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It Was A “Baht” Time!

imfgoIF Republican grandees like George Shultz, William Simon, and Walter Wriston are calling for an end to the International Monetary Fund as we know it, then it is clearly an issue whose time has come. The IMF has become a global force for hardship, austerity, and economic failure. Wherever the IMF travel schedule takes its senior staff, grass never grows again.

Last summer IMF chief Michel Camdessus visited Thailand and strongly suggested that the baht be de-linked from the U.S. dollar in order to effect a 15 per cent depreciation. Admittedly, by that stage, a devaluation of the baht had become inevitable. As Milton Friedman wrote in these pages a month ago about the Asian crisis: “The central banks of the countries involved tried to achieve two objectives — peg the exchange rate and promote domestic expansion — with a single instrument: control of the domestic money supply (more precisely, the banks’ own liabilities). The resulting domestic inflation led to overvalued exchange rates . . . Not devaluing would have been a second mistake that would only have increased the harm done by the first mistake.”

Thailand’s turmoil before and since the … Read the rest

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Protectionism: Never Good, No Matter The Intentions

pngMr. Borjas is professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. This article draws upon work reported in “How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?” written jointly with Richard B. Freeman and Lawrence F. Katz and published in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1997.

THE defeat of “fast track” boosts protectionism in both political parties. The labor unions and Dick Gephardt were already emotionally committed to “fair trade” as a means of saving American jobs. They will now calculate that it is also good politics. Pat Buchanan will be similarly tempted to stress tariffs rather than immigration reform in his “America First” package. So the political debate may continue to ignore the potential economic trade-offs between free trade and immigration — although new research shows they can be dramatic.

Trade and immigration have risen sharply in recent decades. In 1970, exports and imports stood at 8 per cent of GDP; by 1996, they had risen to about 19 per cent. Much of this increase is trade with the Third World: by 1996, nearly 40 per cent of all imports came from there. … Read the rest

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Easy To Use Skin Tag Removal Products

strpHaving skin tags is a problem that many people have had to contend with. While some people are more likely to grow these soft, benign tumors, almost every person can develop them. Not that they are a big medical problem to an individual. On the contrary, there is not as much as irritation that people experience when they have skin tags. Usually, just the appearance of these skin growths is what pushes people to seek skin tag removal products. They will usually ruin the smoothness of eyelids, necks and armpits, which are the parts of the body they mostly frequent.

When you need to get rid of these skin problems, there are a number of methods that can be used. Freezing and even severing them are some means through which you can redeem the smoothness of your skin. However, in recent times, people are opting for simple to use procedures for removal. This is mainly in the form of OTC skin tag removal products. As anyone would expect, there are a number of such products mostly in the form of creams and formulas. With easy application, the right kind of product will enable you have smooth skin after a number of uses.

How To Choose The Right Means To Remove Skin Tags

Skin tags may not cause you any pain or irritation but may be a source of flawed skin. This is the reason why many people choose to alleviate these growths from the skin.  There are a number of methods that can be used to remove them and leave the skin smooth. Cutting and freezing are some of the approaches that can be used to rid your skin of this menace. Many people even choose to use OTC skin tag removal products because it allows them an easy home remedy. However, before you determine the best approach to use in this regard, there are a number of things that you may wish to consider.

First, the impact that the method of removal will have Continued…

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Minor Differences Mean Major Finance Issues

mfmMARION Barry, the mayor of Washington, D.C., has put up $100,000 of his taxpayers’ money so the city can compete to host the next summer Olympics. Apparently he hopes to enter himself in the crack and field events.

This promises to be a most educational month or two in the international markets. What has gone on so far in Asia promises to be just a runup to the main events. Let’s take South Korea, whose economy is bigger than those of Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia put together.

The more conspiratorially minded followers of international finance tend to believe that there is some person or group with superhuman intelligence and power who will be able to orchestrate a bailout of the system — at the expense, of course, of the small producer, investor, voter, taxpayer, etc. My own experience is that the world is ruled more by collective incompetence than by conspiracy. I think we are about to see my hypothesis proved right.

South Korea has a minimum of $60 billion of foreign-currency debt due in less than one year. It may have foreign-exchange reserves of as much as $30 billion (the optimistic … Read the rest

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Solving Education Woes Difficult, But Necessary

seWHEN administrators in the Connetquot school district on New York’s Long Island decided earlier this year to hire more teachers for their schools, they began their selection process by requiring that the would-be teachers — all of them graduates of better education schools — demonstrate the ability to answer the reading-comprehension questions on the State High School English Regents Test, which the school’s own students had been given over the years.

Here is the beginning of one reading passage and the questions based on it.

The freeze-up on Black Bear Lake is a prelude to winter. The freeze-up is a prelude to hardship. The freeze-up is a prelude to loneliness. . . .

1. The effect of lines 1 and 2 is achieved by the narrator’s use of what literary device?

a) Contrast.

b) Symbolism.

c) Definition.

d) Repetition.

2. The narrator associates the freeze-up with . . .

a) Difficulty and isolation.

b) Observation and judgment.

c) Conflict and resolution.

d) Challenge and accomplishment.

These were typical questions from the test. Of 758 licensed teachers who took this multiple-choice exam, only 202 could answer the required 80 per cent of the … Read the rest

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Diana: Remembering The Present

pdTEN days after Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash, she was still the top story on the nightly network news. Money pouring in to the charitable fund established in her memory had reached $150 million (other charities also benefitted). Flowers sent to her island grave entirely carpeted the island and were causing environmental problems. Crowds were still lining up to sign the books of condolence at Kensington Palace and at British embassies. A Tory MP reports that people signing the condolence book in his constituency did more than sign it: they copied out heartfelt testimonials to her drafted ahead of time. What explains this extraordinary outpouring of grief? Diana’s photogenic beauty?

Not alone, surely: there are other women as lovely or lovelier. Her good works? But Mother Teresa, whose life was devoted to others, received respect rather than adoration in death. That she was a wronged woman, Diana the Sad?  We saw a flawed, beautiful, willful, well-meaning woman go from fairy-tale romance through modernity’s prosaic discontents to the climax of a death borrowed from grand opera.

Even so, the excessive grief that we have displayed says more … Read the rest

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