Live from Evans Hall: Underinvestment in Maintenance and Repair Plus Architectural Malpractice, Anybody?: "As you know, Evans Hall has been experiencing areas of extreme heat since Monday 12/4...
Live from Evans Hall: Underinvestment in Maintenance and Repair Plus Architectural Malpractice, Anybody?: "As you know, Evans Hall has been experiencing areas of extreme heat since Monday 12/4...
Should-Read: The very sharp Binyamin Applebaum had an interesting rant yesterday: Binyamin Applebaum: @BCAppelbaum on Twitter: "I am not sure there is a defensible case for the discipline of macroeconomics if they can’t at least agree on the ground rules for evaluating tax policy...
November 30, 2017 at 06:15 AM in Berkeley, Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Information: Internet, Moral Responsibility, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (26)
Project Syndicate: Keeping US Policymaking Honest: Last month here at Berkeley I heard great optimism from the illustrious Alice Rivlin. What “technocracy” in the good sense the United States has—what respect is paid to sound analysis and empirical evidence in the making of policy—is due more to Alice Rivlin than to any other living human.
No, this is not about Martin Peretz...
2006: Madmen in the Attic...: Here Mark Thoma watches Tony Giddens in the Guardian discourse on conditions for a 'revival of sociology.' I listen for a while, and then I want to sidle quietly away before I am noticed:
Economist's View: Did Economics Crowd Out Sociology?: A call to arms, by Anthony Giddens, Commentary, The Guardian:
All you sociologists out there! All you ex-students of sociology! All of you (if there are such people) who are simply interested in sociology and its future! I'd like to hear from you. We live in a world of extraordinary change, in everyday life, family relationships, politics, communications and in global society. We are witnessing, among other things, a return of the gods, as religion re-emerges as a major force in our societies, locally and on a worldwide level.... [W]hy isn't sociology again right at the forefront of intellectual life and public debate?...
Six Faces of Right-Wing Chain-Forging Economist James Buchanan...
Steven Teles inquired why I liked Will Wilkinson's essay How Libertarian Democracy Skepticism Infected the American Right much more than I liked Henry Farrell and Steven Teles's essays When Politics Drives Scholarship and Even the intellectual left is drawn to conspiracy theories about the right. Resist them as takes on Nancy McLean's Democracy in Chains http://amzn.to/2zKJygv...
Should-Read: Robert Post: There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus: "Members of the university... enjoy special freedoms... academic freedom, not First Amendment freedom of speech...
Alice Rivlin is speaking this afternoon at Berkeley's GSPP in honor of John Ellwood's retirement on EVIDENCE AND POLICY ANALYSIS IN THE AGE OF FAKE NEWS. A question I will not have time to ask:
Alice, I listen to you, and I think of Irving Kristol, who explained his “rather cavalier attitude” to technocratic questions of what economic policies would actually do thus:
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage, Watching Its Opinions-of-Shape-of-Earth-Differ Inhabitants: I score this one for Erik Loomis.
Milo and Bannon do plot to cow America's universities and use them as backdrops for their dingbat kabuki, and Trump—well, it is not clear that Trump plots anything at all save to vent the id of his base. Republicans do believe that "food, health care and shelter are all limited resources that should only be given to those that have earned the privilege and can afford those things." Brendan Nyhan's claims otherwise seem—well, they seem rather foolish refusals to acknowledge reality:
Erik Loomis: Pundits: They Love Political Norms that "Both Sides Do It," Hate Accurate Descriptions of Republican Policies: "Evidently Brendan Nyhan followed me on Twitter. Nyhan is a political scientist at Dartmouth and frequent writer in the New York Times who contributes eye-rollers such as this... http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/10/pundits-love-political-norms-sides-hate-accurate-descriptions-republican-policies
Should-Read: MIT's new "Data Science and Economics" major track:
MIT: Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science (Course 6-14): "Required Subjects: Mathematics: 18.06 Linear Algebra... http://catalog.mit.edu/degree-charts/computer-science-economics-data-science-course-6-14/
Should-Read: I agree with the very sharp Henry Farrell here: I think my friend Doug Elmendorf has gotten himself waist deep in the Big Muddy here, and I do not see a way for him to easily get out...
Henry Farrell: Chelsea Manning and Harvard : "Elmendorf describes... [what] I think is the only sustainable way for it to think about [fellowships]... http://crookedtimber.org/2017/09/18/chelsea-manning-and-harvard/
Should-Read: Maximillian Kasy: Quantitative Methods in Economics: "Part I: 1. Linear predictors and least squares fit..." https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/kasy/files/1126syllabuskasyfall2017.pdf
Should-Read: Anton Howes: Why study Economic History?: "What is Economic History? It is about asking some of the biggest and most interesting questions imaginable... https://medium.com/@antonhowes/why-study-economic-history-ef747767be25
Computer Science, etc.: 9:
Should-See: Michael Jordan: On Computational Thinking, Inferential Thinking and Data Science: "The rapid growth in the size and scope of datasets in science and technology has created a need for novel foundational perspectives on data analysis that blend the inferential and computational sciences... https://bids.berkeley.edu/resources/videos/computational-thinking-inferential-thinking-and-data-science
Live from Sproul Plaza: I was never convinced that Nazi salutes belonged on the streets of Skokie, IL—I thought that that was neither the time, the place, nor the manner for 1st Amendment expression of those ideas. And I am pretty strongly convinced that Nazi salutes do not belong on my campus:
Must-Attend: United Against Hate: Our Free Speech Week: "Tue 9/26, West Crescent Lawn...
...11 am-12 noon: Alumni from Berkeley Free Speech Movement in the '60s
12-1 pm: Professor Dan Kammen (Goldman School of Public Policy, former Climate Science Envoy to the State Dept.)
1-4 pm: Islam teach-in - tentative (Muslim Student Association, Faces of African Muslims, and other organizations)
4-5 pm: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (Boalt Law School)
5-6 pm: Professor Robert Reich (Goldman School of Public Policy)
6-7 pm (timing to be confirmed): Samuel Sinyangwe (co-founder of Campaign Zero)
Live from the Data Science Bubble: When Masters in Financial Engineering degrees are being sold by business schools as Data Science degrees, can the Cthulpocalypse be far behind?
Comment of the Day: JEC: "Any Community... Flourishes only When Our Members Feel Welcome and Safe...": "I see a couple of persistent misconceptions in this discussion... http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/09/any-community-flourishes-only-when-our-members-feel-welcome-and-safe.html?cid=6a00e551f08003883401b7c922959a970b#comment-6a00e551f08003883401b7c922959a970b
Live from Harvard Professor John Stauffer Sets His Reputation on Fire: Apropos of the role of the university, we had this quote last week from Stauffer re Michelle Jones:
We didn’t have some preconceived idea about crucifying Michelle. But frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon...
UPDATE: I wrote a letter apropos of this to Chancellor Carol Christ...
Somehow I do think the New York Times could have put more thought into their questions for the community of the University of California at Berkeley https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/19/us/formacist-ucberkeley-callout.html?_r=0.
I think that they could have written better questions, if only they had read the "Terms of Service" they require those of us answering their questions to agree to.
Live from Evans Hall: In this morning's mail, two books that look excellent and interesting: Bates's The Development Dilemma and Mulgan's Big Mind. But when will I have time to read either of them?
I'll give each of them away to anybody around here who will promise me 2000 words on what it says and why it is (or isn't) interesting and reliable...
Live from Cal Bear Future Legal Liability Land: Duncan Black: Unpaid Player Concussion Game: "College football is one of those great mysteries to me... http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/09/unpaid-player-concussion-game.html
Live from Federal Reserve Economic Data: Brad DeLong's FRED Economic Statistics Dashboard https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/dashboard/215: What I want my Econ 101b students to see and think about before they come to class next January:
Francis Cornford: The Political Motive https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/staff/iau/cornford/cornford6.html: "You will begin, I suppose, by thinking that people who disagree with you and oppress you must be dishonest...
...Cynicism is the besetting and venial fault of declining youth, and disillusionment its last illusion. It is quite a mistake to suppose that real dishonesty is at all common. The number of rogues is about equal to the number of men who act honestly; and it is very small. The great majority would sooner behave honestly than not. The reason why they do not give way to this natural preference of humanity is that they are afraid that others will not; and the others do not because they are afraid that they will not. Thus it comes about that, while behaviour which looks dishonest is fairly common, sincere dishonesty is about as rare as the courage to evoke good faith in your neighbours by showing that you trust them.
Live from Berkeley: The 17 classes in Berkeley's largest lecture hall: Wheeler Auditorium Classes: Fall 2017:
Live from Berkeley: Foyer of Wheeler Hall, outside of Wheeler Auditorium, 9:25 AM Thursday.
"ELENG 16A: Designing Information Devices and Systems I" will start at 9:40:
This course and its follow-on course EE16B focus on the fundamentals of designing modern information devices and systems that interface with the real world. Together, this course sequence provides a comprehensive foundation for core EECS topics in signal processing, learning, control, and circuit design while introducing key linear-algebraic concepts motivated by application contexts. Modeling is emphasized in a way that deepens mathematical maturity, and in both labs and homework, students will engage computationally, physically, and visually with the concepts being introduced in addition to traditional paper/pencil exercises. The courses are aimed at entering students as well as non-majors seeking a broad foundation for the field.
Enrolled 1006; waitlisted 61
"COMPSCI 61C Great Ideas of Computer Architecture (Machine Structures)" will exit at 9:30:
The internal organization and operation of digital computers. Machine architecture, support for high-level languages (logic, arithmetic, instruction sequencing) and operating systems (I/O, interrupts, memory management, process switching). Elements of computer logic design. Tradeoffs involved in fundamental architectural design decisions.
Enrolled 726; waitlisted 31
About a month and a half ago I decided that there was really no place in any of my classes for my "what you really ought to know about doing economics" lecture http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/07/how-to-think-like-an-economist-if-that-is-you-wish-to.html: it would be either incomprehensible (because students would not understand it) or unnecessary (because students would already know it).
The Economics Department is responding to the current Berkeley budget crisis by enforcing a work speedup on our GSI section leaders
This is an opportunity and a challenge
Must-Read: Cosma Shalizi (2010): The Bootstrap: "That these [statistical] origin myths invoke various limits is no accident... https://web.archive.org/web/20100518171527/http://www.americanscientist.org:80/issues/pub/2010/3/the-bootstrap/2
Live from Berkeley: Making Textbooks & Course Readers Affordable: Berkeley on the Leading Edge: "Friday, October 27, 2017 :: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. :: Environmental Design Library Atrium http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/environmental-design-library: Can students afford to take your class?...
John Francis Cornford: Microcosmographia Academica: VII. Argument: "There is only one argument for doing something; the rest are arguments for doing nothing... https://web.archive.org/web/20040118040030/https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/staff/iau/cornford/cornford7.html
Cosma Shalizi reminds me of the internet "data scientists are (good and empirically oriented) statisticians" discussion of 2011-12.
Let me say three things:
You should never use Excel to handle your data.
I don't know whether it is depressing or exhilarating to recognize that, for me as for Cosma, how often my reaction these days is: "I already wrote something incisive and very much worth reading about that—now to find it in my weblog archives..."
Increasingly, data management, analysis, and presentation are things that many more people need for their jobs than statistics departments can reasonably expect to funnel through their major programs. It's like in the middle ages: the number of people who needed to have a good, clear, legible-penmanship chancery hand vastly exceeded the number of professional calligraphers and illustrators. Data management, analysis, and presentation skills are, increasingly, the legible-penmanship chancery hand of the twenty-first century.
Live from America's Better Self: Orientation Day https://twitter.com/delong/status/897880320250322944: Yesterday we had 750 groups of about 20 people each following standards around the campus: The Berkeley freshmen are here. Young, smart very idealistic, many very upwardly mobile, somewhat scared, very excited—at the prospect of being no longer children but themselves, and grown-ups.
You look at them, and you have to think America is very great indeed.
Should-Read: Drew Conway: The Data Science Venn Diagram http://www.dataists.com/2010/09/the-data-science-venn-diagram/: "The primary colors of data: hacking skills, math and stats knowledge, and substantive expertise...
Note to Self: "Data Science" as an Ephemeral Term:There was a time—perhaps a century, maybe a bit more, certainly not much less—ago, when the high-tech bleeding edge electricity sector was an important but discrete part of the "economy".
Hoisted from 2010: What Do Econ 1 Students Need to Remember Most from the Course? http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/12/what-do-econ-1-students-need-to-remember-most-from-the-course.html: Economics deals with those things that we want but that are "scarce".
Gavin Wright: Review of "Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development": https://eh.net/book_reviews/slaverys-capitalism-a-new-history-of-american-economic-development/
Stephanie McCurry: Slavery and economics http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/slavery-economics/
Hoisted from the Archives: More Dred Scott v. Sanford Blogging for 2007's Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend! http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/01/more_dred_scott.html: Mark Graber has gotten himself to the right of John C. Calhoun. This is a position painful and ludicrous for a twenty-first-century American legal academic to assume.
It is a position so painful and ludicrous that it should induce any twenty-first-century American academic to undertake an agonizing reappraisal—particularly over Martin Luther King holiday weekend. But Mark Graber doesn't. Let's turn the mike over to him:
August 05, 2017 at 10:27 AM in Berkeley, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (0)
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/universities-in-the-age-of-trump-by-j--bradford-delong-2017-07: Let me take a break in this column from our usual economics to worry about our institutions: What have we to say—to hope and fear—about the role and the future of the independent—ideologically and intellectually—university?
Live From California's Southland: Paging Janet Napolitano. Is there any reason not to give U.C. Irvine a new and very different top administration tomorrow?
Teresa Watanabe: UC Irvine is under fire for rescinding 500 admission offers two months before fall term begins: "Ashley Gonzalez's admission to UC Irvine was rescinded... http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uc-irvine-rescissions-20170728-story.html
John Maynard Keynes: John Maynard Keynes was brought up a classical liberal and a classical economist. He believed in free trade, economic progress, cultural uplift, and political reason. He then found himself working for the British Treasury during World War I, unable to stop what he thought were disastrous post-World War I political decisions. He then found himself watching as the classical economic mechanisms he had been taught to admire all fell apart.
He then picked himself up.
After World War I Keynes used what power he had to—don't laugh—try to restore civilization.
I have long had a "thinking like an economist" lecture in the can. But I very rarely give it. It seems to me that it is important stuff—that people really should know it before they begin studying economics, because it would make studying economics much easier. But it also seems to me—usually—that it is pointless to give it at the start of a course to newBs: they just won't understand it. And it also seems to me—usually—that it is also pointless to give it to students at the end of their college years: they either understand it already, or it is too late.
By continuity that would seem to imply that there is an optimal point in the college curriculum to teach this stuff. But is that true?
What do you think?
The night watchman state that supports the fully-developed market economy is one of the most strange and significant historical development in political economy. Any analysis of it requires that one view hit in perspective—that one examine other the other alternative forms that state power and authority can and do take and have taken.
And the greatest sociologist-political scientist-historian of our age analyzing such things is James C. Scott. I have often wished that I had a reading list on Scott-stuff to hand. And I wish somebody would construct an annotated one:
Here are my thoughts:
Should-Read: Jeff Mackie-Mason: Scholarly Publishing Landscape: "We are optimistic about our ability to collaborate and partner to achieve a sustainable open publishing universe... http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/scholarly-communication/publishing/landscape
Looking Forward to Four Years During Which Most if Not All of America's Potential for Human Progress Is Likely to Be Wasted
With each passing day Donald Trump looks more and more like Silvio Berlusconi: bunga-bunga governance, with a number of unlikely and unforeseen disasters and a major drag on the country--except in states where his policies are neutralized.
Nevertheless, remember: WE ARE WITH HER!
The purpose of this weblog is to be the best possible portal into what I am thinking, what I am reading, what I think about what I am reading, and what other smart people think about what I am reading...
"Bring expertise, bring a willingness to learn, bring good humor, bring a desire to improve the world—and also bring a low tolerance for lies and bullshit..." — Brad DeLong
"I have never subscribed to the notion that someone can unilaterally impose an obligation of confidentiality onto me simply by sending me an unsolicited letter—or an email..." — Patrick Nielsen Hayden
"I can safely say that I have learned more than I ever would have imagined doing this.... I also have a much better sense of how the public views what we do. Every economist should have to sell ideas to the public once in awhile and listen to what they say. There's a lot to learn..." — Mark Thoma
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"With the arrival of Web logging... my invisible college is paradise squared, for an academic at least. Plus, web logging is an excellent procrastination tool.... Plus, every legitimate economist who has worked in government has left swearing to do everything possible to raise the level of debate and to communicate with a mass audience.... Web logging is a promising way to do that..." — Brad DeLong
"Blogs are an outlet for unexpurgated, unreviewed, and occasionally unprofessional musings.... At Chicago, I found that some of my colleagues overestimated the time and effort I put into my blog—which led them to overestimate lost opportunities for scholarship. Other colleagues maintained that they never read blogs—and yet, without fail, they come into my office once every two weeks to talk about a post of mine..." — Daniel Drezner
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787
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