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
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:
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...
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.
Edmund Wilson: To the Finland Station: "There has been... no other first-rate Marxist for whom the Marxist conception of History, derived from the Hegelian Idea, plays so frankly teleological a role as it does in the work of Trotsky...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Karl Marx really loathed social classes that deviated from their proper societal role: Karl Marx on Napoleon III and his lumpenproletariat, from the 18th Brumaire: Napoleon III was his own Breitbart:
David Glasner reaches back into our history: General Kelly v. Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln:
And now, if they would listen – as I suppose they will not – I would address a few words to the Southern people....
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me–my money–was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
Matthew Klein: Some context for our chat with Stephen Kotkin about Stalin: "We recently had the chance to chat with Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin about the second volume of his biography of Joseph Stalin: Waiting for Hitler...
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
Kindly General Lee, meet kindly Comrade Vladimir:
If the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly is not your Kronstadt, there is something profoundly wrong with you
"For a certain kind of leftist hipster or wannabe hipster, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet six o'clock on that October afternoon in 1917...
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/
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:
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....
The Onion: Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell: "JAHANNEM, OUTER DARKNESS—The hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon expressed confusion and surprise... http://www.theonion.com/article/hijackers-surprised-to-find-selves-in-hell-1445
...Monday to find themselves in the lowest plane of Na'ar, Islam's Hell.
"I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the airplane into one of the Twin Towers," said Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, between attempts to vomit up the wasps, hornets, and live coals infesting his stomach. "But instead, I am fed the boiling feces of traitors by malicious, laughing Ifrit. Is this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?"
The rest of Atta's words turned to raw-throated shrieks, as a tusked, asp-tongued demon burst his eyeballs and drank the fluid that ran down his face.
According to Hell sources, the 19 eternally damned terrorists have struggled to understand why they have been subjected to soul-withering, infernal torture ever since their Sept. 11 arrival.
Winston S. Churchill: Their Finest Hour http://amzn.to/2eUQZd3: "AFTER THE COLLAPSE of France the question which arose in the minds of all our friends and foes was, 'Would Britain surrender too?'...
...So far as public statements count in the teeth of events, I had in the name of His Majesty’s Government repeatedly declared our resolve to fight on alone. After Dunkirk on June 4 I had used the expression, “if necessary for years, if necessary alone.” This was not inserted without design, and the French Ambassador in London had been instructed the next day to inquire what I actually meant. He was told “exactly what was said.”
Weekend Reading: Dean Acheson: A Historical Document: A Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: From Dean Acheson (1955), A Democrat Looks at His Party:
p. 23 ff: From the very beginning the Democratic Party has been broadly based... the party of the many... the urban worker; the backwoods merchant and banker; the small farmer... the large landowners of the South, who saw themselves as being milked by the commercial and financial magnates gathered under Hamilton's banner; the newly arrived immigrants... the party of the underdog.... The many have an important and most relevant characteristic. They have many interests, many points of view, many purposes to accomplish, and a party which represents them will have their many interests, many points of view, and many purposes also. It is this multiplicity of interests which, I submit, is the principal clue in understanding the vitality and endurance of the Democratic Party....
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)
Winston Churchill**: Their Finest Hour: "On November 9, [1940,] Mr. Neville Chamberlain died at his country home in Hampshire... http://amzn.to/2wyIJ6V
...I had obtained the King’s permission to have him supplied with the Cabinet papers, and until a few days before the end he followed our affairs with keenness, interest, and tenacity. He met the approach of death with a steady eye. I think he died with the comfort of knowing that his country had at least turned the corner. As soon as the House met on November 12, I paid a tribute to his character and career:
Winston S. Churchill: The Gathering Storm http://amzn.to/2vyylPb: "Poland has again been overrun by two of the great Powers...
...which held her in bondage for a hundred and fifty years but were unable to quench the spirit of the Polish nation. The heroic defence of Warsaw shows that the soul of Poland is indestructible, and that she will rise again like a rock, which may for a time be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock. Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest.
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).
His WWI book was awful. It's entire premise is anachronistic, and it shows the same predilection for snide ad hominem attacks as the rest of his writing.
I beg to differ. I thought that Ferguson"s World War One book was pretty good. It suffered to a small degree from AJP Taylor disease, but a very mild case only--you learn a lot from TPoW http://amzn.to/2gnp2em, while you learn nothing—in fact, your Δ(knowledge) < 0—from Tayllor's Origins of WWII http://amzn.to/2gnp2em.
Live from Roma Aeterna: Marcus Tullius Cicero asks: Who is the Aeschylus of the Britons worth the trouble of enslaving?:
Marcus Tullius Cicero (54 BC): Scr. Romae K. Oct. A. 700: CICERO ATTICO SAL.: "Britannici belli exitus exspectatur...
...constat enim aditus insulae esse muratos mirificis molibus. Etiam illud iam cognitum est neque argenti scripulum esse ullum in illa insula neque ullam spem praedae nisi ex mancipiis; ex quibus nullos puto te litteris aut musicis eruditos exspectare.
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 the End of the Slavery Rebellion: U.S. Grant: At Appomattox http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/04/confederate-history-month-grant-at-apomattox.html:
My own feelings... were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse...
Vachel Lindsay Stephen Vincent Benet: Army of Northern Virginia (From John Brown's Body) http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700461.txt:
The cold. The mud. The bleak wonder.
The weakening sickness--the weevils tainting the bread--
We were beaten again in spite of all we could do.
We don't know what went wrong but something went wrong.
When will we find a man who can really lead us?
When will we not be wasted without success?
Vachel Lindsay Stephen Vincent Benet: From John Brown's Body http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700461.txt:
The horses, burning-hooved, drove on toward the sea,
But, where they had passed, the air was troubled and sick
Like earth that the shoulder of earthquake heavily stirs.
There was a whisper moving that air all night,
A whisper that cried and whimpered about the house
Where John Brown prayed to his God, by his narrow bed.
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/
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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