On "Identity Politics": Live from La Farine
Morning Must-Read: Paul Krugman: Whitewashing the Crazy, Fed Edition

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for January 30, 2015

Screenshot 10 3 14 6 17 PMOver at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


Must- and Shall-Reads:

And Over Here:

  1. Gernot Wagner: Climate Shock: It's Not Over 'Til the Fat Tail Zings: "Presenting his new book ‘Climate Shock’ co-authored with Martin Weitzman. If you had a 10 percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you’d take necessary precautions. If your finances had a 10 percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you’d re-evaluate your assets. So if we know the world is warming and there’s a 10 percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren’t we doing more about climate change right now? We insure our lives against an uncertain future--why not our planet?..."

  2. Jeet Heer: The New Republic's Legacy on Race: From Du Bois to the Bell Curve: "Between the late ’30s and the mid-’70s, The New Republic was one of the best magazines outside the black press in its coverage of the rise of the civil rights movement. Thomas Sancton, Sr., managing editor from 1942–1943, was a particularly radical advocate, holding FDR’s feet to the fire for his compromises with the Jim Crow South, and doing brave reporting on the Detroit race riots of 1943.... [But when] the country’s conversation about race turned to more ambiguous debates over busing, affirmative action, and overcoming economic hurdles. The owner who would oversee that new era was Martin Peretz..."

  3. Jaume Ventura: Capital in the 21st Century: "On 19th December, CEPR and the Bank of England hosted a joint workshop to discuss Thomas Piketty’s seminal work ‘Capital in the 21st Century’. Chaired by the Bank’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane, the panel comprised Orazio Attanasio, Tim Besley, Peter Lindert, Thomas Piketty and Jaume Ventura..."

  4. Daniel Davies: Rules for Contrarians: 1. Don’t whine. That is all: "I like to think that I know a little bit about contrarianism. So I’m disturbed to see that people who are making roughly infinity more money than me out of the practice aren’t sticking to the unwritten rules of the game.... The whole idea of contrarianism is that you’re... setting out to annoy people.... If annoying people is what you’re trying to do, then you can hardly complain when annoying people is what you actually do. If you start a fight, you can hardly be surprised that you’re in a fight. It’s the definition of passive-aggression and really quite unseemly, to set out to provoke people, and then when they react passionately and defensively, to criticise them for not holding to your standards of a calm and rational debate. If [Levitt and Dubner's] Superfreakonomics wanted a calm and rational debate, this chapter would have been called something like: ‘Geoengineering: Issues in Relative Cost Estimation of SO2 Shielding’ [rather than 'Global Cooling'], and the book would have sold about five copies....

  5. As Safe as Houses: "According to... Oscar Jorda, Moritz Schularick and Alan Taylor, the traditional view that banks primarily lend to businesses is out of date. In 1900 only 30% of bank lending was to buy residential property; now that figure is around 60%.... The growth of mortgage lending has led to property bubbles and financial instability... rising levels of mortgage debt are a better predictor of financial crises than surges in other forms of lending... financial crunches caused by mortgage binges result in deeper recessions and slower recoveries than episodes caused by other forms of debt. If mortgage lending is so risky, why are bankers so keen on it? The answer lies partly in public subsidies for mortgages, which have boosted home-owner..."

Should Be Aware of:


  1. Jeet Heer: The New Republic's Legacy on Race: From Du Bois to the Bell Curve: "The magazine’s myopia on racial issues was never more apparent than in Peretz’s and editor Andrew Sullivan’s decision in 1994 to excerpt The Bell Curve.... The book had not been peer-reviewed, nor were galleys sent to the relevant scientific journals... ‘swept forward by a strategy that provided book galleys to likely supporters while withholding them from likely critics.’... The magazine can be seen as not just reflecting the media’s diversity problem, but actively contributing to it. Because most of the critiques were political and philosophic in nature, many readers were left with the false impression that the book had some scientific validity. By the time devastating scientific reviews appeared... the book already enjoyed unmerited prestige, thanks to the imprimatur of The New Republic. The Bell Curve was perhaps the most impactful, and unfortunate, example of the magazine’s embrace of racial mythmaking..."

  2. Peter Weinhart: Rape and Consolatio: "Augustine is the first to address rape victims with consolatio, and in so doing he turns consolation into social critique: [Melanie Webb] ‘his consolation cannot simply be an exhortation to rape-survivors to re-orient themselves within a society that regards them with shaming suspicion. It must also be an admonition to civil leaders to re-orient society toward rape-survivors as dignified women without requiring "proof" of innocence. Augustine initiates his project of social criticism through the genre of consolatio’..."

  3. : The New Republic's Legacy on Race: From Du Bois to the Bell Curve: "A 1995 piece by Ruth Shalit argued that if The Washington Post hired strictly on merit, it would be an all-white newspaper: ‘The Post, of course, is in an agonizing position. If editors refuse to adjust their traditional hiring standards, they will end up with a nearly all-white staff. But if they do reach out aggressively to ensure proportionate representation for each relevant minority, they transform not just the complexion but the content of the paper.’ Shalit’s piece made no mention of the fact that the magazine she was writing for had an almost all-white editorial staff. After the piece appeared, roughly half of the 28 Post staffers Shalit interviewed wrote in to say that she had either lied about what they told her or misrepresented them; The New Republic printed only a fraction of these complaints.... Likewise... Stephen Glass penned a 1996 piece about the Washington, D.C. taxi cab industry that seemed to cater to Peretz’s appetite for melodramas illustrating black cultural pathology.... One may also ask if a staff dominated by privileged white males might not have benefited from greater diversity, and not just along racial lines. ‘Marty [Peretz] doesn’t take women seriously for positions of responsibility,’ staff writer Henry Fairlie told Esquire magazine in 1985..."

  4. Fredrik deBoer: I don’t know what to do, you guys: "You’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes at the army of media liberals, stuffed into their narrow enclaves, responding to Chait by insisting that there is no problem here and that anyone who says there is should be considered the enemy.... The culprits overwhelmingly were not women of color. That’s always how this conversation goes down: if you say, hey, we appear to have a real problem with how we talk to other people, we are losing potential allies left and right, then the response is always ‘stop lecturing women of color.’ But these codes aren’t enforced by women of color, in the overwhelming majority of the time. They’re enforced by the children of privilege. I know. I live here. I am on campus. I have been in the activist meetings and the lefty coffee houses.... I know I’ll get read the intersectionality riot act, even though everyone I’m criticizing here is white, educated, and privileged.... Christ, I wish people would think outside of their social circle for 5 minutes.... I want a left that can win, and there’s no way I can have that when the actually-existing left sheds potential allies at an impossible rate. But the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism. And I’m left as this sad old 33 year old teacher who no longer has the slightest f---ing idea what to say to the many brilliant, passionate young people whose only crime is not already being perfect..."

  5. Michelle Goldberg: Jonathan Chait and the New PC: "Unlike some of Chait's critics, I think there is such a thing as renascent political correctness.... But... he conflates several different things... genuine suppression of speech... annoying rhetorical tropes of online discourse... energetic debate.... Chait describes a torrent of online derision directed at his friend Hanna Rosin under the hashtag #RIPpatriarchy. In Chait's version, the hashtag is a reaction to her book, The End of Men.... In fact, the hashtag was spurred by a related Slate piece with the trollish headline, 'The Patriarchy is Dead: Feminists, accept it.' The patriarchy not being dead, feminists did not accept it. That's not stifling political correctness. It's responding to speech with more speech.... 'Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter,' Chait writes of Rosin.... Social media has dramatically raised the psychic cost of voicing unpopular opinions.... To which, I suspect, many on Twitter would reply boo-fucking-hoo.... For Twitter's guardians of righteousness, if privileged journalists feel more inhibited about bucking lefty pieties, so much the better.... Such a style, of course, was a hallmark of the Old New Republic... the magazine mistook common prejudice for unspoken truths..."