The Fed Board Unmoored: Live at Project Syndicate

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 25, 2019)

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  1. Margaret Leslie Davis: The Quest to Acquire the Oldest, Most Expensive Book on the Planet: "The price of the book when it left the printer’s workshop was believed to be about thirty florins, equivalent to a clerk’s wages for three years...

  2. George A. Akerlof: Sins of Omission and the Practice of Economics: "Economics, as a discipline, gives rewards that favor the 'Hard' and disfavor the 'Soft', Such bias leads economic research to ignore important topics and problems that are difficult to approach in a 'Hard' way—thereby resulting in 'sins of omission'.... Greatly increased tolerance in norms for publication and promotion... [is] one way of alleviating narrow methodological biases...

  3. Wikipedia: Quantum Logic Gates

  4. Andy Matuschak: "I want to expand the reach of human knowledge and ability...

  5. Michael Nielsen: Neural Networks and Deep Learning

  6. Michael Nielsen: Interesting problems: The Church-Turing-Deutsch Principle: "Deutsch... propose[d] a revision of the Church-Turing thesis... that every physical process can be simulated by a universal computing device...

  7. Alain Aspect: The future of Quantum Technologies: The Second Quantum Revolution

  8. Barbara Tuchman: “A Single British Soldier…”: "'What is the smallest British military force that would be of any practical assistance to you?' Wilson asked. Like a rapier flash came Foch’s reply, 'A single British soldier—and we will see to it that he is killed'...

  9. Michael Andersen: Six Secrets From the Planner of Sevilla’s Lightning Bike Network: "Sevilla, Spain: It went from having about as much biking as Oklahoma City to having about as much biking as Portland, Oregon. It did this over the course of four years...

  10. I wish it were so, but I see only one professional Republican economist—Greg Mankiw—coming out in opposition to Moore. The rest are very quiet. All honor to Greg Mankiw, yes, but where are the others?: Brendan Greeley: Swift Pushback on Stephen Moore, Trump's Latest Pick for the Fed: "Stephen Moore drew swift and unusually pointed criticism after President Donald Trump picked him to be a governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve, with at least one prominent Republican economist calling on the Senate to block the appointment. 'He does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job', Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, wrote in a blog post on Friday. 'It is time for senators to do their job. Mr. Moore should not be confirmed'...

  11. Paul Krugman Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/with_replies

  12. Stephen Moore Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?vertical=default&q=Stephen%20Moore&src=typd

  13. Wikipedia: Battle of Mycale

  14. Wikipedia: Battle of Plataea

  15. Roman expeditions to Sub-Saharan Africa


  1. Martin Wolf: Theresa May Is Taking a Hideous Brexit Gamble: "Why, then is the prime minister so set on getting this deal through parliament? It is surely because she believes it is the only way to achieve three conflicting objectives at one and the same time: keep her party united; agree with the EU; and deliver the promised Brexit. These objectives are not unreasonable.... But sticking so doggedly to this strategy is also extremely risky...

  2. I confess, I do not understand any of these three objections: (1) Weinberg is disturbed by many-worlds just as earlier physicists were disturbed by quantum waves, but the universe does not care and does not avoid every feature that might disturb East African Plains Apes. (2) The Born rule is a problem for all formulations of quantum mechanics, but many-worlds has come closer to it than any other formulation and may well have derived it. (3) The non-locality of EPR, "entanglement", and "spukhafte Fernwirkung" is not a problem for many-worlds, but rather a problem for all other formulations—including instrumentalist ones—as Sidney Coleman said, it's either "quantum mechanics in your face" or non-locality; it's not "quantum mechanics in your face" and non-locality: Steven Weinberg: The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics: "The realist approach has a very strange implication... Hugh Everett... The vista of all these parallel histories is deeply unsettling, and like many other physicists I would prefer a single history. There is another thing that is unsatisfactory about the realist approach.... We can still talk of probabilities as the fractions of the time that various possible results are found when measurements are performed many times in any one history.... Several attempts following the realist approach have come close to deducing rules like the Born rule that we know work well experimentally, but I think without final success. The realist approach to quantum mechanics had already run into a different sort of trouble... Einstein... Podolsky and... Rosen... 'entanglement'.... Strange as it is, the entanglement entailed by quantum mechanics is actually observed experimentally. But how can something so nonlocal represent reality?...

  3. Leonid Bershidsky: Russia's Annexation of Crimea 5 Years Ago Has Cost Putin Dearly - Bloomberg: "His overconfidence after the successful annexation lured him into a trap where he lost all bargaining power: Five years ago, on March 16, 2014, the Kremlin held a fake referendum in Crimea to justify after the fact the peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine.... The highest cost to Putin came in bargaining power rather than in cash. Immediately after Crimea, geopolitical bargains were still possible for Putin.... After the eastern Ukraine adventure, and especially after the downing of Flight MH17 and all the laughable Russian denials that followed, his credibility was shot. Nobody knew if he would keep his end of any bargain.... Putin’s lack of credibility is an important reason he can’t build any alliances at all.... At the same time, Russians’ post-Crimea enthusiasm is gone, eroded by six years of falling incomes.... Russia, the world and, likely, parts of the Russian establishment are waiting for Putin to go, even if no one can make him leave.... Meanwhile, Fortress Russia is locked and no one’s coming to parley...

  4. I do not think that Steve Moore was "an amiable guy" to te people of Kansas (except for those who benefitted from his pass-through loophole). I would accept "a seemingly-amiable grifter", bout "an amiable guy" misses the point. Now where are all the other professional Republican economists? Going out against Moore-to-the-Fed is a really cheap and easy virtue signal to make even if you are not virtuous at all. Failing to come out against Moore-to-the_Fed so is to send a strong vice signal to the administration; Greg Mankiw: Memo to Senate: Just Say No: "The president nominates Stephen Moore to be a Fed governor. Steve is a perfectly amiable guy, but he does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job.... It is time for Senators to do their job. Mr. Moore should not be confirmed...

  5. The great and the good of America's establishment have been unwilling to use the F-word as a label for the political movement that now rules in places like Hungary, Poland, India, and Brazil. But Madeleine Albright goes there: Sean Illing: "Fascism: A Warning" from Madeleine Albright: "A seasoned US diplomat is not someone you’d expect to write a book with the ominous title Fascism: A Warning. But that is what Madeleine Albright, who served as the first female secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, has done—and it’s not a reassuring read. In it, she sounds the alarm about the erosion of liberal democracy, both in the US and across the world, and the rise of what she describes as a 'fascist threat'. And yes, she talks about President Donald Trump...

  6. Over the past three centuries success at economic development has always gone with an absolute conception of property rights. in China today, however ,your property rights are always conditional on your service to the state and on the power of your friends in the party. Thus American corporations and their American shareholders are going to find serving China’s market a very interesting thing indeed over the next generation: Ben Thompson: China Blocks Bing; Tencent, China, and Apple;: "The warning signs for Apple are flashing bright red: not only is Apple the most successful hardware company in China (and, relatedly, the most successful software company), the company also runs by far the most profitable service. China is the biggest market for the App Store, and it is fair to wonder how long China will tolerate Apple’s total control of app installation for the iPhone. Certainly Apple is doing its best to foreclose that possibility: the company kicked out VPN apps in 2017, and purged an additional 25,000 apps that state media claimed were illegal last fall. Then again, Microsoft did its best to keep Bing in China’s good graces as well: now we know how that turned out. If I were Apple I would pretty nervous about the long-term viability of, at minimum, that 30% share of purchases in the App Store, and potentially the exclusivity of the App Store completely...

  7. Mohamed A. El-Erian: Fed Signals No Rate Hikes in 2019, New Approach to Balance Sheet: "The central bank’s guidance on interest rates is more dovish than even the most sanguine bulls had hoped.... Three months ago, the Fed was still signaling several rate hikes this year...

  8. Lina Glick**: "Excellent new paper by economist Mark Glick arguing that the consumer welfare standard has "unduly circumscribed how advances in our understanding of the economy can be translated into competition policy https://www.scribd.com/document/392624312/The-Unsound-Theory-Behind-the-Consumer-and-Total-Welfare-Goal-in-Antitrust...

  9. Branko Milanovic: A Grand Fresco: Francis Fukuym's "The Origins of Political Order': "When does the political order decay? When the state is incapable to reform itself  to respond to new challenges (say, a powerful neighbor) and when it gets repatrimonalized.  The decay section is not exactly novel (to  be unable to reform is not very original), but the emphasis on repatrimonization as the source of decay allows us to better see that the state remains an unnatural organization in the sense that it is permanently in danger of succumbing to the more atavistic instincts of human nature—to prefer own kin rather than be subject to impersonal rules...

  10. Paul Krugman: Yield Curve Inversion: "Long-term US interest rates are now slightly below short-term rates. This doesn't happen often–and as far as I can tell, each previous instance has been followed by recession...

  11. The very sharp Tim Duy comes over to my position on the Fed: Tim Duy: Fed Needs to Get With The Program: "An inverted yield curve is a well-known recession indicator.... Either embrace that relationship in your analysis or reject it on the basis that any signals from the term structure are hopelessly hidden by the massive injections of global quantitative easing.... I... choose the former.... Recession indicator... probability models based on some combination of yield spreads and other leading indicators. Most will be raising red flags like this estimate of the probability of recession in six months...


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