971. The period began with the loftiest aspirations for revolution and ended in a morass of sectarian and ethnic violence that "killed more than six million people" and "demolished global Communist solidarity" (356).  

In its place, there arose a third wave of killing, the "Great Sectarian Revolts of the Late Cold War" (362). These conflicts arose from the direct repudiation of the futures promised by capitalist and socialist modernization. The Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Lebanese Civil War, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan produced the most prolonged peak in the series of post-1945 conflicts; a grinding series of battles that lasted the entire decade of the 1980s and planted the immediate seeds of post-1990 conflict. While the ideological oppositions of the 1950s collapsed in exhaustion, the strategies of containment and revolution lumbered on, fueling a final desultory round of proxy warfare that turned the lands from the Mediterranean to Afghanistan into a seedbed of future crises.  

The cost in lives of not using nukes to decapitate regimes, starting with not dropping the second one on Moscow, is incalculable.  But we, understandably, like to pretend to ourselves that it was humane and good.

Posted by orrinj at 8:38 AM



The survey of 1,183 randomly-selected registered voters conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler for the Dallas Morning News revealed Republican incumbent Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would both take 43 percent of the vote across the state. [...]

The results mirrored those of aIBD/TIPP poll carried out between April 26 and 29 involving 948 registered voters, which again put both Trump and Biden at 43 percent. Overall, however, Biden was leading Trump in most national polls last week.

Donald and the GOP will have to spend so much money and effort just trying to hold TX that you can kiss every Purple state goodbye, nevermind the Blue.

Posted by orrinj at 8:34 AM


The Long-lasting Effects of Living under Communism on Attitudes towards Financial Markets (Christine Laudenbach, Ulrike Malmendier, Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi, March 2020, NBER Working Paper No. 26818)

We analyze the long-term effects of living under communism and its anticapitalist doctrine on households' financial investment decisions and attitudes towards financial markets. Utilizing comprehensive German brokerage data and bank data, we show that, decades after Reunification, East Germans still invest significantly less in the stock market than West Germans. Consistent with communist friends-and-foes propaganda, East Germans are more likely to hold stocks of companies from communist countries (China, Russia, Vietnam) and of state-owned companies, and are unlikely to invest in American companies and the financial industry. Effects are stronger for individuals exposed to positive "emotional tagging," e.g., those living in celebrated showcase cities. Effects reverse for individuals with negative experiences, e.g., environmental pollution, religious oppression, or lack of (Western) TV entertainment. Election years trigger further divergence of East and West Germans. We provide evidence of negative welfare consequences due to less diversified portfolios, higher-fee products, and lower risk-adjusted returns.

Just because you reach the End of History doesn't make your society healthy.  There's plenty of heavy lifting ahead.