Davos Newbies Home

Save the whales? 

I’m as concerned as anyone to protect the dwindling number of whales on this planet. But I have mixed feelings about the efforts to save the beached whales on Cape Cod.

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing unnatural about these mass beachings. We can probably reckon they have been happening for millennia. Sometimes animals die through their own mistakes, or through unfortunate natural phenomena. Should we try to interfere in this natural cycle?

Weblogs and the media 

Howard Kurtz, media critic of The Washington Post, recognises bloggers as providing “a kind of instant feedback loop for media corporations that came of age in an era of one-way communications”. In the way of these things, he focuses mostly on outpourings from bloggers on the right of the political spectrum.

Two for one 

Tom Friedman takes a brief look at what an invasion of Iraq might mean for the oil price.

He mentions in passing the possibility of a soaring oil price, but doesn’t really look at what that might mean for a world economy that is stuttering along at the moment. He does, however, examine more closely what a plunging price might mean.

“A quick victory that brings Iraq fully back into the oil market could lead to a sharp fall in oil incomes throughout OPEC that could seriously weaken the oil cartel and rob its many autocratic regimes of the income they need to maintain their closed political systems. In fact, give me sustained $10-a-barrel oil and I’ll give you revolutions from Iran to Saudi Arabia, and throw in Venezuela. If that scenario prevails, you could look at an invasion of Iraq as a possible two-for-one sale: destroy Saddam and destabilize OPEC at the same time.”

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