Alexandru Georgescu
Alexandru Georgescu
Economist, Research Fellow with the EURISC Foundation, studying geopolitics, international security issues and critical infrastructure protection, currently in a Ph.D. research program on the latter subject
Plato’s Cave, American Edition

Plato’s Cave, American Edition

Plato’s cave is a place where people sit chained seeing the shadows cast on the wall by a fire and thinking that that is reality. Escaping the cave requires a rough ascent into sunlight to experience reality as it is. A weird and troubling phenomenon is taking place in the political battles surrounding Donald Trump’s Presidency that will reverberate beyond this embattled term, as it sets a new low of public discourse which future political leaders and scandalmongers will find it easier to match. While there is a necessity for strategic ambiguity in politics, it has become impossible to distinguish reality from theater, especially since the media has decided to become a player and not an arbiter. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Considerations on North Korea

Considerations on North Korea

The “hermit kingdom” of North Korea is back in the news, at the center of a new round of exchanges of bellicose declarations, underpinned by failed tests for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that, nevertheless, show the impressive progress of the country’s indigenous program. The missile capabilities are meant to provide a delivery device for the country’s nuclear weapons, the other great program beset by a string of failures and shoestring successes. Western observers are now attempting to “read the tea leaves” in order to predict when the country will have achieved the ability to threaten the continental United States, while the threat to its immediate neighbors, South Korea and Japan, remains real but uncertain. The weapon systems involved are complex and, as has been suggested of the recent failed test, prone to cyber-attacks and sabotage through the component supply chain. Rather, the immediate threat to a country like South Korea is all of the conventional artillery pointed at its capital, which would make flattening Seoul in a matter of hours a foregone proposition. With Donald Trump at the helm of the US and sending carrier groups in the vicinity, a man given to grand gestures as negotiating bids, the latest tensions with North Korea seem momentous, as if some form of denouement to the regime in Pyongyang is looming. The form it would take is critical to its neighbors, who fear both the ways in which the country can lash out violently, as well as the consequences of a collapse of power, such as millions of refugees trying to cross land borders or internecine warfare.  More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Genesis of a President and the Four Horsemen of the Establishment's Trumpocalypse

The Genesis of a President and the Four Horsemen of the Establishment's Trumpocalypse

Donald Trump’s stunning electoral upset presages a new political realignment within the United States’ two-party system. Hopefully, the end of such a process will be a more competitive system, in which the preferences of the large and increasingly heterogenous American population are better aggregated and reflected in the resulting public policies. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Henderson’s Last Warning – in Victory, Possible Defeat

Henderson’s Last Warning – in Victory, Possible Defeat

The death of Dr. Donald Henderson in August 2016 went largely unremarked by the wider world. Instead of the evening news, I learned of it from an Economist obituary but, by rights, the event should have been a global opportunity to meditate on his life’s work, which involved saving at least a hundred million people from death by smallpox and another three hundred million from the disfiguring effects of infection. In 1966, the World Health Organization (WHO) was given the task of getting rid of smallpox. Donald Henderson had already been studying the disease in over 50 countries. By 1977, Henderson was observing the last natural recorded case of smallpox and, by 1980, the WHO had announced the success of the Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP), something previously thought unachievable. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Obama’s Last Hurrahs

Obama’s Last Hurrahs

With just a few weeks to go until the inauguration of President-Elect Trump’s Administration and his destined-to-be-controversial cabinet, President-Eject Obama (as political pundit Steve Sailer put it) has been and is challenging notions of what a “lame duck” President should do with his time. He has been extraordinarily active in taking actions which Donald Trump would not entertain so lightly. In this, he is hoping to either buttress a lackluster political legacy or to force Trump’s hand with a series of “fait accompli”. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Innovation’s Feet of Clay

Innovation’s Feet of Clay

Constant technological improvement is the fixed idea of the modern world, spoken of as a self-evident truth or an axiom in what has become the closest thing to religious revelation that many people get to experience. Not only is technology improving but, in many ways, it is also accelerating, leading to concepts such as Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity “within our lifetimes”, when computers become smarter than people and technological development becomes unmoored from human inspiration or effort. This might be the case and, in truth, ideas to the contrary have been proven wrong ever since the apocryphal episode of the Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Charles Duell, suggesting its closure on account of everything having already been invented by 1899. However, evidence is mounting that the rate of true scientific and technological advancement has only been maintained through the allocation of greater and greater resources, both financial and human. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Trump’s Infrastructure Blues

Trump’s Infrastructure Blues

There is a phenomenon jokingly associated with Steve Jobs, called a “reality distortion field”, whereby he did not just happen to be right very often with regards to his products, but the Universe itself conspired to make him right, regardless of what he said when it comes to what the consumers want or need. A similar phenomenon has been observed with Donald Trump, ever since he announced his candidacy for the US Presidency. Some pundits have taken to calling it “Trump’s luck” and, were there any possible means for him to do so, the coincidences have been so “fortuitous” that one expects him to have arranged them himself. His announcement speech spoke about illegal immigrant criminals and was widely derided by the media for not bearing any relation to their preferred reality. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Starved of Elites

Starved of Elites

The staffing of the Trump Administration will always be its Achilles’ heel, from the lowest echelons of its 4,000 positions to be filled to the Cabinet level of the mandarins who decide many of the US Executive branch’s policies and their details. Regardless of the factual and moral truth in the matter of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s discussions with the Russian Ambassador and his report on the content of the discussion to his superiors, the political truth made his position untenable even for Trump at his most defiant. While public contention has reached new heights with the Trump Presidency, every new Administration has had its staff criticized, scrutinized, derided, lambasted or slandered until a stable and workable political formula could be found. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


The Future Is Already Here. It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed

The Future Is Already Here. It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed

Science fiction author William Gibson coined the phrase in the title of this article in an interview with The Economist over a decade ago and his observation still stands. Automation and its physical sub-domain, robotization, are taking the world by storm. Automation stands for the reduction of human input in any process, though we will be referring mostly to economic processes. Labor saving devices and processes have been a mainstay of Western economic development since the Industrial Revolution, with their share of detractors, but labor elimination devices are increasingly more capable and more affordable, even for areas previously thought immune to automation. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Trumponomics

Trumponomics

Western political culture is adept at communication through soundbites and sloganizing. Adding suffixes (-nomics, -care, -ism) to names of politicians is one way of supposedly distinguishing their brand of ideology from that of another – Reaganomics, Thatcherism, Clintonomics, Romneycare, Obamacare. Echoing Bill Clinton’s famous campaign war cry, “it’s the economy, stupid!”, Trumponomics is possibly the most important component of President Donald Trump’s “greatness agenda” that won him a previously unthinkable electoral victory. His detractors have lambasted his views as being both heretical to current orthodoxies, as well as overly simplistic, which is another way of bemoaning Trump’s effectiveness as a political communicator and the current electoral revolt against the tyranny of the expert class consensus. However, Trumponomics is being shaped by dissident thinkers[i] encouraged by Trump’s anti-establishment ethos as a valuable and timely critique of past and current policies and how they have affected America itself, not just in the sense of abstract figures like GDP. While it may be a sign of the Trumpmania that swept stock markets in the period leading up to the inauguration, Deutsche Bank[ii] has already announced that Trumponomics will double yearly US growth and add another 0.5 percentage point to global growth by the end of his term, ending the worst economic recovery since The Great Depression:   More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Humours of an Election

Humours of an Election

One would think that, like Nostradamus, William Hogarth was given visions of the future which he could only portray through the filter of his culture and surroundings, in Oxfordshire, England, in the middle of the 18th century. His four paintings, collectively entitled “Humours of an Election”, read like an allegory of present day elections, whose wholesome exteriors are at odds with the vice often coursing underneath, erupting into sight either accidentally or at the instigation of rivals. The first three paintings (“An Election Entertainment”, “Canvassing for Votes” and “The Polling”) illustrate the endemic corruption during the election of a new Member of Parliament, supposedly from the 1754 elections. The last one, “Chairing the Candidate”, shows the Tory candidate victorious and celebrated by his supporters. The paintings are stunning for their detail and their intentional aesthetics of ugliness. Many threads are weaved simultaneously in the same painting. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


A Window into the Future

A Window into the Future

Trying to figure out what America or some other important country will do is a cottage industry that keeps many analysts well fed and in the public eye. One analyzes country profiles, historical precedents, and the national culture and even performs biographical analysis on its decision makers. One area which this author feels is a useful weathervane for the evolution of America’s worldview and political options beyond the medium-term is to see how its elites will shift in the future. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016