And Once Again the Fed Fails to Follow Through on Its Forward Guidance...
Liveblogging World War II: November 4, 2013

Noted for Your Morning Proctastination for November 4, 2013


  1. "Horse racing faces a strange demographic paradox. In a sport tied up with fashion, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling—pursuits that scream out for youth—the young are hard to come by, and the die-hard fans are, literally, dying. Racing people are pondering this problem and contriving various proposed solutions, and this is how I found myself in Miami behind a tiny formica dining table, hemmed in by an infectiously positive blonde and a fashion model in a horse mask, on thoroughbred racing's version of the Madden Cruiser": Jeb Lund: Can Dirtbags, Pretty Ladies, And Twitter Save Horse Racing?
  2. "As was said of the Sokal hoax, there is simply no way to do justice to the cringe-inducing nature of this text without quoting it in its entirety. But, in a nutshell, Basic Structures of Reality is an impressively inept contribution to philosophy of physics, and one exemplifying everything that can possibly go wrong with metaphysics: it is mind-numbingly repetitive, toe-curlingly pretentious, and amateurish in the extreme regarding the incorporation of physical fact. With work this grim, the only interesting questions one can raise concern not the content directly but the conditions that made it possible; and in this connection, one might be tempted to present the book as further evidence of the lack of engagement of metaphysicians with real science — something that has lately been subject to lively discussion (and I myself have slung some of the mud). But I would insist that to use this work to make a general point about the discipline would in fact be entirely unfair. For one thing, while contemporary metaphysicians are often tokenistic in their treatments, I think most would appreciate that looking at the pictures in a book is of limited value qua research into unobservable entities, even if it is the auspicious ‘1700-page textbook University Physics’ (p. 129) that informs McGinn’s critique. Furthermore, McGinn has scant interest in getting to grips not only with the relevant science, but also the work of fellow philosophers wrestling with questions similar to those he himself is concerned with": Kerry McKenzie: Basic Structures of Reality: Essays in Meta-Physics, by Colin McGinn
  3. "Virtually all the new academic publishing I’ve done in these six years began as a couple of posts on Understanding Society. You might say I’ve become an “open-source” philosopher--as I get new ideas about a topic I develop them through the blog. This means that readers can observe ideas in motion. A good example is the efforts I’ve made in the past year to clarify my thinking about microfoundations and meso-level causation. Another example is the topic of 'character', which I started thinking about after receiving an invitation to contribute to a volume on character and morality; through a handful of posts I arrived at a few new ideas I felt I could offer on the topic.  This 'design and build' strategy means that there is the possibility of a degree of inconsistency over time, as earlier formulations are challenged by newer versions of the idea. But I think it makes the process of writing a more dynamic one, with lots of room for self-correction and feedback from others": Daniel Little: Blogs as Catalysts
  4. "I must admit that I don’t find this at all surprising: 'Caitlin C. Rosenthal didn’t intend to write a book about slavery. She set out to tackle something much more mundane: the history of business practices. But when she started researching account books from the mid-1800s, a period of major economic development during the rise of industrialization in the United States, Rosenthal stumbled across an unexpected source of innovation. Rosenthal, a Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in business history at Harvard Business School, found that southern plantation owners kept complex and meticulous records, measuring the productivity of their slaves and carefully monitoring their profits—often using even more sophisticated methods than manufacturers in the North. Several of the slave owners’ practices, such as incentivizing workers (in this case, to get them to pick more cotton) and depreciating their worth through the years, are widely used in business management today.' Though it appears this is all news to historians of business, historians of slavery have been pointing this out more or less since the 1970s. In an oft-cited 1973 article in the Journal of Economic History, R. Keith Aufhauser pointed out that the task system... enabled plantation overseers to calibrate particular jobs to the capabilities of particular slaves.... Historians since the 1970s pretty well demolished Eugene Genovese’s assertion slavery was a feudal anomaly within an emerging bourgeois capitalist economy, and I can’t think of any recent work on slavery that hasn’t emphasized slavery’s ruthless capitalist aspects. Then again, classic business histories like Alfred Chandler’s Visible Hand and Daniel Wren’s Evolution of Management Thought had utterly nothing to say about the genealogical relationship between slavery and scientific management": Dave Noon: Treason in Defense of Scientific Management

Plus: Long:

Ian Bremmer: China: Superpower or Superbust? | Felix Salmon: Is Amazon bad for publishers? |

Plus: Short:

Ryan Grim and Jason Linkins: The Definitive Guide To Decoding Washington's Anonymous Sources | Mark Miller: Column: Can expanding Social Security solve the retirement crisis? |