Press Review April 2nd 2014

Is freer trade good for everyone? Thomas Edsall, contributing OP-ED writer for the New York Times considers this question from different perspectives. He cites Branko Milanovic, CUNY visiting professor and a former senior World Bank economist studying global income growth from 1998-2008, who has asked whether “…the growth of China and India take place on the back of the middle class in rich countries…” Jagdhish Bagwati, professor of economics at Columbia University, in contrast, considers the benefits of freer trade: “There is an alternative narrative that says the pressure on our workers’ incomes arises from continual and deep labor-saving technical change; that many labor-intensive activities have already been lost here; and that therefore the workers are not going to lose as producers from lowered world prices of labor-intensive goods, but rather the workers will gain as consumers benefit from these cheapening prices. In this scenario or narrative, trade with the poor countries…moderates the fall in wages that technical change brings about.” While the debate rages on, Edsall cites several compelling recent studies which point to clear negative impacts of freer trade for American workers and the future standard of living in the West.

Reviewing a new book by the reporters behind SPIEGEL’s coverage of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) scandals which have followed Edward Snowden’s revelations, the head of Germany’s counterintelligence agency Hans-Georg Maassen argues that the worries over government surveillence of citizens are, while not unfounded, nonetheless greatly exaggerated

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via video conference at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, in early March.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via video conference at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, in early March / Getty Images

Who performed the best in the recent French municipal elections? France’s Le Monde newspaper crunches the numbers, highlighting how the right has performed the best overall.

Spain’s El Pais delivers some good news on the Spanish economy for once: Unemployment has fallen for the sixth straight month. While employment has been expanding steadily in recent months, unemployment in Spain stands at 26 percent as of the last quarter of 2013.

In the Press Review section of the GovFaces blog you will find regular updates on important social, political, and economic issues of the day. Items presented here and in the Analysis & Opinion sections do not necessarily reflect the views of GovFaces.