Previous month:
March 2018
Next month:
May 2018

April 2018

On Twitter: Nicholas Weaver: "Of all the ridiculous tropes in the cryptocurrency space, 'But Moore's Law will solve the Bitcoin power consumption problem' is perhaps the most ridiculous."


Can you self-concuss by banging your head on your desk too many times? And how long should the noncognitive bedrest recovery period be? Asking for a friend...

Weekend Reading: Xenophon's Sokrates

David The Death of Socrates Socrates Wikipedia

Weekend Reading: Substantially different from Plato's Socrates: Xenophon: Symposium: "When the tables had been removed...

...and the guests had poured a libation and sung a hymn, there entered a man from Syracuse, to give them an evening's merriment. He had with him a fine flute-girl, a dancing-girl—one of those skilled in acrobatic tricks,—and a very handsome boy, who was expert at playing the cither and at dancing; the Syracusan made money by exhibiting their performances as a spectacle. They now played for the assemblage, the flute-girl on the flute, the boy on the cither; and it was agreed that both furnished capital amusement.

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Xenophon's Sokrates" »

Should-Read: New information technologies—Gutenberg and the pamphlet—hacked people's brains from the late-fifteenth century on, and the consequences were... two centuries of bloody fratricidal religious wars, among others. Until society built up immune systems. Or maybe it didn't. The Wars of Religion were followed by Wars of Ideology and Wars of Nationality—nationalism being perhaps a particularly virulent subclass of ideology, a set of ideas that creates imagined—fictitious?—common interests and activities. Zeynep Tufekci: Why Mark Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook: "By now, it ought to be plain... that Facebook’s 2 billion-plus users are surveilled and profiled, that their attention is then sold to... practically anyone... who will pay... including unsavory dictators like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte...

Continue reading " " »

"White Ethnicists" and Boston in the 1980s: Note to Self:

Google Image Result for http www konbini com wp content blogs dir 9 files 2017 08 charlottesville nazi 480x279 jpg

Note to Self: "White Ethnicists" and Boston in the 1980s: Whenever I look at pictures of America’s “white ethnicists“ (one thing they certainly ain’t is American nationalists) on parade, from the openly neo-Nazi to the more "genteel" Atlantic Monthly “the Democrats triggered this by pushing civil rights too far” and all the flavors in between, I am, quite frankly, gobsmacked:

Continue reading ""White Ethnicists" and Boston in the 1980s: Note to Self: " »

Should-Read: This is... what... thirty-five years since there were credible rumors that Harvard Hall knew that Jorge Dominguez had told an associate professor that her tenure case was toast unless she came across? And in between then and now he has had big budgets and a vice provostship? Drew Faust and her predecessors have some explaining to do: Susan Dynarski retweeted: The Harvard Crimson: "The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has filed a formal Title IX complaint against Government Professor Jorge I. Dominguez, according to correspondence obtained by The Crimson..."

Should-Read: The thoughtful and intelligent Justin Fox loses it. He reads what is best taken as an early April Fools joke—five Stanford economists making fools of themselves to informed readers while they try to fool their uninformed readers into becoming useful idiots. Justin's conclusion:

[The] Hoover Five... by acting as if tax cuts aren't partly responsible for the "string of perpetually rising trillion-dollar-plus deficits"... undercut their own credibility... join... the long-running Republican disingenuousness.... Yes, I'm probably expending way too much time and energy on what is, after all, just an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. But... the dead end that respectable conservative economic thought has found itself in when four elder-statesmen economists and a somewhat younger one (Cochrane)... can't even bring themselves to write frankly about the nation's fiscal situation...

As I say, the most polite apt description is: unprofessional. And yes: I do think Stanford needs to start exercising some more serious intellectual quality control oversight over Hoover: Justin Fox: Beware Economists Who Warn of an Entitlement Explosion: "A quintet of notable Republican economists... Michael J. Boskin, John H. Cochrane, John F. Cogan, George P. Shultz and John B. Taylor...

Continue reading " " »

Now That John Williams Is President of the New York Fed, He Really Should Convene a Blue Ribbon Commission on What the Inflation Target Should Be

Blue Ribbon Commission Holds First Meeting Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas

From June 2017: Fed Up Rethink 2% Inflation Target Blue-Ribbon Commission Conference Call: I hear four arguments for not changing the 2%/year inflation target, even though pursuing that target found us in a situation where monetary policy was greatly hobbled in its ability to manage the economy for a solid decade. And, as best as I can evaluate them, all four of these arguments seem to me to be wrong. They are:

  1. The Federal Reserve, even at the zero lower bound, has powerful tools sufficient to carry out its stabilization policy tasks....

  2. The problem is not the 2%/year target but rather pressure on the Federal Reserve... from substantial numbers of economists and politicians practicing bad economics and motivated partisan reasoning....

  3. A higher inflation rate would bring shifting expectations of inflation back into the mix, distract people and firms from their proper task of calculating real costs and benefits to worry about monetary policy, and make monetary policy management more complicated....

  4. The Federal Reserve needs to maintain its credibility, and if it were to even once change the target inflation rate, its commitment to any target inflation rate would have no credibility...

Should-Read: Facebook needs to convince people that it—all of it—even the advertising parts—are there to connect you in ways you want to be connected, rather than to hack your brain in ways you would rather not have your brain be hacked. This is a difficult task to accomplish. And I do not think Facebook has spent enough time thinking about how to do it: Josh Marshall: Is Facebook In More Trouble Than People Think?: "People aren’t fully internalizing that the current crisis poses a potentially dire threat to Facebook’s... core advertising business...

Continue reading " " »

Should-Read: The only flaw in this piece is a lack of a proper definition of "conservative". And that leads the very sharp Henry Farrell into some fuzzy thinking here. Wanting to see a quarter of women in America hanged is not "conservative": it is radical: Henry Farrell: Who has any use for conservative intellectuals?: "The firing of Kevin Williamson has led, predictably, to outrage from other conservatives, and in particular from anti-Trumpers like Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson...

Continue reading " " »

Should-Read: Noah Smith: "Yep. Restrictionists lie when they say that our current system is 'open borders'. Restrictionists lie when they say Democrats want open borders. Restrictionists lie, all the time, about everything.

@JeffFlake: To say that "Democrats want no borders" is inaccurate. Every senate Democrat voted for bipartisan immigration legislation in 2013 that included $40+ billion for border infrastructure, personnel & technology. Both sides of the aisle want reform. Let's do it.

Should-Read: I need to figure out why the usually-reliable Greg Ip has started giving more credence than he should to the claims of Trump hacks and flacks like Kevin Hassett, Larry Kudlow, Peter Navarro, and their ilk: Larry Summers: No, “Obamasclerosis” wasnt a real problem: "The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip... finds credible... claims that President Barack Obama’s policies... materially slowed economic growth...

Continue reading " " »

Should-Read: Read National Review before... well, before today... about Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and you read things like "There’s still quite a bit of experienced managerial and legislative talent walking through the lobby of Trump Tower these days... Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin..." and "A Mama Grizzly Wins in the Sooner State". All that is now, as they say, inoperative. But surely NR could have given its loyal readers a heads-up sometime in the past eight years that MISTAKES WERE MADE?: Mark Antonio Wright: Oklahoma’s Teachers & Education Funding Issues: "No reasonable examination of the facts can avoid laying blame at the feet of Republican governor Mary Fallin...

Continue reading " " »

Should-Read: I guarantee you that when the first modern real journalists—Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer—went to Germany and England to cover Hitler and his consequences, their first reaction was not "We've got a great story on our hands!" To think it is a good thing for journalists to be so detached and unconcerned for their country and their world is to think that psychopaths and idiots make good journalists, and only a psychopath and an idiot would think so: Joe Pompeo: “Journalism Is Not About Creating Safe Spaces”: Inside the Woke Civil War at The New York Times: "For someone like Dean Baquet, the Times’s then 60-year-old executive editor, the dominant emotion was exhilaration about this new national epic...

Continue reading "" »

Should-Read: A Category 3 storm has winds of 111-129 mph. A Category 4 storm has winds of 130-156 mph. A Category 5 storm has winds of 157 mph or more. That's not just "a wind in our face". Interesting that McConnell starts the paragraph wanting to take about "headwinds" and ends it talking about major hurricane damage—we East African Plains Apes are really not very good at keeping our true views hidden, are we?: Morgan Gstalter: McConnell: Midterms could be 'a Category 3, 4 or 5' storm for GOP: "'We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5'...

Continue reading "" »

Another April Fools Post: Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself?

Preview of Another April Fools Post Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself

I swear, when this showed up in my inbox—sent by somebody who wishes me ill—I really did think it was an April Fools Day parody...

Back up. As the eminent and intelligent John Scalzi says: to play the video game of life—"a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time"—as a straight white male in America is to play it on the lowest difficulty setting: on level one, so to speak.

Everybody else faces bigger obstacles and more distractions. Thus one should not be proud of one's “score“, however one likes to keep score. One should not pat oneself on the back as being in any way "superior" for what one has accomplished. And one should not whinge about how hard one's life is, and about how many obstacles one faces.

And if one starts whingeing—especially if start whingeing when people point out that one has been playing on level one—if one says one is being oppressed by sexist anti-sexists and racist anti-racists because somebody points out that one's score is at the top primarily because one was playing on level one, and that one is actively assisting others of one's ilk in playing on level one...

Well, one should be embarrassed: Such a fragile ego! Such an unwillingness to contemplate the reality in which one is cushioned! Such a sensitive snowflake!

Why, it is positively unmanly...

Continue reading "Another April Fools Post: Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself?" »

Should-Read: The people who are going to pick the next President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: Tamara Lundgren, Rosemary Turner, Alex Mehran**, Barry M. Meyer, Steven E. Bochner, Sanford L. Michelman: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: Leadership and Membership Announcements: "Tamara Lundgren, president and CEO, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., Portland, OR, has been elected as a class B director...

Continue reading " " »

Memo to Self: Now that John Williams is heading to become President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Vice Chair of the Federal Open Market Committee, who should take his place as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco?

  • Mary Daly?
  • Christie Romer?
  • Glenn Rudebusch?
  • Thinking outside the box, Takeo Hoshi?
  • Thinking way outside the box, Enrico Moretti?
  • Thinking way way outside the box, Raj Chetty?

Ideal candidates should I think, be in their early 50s, and should be prepared to lead an analytical and operations orientation of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank toward one or more of:

  • Financial system safety-and-soundness regulation
  • Financial system consumer finance regulation
  • Asia and its place in the global financial system
  • Tech and its place in the global financial system
  • Regional economic development issues..

Another April Fools Post: Leszek Kolakowski Tells E.P. Thompson Exactly What He Thinks of Him

Clowns (ICP)

Should-Read: Leszek Kolakowski (1974): Main Currents of Marxism: " Your letter contains some personal grievances and some arguments on general questions...

Continue reading "Another April Fools Post: Leszek Kolakowski Tells E.P. Thompson Exactly What He Thinks of Him" »

Time for a Late April Fool's Day Post!

Clowns (ICP)

Should-Read: Remember this negative singularity of idiocy? I am still unaware of any "I'm sorrys" or any "I have had to rethink my vision of the Cosmic All" from any of the signers, and it has been more than seven years: Michael J. Boskin, Charles W. Calomiris, John F. Cogan, Niall Ferguson, Kevin A. Hassett, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, David Malpass, John B. Taylor, and others not worth mentioning: (November 15, 2010): Open Letter to Ben Bernanke: "We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called 'quantitative easing') should be reconsidered and discontinued...

Continue reading "Time for a Late April Fool's Day Post!" »

Should-Read: Janet Yellen: Statement on the Appointment of John Williams as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: "I strongly support the appointment of John Williams as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York...

Continue reading " " »

The Captured Economy: Book Talk at U.C. Berkeley | Tu Apr 10 @ 2 PM | Blum Hall Plaza Level | 2018-04-10

HL 2018 04 10 The Captured Economy pages pdf 1 page

“The best attempt so far at a social democratic–libertarian synthesis of the origins and cure of our current political-economic ills…”—Brad DeLong

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality

Brink Lindsey and Steve Teles

Niskanen Center:

Continue reading "The Captured Economy: Book Talk at U.C. Berkeley | Tu Apr 10 @ 2 PM | Blum Hall Plaza Level" »

Macroeconomics: How Large Is the Shadow Cast by Recessions?

Macroeconomics: How Large Is the Shadow Cast by Recessions?


Continue reading "Macroeconomics: How Large Is the Shadow Cast by Recessions?" »