J. Bradford DeLong
U.C. Berkeley and NBER
September 2013 :: University of Missouri—Columbia
J. Bradford DeLong
U.C. Berkeley and NBER
September 2013 :: University of Missouri—Columbia
Charlie Deist: Brad DeLong on Austrian Economics:
Charlie Deist: Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Bob Zadek Show.
Losing friends on Twitter: What can I do here? What should I have done differently?
It is a matter of basic empirical historical fact that to a typical upper class white Virginian in the 1950s, "individual liberty" included, as principal and basic parts, the liberties:
Empirical fact. Historical fact. A seamless web of "individual liberty". These were among its principal components.
To deny that these were (a large) part of what "individual liberty" meant to a typical upper class white Virginian in the 1950s—to claim that you need "textual evidence" proving that this was how any particular one thought, for the "belief" that this was the case is a "slender reed"—that is a truly remarkable hill to choose to die on:
And the video from October is up:
INET Edinburgh Panel: Gains from Trade: Is Comparative Advantage the Ideology of the Comparatively Advantaged?:
My notes and slides:
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...
Note to Self: Malthusian Growth Epoch Differential Equations—Analytic:
Principal Reference: Mark Koyama: Could Rome Have Had an Industrial Revolution?
Should-Read: Publius Aelius Aristides Theodorus (155): From The Roman Oration: "This city... covers mountain peaks... covers the land intervening, and... goes down to the sea...
Mark Koyama: Could Rome Have Had an Industrial Revolution?/span>
The agrarian age Malthusian epoch in human economic-demographic history had three principal driving characteristics:
Technological and organizational advance was slow and stable relative to movements in population.
Standards of living wer near "subsistence", in that increases in living standards produced increases in population growth, and decreases in living standards declines.
Resources were important, inasmuch as average productivity declined with increasing population, adjusting for the state of technology and organization.
Ricardo believes in labor value prices because capital flows to put people to work wherever those things can be made with the fewest workers. This poses a problem for Ricardo: The LTV tells him that capitalist production should take place according to absolute advantage, with those living in countries with no absolute advantage left in subsistence agriculture.
Melissa S. Kearney: How Should Governments Address Inequality?: "In 2014, an unusual book topped bestseller lists around the world: Capital in the Twenty-first Century...
...an 816-page scholarly tome by the French economist Thomas Piketty that examined the massive increase in the proportion of income and wealth accruing to the world’s richest people. Drawing on an unprecedented amount of historical economic data from 20 countries, Piketty showed that wealth concentration had returned to a peak not seen since the early twentieth century. Today in the United States, the top one percent of households earn around 20 percent of the nation’s income, a dramatic change from the middle of the twentieth century, when income was spread more evenly and the top one percent’s share hovered at around ten percent. Piketty predicted that without corrective action, the trend toward ever more concentrated income and wealth would continue, and so he called for a global tax on wealth.
Gary Cox: Should-Read: Political Institutions, Economic Liberty, and the Great Divergence: "Max Weber proposed that politically autonomous cities were 'critical to Europe's economic rise...
David Ricardo's (1817) "comparative advantage" argument is actually remarkably complex. It is an argument with:
David Ricardo (1817): Principles of Political Economy and Taxation: "Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to each...
Twitter: @antonhowes, @pseudoerasmus, @Econ_Marshall, and me: Malthus and Sparta:
@antonhowes: Preparing my lecture on the Malthusian Trap. A topic with so many grim and unusual examples it feels like I'm writing Horrible Histories...
Take a look at:
Bradley A. Hansen: A Do It Yourself Video Course on Modern Economic Growth http://bradleyahansen.blogspot.nl/2017/03/a-do-it-yourself-video-course-on-modern.html
In my view, the things he notes most worth watching are:
Should-Read: Bob Margo: The integration of economic history into economics: "Many have noticed this long-term integration of economic history into economics...
Let me put a spotlight on the very sharp Brink Lindsey here...
Brink Lindsey believes utopia is in our grasp. Our problems today are, he thinks, at their root problems about the creation of truly human identities that people can embrace.
This is a remarkable shift.
Previous human societies have had very different problems:
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
Pat Garofolo: FLASHBACK: In 1993, GOP Warned That Clinton’s Tax Plan Would ‘Kill Jobs,’ ‘Kill The Current Recovery’: "Republicans... have been apoplectic about Obama’s plan, claiming that it will kill jobs and cripple small businesses... https://thinkprogress.org/flashback-in-1993-gop-warned-that-clintons-tax-plan-would-kill-jobs-kill-the-current-recovery-96adb3663484/
September 27, 2017 at 05:33 PM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Moral Responsibility, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (6)
Supply-Side Amnesia https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/republican-tax-cuts-budget-deficit-by-j--bradford-delong-2017-09: In the spring of 1980, Martin Feldstein co-taught (with Olivier Blanchard) the second-best macroeconomics class I ever took. (The best was a class I took from Olivier alone three years later.) From 1982-1984 Martin Feldstein served in Ronald Reagan's cabinet as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. There he waged an effective if lonely bureaucratic war for the proposition that the size of the Reagan tax cut of 1981 had been a big policy mistake, and that America would suffer if that mistake was not repaired. That position was unpopular inside the Reagan White House: chief-of-staff James Baker tried to get everybody on to the page of delay, in the hope that something would turn up, and avoid the administration having to admit that its signature tax-cutting initiative was, at least in part, a mistake.
Should-Read: Time to start trying to think about what books to assign for Econ 210b next semester...
Pseudoerasmus: The 25 most stimulating economic history books since 2000: "Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective... https://pseudoerasmus.com/2017/01/12/9351/
Should-See: Santiago Perez: Railroads and the Rural to Urban Transition: Evidence from 19th Century Argentina: "Seminar 211, Economic History: Seminar: Economic History | September 18 | 2-4 p.m. | 597 Evans Hall... http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/econ.html?view=summary&timeframe=range&startdate=2017-08-01&enddate=2017-12-31&filter=Secondary%20Event%20Type&filtersel=1057
And now, moving from the twenty-first century back 2500 years to a much earlier age of information technology: John Ma https://twitter.com/Nakhthor/status/908024914011193344—much peace and strength attend him!—reminds me of his "accessible edition of some letters of a member of the Achaimenid elite, the actual satrap of Egypt", Prince Arshama, quite possibly the great-grandson of King of Kings Darayavush I, writing in the late 400s B.C. to various of his subordinates http://arshama.bodleian.ox.ac.uk:
Consider the 256 GB memory iPhone X: Implemented in vacuum tubes in 1957, the transistors in an iPhoneX alone would have:
Should-Read: Nancy MacLean: DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: THE DEEP HISTORY OF THE RADICAL RIGHT'S STEALTH PLAN FOR AMERICA http://amzn.to/2voi3qD: "As 1956 drew to a close, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., the president of the University of Virginia, feared...
...second Brown v. Board of Education ruling, calling for the dismantling of segregation in public schools with “all deliberate speed.” In Virginia, outraged state officials responded with legislation to force the closure of any school that planned to comply.... Darden... could barely stand to contemplate the damage.... Even the name of this plan, “massive resistance,” made his gentlemanly Virginia sound like Mississippi. On his desk was a proposal, written by the... chair of the economics department... James McGill Buchanan [who] liked to call himself a Tennessee country boy. But Darden knew better....
Weekend Reading: Stanley Fischer (1973): Chicago Undergraduate Macro: "ECONOMICS 202 Reading List... http://www.irwincollier.com/chicago-undergraduate-macro-stanley-fischer-1973/
- Branson: Macroeconomic Theory and Policy, Harper and Row, 1972.
- Friedman: An Economist’s Protest, Thomas Horton, 1972.
Hoisted from 2013: Apropos of David Glasner http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/09/should-read-in-which-david-glasner-argues-that-john-maynard-keynes-passed-up-a-very-valuable-opportunity-to-preach-about.html and John Maynard Keynes's:
Now "in the long run" this is probably true.... But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again...
2013: Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"? Weblogging http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/05/niall-ferguson-is-wrong-to-say-that-he-is-doubly-stupid-why-did-keynes-write-in-the-long-run-we-are-all-dead-weblogging.html: "Niall Ferguson:
September 06, 2017 at 07:57 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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.
Today's Economic History: Would I be out-of-turn to point out that these thesis statements by E.P. Thompson from his The Making of the English Working Class are, well, pretty much completely wrong? That there was no English working class in any Marxian sense of what a self-conscious class is that had been "made" by 1832? That there is almost no commonality between the working class of England as it stood in, say, 1926 and what there was in 1832?
E.P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class: "Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared)...
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 2001: Information Technology and the Future of Society (My Bekeley CITRIS Kickoff Talk) http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TotW/citris_kickoff.html: For perhaps 9000 years after the beginnings of agriculture the overwhelming proportion of human work lives were spent making things: growing crops, shearing sheep, spinning yarn, weaving cloth, throwing pots, cutting down trees, copying books, and so on, and so forth.
Live from "My Kronstadt was the Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly": WTF, Tony Barber?! The "masses" did not "seize the initiative" in 1917. The Bolshevik Faction of the RSDP did. The "masses" were, as Lenin said, vacillating, and needed to be led by the halter and driven by the knout:
Let's give the mic first to Comrade Ulyanov:
Vladimir Lenin: The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/dec/16.htm: "The Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks formed a bloc during the whole period of the revolution from February to October 1917...
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?
From November 2008: Why I Was Wrong... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/11/why-i-was-wrong.html: Calculated Risk issues an invitation:
Calculated Risk: Hoocoodanode?: Earlier today, I saw Greg "Bush economist" Mankiw was a little touchy about a Krugman blog comment. My reaction was that Mankiw has some explaining to do. A key embarrassment for the economics profession in general, and Bush economists Greg Mankiw and Eddie Lazear in particular, is how they missed the biggest economic story of our times....
Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: More on the Kaiping Mines: Jonathan Spence's Asides, and Albert Feuerwerker's Review of Ellsworth Carlson http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/more-on-the-kai.html: China specialists see and can almost touch an alternative history in which late-nineteenth century China managed to match the political and economic achievements of Meiji Japan, and in which China stood up economically, politically, and organizationally at the same pace of the Japan that won its short victorious war against Russia in 1905, negotiated as an equal with Britain and the U.S. over warship construction in 1921, and was perhaps the eighth industrial power in the world by 1929.
Brad DeLong: （経済教室）グローバル化を巡る攻防(下)偏りない成長で不安払拭 市場経済の経験を生かせ Ｂ・デロング カリフォルニア大学バークレー校教授 ：日本経済新聞 http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGKKZO19272800W7A720C1KE8000/
(Battle over globalization (down) Uneasy with unbiased growth Leverage the experience of market economy)
When I read this by David Glasner, I wonder whether the shift in Hayek's beliefs between the 1930s and the 1980s was an improvement. In the 1930s, he believed in big depressions—"secondary deflation"—as a way of breaking "nominal rigidities", which I understand as the power of labor to resist being forced to accept declines in real wage rates. By the 1980s, he seemed to believe in shooting people like me in soccer stadiums, and throwing them out of helicopters into the South Atlantic. See: Pinochet, Augusto
David Glasner: Hayek, Deflation and Nihilism: "Hayek argued that... neutral money was... constant total spending (MV)... https://uneasymoney.com/2017/07/23/hayek-deflation-and-nihilism/
...Once the downturn started to accelerate, causing aggregate spending to decline by 50% between 1929 and 1933, Hayek, totally disregarding his own neutral-money criterion, uttered not a single word in protest of a monetary policy that was in flagrant violation of his own neutral money criterion. On the contrary, Hayek wrote an impassioned defense of the insane gold accumulation policy of the Bank of France, which along with the US Federal Reserve was chiefly responsible for the decline in aggregate spending.... Hayek’s policy advice was... relentlessly pro-deflation. Why did Hayek offer policy advice so blatantly contradicted by his own neutral-money criterion?...
J. Bradford DeLong (2007): A Teaching Note on Barro's (2005) "Rare Events and the Equity Premium" and Rietz's (1988) "The Equity Premium: A Solution" http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/02/preliminary_mar.html: Robert Barro should have called his 2005 "Rare Events and the Equity Premium" paper http://papers.nber.org/papers/w11310.pdf something like "Rare Events and the Low Riskfree Rate" instead...
The puzzle about just how and why the brain eater ate Clive Crook's brain—how it was that, starting about a decade ago, one of the most interesting (and intelligent) of the Tories simply lost his grip on reality—remains, to me at least, a mystery.
Here I am hoisting from one of the first full-blown signs of it in 2007.
A little background: By 2008 the brain-eating was overwhelming. For example we had Clive Crook on the "huge success" of the nomination of Sarah Palin—meaning, that is, that she was highly qualified to be Vice President and would attract lots of new votes to the McCain-Palin ticket:
Clive Crook (2008): Democrats must learn some respect: "The problem in my view is less Mr Obama and more the attitudes of the claque of official and unofficial supporters that surrounds him... https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2008/09/democrats-must-learn-some-respect/8803/
July 21, 2017 at 07:38 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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.
Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: Europe's Post-World War I Crisis Through the Lens of the Life of John Maynard Keynes http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/09/lecture-notes-f.html?asset_id=6a00e551f08003883400e552211a228833: World War I makes it impossible to be a liberal believer in progress, peace, rationality, equilibrium, the benevolence of the market, the triumph of reasoned discussion, et cetera.
So what do you do?
The answer is "managerialism." Muddling through. Trying desperately to somehow cobble together something like pre-WWI liberalism—to make it true in practice even though it isn't true in theory, and to do so somehow.
I cannot think of anything better than Robert Skidelsky's Keynes: A Very Short Introduction http://amzn.to/2usYwWl, possibly paired with Keynes's own 1931 Unemployment as a World Problem http://www.bradford-delong.com/2016/05/todays-economic-history-john-maynard-keynes-1931-unemployment-as-a-world-problem.html
But there must be something better. What might it be?
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:
China and Economic Growth: Hoisted from the Archives (What I Am Thinking About Right Now Department) http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/china-and-econo.html: Hoisted from the archives: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/01/china_and_econo.html: A somewhat different take on Ben Friedman's Moral Consequences of Economic Growth than the review I wrote for Harvard Magazine. Written for Caijing:
Notes for the July 11, 2017 Research on Tap http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/equitable-growth-research-on-tap-after-piketty-tue-jul-11-2017-at-500-pm.html event:
Meditations on Ryan Avent:
Ryan Avent: What will happen to 'The Wealth of Humans'? http://www.aei.org/publication/the-wealth-of-humans-a-qa-with-ryan-avent/: "This really dramatic technological change... the digital revolution... is adding hugely to the amount of effective labor that’s available to firms.... A lot of routine tasks in factories and in offices... [to] be automated.... High-skilled jobs... use these new technologies to do work that used to require a lot more people to do and in the process are displacing workers... enormous, abundant labor.... Employer[s] with... huge reservoir[s] of willing workers at very low wages... say.... "I don’t need to invest in this labor-saving technology.... replace my cashiers with automated checkout... replace the people moving boxes in the warehouse with robots". And so you get this sort of self-limiting technological change.... The more powerful the digital revolution... the more people... looking for low-wage work... the less of an interest firms have in using machines to replace them..."
Hoisted from 2007: Arnold Kling vs. Brad DeLong on the New Deal http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/02/arnold_kling_vs.html: UPDATE: Bruce Bartlett writes:
I just read your WSJ piece and you make one mistake. If Hoover had been re-elected in 1932, Ogden Mills would have been Treasury secretary, not Andrew Mellon. Mills became secretary on Feb. 13, 1932.
Fallen to Linkrot: Arnold Kling vs. Brad DeLong on the New Deal at the Wall Street Journal's website.
Here are my first drafts for the exercise:
Any approach that postulates that the expected equity return premium of stocks over long government bonds or the expected real return on long government bonds is constant when compared across long periods is almost surely a bad idea. Here are the stock and bond reinvested portfolio accumulations:
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
"Tone, engagement, cooperation, taking an interest in what others are saying, how the other commenters are reacting, the overall health of the conversation, and whether you're being a bore..." — Teresa Nielsen Hayden
"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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