Email email@example.com for an appointment outside of office hours...
"You don’t get to claim that you’re not attacking the university when your first few sentences read like that. It suggests a lack of clarity in the argument—a sentence I would have written if I had been asked to peer-review this essay". Dan Drezner mocks the anti-humanities industry, and, boy, is it mockable: Daniel Drezner: A Paper That Would Never Have Gotten Past Peer Review Criticizes the Academy. Film at 11: "Last year scholars James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian proudly declared that they had hoodwinked a peer-reviewed journal into publishing nonsense.... That... was riddled with problems, not the least of which was that the journal they had hacked was a pay-for-play scam...
Note to Self: Books for Econ 210a: Introduction to Economic History (Spring 2019)
Note to Self: Optional Readings by This Year's Note Prize Winners:
Paul Romer (1989): Endogenous Technological Change: "Growth in this model is driven by technological change that arises from intentional investment decisions made by profit maximizing agents. The distinguishing feature of the technology as an input is that it is neither a conventional good nor a public good; it is a nonrival, partially excludable good...
Paul Romer (2015): Economic Growth: "Every generation has perceived the limits to growth that finite resources and undesirable side effects would pose if no new recipes or ideas were discovered. And every generation has underestimated the potential for finding new recipes and ideas...
William D. Nordhaus (1996): Do Real-Output and Real-Wage Measures Capture Reality? The History of Lighting Suggests Not: "During periods of major technological change, the construction of accurate price indexes that capture the impact of new technologies on living standards is beyond the practical capability of official statistical agencies. The essential difficulty arises for the obvious but usually overlooked reason that most of the goods we consume today were not produced a century ago...
William D. Nordhaus (2007): A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: "How much and how fast should we react to the threat of global warming? The Stern Review argues that the damages from climate change are large, and that nations should undertake sharp and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions...
Just in time for midterm exams: M. Aurelius Antoninus: :M. Cornelius Fronto: "To my teacher: I received two letters from you at the same time. In one of them, you were criticizing me and you were showing that I wrote a sentence rashly; in the second, however, you were trying to approve my work with praise. Still, I swear by my mother and by my health that I got more joy from the first letter...
Sanjoy Mahajan: Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving
George Pólya: How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1400828678
George Pólya: Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning: Induction and Analogy in Mathematics https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0691025096
George Pólya: Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning: Patterns of Plausible Inference https://books.google.com/books?isbn=069102510X Paul Zeitz: _The Art and Craft of Problem Solving https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1118916662
Tools: Uses of Mathematics in Economics
Macro Textbook Chapter 3: Thinking Like an Economist
How to Think Like an Economist (If, That Is, You Wish to...)
Optional Teaching Topic: How to Think Like an Economist... (Provided, That Is, You Wish to...) (Pre-Class? Mid-Class?)
Cedarbrook Notes: Occupy had zero impact on austerity budgets. Mont Pelerin was not important because they gathered by a lake, sang “kumbaya”, and felt a sense of solidarity. We should not pretend defeats were victories.
What can we do? I think there are three levels that we ought to be operating on—all, right now, understanding the world rather than trying to change it: understanding policies, understanding mobilizations, and understanding utopia:
The first is understanding the effects of policies: the policies adopted between 1980 and 2007 did not have the results that their advocates expected nor the results that their critics expected. We really do need to figure out how to understand what the social world is rather than what the models—both pro and con—in use during the neoliberal era said the social world was.
The second is understanding the vicissitude of mobilization. The standard political center-left plans to promote full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and infrastructure and public services—equitable growth—all these are things that should meet with near-universal applause. By contrast, con-game kleptocracy in the interest of plutocracy should not get 60 million votes. Fascism—the belief that you need a strong leader who is a bully, because he is your bully, and he will bully your enemies, who may be corporations, foreigners, people who look or think differently, and who are always the rootless cosmopolites—should not be attractive to a 21st-century electorate on any level. Yet, somehow, it, terrifyingly, is. The same social-science models that failed to adequately track the effects of neoliberal policies failed to predict the seductive attractiveness of 21st century neo-fascism. Thus we have two different levels at which we need to understand the societal world: the effects of neoliberal policies, and the possibilities for mobilization.
The third is the question of what our Utopia is. How will our different view of the social world change our goals for a good society? Our utopia will almost surely still include full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and lots of infrastructure. But it will also include other and deeper objectives—objectives that have not been on the New Deal and social democratic bucket lists.
These three tracks all need to be pushed forward. But they also very much need to be three tracks. And they need to be three different tracks.
A word about this peculiar costume—the closest thing you can get to goretex if all you have is a sheep—that I am now taking off...
Because of central heating, these male formal and semi-formal clothes aren't comfortable these days even in Oxford and Cambridge, England, where they were originally developed. They are really only comfortable in Scotland. That is well-and-good if you teach at the University of Edinburgh or in Glasgow—or, perhaps, in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, or maybe in Washington or Oregon.
It used to be that these clothes were comfortable here in Berkeley. But, because of global warming, the climate here these days is a lot like what I remember Santa Barbara being like half a century ago when I was a child. When I got a job here at Berkeley in the mid-1990s, I looked forward to living in a place in which tweed jackets and such were comfortable both inside and out. The fact that these clothes were actually comfortable here was a factor—a small factor, but a factor. Increasingly, however, that is no longer the case. A problem resulting from global warming, albeit a small problem.
Comment of the Day: Tracy Lightcap: Jacob Levy: I don’t think there’s anything—anything—on which I’ve gotten so much disbelief-that-becomes-near-anger as when I contradict the post-2014 Fox narrative about campus life...: "This is it, but I think the process is a bit more complicated. People who have made up their minds on a topic and committed themselves to it are still susceptible to arguments that work through repetition to undermine authority figures...
This may, to some degree, be the growing pains of new technology. There were people who strongly objected to printing, on the grounds that the only way to truly grok a book was to copy it out word-for-word by hand. In their view, printing produced a bunch of shallow intellectual poseurs who would have only a surface and inadequate knowledge of the books that they had not really read but only skimmed (cf.: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein (1980): The Printing Press as an Agent of Change https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0521299551; Johannes Trithemius (1492): In Praise of Scribes https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0919026087). And Sokrates's attitude toward writing as a greatly inferior simulacrum and inadequate mimesis that could not create the true knowledge obtained through real dialogue is well known (cf.: Plato (370 BC): Phaedrus). Nevertheless, we believe that we have managed to adapt to printing and indeed to the creation of manuscript rather than just the oldest oral master-and-apprentice intellectual technologies. Perhaps we will find different things to be true once we will have trained our information-technology networks to be our servants as trusted information intermediaries and intellectual force multipliers, rather than (as they know are) the servants of the advertisers that pay them and thus that try to glue our eyeballs and attention to screens whether having our eyeballs and attention so-glued helps us become more like our best selves or not. But as of now the empirical evidence has become overwhelming: Susan Dynarski: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen: "When college students use computers or tablets during lecture, they learn less and earn worse grades. The evidence consists of a series of randomized trials, in both college classrooms and controlled laboratory settings...
Why are Fox News's victims so easily-grifted with respect to making them scared of liberal universities?: Jacob T. Levy: "I’ve made a lot of arguments in my life to people who didn’t want to hear them. I argued about sodomy laws and Bowers vs Hardwick with my grandmother when I was 15...
This is perhaps the most awesome inside-baseball academic subtweet of all time. Timothy Burke: "The academic star system of the 1980s and 1990s in the humanities created a group of people who believed they were better than everyone else and a group of people who were invested in believing the stars were better than everyone else...
DEVENG 215: Global Poverty Challenges and Hopes: A Perspective for Development Engineers:
Discussion: J. Bradford DeLong: TU 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Mulford 230
Lecture: Fatmir Haskaj: TU, TH 2:00 pm - 3:29 pm Valley Life Sciences 2050
This graduate Development Engineering class has the following goals:
Assist students in orienting themselves to the current global debates about poverty and inequality by exposing them to alternative paradigms of development and welfare situated in their historical context.
Assist students in familiarizing themselves with the institutions and actors—from the World Bank to global social movements, from national and local governments to nonprofits and NGOs, from multinational corporations to philanthropic foundations—attempting to act to diminish global poverty.
Assist students in critically reflecting upon philosophies of global justice, the ethics of global citizenship, their own engagements with poverty action, and their own aspirations for social change.
Prevent students from maintaining or accepting the the comfortable perception that poverty exists elsewhere, can be contained at a distance, does not affect them and their communities every day.
The hope is to accomplish all these tasks at the graduate student level, with a focus on how the social-political-economic context constrains and opens opportunities for successful Development Engineering. The hope is to do this on the cheap, without committing lots of additional resources.
My idea is to do this by building on the lectures and readings of Fatmir Haskaj's undergraduate course GPP 115: Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium. We will add additional readings and a graduate-level discussion seminar to attempt to supercharge what Fatmir does. Hence this syllabus incorporates-by-reference the GPP 115 syllabus…
Fatmir's course describes itself as:
seek[ing] to provide a rigorous understanding of 20th century development and thus 21st century poverty alleviation. Students will take a look at popular ideas of poverty alleviation, the institutional framework of poverty ideas and practices, and the social and political mobilizations that seek to transform the structures of poverty...
From the graduate Development Engineering Program perspective, this course—while completely fine for what it is—is not quite what we want. It is too "idealist"—incorporates too much of an implicit belief that once one understands the world, it will immediately become obvious how to change it, which belief is a common disease thought by academics like me. And it is too "macro"—individual development engineers are not going to lead social and political mobilizations and transform structures, but rather work in the context created by existing structures and mobilizations, in the hope of taking small steps in a good direction. Therefore post-lecture discussions will focus on: "OK. Very good. Now how does this affect how we will act when the rubber meets the road?"
As I often say, academic freedom is not "free speech". Universities are safe spaces for people to learn, for scholars to grow, and for ideas to be propounded and evaluated. You can argue—as Ernst Kantorowicz did, and as I more than half believe—that grownup full members of a university are their own sovereign judges of this propounding-and-evaluating business: that they are under an obligation to think as hard as they can and to argue fairly and fully for what they believe to be the truth, and that the sole sovereign judges of whether they have met this responsibility are their consciences day and their gods. And that makes it very, very important indeed to draw a clear line between those who can and those who cannot fulfill this responsibility: Dani Rodrik: No to Academic Normalization of Trump by Dani Rodrik: "Those who have served the current US president are necessarily tainted by the experience. While they should not be barred from speaking... they should be accorded none of the trappings of institutional esteem such as fellowships, named lectures, and keynote speeches...
I think that almost every discussion about "cultural appropriation" should be, instead, a discussion about: "don't be a d-ck". Clarifies matters immeasurably.
The brilliant national treasure Roxane Gay is, in my opinion, 100% correct when she writes: "stay in your lane.... The great thing about writing is that you can develop new lanes through research, immersion and effort..." That is not "being a d-ck". But When I read these exchanges (and Jennifer Schuessler's piece), I think Jennifer, Nina, and Burleigh are all being d-cks—especially Roger Berkowitz, who I think is being a major a--hole here, and doing so while claiming to be the heir and channeler of Hannah Arendt:
Jennifer Schuessler: "I wrote about the controversy over @thenation ’s publication of a poem by a white poet using black vernacular, with a little bit on the long debate over what counts as literary 'blackface' (looking at you, Vachel Lindsay & John Berryman)..."
Nina Burleigh: "Probably shouldn't wade into this but, by @rgay 'stay in your lane' logic, every entitled male screenwriter-white or black-should be banned from writing female characters of any race. I'm actually all for that, but piling on to crush the career of a young poet? geez..."
Roxane Gay: "Well, Nina, this is the problem with journalists taking tweets out of context and using them in their articles, instead of asking people for a more fully fleshed out statement. My tweets are my opinions...
I have a question for Stanford's Michael @McFaul ...
We know that "If the heritability of IQ were 0.5 and the degree of assortation in mating, m, were 0.2 (both reasonable, if only ballpark estimates), and if the genetic inheritance of IQ were the only mechanism accounting for intergenerational income transmission, then the intergenerational correlation of lifetime incomes would be 0.01..." (see Bowles and Giants (2002)). That is only two percent the observed intergenerational correlation—49/50 of the intergenerational transmission of status in America comes from other causes.
Why, then, is it important to invite to your campus to speak someone whose big thing is the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, and racial differences thereof? And if one were going to invite to your campus to speak someone, etc., why would you pick somebody who likes to burn crosses? Wouldn't a healthier approach be to regard such a person—who focuses on the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, harps on genetic roots of differences between "races", and likes to burn crosses—as we regard those who know a little too much about the muzzle velocities of the main cannon of the various models of the Nazi Armored Battlewagon Version 4?: Jonathan Marks: Who wants Charles Murray to speak, and why?: "The Bell Curve cited literature from Mankind Quarterly, which no mainstream scholar cites, because it is an unscholarly racist journal... https://anthropomics2.blogspot.com/2017/04/who-wants-charles-murray-to-speak-and.html
J. Bradford Delong is Professor of Economics and Chief Economist of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a weblogger for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. From 1993 to 1995 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the United States Department of the Treasury. Right now he is best known for:
according to the internet: "Are We Approaching Peak Human?" (an interview) https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723a, "Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy" (a book) https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723b, and "Cornucopia: The Pace of Economic Growth in the 20th Century" (an article) https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723c;
according to google scholar: "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy" https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723d, "Did J. P. Morgan's Men Add Value?: An Economist's Perspective on Financial Capitalism" https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723e, and "The 'New Economy': Background, Historical Perspective, Questions, and Speculations" https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723f (all articles); and
according to himself ought to be best known for: "The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program" https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723g, "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets" https://tinyurl.com/dl2018072h, and "America's Peacetime Inflation: The 1970s" https://tinyurl.com/dl20180723i (all articles).
Is this ⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎ it? What would be better?
Well, our three bridge view from the Peixotto Graduate Student Lounge is not at its best this morning, is it?
That is a pity because the new first-year graduate students are arriving this morning...
Note to Self: Apropos of Misapplied History..., (Early) Monday (Self?) Smackdown: Baiae and LA as Causes of Republican Downfall? Seriously?, and The Fall of the Roman Republic; Plutarch on what I regard as a key moment in norm-breaking—perhaps the most key moment besides Sulla's first coup and his march on Rome:
Matt O'Brien: "The funniest thing is Niall Ferguson now says he's 'going back to what I do best'. What's that, writing conspiracy theories about how inflation is 'really' 10%? Or attacking the Fed for doing its job? Or falsely saying Keynes didn't care about the long run because he was gay?..."
Paul says: "hyperinflation is coming any day now" and "minimum wages at their current levels are killing millions of jobs" are joining "there is no such thing as global warming" and "evolution is false" as destroyers of "conservatives" in academia: *Paul Krugman: "Today's column has nothing directly to do with... the puzzling failure of wages to grow faster despite what look like tight labor markets https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/opinion/conservative-free-speech.html...
I agree with Benjamin McKean here on the latest intellectual quality control problem at Stanford: Benjamin McKean: "I don't think Niall Ferguson is getting enough criticism for his latest piece; it's worse than saying nothing. He doesn't apologize for trying to smear an undergrad and he blatantly lies about what he did-even though we've all seen the emails!...
The wise and thoughtful Dan Nexon gets this, I think, exactly right. The question is: Why is conservatism intellectually irrelevant in many academic departments and disciplines? The propensity of prominent conservatives to try to ratf--- 20 year olds is certainly part of the problem: Dan Nexon: "This reads like an excuse for publishing an intemperate opinion-editorial in the student newspaper, not an attempt by a world-famous academic to rationalize conspiring to ratf--- an undergrad at an institution with which he is affiliated:"
Niall Ferguson: "I need to grow up and keep out of student politics, no question. But the context is important. Conservatism is on the brink of extinction in much of academia, especially in history. This isn't healthy."
Hoisted: A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump... (June 10, 2017):
I wrote https://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/must-read-two-points-diversity-and-finding-truth-in-the-sense-of-rough-consensus-and-running-code-where-i-think-larry.html: Two points (diversity and finding truth in the sense of rough consensus and running code) where I think Larry Summers is 100% correct. One point (Charles Murray) where I think Larry is broadly right but that things are more complicated. And one point (sensitivity training) where I think Larry Summers is more wrong than right. But more on that anon. Definitely worth reading.
This is the "anon":
I have never understood why "conservatives" like Niall Ferguson think that cross-burner Charles Murray is a good standard bearer for their ideas in a university setting. Is it their explicit and deliberate aim to generate counterdemonstrations and further reinforce the link between conservative ideas and white ethnicism in America today? Do they really think that yoking appeals to racial animosity, immutable "racial" differences in intelligence, and white ethnicism to their cause is a winner?
Niall Ferguson won't claim that the immutable-racial-differences arguments in Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve get it right. He will only claim that: "the sheer scale of the discussion that Murray’s work has generated would seem to argue for its importance, regardless of whether one ends up agreeing with him..." In academic speech ideas are not merely presented but evaluated. Cross-burner Murray's ideas have been evaluated by, among others, the impeccably conservative Thomas Sowell, James Heckman, and Glenn Loury. Wouldn't a proper Cardinal Conversation aimed at elevating the debate have featured one of these non-cross-burning conservatives? They would have said something like:
As Mitt Romney said of Niall Ferguson and company, they are: "people who... are dependent... who believe that they are victims, who believe that... they are entitled.... I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives...":
Niall Ferguson descends far into self-parody with this self-smackdown. Jonathan Healey comments:
Jonathan Healey: "Worth pointing out that it also 'might have been avoided' if you'd thought to yourself 'Hang on, a professor with a massive profile trying to find kompromat on a student is a bit off, isn't it?':
Niall Ferguson: From all of this I draw two conclusions. First, it might have been avoided if conservatives at universities did not feel so beleaguered. There is a debate about whether free speech has been restricted on American campuses in recent years. I have no doubt it has. Middle-of-the-road students live in fear that a casual remark will be deemed "offensive" or "triggering" and that social media will be unleashed to shame them. Conservative students have to keep quiet or fight a culture war in which they are hopelessly outnumbered.
The other lesson I have learn[ is that Uncle Jan was right: I do need to grow up. Student politics is best left to students. So I am putting my tweed jacket back on and retreating to my beloved study. It is time to write another book.
Paul Krugman: "An ugly story from Stanford. But I think Brad gets only a small piece of the issue when he talks about Stanford's intellectual quality control problem...
David Watkins, I think, nails it: a lot of right-wingers project either what they are doing or what they wish they could do onto the left. They do not understand that we are, in fact, different from them: David Watkins: "Today in: 'every accusation a confession'... Scott Lemieux: "Did Niall 'try to ratfuck students with the temerity to disagree with me' Ferguson churn out a rote 'campus PC is the biggest threat to free speech in America' column? I think you know the answer!... https://t.co/mP1OFXkm1G
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787
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