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Rage against the technocrats (17th-century edition)

A daily digest of opinions and analysis from Bloomberg View.

They Really Knew How to Do Populist Revolts in 1627!

Holland was prospering under a globalist technocrat. Then ... well, things went downhill. Justin Fox mines the rise and fall of Johan de Witt — 17th-century ruler of the Dutch Republic, friend to merchants, efficiency expert, and all-around competent guy — for insight into today’s populist moment. (There will be less flaying this time.)

Math Will Kill Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Sure, maybe Trump will somehow come up with $1 trillion to invest in roads and bridges. But where is he going to find 570,000 new construction workers? Conor Sen says the already-tight labor market can generate one-tenth that — unless the president dramatically increases immigration.  

Have ‘Alternative Facts’ Come to India, Too?

India’s government claims have pulled off an economic miracle. But why would private consumption rise just as currency disappeared? Mihir Sharma checks the new numbers, and finds them a little too good to be true.

For Better and Worse, Ackman’s Still Betting Against Herbalife

Even after the FTC let Herbalife live, hedge-fund activist Bill Ackman still expects the troubled company will die. Joe Nocera is both skeptical and impressed by his campaign against the once- (and some say still-) dodgy purveyor of diet foods: The fight may not be good for investors, but it probably is for America. 

Ritholtz’s Reads

  • Don’t make a bar bet with Warren Buffett (Alpha Architect)
  • This is how your hyperpartisan news gets made (BuzzFeed)
  • I was on the fence about Trump, until I discovered he orders his steak well done with ketchup (Grub Street)

(Read Barry Ritholtz’s full daily news roundup here.) 

Bloomberg Gadfly 

(Read more from BV’s sister site for fast business commentary.)

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.