Project MUSE: Reviews in American History: "Helps scholars and students of American history stay up to date in their discipline...
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?"
Stephen Fritz (2008): On Citino, 'Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942': "Continuing his examination of the German way of war, Robert Citino has produced a cogently argued, clearly written book in which he asserts that the German defeat in World War II was as much conceptual as it was material...
Reading Adam Tooze's powerpoints for his _War in Germany, 1618-1648 course, and thinking about the Vexed Question of Prussia in World History...
For a bit over the first half of the Long 20th Century global history was profoundly shaped by the peculiarity of Prussia. The standard account of this peculiarity—this sonderweg, sundered way, separate Prussian path—has traditionally seen it has having four aspects. Prussia—and the "small German" national state of which it was the nucleus—managed to simultaneously, over 1865-1945:
wage individual military campaigns with extraordinary success: in campaigns it should have won it conquered quickly and overwhemingly; in campaigns it should have narrowly lost it won decisively; in campaigns it should have lost it turned them into long destructive abattoirs.
wage wars no sane statesman would have entered and—unless its first quick victories were immediately sealed by a political agreement—lose them catastrophically via total neglect of grand-strategical and strategical considerations, and a failure to take anything other than the shortest view of logistics.
via the role, authority and interests of the military-service nobility societal caste, divert the currents of political development from the expected Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, French, Belgian, Dutch, Swiss, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish path of growing political and social democracy into a separate channel, a sonderweg, of authoritarian rule at home in the short-run material interest of a business-landlord-service nobility class and caste, and of desired conquest and demographic expansion in the European "near abroad".
engage in continent-spanning systematic patterns and campaigns of terror, destruction, murder, and genocide that went far beyond anything other European powers engaged in within Europe, and even went far beyond the brutalities of colonial conquest and rule that European powers engaged in outside the continent.
Did Prussia—and the "small German" national state of which it became the core—in fact follow a separate and unusual path with respect to economic, political, cultural, social development relative to other western European national states in the arc from France to Sweden? Do these four aspects as components rightlfy summarize the sonderweg? What is their origin, and what is the relation between them?
This is the vexed question of Prussia...
The first thing to note is that Prussian operational excellence–winning campaigns it ought to of lost, and winning decisively and overwhelmingly campaigns it ought to have narowly won–did not exist before 1866 and the Prussian victory at Konnigratz in the Austro Prussian war. In 1864 the Prussian army did not cover itself with glory in the short Austro-Prussian war against Denmark. In 1815 the Prussian army had the distinction of losing the last two battles anybody ever lost to Napoleon: the battles of Ligny and Wavre. Also in 1815 staff confusion in arranging the order of mar h and the consequent delayed arrival of Prussian forces at Waterloo turned the Duke of Wellington's victory from a walk in the park into a damned near run thing and a bloody mess. In the rest of the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars, the performance of the Prussian army was: competent but undistinguished in 1813-4, the most disastrous in history in 1806, less than competent from 1792-5.
You have to go back to 1762 and the wars of Friedrich II Hohenzollern (the Great) to see any evidence of operational excellence, or, indeed, more than bare competence. Looking backward we can see Friedrich II as the culmination of a line of military-political development through Friedrich Willem and Friedrich I back to Friedrich Willem ("the Great Elector"). But there appears to be a century-long near-hiatus in anything that could be called a distinctive Prussian military-political-sociological pattern outside of the military, the bureaucracy, and their service nobility...
Thomas Babington Macaulay: Ministerial Plan of Parliamentary Reform: "It is a circumstance, Sir, of happy augury for the measure before the House, that almost all those who have opposed it have declared themselves altogether hostile to the principle of Reform...
Pam Weintraub: The roots of writing lie in hopes and dreams, not in accounting: "In the four wellsprings of writing, it never (as far as we know) sprang forth as fully phonographic but evolved to become that–there’s usually some kind of proto-writing, and some kind of proto-proto-writing...
Once the people—the male people at first, and the white people overwhelmingly, and the adult people always, that is—had the vote, what were they going to do with it?
5.2.1: Inequality in the First Gilded Age: The coming of (white, male) democracy in the North Atlantic was all mixed up with the coming of modern industry—the move out of agriculture and into industrial and service occupations—the coming of the modern city (the move from the farm to someplace more densely populated), and the coming of heightened within-nation income inequality.
James Madison: [Alexander Hamilton's Constitutional Convention Speech, 18 June 1787]](https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-04-02-0098-0003): "Mr. Hamilton, had been hitherto silent on the business before the Convention, partly from respect to others whose superior abilities age and experience rendered him unwilling to bring forward ideas dissimilar to theirs...
The Ahistorical Federal Reserve: The most effective–and thus the most credible–monetary policy is one that reflects not only the lessons of history, but also a willingness to reconsider long-held assumptions. Unfortunately, neither attribute is much in evidence at today's Federal Reserve: BERKELEY–Economic developments over the past 20 years have taught–or ought to have taught–the US Federal Reserve four lessons. Yet the Fed’s current policy posture raises the question of whether it has internalized any of them... READ MOAR at Project Syndicate
The desperate attempt to justify World War I reached into even Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle (1917): His Last Bow: "There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared..."
The Nazi explanation for Stalingrad, as of late 1943: it's all the fault of the Rumanians, and the Italians, and the Hungarians: Heinrich Himmler (1943): Posen Speech: The Necessity of Stalingrad English Translation: "The winter of 1941-42, with its consequences, was, on the one hand, the work of Fate, which hit us hard for the first time...
Nikita Sergeyevitch Khrushchev to John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1963): "We and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose..."
Nils Gilman:" A largely hereditary elite: "A largely hereditary elite is anathema to the principles of meritocracy. But this much must be said: an elite that is secure in its prerogatives has a strong incentive to focus on the care and feeding of the system...
Zeronowhere: On the context of Marx's 'I am not a Marxist' quote: "As far as I know, the MIA cites it as opposing Guesde on the matter of the economic section of the program for the French Workers' Party...
Hoisted from the Archives: Ron Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton: Princeton University Press): "A feature of the book that may strike some economists as odd or surprising, but will seem entirely commonplace to historians, is its sustained emphasis on conflict, violence, and geopolitics...
Aspen: Security: A Question I Did Not Ask Condoleeza Rice: Secretary Rice, in her opening statement, focused on historical roots of our current mishegas, and how the foreign view of the U.S. as a country that is not well-governed, that cannot handle its trade and immigration issues, has been long building.
That reminded me of something that has long puzzled me: Dual containment of Iran and Iraq—that always seemed to me like a very good idea, a very good policy, a profoundly imperfect policy, yes, but the best we could do given that we live, as Cicero said, not in the Republic of Plato but in the Sewer of Romulus.
Back in 2002 we already had a serious global terrorism network problem. "One enemy at a time" is elementary strategy. Yet in 2003 we broke dual containment by invading Iraq. We broke dual containment:
Why we decided to launch such a war of choice in 2003 has always been opaque to me. Can you make your thinking less opaque to me, as to why this was thought to be a good idea? And what does this say about how good an idea disruption for disruption’s sake is in general?
Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS: NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel: Dissenting Opinion: "Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER, Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND, Mr. Justice BUTLER and I are unable to agree with the decisions just announced....
...Considering the far-reaching import of these decisions, the departure from what we understand has been consistently ruled here, and the extraordinary power confirmed to a Board of three, the obligation to present our views becomes plain. The Court as we think departs from well-established principles followed in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (May, 1935), and Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (May, 1936). Every consideration brought forward to uphold the act before us was applicable to support the acts held unconstitutional in causes decided within two years. And the lower courts rightly deemed them controlling.
Aspen: Development Finance: A common thread in a bunch of the initial comments here was: valuation and assessment. This is a piece of a much broader problem. We have absolutely powerful measures for assessment as far as things that go through the market. We see them every hour on practically every news channel: GDP, employment, wages, equity values, interest rates. We have no similar set of indicators that are brought in front of our eyes and injected into our consciousnesses with respect to any of the broader societal welfare measures that we really want to advance—and the things that we really want Mars to advance. I do not know what the solution to this is. Clearly it is not another report with another set of indicators to add to the cacophony. But I do think we need to settle on a single set of global societal indicators that will have the mindshare that the market financial and other indicators have. I have no answers. I only have a plea for coordination...
Aspen: Approaches to Fragility: One of the great mysteries puzzling me in my Visualization of the Cosmic All is the extraordinary disjunction between the two acts of Chiang Kai-Shek's career. The first act—Chiang Kai-Shek and his Guomindang as rulers of China between the Northern Expedition and the Japanese invasion—produced a highly-corrupt government that did not seem to be nurturing economic convergence and rapid industrialization. The second act—Chiang Kai-Shek and his Guomindang as rulers of Taiwan after 1949—is one of the most glorious episodes of economic development produced by any democracy-minded or not-so-democracy-minded strongman.
What should I read to understand this?...
Aspen: Approaches to Fragility: This started as a joke-of-the-moment, in response to talking about "fragile states" in which farmers fight with herders. But it is more. This is Colorado. However, this is the American West. And of the American West we remember that, at least in Broadway's version of Oklahoma, the farmer and the cowman can be friends. But the farmer and the cowman can be friends only when there is a matriarch with a shotgun in the picture.
One reading of world history is that a huge amount of the civilizing process is accomplished when people's mothers and aunts gain social power. The academe that we have has not thought very hard about how it is mothers and aunts gaining social power, or about what we can do to assist this process in the states me regard as fragile...
I was reading Herbert Hoover (1964): Freedom Betrayed on the plane, and it is really clear to me why nobody wanted Hoover to publish it during his lifetime and why his heirs buried it for half a century:
I will tell you what I think. I think Hoover does not quite dare say:
When Hitler attacked Stalin in June 1941, the U.S. should have told Britain to cool it—embargoed Britain until and offered it security guarantees when it made peace with Germany—and then the U.S. should have supported Hitler in his war on Communism, by far the worst of the three totalitarianism of Communism, Naziism, and New Dealism. Afterwards, Hitler and his successors would have had their hands full ruling their Eurasian empire, and Naziism would have normalized itself, and Communism would be gone. Too bad about Nazi rule over the French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, and Norwegians, but that would have been a price well worth paying.
He does not quite dare say it, but he is thinking it, and almost gets there...
So let me procrastinate some more this morning...
Let me riff off of something that crossed my desk last night: Emily Wilson's reflections on her translation of the Odyssey, and on the Odyssey itself. There is one passage that always has been, to me at least, horrifyingly freaky in a very bad way. As David Drake—one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors—puts it:
Odysseus caps his victory by slowly strangling–the process is described in some detail–the female servants who have been sleeping with Penelope’s suitors. This is only one example (although a pretty striking one) of normal behavior in an Iron Age culture which is unacceptable in a society that I (or anybody I want as a reader) would choose to live in... a hero with the worldview of a death camp guard...
Emily R.C. Wilson: "After one of my recent 'Conversation' interviews (in Sydney), someone asked me if the hanging of the slave women in the Odyssey is 'right'...
...Summarizing my answer here on the recommendation of a friend, because it brings up a key distinction for thinking about any literary text. Literature 101: There are 3 separate questions intertwined:
SOMETIMES I LOVE THE INTERNET SO MUCH!:
@e_pe_me_ri: I still can't believe I got away with this footnote:
Now I want to read the article this footnote is drawn from...
@e-pe-me-ri: You can! (Though I can't promise that the rest is quite so pithy): https://www.academia.edu/34570648/Creta_Capta_Late_Minoan_II_Knossos_in_Mycenaean_History …
Hoisted from a Year Ago: "Populism" or "Neo-Fascism"?: Rectification of Names Blogging: That is neither the post-WWII Latin American nor the pre-WWI North American form of "populism". I do not think we are well served by naming it such. What should we name it instead? There is an obvious candidate, after all...
Thomas Jefferson: To Walter Jones, 2 January 1814: "Your favor of Nov. 25. reached this place Dec. 21. having been near a month on the way...
The problem with debates about the philosophy of statistics is that it influences what you do: Minimize regret or minimize expected loss? Coverage or coherence? Is nature (and our own brains) our friend or our foe? There are actual real stakes here, in a way that there are not real stakes in philosophy of quantum mechanics or of economics...
Suppose we have some knowledge of the distribution of a parameter—Gaussian, with mean and variance known, because why not.
Dedicated to celebrating the memory of two field commanders who may well have been the worst in history:
Drink a toast to John Bell Hood on the 7/28 anniversary of his defeat at Ezra Church1
Hood... moved his troops out to oppose the Union army... planned to intercept them and catch them completely by surprise.... Unfortunately for Hood... Howard had predicted such a maneuver based on his knowledge of Hood from their time together.... His troops were already waiting in their trenches when Hood reached them. The Confederate army also had not done enough reconnaisance... and made an uncoordinated attack.... In all, about 3,642 men were casualties; 3,000 on the Confederate side and 642 on the Union side
And drink a toast to Max von Gallwitz—perhaps the only Imperial German commander who could have turned the Somme into a draw!
Early industrial Japan did marvelous things. It accomplished something unique: transferring enough industrial technology outside of the charmed circles of the North Atlantic and the temperate-climate European settler economies. Ever since, politicians, economists, and pretty much everybody else have been trying to determine just what it was Japan was ale to do, and why. But it was a low-wage semi-industrial civilization, economizing on land, materials, and capital and sweating labor: Pietra Rivoli (2005): The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade (New York: John Riley: 0470456426) https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0470456426: "Female cotton workers in prewar Japan were referred to as 'birds in a cage'...
The problem with this is that I do not think that I have the story of Japan's successfully pre-WWI development path nailed, the way I have the Chinese story of failure nailed. Oh well:
The opposite of China in the pre-World War I years was Japan.
In the early seventeenth century the Tokugawa clan of samurai decisively defeated its opponents at the battle of Sekigahara, and won effective control. Tokugawa Ieyasu petitioned the—secluded Priest-Emperor to grant him the title of Shogun, the Priest-Emperor's viceroy in all civil and military matters. His son Hidetaka and grandson Iemitsu consolidated the new régime. From its capital, Edo—renamed and now Tokyo—the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan for two and a half centuries.
At its very start, early in the seventeenth century, the Tokugawa Shogunate took a look to the south, at the Philippines. Only a century before, the Philippines had been independent kingdoms. Then the Europeans landed. Merchants had been followed by missionaries. Converts had proved an effective base of popular support for European influence. Missionaries had been followed by soldiers. And by 1600 Spain ruled the Philippines.
“We have traveled far...“ said Teddy Roosevelt, looking back at the Puritans.
And we today, looking back at Teddy Roosevelt, have reason to say the same thing.
We can hope that, were Teddy with us today and were he given an opportunity for sober reflection and consideration, he would agree.
We can hope that he would agree that many of his attitudes towards women come out of an ideological and cultural superstructure, erected largely for the benefit of men, built on top of a near-Malthusian biological regime in which the typical woman spent 20 years of her life eating for two.
We can hope that he would agree that all of his fears about “race“ and its impact on America in his day have been falsified by the history of America since his.
And we can hope that, as far as “improving the breed“ is concerned, Roosevelt today would understand that, even on the narrowest perspective of what maximizes the survival probability of the human species as a breeding population, our genetic diversity is already so low that we cannot afford to further reduce it along almost any dimension—that "eugenics" as he understood it is a big no-no.
And we can welcome the valuable things that Teddy Roosevelt tried to carry forward from his time into ours...
Note to Self: References Relevant to the Kaiping Mines Story...
Note to Self: I have been looking for this for a while: Washington's judgment that Jefferson was, at best, not an American patriot but rather an agent of influence for the corrupt French Republic.
It is thought that "John Langhorne" was not Thomas Jefferson, but rather Jefferson's favored nephew Peter Carr. The extent to which Carr was acting on his own rather than for Jefferson is not clear to me. Carr was certainly a "Jeffersonian"—and thus distance between him and Jefferson (like distance between Freneau and Jefferson) seems to me much more like plausible deniability than true divergence: George Washington: To John Nicholas, 8 March 1798: "Nothing short of the Evidence you have adduced, corroborative of intimations which I had received long before, through another channel...
Note to Self: Alexander Hamilton: America as "Grand Experiment": Ari Kelman: "The description of the United States as a Grand Experiment in democracy or sometimes as a lower-case grand experiment in democracy. I always assumed that one of the founders* said that, that it was a quote in other words. But no, it seems that’s not the case. Unless I’m missing something—which is entirely possible; no, really, it’s entirely possible—the whole thing is a charade..." How about this? Will it do?: Alexander Hamilton: "The advocates of despotism have... decried all free government as inconsistent with the order of society, and have indulged themselves in malicious exultation over its friends and partisans. Happily for mankind, stupendous fabrics reared on the basis of liberty, which have flourished for ages, have, in a few glorious instances, refuted their gloomy sophisms. And, I trust, America will be the broad and solid foundation of other edifices, not less magnificent, which will be equally permanent monuments of their errors..."
Current Versions of Chapters 1-3:
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes:
July 22, 2018 at 09:02 AM in Books, Economics: Finance, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Information, Economics: Macro, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (15)
| | |
10000 words on why the 20th Century was not a Chinese century. Very few of these belong in a 20th Century history book, alas...
Benjamin Franklin (1751): Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, 1751: "The 'immediate occasion' for writing this essay, according to Van Doren,6 was the British Iron Act of 1750, which prohibited the erection of additional slitting and rolling mills, plating forges, and steel furnaces in the American colonies. While English ironmasters rejoiced in the protection the law afforded them, a few farsighted Britons and most Americans appreciated that the act would curb colonial growth at just the moment when Britain and France were engaged in a climactic struggle for possession of North America.
The metallurgy to cheaply make the rails and the engines of the railroad had made transport over land wherever the rails ran as cheap as travel up navigable watercourses or across the oceans had every been, and made it faster.
The mid-nineteenth century Massachusetts transcendentalist author and activist Henry David Thoreau’s response to the railroad was: “get off my lawn!”:
To make a railroad round the world.... Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere in next to no time and for nothing, but though a crowd rushes to the depot and the conductor shouts “All aboard!” when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over—-and it will be called, and will be, “a melancholy accident”...
As Conor Cruise O'Brien remarks, whenever Jefferson swears by some Higher Power, he is apt to be lying:
Thomas Jefferson: To George Washington, 9 September 1792: "I received on the 2d. inst the letter of Aug. 23. which you did me the honor to write me; but the immediate return of our post, contrary to his custom, prevented my answer by that occasion...
...The proceedings of Spain mentioned in your letter are really of a complexion to excite uneasiness, and a suspicion that their friendly overtures about the Missisipi have been merely to lull us while they should be strengthening their holds on that river. Mr. Carmichael’s silence has been long my astonishment: and however it might have1 justified something very different from a new appointment, yet the public interest certainly called for his junction with Mr. Short as it is impossible but that his knolege of the ground of negotiation of persons and characters, must be useful and even necessary to the success of the mission.
Peter Jensen, Markus Lampe, Paul Sharp, and Christian Skovsgaard: The role of elites for development in Denmark: "How did Denmark get to Denmark?... Hundreds of butter factories could spring up in a few years in the 1880s... dominance in agricultural exports could be so rapidly consolidated... why this happened in Denmark and not elsewhere...
The twentieth century’s tyrannies were more brutal and more barbaric than those of any previous age. And—astonishingly—they had much of their origins in economic discontents and economic ideologies. People killed each other in large numbers over, largely, questions of how the economy should be organized. Such questions had not been a major source of massacre in previous centuries.
Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.
But wars have caused only about a fifth of this century’s violent death toll.
There are two ways this could go—extending "whiteness" or permanent Republican minority status. In the past, "whiteness" has always been expanded so that it includes a vast majority of the American population—and so now we have people named Mark Krikorian denouncing the threat of a Hispanic wave that will pollute America: Kevin Drum: White Party, Brown Party: "I don’t think that our political system will literally become the White Party vs. the Brown Party, but it’s already closer to this than any of us would like to admit. What’s worse, it’s all but impossible to imagine how Republicans can turn things around in their party. They’re keenly aware of the need to address their demographic challenges, but the short-term pain of reaching out to non-whites is simply too great for them to ever take the plunge. Democrats aren’t in quite such a tough spot, but their issues with the white working class are pretty well known, and don’t look likely to turn around anytime soon either.
Do I have space for this in the ms.? Or do I need to go into kill-my-darlings mode?
3.1: The ca.-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution
In the world as it stood in 1870 there was seen to be a huge disjunction between the growing effective economic power of the human race and the proper distribution of this potential wealth to create a prosperous and happy society. That science, technology, and organization could wreak miracles had become commonplaces. Best friends Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels probably put it best in 1848:
The business class, during… scarce 100 years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to [hu]man[ity], machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?…
I see no way to justify including this in the ms. But should any of it go in? Or does it just belong in some other intellectual project?
John Ball (1381):
When Adam delved and Eve span,/
Who was then the gentleman?
From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free.
And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty…
You need to understand three things to grasp the state of the world economy in 1870: that the drive to make love is one of the very strongest of all human drives, that living standards were what we would regard as very low for the bulk of humanity in the long trek between the invention of agriculture and 1870, and that the rate of technological progress back before 1870 was glacial, at best.
A Britain led by Theresa May or Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbin will not "rediscover its own way... the Britih re most resilient, most inventive, and happiest when they feel in control of their own future". That is simply wrong. And if it were right, May and Johnson and Corbin are not Churchill or Lloyd-George or even Salisbury: Robert Skidelsky: The British History of Brexit: "I am unpersuaded by the Remain argument that leaving the EU would be economically catastrophic for Britain...
Huh? The love letters of Otto von Bismarck? Juxtaposing von Bismarck and von Moltke to Ferdinand Lassalle cheek-by-jowl in one volume? What were they thinking?: The German Classics: Masterpieces of German Literature Translated Into English, Volume 10
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
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!
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787
Scratch | HIGHLIGHTED ONLY | HIGHLIGHTED LIST | THE HONEST BROKER | EQUITABLE GROWTH | RSS FEED | Short Biography | Talks, Presentations, and Events | Edit Posts | Edit Pages | Edit Content | Berkeley Open Access | Subscribe to Grasping Reality's Feed... | Books Worth Reading | Discussions ||||
OTHER STREAMS: Readings and Reviews | DeLong FAQ | The Honest Broker | Ann Marie Marciarille | Across the Wide Missouri... | Liveblogging History | Storify | On Social Media | This.! | Mark Thoma | Paul Krugman | Noah Smith and Steve Randy Waldman | Zeynep Tufekci | Oliver Willis | Marginal Revolution | Cosma Shalizi | Worthwhile Canadian Initiative | Angry Bear | Antonio Fatas |