Politics

The Biden administration has announced that most US forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11th. What have we learned since 2001 and what have the consequences of the war been? Could Al Qaeda have been expelled or destroyed without the invasion? How will the US / NATO / Canadian intervention affect Afghanistan’s long-term future? […]

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There is an intriguing hypothesis about the rational mind: while we think of it as a weigher of evidence that contributes to the decisions we make when faced with a choice, it’s possible that its real role is to construct a story after the fact about why we made the choice we did for instinctive […]

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The gradual sorting of partisans into the “correct” parties during the last fifty years has transformed a nation of cross-cutting political identities into a nation of increasingly aligned political identities. As Democrats and Republicans grow socially sorted, they have to contend not only with the natural bias that comes from being a partisan but also […]

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has raised the idea of a coordinated global minimum corporate tax, with the aim of disrupting ‘race to the bottom’ dynamics in taxation and the shift of assets to tax havens. Global coordination is likely a necessary prerequisite to effective wealth taxation. It could also help to improve the tolerability […]

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Even in the most basic definition of a group, [social psychologist Henri] Tajfel and his colleagues found evidence of ingroup bias: a preference for or privileging of the ingroup over the outgroup. In every conceivable iteration of this experiment, people privileged the group to which they had been randomly assigned. Ingroup bias emerged even when […]

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On one of today’s walks I listened to an unusually good episode of the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast: The Confidence Game. I ordered Maria Konnikova’s book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time and will read David Maurer’s 1940 book The Big Con when I go back to visiting libraries. […]

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During the U of T campaign, a validating source like this memo from the University of British Columbia’s Vice-President Finance and Operations would have been amazing for responding to the argument that divestment is financially irresponsible: Results of Mantle’s analysis (full report attached as Appendix A) indicate that the link between climate change and the […]

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Having just finished Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, I appreciated the chance to get his perspective on the years of his first administration. Perhaps the most consistent substantive point that struck me is the difficult and ambiguous balance between pressing a decision maker to go further on an issue like climate change and hampering that […]

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Perhaps the hardest thing about doing a PhD in Toronto is finding decent housing and paying for it with the kind of income the university’s funding package and TA work provides. Since the 2008 financial crisis, governments around the world have undertaken exceptional monetary and fiscal stimulus to try to sustain employment and economic growth. […]

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Let’s begin with two simple premises: The amount of climate change the world experiences depends on the total quantity of fossil fuels that get burned. As such, there is little value in avoiding burning particular coal, oil, and gas reserves in one time period if we then burn them in another In Canada, the US, […]

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