Wednesday, June 30, 2004

"Land and property has become the safe harbour for a lot of Arab capital that flow from Western capital markets following the latest development. Dubai has attracted large number of individual and corporate investors from overseas with attractive return on investment. In fact many small national and AGCC investors seem to have joined hands to buy lands and properties in last the few years sending the market rates high," added Al Ali.

Is this article from the Khaleej Times overoptimistic? Perhaps. Yet at least Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) is trying. Most of the big post world war two success stories of liberalization which ultimately produced stable democracies, such as South Korea and Taiwan, started with serious government efforts to modernize and join the global economy. There may well be more cause to hope for the birth of a liberalizing example in the middle east here than in Iraq.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I've often thought the ombudsman column at the New York Times was a great idea well implemented, and that many critics of the Times should try something similar. I've never before seen them use the excuse that everyone else did the same thing or worse (although it is often true) until now.

If out-of-tune headlines required apologies, the newspaper business would soon turn into a cacophony of confession.

I'm always annoyed at those who ignore glaring distortions by media reflecting their own political viewpoint while bashing the New York Times for much smaller errors. As an admirer of the Times, I think it's worth pointing out they have fallen short of the example they wish to set.

I'm sure the ombudsman can't change industrywide standards for headlines, or even NYT's standards. Many people get their news on some subjects from the headlines - perhaps more than read any given story to the end. This problem is worth thinking hard about, and now would have been a great time to start. Ah well.

(Mailed to NYT ombudsman 6/28/04).