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Must Read Op-Eds for October 7, 2011

CONFRONTING THE MALEFACTORS BY PAUL KRUGMAN NEW YORK TIMES And there are real political opportunities here.

CONFRONTING THE MALEFACTORS BY PAUL KRUGMAN NEW YORK TIMES And there are real political opportunities here. Not, of course, for today’s Republicans, who instinctively side with those Theodore Roosevelt-dubbed “malefactors of great wealth.” Mitt Romney, for example — who, by the way, probably pays less of his income in taxes than many middle-class Americans — was quick to condemn the protests as “class warfare.”…But Democrats are being given what amounts to a second chance. The Obama administration squandered a lot of potential good will early on by adopting banker-friendly policies that failed to deliver economic recovery even as bankers repaid the favor by turning on the president. Now, however, Mr. Obama’s party has a chance for a do-over. All it has to do is take these protests as seriously as they deserve to be taken…And if the protests goad some politicians into doing what they should have been doing all along, Occupy Wall Street will have been a smashing success.

WHERE ARE THE JOBS? BY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESRecently, a number of writers have grappled with this innovation slowdown…These writers concede that there has been incredible innovation in information technology…But the pace of change is slowing down in many other sectors. If you buy the innovation stagnation thesis, three explanations seem most compelling. First, the double hump nature of the learning curve…Second, there has been a loss of utopian élan. Third, there is no essential culture clash…The merger of these three idea networks set off a cascade of innovations, producing not only new products and management styles but also a new ideal personality — the corporate honcho in jeans and the long-sleeve black T-shirt.  The roots of great innovation are never just in the technology itself. They are always in the wider historical context. They require new ways of seeing…If you want to be the next Steve Jobs and end the innovation stagnation, maybe you should start in hip-hop. LEADERS LONG GONE BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTWolf’s frustrated attack on Norquist’s pledge is really a defense of the political profession. Pledges are designed to constrain politicians, who are viewed by activists as eager for corrupt compromise. But American political institutions are designed for prudent compromise in the public interest — which is what our fiscal crisis now requires. So maybe the time has come to allow politicians to do their resented, essential, noble work. OUR ONE-SIDED TRADE WAR WITH CHINA BY ROBERT J. SAMUELSONWASHINGTON POSTNo one should relish threatening China with a 25 percent tariff. It would be illegal under existing WTO rules; to save the postwar trading system, we’d have to attack it. This would risk an all-out trade war just when the world economy is already tottering. There’s no guarantee that China would respond as hoped. Initially, it might retaliate. Cooperation on other issues would collapse. Prices of Chinese exports (consumer electronics, shoes) that we barely make would probably rise. Other countries might adopt protective measures...All this is dangerous stuff. The policy’s only recommendation is that it might be slightly better than the alternative: condoning China’s ongoing assault on our industry. In the past, it’s been clothes and furniture; in the future, it will be cars and commercial aircraft. China’s policies assail other countries, too, and its trade surpluses destabilize the global economy. There’s already a trade war between them and us; but only one side is fighting. WHO ARE IRAN'S POLITICAL PRISONERS? BY ROXANA SABERIWALL STREET JOURNALThe Iranian regime needs to address human rights violations instead of denying their existence. If Tehran has nothing to hide, it would permit the recently appointed United Nations special rapporteur on human rights to enter the country. Tehran should also grant access to several other U.N. special experts who have been blocked from visiting since 2005.  U.N. officials...must place constant pressure on Tehran just as they have in cases such as mine. This will bring attention and justice to the real heroes, the everyday Iranians in prison for pursuing universal human rights and demanding respect for human dignity...International pressure might not always result in their freedom, but at least they will know they are not alone and can gain courage to carry on. And it can help Iranian authorities realize that the many faces of their justice system will only continue to isolate the Islamic Republic among the family of nations.STEVE JOBS AND THE COOLEST SHOW ON EARTH BY DAVID GELERNTERWALL STREET JOURNALThe 1984 Mac was catastrophically slow, had a laughable 128,000 bytes of memory, and a tiny nine-inch screen. It looked like an upright shoebox plus keyboard and mouse. But if you were to sit down at that ancient, obsolete museum-piece of a machine today, you would be right at home. The windows and menus, icons and mouse, onscreen rectangles with rounded corners and casual, easy-going pronouncements when the machine made a mistake or you did would all be familiar...Steve Jobs had a genius for seeing what was good and refining, repackaging and reselling it with dazzling panache. He knew what engineering was for, he understood elegance and he made machines that were works of art. We miss him already.