6. Weekend Reads

Here's a few longer reads on political, social and economic issues for the weekend.

Donald Trump's trade rhetoric appears at odds with just about everyone, but as economic historian Adam Tooze points out in the New York Times, Trump isn't the only one who misunderstands how trade works. The Germans and Chinese are just as guilty. It's a fascinating piece: "Trump Is Wrong About Trade. So Is Everyone Else. The American president isn’t alone in misunderstanding how competition actually works in the global economy."

Further to all the talk about deficits and surpluses, the IMF put out its External Sector Report this week. It found: "Global current account balances stand at about 3¼ percent of global GDP. Of this, 40-50 percent are now deemed excessive, i.e. some countries are saving too much, and others are borrowing too much. And while global imbalances remain broadly unchanged in recent years, they have become increasingly concentrated in advanced economies. This finding matters because persistent excess imbalances may become unsustainable, putting the global economy at risk and aggravating trade tensions. They can also make deficit countries vulnerable to sudden reversals of capital flows, when lenders get nervous and pull out their money."

This should be a lesson to us all, via Liz Alderman in the New York Times: Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

This piece from NBC: Facebook's new office won't have free meals — by law highlights the sorts of clashes we're now having in cities between tech plutocrats and the rest of us. Facebook wanted to feed its own staff on site with fancy meals. The local Government wanted to encourage them to get out among the rest of us and buy from local businesses.

The debate about meat and dairy's role in greenhouse emissions is well and truly on. Research published in the journal Science this week found meat and dairy were responsible for 60 percent of Agriculture's emissions. If we gave up meat and dairy, we could reduce farmland by more than 75 percent worldwide and have enough food for everyone to eat, the analysis shows. Here's the piece in Grist: The planet wants you to stop eating so much meat and dairy

Paul Keating is one of my favourite politicians. A brutal wit who always goes to the heart of the matter. Here's his piece in The Guardian on Nine's takeover of Fairfax yesterday. The Fairfax takeover is a great pity – Nine has the ethics of an alley cat