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James Burke (Dublin, Ireland)

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Free Trade Doesn't Work
Free Trade Doesn't Work
by Ian Fletcher
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Free Trade DOES Work - Though Not Necessarily With The Current WTO Agreement, 21 Sep 2010

I have to say that I fully agree with Waziona Ligomeka's critique of this book's claims (see here: - which is why I haven't done my own personal review(!) [why reinvent the wheel!?] - and am astonished that others, who've given glowing reviews on the US Amazon site, haven't disagreed!

I would only add that the proposed tariff of the author is the "one-size-fits-all" variety, which could just as easily be copied by other countries in a tit-for-tat reaction: this would render the tariff useless and, therefore, needless in the first place - beggaring its imposition.

If there is to be a tariff, it should be a "smart" strategic one - similar to Australia's immigration strategy, where they allow(ed) immigrants based solely on their need for the employment market. A similar approach would allow a tariff that could be varied depending on which products or raw materials were needed for manufacturing purposes. In fact, this latter scenario is now being considered/implemented by the USA - the import of raw materials will be facilitated over those which are not required.

My own disagreement with the WTO's rules concerns clauses which prevent countries from blocking international products from being sold within their borders. These were intended to prevent protectionism but they also prevent governments from doing so on the grounds of public health and safety. In my view, there needs to be a change to the WTO's rules allowing governments to protect their citizens from anything considered dangerous to the public's health.

Kindest regards,

Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2010 11:27 PM BST

A New History of Early Christianity
A New History of Early Christianity
by Charles Freeman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.95

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and easy read..., 19 Jun 2010
As a Irish Christian - I can't call myself Roman Catholic anymore due to my no longer accepting the "virgin birth" to mention but one reason - I have been interested in this subject for many years.

I agree with Drs. Jones' and Stanton's reviews - this is a easy read, where all the "heavy" (academic) material is neatly tucked away at the end of the book, which provides the reader with extensive references to investigate the subject matter further.

One might say that this is the sort of approach to writing about complex subjects which should be used more often as it allows the non-academic to explore the subject as deeply as they wish through the references.

I was already familiar with some of the material but found quite a bit of new information regarding the many alternative "heretical" beliefs of the time and the interaction with Pagan beliefs, both Roman and, particularly, Greek philosophers.

One is struck by the thought of the similarity of the development of Christianity with that of early science - for example, where the "orthodoxy" of Ptolemy's cosmology all but crushes the "heretical" (though relatively more accurate) alternative of Aristarchus.

That if only matters had been different...!

The two main ones being:

1) The conceptual/lingual trap of "God the Father, God the Son,..." leading to the Arian Heresy/"sub-ordinationism" and the problems of how to explain - never mind, understand! - the concept of the Holy Trinity, which led to the imposition of orthodox beliefs encapsulated in the Council of Nicaea (AD 326) and the Councils of Constantinople (AD 360, 381 and 383);

2) The "young girl" (almah) to "virgin" (virgo) translation/interpretational error, which ultimately led to its logical conclusion of the orthodox belief in the Theotokos at the Council of Ephesus (AD 431).

And those are just the main ones!

As a result of this book's extensive references, I'm now further investigating various areas of this subject, which are of interest to me - Robin Lane Fox's "Pagans and Christians" was already on my "must read" list, this book has added impetus to my getting it; equally, I'm exploring Hellenistic philosophy further and the "Desert Fathers" (Evagrius, John Cassius, etc) as well.

Perhaps the author should claim commission for selling other authors' books which he references!?

This is a book well worth reading - if only for the references, timeline, glossary, etc.

Minor errata:

Glossary (Page 341) - "Filioque":
The description includes the phrase "... rather than the Son alone." Should this not read "... rather than the Father alone.", as explained in the text on pages 290-1?

Marcus Terentius Varro is mentioned in the text but not referenced in "People" or the index.

I was somewhat discomfited at seeing "heaven and/on earth" throughout the book without the expected capitalization - I'm not sure if this was intentional or not. Certainly one would expect "Earth" when referring to the world as against "earth" for the soil.

PS - I may reply to another reviewer's somewhat negative impressions...

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