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March 2016

Procrastinating on March 21, 2016

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Monday Smackdown: Charles Pierce Brings the Hammer to David Brooks

Charles Pierce: David Brooks Says Trump Is 'Epically Unprepared', Supported George W. Bush and Iraq War: "Moral Hazard, the Irish setter owned for photo op purposes by New York Times columnist David Brooks, was worried...

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Links for the Week of March 20, 2016

Most-Recent Must-Reads:

Most-Recent Links:

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Must-Read: This by the very-sharp Ken Rogoff seems to me to be simply wrong. If "the supply side, not lack of demand, is the real constraint in advanced economies" then we would live in a world in which inflation would be on a relatively-rapid upswing right now. Instead, we live in a world in which Global North central banks are persistently and continually failing to meet their rather-modest targets for inflation. If a fear of supply disruptions or supply lack were ruling markets, then people in markets would be heavily betting on an upsurge of inflation and we would see that. But we don't. What am I missing here?

Ken Rogoff: The Fear Factor in Global Markets: "There are some parallels between today’s unease and market sentiment in the decade after World War II...

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Must-Read: I find myself more on Martin Sandbu's side than that of the very-sharp Dani Rodrik in this debate. This is largely, I think, because Dani remains at too abstract a level. The commitment of foreign trading partners to "openness", whatever that turns out to mean in practice, enlarges domestic political and economic opportunities in some directions. But one's own government's reciprocal commitment to "openness", whatever that turns out to mean in practice, restricts domestic political and economic opportunities in different directions. How much should a government and a people value the gains in the first set of directions? How much should a government and a people regret the loss in the second set?

These are questions that must be answered pragmatically. The devil is in the details. And ideologies--either Friedmanesque rants that globalization is always good or Trumpist rants that "we" are always outmaneuvred in trade deals by shifty foreigners--seem to me profoundly unhelpful here. And so the word "globalization" becomes an obstacle rather than an aid to thought...

Dani Rodrik: More on the Political Trilemma of the Global Economy: "Here are [Martin] Sandbu’s main points and my take on them...

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Must-Read: May I say that I do not understand what the entire point of labeling Henry Kissinger an "idealist" would be?

Of course, I also do not understand what the point of the idealist-realist divide is. Everyone has hopes for a better world, and reaches for them. Everyone has to grapple with the world as it is.

The true divisions among international relations specialists are, I think, twofold:

  1. The division between those who are being smart and being stupid.

  2. The division between (i) those who believe that international relations is non-cooperative zero sum and that one's purpose is to advance the interests or one's own nation-state or ethnolinguistic grouping; and (ii) those who believe that international relations is cooperative and positive-sum and that trust via favors with the hope of their subsequent return via gift-exchange is worth building.

Smart vs. stupid; and nationalist vs. cosmopolitan.

Kissinger is, I think, an often- (as in his Nuclear Weapons and American Foreign Policy) but not always-stupid nationalist.

Jonathan Kirshner: Machinations of Wicked Men: "[Niall Ferguson's] central claim—Kissinger the idealist—is... wrong. Simply, plainly, fundamentally, and exactly wrong...

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Must-Read: Nick Rowe provides a very brief masterclass in "capital theory", which is really the theory of the price system not just at a point in time but over time. (Cf. Christopher Bliss (1975): Amazon.com: Capital Theory and the Distribution of Income.) Needless to say, there is no presumption that there is only one equilibrium vector for the intertemporal price system. And there is no presumption that problems of aggregation for commodities called "capital" is any easier than problems of aggregation for commodities called "labor" or "services" or "nondurable goods". (The question of whether the problems of aggregation for commodities called "capital" is any more difficult than for any other not-completely-unreasonable grouping is left as an exercise):

Nick Rowe: Interest, Capital, MRScc=(1+r)=1+(MPK/MRTci)+(dMRTci/dt)/MRTci: "The slope of the indifference curve [is] the Marginal Rate of Intertemporal Substitution...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Brendan Nyhan on David Brooks

Brendan Nyhan (2008): David Brooks on Obama and salad bars - : "It's easy to be a pop sociologist because you can just make things up:

...On MSNBC, David Brooks asserted that 'less educated' and 'downscale' people 'look at [Sen. Barack] Obama, and they don't see anything,' adding: 'And so, Obama's problem is he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who could go into an Applebee's salad bar, and people think he fits in naturally there.'

Applebee's officials have confirmed to Media Matters that its restaurants do not have salad bars.

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Weekend Reading: Tim Noah: Will Blue-Collar Dems Run to Trump? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Tim Noah: Will Blue-Collar Dems Run to Trump? Fuhgeddaboudit!: "Most of the working-class voters he’d get in November have already lined up behind him...

...Donald Trump’s strong primary showing among blue-collar voters is prompting speculation that working class support might upset the usual electoral boundaries between Republican and Democratic constituencies and put Trump in the White House come November.

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Live from La Farine: Shorter Dean Baquet of the New York Times: It's not readers' business when we senior editors after the fact yank stories out of the shapes that our reporters had molded them!

Margaret Sullivan: Were Changes to Sanders Article 'Stealth Editing'?: "An article by Jennifer Steinhauer... carried the headline ‘Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors’...

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Liveblogging the American Revolution: March 20, 1778: Benjamin Franklin in France

Benjamin Franklin in France:

CONGRESS, in 1776, appointed three commissioners, Dr. Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, 'to transact the business of the United States at the court of France.' They were furnished with the draft of a treaty, credentials, and instructions. The members enjoined secrecy on themselves in regard to these proceedings. Silas Deane was already in France, having been sent thither as a commercial and political agent instructed to procure munitions of war and forward them to the United States, and to ascertain, as far as he could, the views and disposition of the French court. Arthur Lee was in England. Franklin made immediate preparations for his voyage. He left Philadelphia on the 26th of October, accompanied by two of his grandsons, William Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache. They passed the night at Chester, and the next day embarked on board the Continental sloop-of-war Reprisal, carrying sixteen guns, and commanded by Captain Wickes....

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Must-Read: The great and the good of the non-insane wing of Global North Neoliberalism seem--or so I read it--to now be calling for a transition to a two-handed growth-supporting economic policy: fiscal expansion (by governments with ample fiscal space) and "structural reform". Their hope, I think, is that "structural reform" will reassure those who otherwise make a profession out of panicking over government debt levels--even governments that issue reserve currencies, possess exorbitant privilege, and that have debt currently valued by the markets as more precious than rubies. Their hope, I think, is that fiscal expansion will produce fast enough growth to make that plus "structural reform" genuinely win-win, and that the promise of enough fiscal expansion will quiet those Keynesians who otherwise would vociferously oppose what they see as yet another round of upward redistribution under the guise of "structural reform".

Ah. But what are these "structural reforms"? Federal and state action to make it much easier to build infill and up zone housing in greater San Francisco is the only thing I can think of that commands general and universal assent (and even there, the bulk of we greater San Francisco home owners are in opposition):

Mohamed A. El-Erian: Is the Perfect Storm Over for Markets?: "LAGUNA BEACH – Earlier this year, financial markets around the world were forced to navigate a perfect storm...

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Procrastinating on March 18, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog:

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Hoisted from teh Archives from 2012: Karl Rove and Company Got $80 Million and Republican Donors Got?

Karl Rove and Company Got $80 Million and Republican Donors Got?: Memo to Republican billionaires: Rupert Murdoch is not your friend. John Roberts is not your friend. Karl Rove is not your friend.

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Liveblogging History: March 18, 1946: Hermann Goering

Goering Transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: Do the Chief prosecutors wish to cross examine?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You are perhaps aware that you are the only living man who can expound to us the true purposes of the Nazi Party and the inner workings of its leadership?

GOERING: I am perfectly aware of that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON You, from the very beginning, together with those who were associated with you, intended to overthrow and later did overthrow, the Weimar Republic?

GOERING: That was, as far as I am concerned, my firm intention.

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Liveblogging History: March 17, 1946: Robinson's MLB Debut In Daytona Beach

Kevin Reichard: 70 Years Ago: Robinson's MLB Debut In Daytona Beach:

It’s been 70 years since Jackie Robinson made his spring-training debut for the Montreal Royals on March 17, 1946 at Daytona Beach’s City Island Ballpark, after being locked out of other Florida ballparks.

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Procrastinating on March 17, 2016

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Procrastinating on March 16, 2016

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(Late) Monday Smackdown: John Holbo Looks at Tea Party Founder Rick Santelli

Live from La Farine: John Holbo: I wouldn’t even know where to insert underpants gnomes into that argument:

P1: Colorado exists.
P2: Rearden Metal exists.
P3: Rearden Metal is magic.
C: Libertarianism?

Rick Santelli: "You know what that big number was? It was 1957...

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Liveblogging the Cold War: March 16, 1946: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

NEW YORK, Friday—Unless we build a strong United Nations Organization, it is fairly obvious that the USSR, the United States and Great Britain, the three great Allies in the European war, are each going to become the center of a group of nations, each building up its individual power.

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Procrastinating on March 15, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog:

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