"A Republic, If You Can Keep It": Weekend Reading

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 6, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 5, 2019: The Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain. We are one year closer to full employment, yes. But we have extended our view of when we will reach full employment by nine months...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: June 28, 2019: : Ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade...

  • On Twitter: Socialist Calculation Debate 2.0: Sparsity: : Suresh Naidu: "Right: instead of trying to get all the prices right, the regularization bet is that is that 99% of the benefits of planning can be realized with 1% of the prices planned by the state (e.g. fed rates)." Arindrajit Dube': "'The commanding heights were a great idea but need ML to find them" Brad DeLong: We already have such bets. Milton Friedman bet that fixing the growth of nominal liquidity services at a constant proportional rate got us 99% of the benefits. Alan Greenspan bet fixing the price of nominal liquidity services at his guess at Wicksellian neutral rate got us 99% of benefits...

  • It is macro: recession, weak recovery, catastrophe, and then superweak recovery...: "I confess I do not get this from Paul Krugman. Yes, the trade deficit crowds-out traditionally-male blue-collar import-substituting manufacturing jobs, but imports crowd-in traditionally-male blue-collar wholesale trade jobs, and finance traditionally-male blue-collar construction (and capital-goods manufacturing) jobs.... NAFTA is nowhere. The 2002-2007 bilateral-trade "China shock" is simply not a terribly big deal for the country as a whole: employment in traditionally-male blue-collar occupations was flat. A big deal for places that found their manufactures competing with new imports from China, yes. But not for blue-collar traditionally-male employment in the country as a whole...

  • Note to Self: Gary Foresythe: "The Ineditum Vaticanum.... The second of the four anecdotes concerns an encounter between a Roman and a Carthaginian at the Strait of Messina on the eve of the First Punic War...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from Around the Week of July 5, 2018: Most Important: 1921—six years after the Ku Klux Klan revival sparked by "Birth of a Nation"—the early 20th Century's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in reverse: 39 officially dead, 800 wounded, more than 35 blocks destroyed, more than 10000 people left homeless: Erik Loomis (2016): Tulsa: "The Tulsa Race Riot is one of the most shameful events in all of American history and as we know, that’s a high bar to meet...

  • Weekend Reading: "A Republic, If You Can Keep It": "A lady asked Dr. Franklin: 'Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?' 'A republic', replied the Doctor, 'if you can keep it'. (The lady here aluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philada[delphia]...

  • Weekend Reading: Polybius on the First Two Treaties Between Rome and Carthage: "The first treaty between Rome and Carthage was made... twenty-eight years before the invasion of Greece by Xerxes [509 BC].... The ancient language differs so much from that at present in use, that the best scholars among the Romans themselves have great difficulty in interpreting some points in it...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Ads exist to increase your insecurity, so you'll spend money to lower it. The entire endeavour is not in the public interest...

  • Comment of the Day: D. C. Sessions: "One of those 'small city research universities' is New Mexico Tech... in a town (Socorro) of 10,000.... Socorro is losing ground. Before trying to copy NMT across the USA, it would be wise to understand why the formula isn't working here...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Intelligence is emergent.... You can get it more than one way.... You can get it with way fewer neurons than we use (that parrot again, or corvids) but we don't know what it emerges from or how.... It's more useful to think about something like Deep Mind as an artificial reflex than as artificial intelligence; a certain narrow range of stimuli produces a quick response. The emergent stuff is just not there at all...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Origins of Wessex: "A.D. 477: This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andredsley...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Descendants of Cerdic to Ethelred Son of Ethelwulf Son of Egbert: "A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Alfred King of the Anglekin and His Successors: "Origins of Wessex: "Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a year and a half less than thirty winters...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cerdic and Cynric: "A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the monks, ascended to heaven. A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight. A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Astronomy, Northumbria, and Victories of Cynric: "A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the calends of March, from before morning until nine...


  1. Shawn Donnan: Trade War Latest: Trump, G-20, China, Huawei, EU, Brazil: "A grim new reality for U.S. economic power. When Trump dialed up the heat with tariffs and threats, the rest of the world looked elsewhere for opportunities. The early results were not going in America’s favor...

  2. Tom Gara: The New Republic is Hiring an Inequality Editor: "This is a part-time role, requiring 29.5 hours per week, and does not include benefits...

  3. Adam Serwer: The Detention Camps at the Border Are a Crime: "The Trump administration’s commitment to deterring immigration through cruelty has made horrifying conditions in detention facilities inevitable...

  4. I agree that economists are doing a bad job of policing our discipline against intellectual grifters. But it is not because we need to shill in order to eat. Our problems are different: Wolfgang Munchau: Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming to an End: "When economics blogging started to become fashionable, I sat on a podium with an academic blogger who predicted that people like him would usurp the role of the economics newspaper columnist within a period of 10 years. That was a decade ago. His argument was that trained economists were just smarter. What he did not reckon with is that it is hard to speak truth to power when you have to beg that power to fund your think-tank or institute. Even less so once you are politically attached or appointed. Independence matters...

  5. Barack Obama (2010): "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year. Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will.  Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will...

  6. Azeem Azhar: Entrepreneurs, the Market, and the State: "Speaking with venture capitalist Bill Janeway...

  7. Apple (1997): Apple's World Wide Developers Conference 1997 with Steve Jobs

  8. Climateer Investing: Twitter Has an Algorithm That Creates Harassment All by Itself: "Harassment is such a harsh word, let's call it 'engagement'. From glitch girl MC Mclure's Twitter feed.... 'Social experiment: "Do NOT read the replies to this tweet before you reply to it".... What Twitter's doing is finding people with low-flow timelines & filling space in with "high engagement" tweets ("things you're likely to reply to too"). This tells us 2 things: It's not just "favs are RTs" now; REPLIES might be RTs too. TWITTER HAS AUTOMATED PILEONS...

  9. Martin Wolf: Why Democratic Government Is Showing Strains in the US and UK: "Reagan and Thatcher failed. Both countries went through radical policy changes in the 1980s, towards free markets. This did not work out as well as had been hoped. Nationalism duly became a way to mobilise support on the right.... Austerity bites. In both countries, the crisis bequeathed huge structural fiscal deficits. This encouraged politicians of the right to slash public spending. Elites decline. Democracies require respected elites. But, in both countries, the ideal of public service has corroded, while people increasingly think of their elites as incompetent, or crooks...

  10. Alan R. Rogers, Ryan J. Bohlender, and Chad D. Huff: Early History of Neanderthals and Denisovans: "Neanderthals and Denisovans were human populations that separated from the modern lineage early in the Middle Pleistocene. Many modern humans carry DNA derived from these archaic populations by interbreeding during the Late Pleistocene. We develop a statistical method to study the early history of these archaic populations. We show that the archaic lineage was very small during the 10,000y that followed its separation from the modern lineage. It then split into two regional populations, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The Neanderthal population grew large and separated into largely isolated local groups https://delong.typepad.com/neanderthals.pdf...

  11. Doug Jones: Hits, Slides, and Rings: "Even though we’re mostly not aware of it, we’re very good at using our hearing to keep track of what’s going on in our physical surroundings... easily recognize the difference between someone going upstairs and someone going downstairs... good at recognizing individuals by their treads. The sounds that solid objects make can be broadly categorized as hits, slides, and rings.... Changizi argues that these correspond to the major categories of phonemes: Hits = plosives... Slides = fricatives... Rings = sonorants, including sonorant consonants, like l r y w m n, and vowels.... We can [also] do barks and pops and farts and so on. But our auditory systems are especially cued into solid object physics, so when we try to come up with easy-to-distinguish phonemes, that’s what we focus on.... Even if imitating nature is not the whole story of phonemes, it may at least be where they got started. Later on when we talk about writing systems, we’ll see there’s a similar argument about how these are tuned to tickle our primate visual systems...

  12. Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: John Cochrane's Claim in Late 2008 That a Recession Would Be a Good Thing Deserves Some Kind of Award...: The fact is that by the end of 2007 the construction sector had rebalanced: there was no excess of people pounding nails in Nevada... To: @johnmlippert.... I am tracking down John Cochrane's claims that (i) in your December 23, 2008 article you were "only... on a hunt for embarrassing quotes", (ii) he had "spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics" to you, and (iii) you took him out of proper context when you wrote: "'We should have a recession', Cochrane said in November, speaking to students and said in November, speaking to students and investors in a conference room.... 'People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do'."... John M. Lippert: "Hi Professor DeLong.... Cochrane’s complaint is something of which I became aware several months after we published our story in 2008.... Bloomberg did not respond to Cochrane’s comments. He never sent them to us, despite my request that he do so. When we became aware of his complaint, we saw no reason to make a correction. Cochrane made the ‘pounding nails’ comment at a Chicago Booth forum at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago in November 2008. It was part of an ongoing lecture series, as I recall. It was kind of a big event, with a couple hundred people. So they may have a recording that you can access. Good luck with your inquiries...

  13. David Brin: The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? #books

  14. Doug Jones: Speech Sounds: "The origin of modern human is one of the major transitions in evolution, comparable to the origin of eukaryotic cells, or of social insects. Language is crucial here: slime molds and ants organize high levels of cooperation, turning themselves into 'superorganisms', by secreting pheromones. Humans organize by secreting cosmologies...

  15. Maria Paula Cacault, Christian Hildebrand, Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti, and Michele Pellizzari: Distance learning in Higher Education: "Online live streaming of lectures... student achievement and attendance... students at the University of Geneva.... Students use the live streaming technology only when events make attending class too costly, and that attending lectures via live streaming lowers achievement for low-ability students but increases it for high-ability ones...

  16. Octavia E. Butler: Speech Sounds #books

  17. George Washington's Mount Vernon: Elizabeth Willing Powel: "One description of a lavish party thrown by the Powels comes from John Adams’ diary, kept during the second session of the Continental Congress. On September 8, 1774, he wrote, 'Dined at Mr. Powells—A most sinfull Feast again! Every Thing which could delight the Eye, or allure the Taste.' Powel ran her parties in the French style of a salon, a location where leading intellectuals and other elites gathered to discuss current political and social issues...

  18. Gordon Bryant Brown: An Insider's Memoir: How Economics Changed to Work Against Us From Smith to Marx to BitCoin #books


  1. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm: The Nazi Origins Of The US Space Program...

  2. Noah Smith: Elizabeth Warren Channels the Real New Deal: "Just since the start of this year, Warren has released no fewer than 19 detailed economic policy proposals. This outpouring of ideas has been so dramatic that it has spawned Twitter hashtags such as #shehasaplan. Warren's ideas are neither the cautious, technocratic tweaks that tend to emerge from centrist think tanks, nor the bold but vague promises often issued by the socialist left. Nor are they merely a laundry list.... Instead, they represent a coherent, unified program for transforming the U.S. economy.... Ultimately no set of big, transformational ideas will be perfect. The New Deal certainly wasn't. But by thinking big, combining intelligence with ambition, and being willing to engage both the public and private sectors, Warren has set herself up to be the closest thing modern American politics has to a successor to FDR...

  3. Martin Wolf: G20 Meets as Trade Rifts Heighten Risks to Global Economy: "Tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China risk hitting an already precarious global recovery.... In today’s uncertain environment, policymakers need particularly to display caution, which is precisely the quality that populist politicians, with their contempt for rules, institutions and 'experts', lack most.... The G20... founded in an attempt to broaden the base for global co-operation, is a victim of the general disarray. The G20’s members are physicians who need to heal themselves. Will they? Not today, is surely the answer...

  4. Doug Jones: Post Erectus: "Alan Roger... and Ryan Bohlender and Chad Huff['s]... model says that about 700,000 years ago. a small population split from the rest of humanity and then quickly split again to give rise to the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans... an Out Of Africa event in the Middle Pleistocene.... The ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans then replaced Homo erectus in Eurasia.... John Hawks notes.... 'Humans stand out among our close primate relatives as effective biological invaders. Our recent history has included range expansions into remote and harsh geographic regions, and invasions by some populations into areas long occupied by others'. We’ll be seeing more instances of this in days to come on the blog...

  5. Willem Jongman*, Jan Jacobs, and Geertje Goldewijk: Health and Wealth in the Roman Empire: "Archaeological research of the last few decades has given us far better data... substantial increases in rural site numbers and site sizes... hand-in-hand with a substantial urban growth from existing and new towns. In Italy this rural and urban growth mostly occurred from the late fourth or early third century B.C., and in the provinces often following Roman conquest.... Numbers mostly peak in the first and early second century A.D., followed by often quite dramatic decline, mostly from the late second century A.D., after the so-called Antonine Plague...

  6. Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, Jens Südekum, and Nicole Woessner: Robots and Firms: "Our study is based on firm-level data from Spain, a country with one of the highest robot density levels per worker in Europe. The data come from the Encuesta Sobre Estrategias Empresariales (ESEE), an annual survey of around 1,900 Spanish manufacturing firms.... We reveal significant job losses in non-adopting firms. Our estimates imply that 10% of jobs in non-adopting firms are destroyed when the share of sales attributable to robot-using firms in their industries increases from zero to one half. The same logic applies to changes in output and survival probabilities.... Aggregate productivity gains are partly driven by substantial intra-industry reallocation of market shares and resources following a more widespread diffusion of robot technology, and a polarization between high-productivity robot adopters and low-productivity non-adopters...

  7. Michael Andersen: "Oregon just voted to legalize fourplexes in all areas of every large city, duplexes on almost every urban lot. A historic achievement, first bill of its kind in US history.... before I drink it's extremely important to thank @TinaKotek, its architect & champion; @ShemiaFagan, who carried it across the floor; @Voices4ORHomes, builders of a mighty anti-displacement toolbox; @1000oregon, visionary anti-sprawl/pro-housing warriors; & many others. Democratic caucus: 14 Y, 4 N. Republican caucus: 3 Y, 5 N. Housing is popular...

  8. Dan Drezner: The Trump Foreign Policy Is All Hat and No Cattle: "Trump did not make the trade war worse. What was actually agreed to, however, did not seem like a big win.... Kim Jong Un... by going to the DMZ, Trump has signaled his comfort with the status quo. This puts far less pressure on Kim to make tangible concessions.... As Trump continues to promise great deals without actually completing any, other actors in world politics are not standing still. In the same week, European Union negotiators inked trade deals with Vietnam and Mercosur. Even as the United States prosecutes trade wars against China, India and the European Union, other countries are signing trade deals or lowering tariffs in ways that put U.S. producers at a disadvantage. But hey, Trump can say that Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Mohammed bin Salman are his friends. That’s something, right? Right?...

  9. Umair Haque: How Online Radicalization Is Destabilizing Democracy: "They’d regressed back to their little selves. A scalpel no one could see had somehow excised the adult parts of their brain responsible for reason, wisdom, and change. And that was when I really began to be troubled. It felt to me as if an info-bomb had gone off... radiating disinformation, misinformation, and folly.... I’d never seen minds change so suddenly, fast, or extremely.... So even then I warned that to use social media was to put yourself squarely in the explosion radius of this info-bomb. Today we understand all this a little bit more. There really was an info-bomb—weaponized, military grade propaganda was used against whole nations, with the encouragement, and even the guidance, of social media companies, while political leaders and media were asleep at the wheel. What was the goal? What was the result?... Once-sensible people came to believe foolish and strange things. Some turned into religious zealots. Some turned into xenophobes and authoritarians and bigots. The vector of this radicalization was often the mosque, the TV station, or even the bookshop.... Some significant portion of society has now been thoroughly radicalized. They believe in outlandish and foolish things. They have become ignorant and blind and petty and easily provoked. That isn’t an insult—they can undo all that. It is just an observation of empirical reality. A major social question for the West now is: how does it undo the radicalization of the last few years? Can it? How does one undo military-grade propaganda at a social scale?...

  10. Martin Wolf has an aggressive thumbs-down on Facebook's Libra payments system. Basically, it is "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". Facebook's claim that it is built on 'blockchain technology' seems simply wrong, and a grift—a second-order grift given that 'blockchain technology' is already a grift. Plus "Facebook has been grossly irresponsible over its impact on our democracies. It cannot obviously be trusted with our payments systems.... Beware": Martin Wolf: Facebook Enters Dangerous Waters With Libra Cryptocurrency: "Facebook has been grossly irresponsible over its impact on our democracies. It cannot obviously be trusted with our payments systems. Facebook has an answer: it has just one vote in the Libra Association.... But Facebook seems likely to dominate Libra’s technical development. That will surely give it predominant influence.... Quite apart from doubts about the sponsor, a new global payment system must be evaluated for its technical stability, impact on monetary and financial stability (not least in developing countries) and openness to fraudsters, criminals and terrorists. Big questions also arise about concentrations of power, should the venture succeed.... I cannot judge the technical stability of the proposed system. The claim that it is based on 'blockchain' technology seems rather questionable.... There is indeed potential for greatly improved payment systems. But the emergence of a payment system on a network of Facebook’s scale would raise some huge questions.... This would be true even if the lead sponsor were not Facebook. But it is. So beware...

  11. Paul Krugman makes the point, which I believe is correct, that we should not be fearing robots and AI yet—that while they may, and while I think it highly likely that they will, pose society very hard problems of income distribution in the future, there is no sign that they are at work yet on any significant scale. Our income distribution problems today are generated by our politics, and by the resulting economic mismanagement that our politics has produced: Paul Krugman: Don’t Blame Robots for Low Wages: "Participants just assumed that robots are a big part of the problem—that machines are taking away the good jobs, or even jobs in general. For the most part this wasn’t even presented as a hypothesis, just as part of what everyone knows.... So it seems like a good idea to point out that in this case what everyone knows isn’t true.... We do have a big problem—but it has very little to do with technology, and a lot to do with politics and power.... Technological disruption... isn’t a new phenomenon. Still, is it accelerating? Not according to the data. If robots really were replacing workers en masse, we’d expect to see the amount of stuff produced by each remaining worker—labor productivity—soaring..... Technological change is an old story. What’s new is the failure of workers to share in the fruits of that technological change...

  12. If the use-case data is not (a subset of) the training data, Deep Learning blows up spectacularly. And since we do not understand why Deep Learning works, we have no clue as to how to fix this—how to make Deep Learning algorithms at all robust. A human brain has a hundred billion neurons, and each neuron and its interconnections are roughly equivalent to perhaps 100000 transistors. the iPhone's A11 has 4 billion transistors—that means 2500000 iPhones wired together to approach brain-like levels of complexity. Add to that a billion years of the genetic algorithm tuning networks of neurons... and anything like human-level intelligence, or even the robustness of behavior characteristic of insects, looks far off still: Hal Hodson: DeepMind and Google: The Battle to Control Artificial Intelligence: "The power of reinforcement learning and the preternatural ability of DeepMind’s computer programs.... But... if the virtual paddle were moved even fractionally higher, the program would fail. The skill learned by DeepMind’s program is so restricted that it cannot react even to tiny changes to the environment that a person would take in their stride.... Releasing programs perfected in virtual space into the wild is fraught with difficulty.... Success within virtual environments depends on the existence of a reward function.... Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t offer simple rewards.... It is rare for human brains to receive explicit feedback about the success of a task while in the midst of it.... Current and former researchers at DeepMind and Google, who requested anonymity due to stringent non-disclosure agreements, have also expressed scepticism that DeepMind can reach AGI.... The focus on achieving high performance within simulated environments makes the reward-signal problem hard to tackle. Yet this approach is at the heart of DeepMind...

  13. Why it is that stress is so long-run debilitating is something I have never understood—especially since the forms of stress we face are not those that ought to induce a fight-or-flight use-up-the-organism's-resources response. Is it that our brains are just too good at making long-run peril real, and then transmitting that to the rest of the body? But it is clear that, here in America, racial discrimination appears doubly poisonous: Kyle Moore: Linking Racial Stratification and Poor Health Outcomes to Economic Inequality in the United States: "Racial disparities in life expectancy and incidences of sickness... are only partially explained by differences in access to economic resources.... I investigate the role that stress plays in increasing the risk of hypertension and inflammation among older black and white Americans... exposure to potential psychosocial stressors in excess of economic resources that could mitigate or offset the effects of those stressors—modifying an approach taken by the American Psychological Association...

  14. A very nice look indeed at the current state of our broken antitrust system—including an excellent retrospective on the historical process by which we got here: Andrew I. Gavil: Crafting a Monopolization Law for Our Time: "If Section 2 is to be an effective tool for policing and deterring anti-competitive conduct in today’s economy, then it will need to be adjusted for the needs of our time. But first it is important to understand how Section 2 became so limited in scope.... Choosing the language of the Sherman Act, the Congress of 1890 turned to common law, which had long prohibited 'unreasonable restraints of trade'... a statute that included prohibitions of concerted action (Section 1), as well as monopolization, attempts to monopolize, and conspiracy to monopolize (Section 2)...

  15. Pay transparency is perhaps the most powerful anti-pay-discrimination tool there is in America as it is today: Raksha Kopparam and Kate Bahn: A Judicial Victory for Pay Transparency in the United States in the Run-Up to Women’s Equal Pay Day: "It’s important to consider the importance of a judge’s ruling last month that reinstated the collection of pay data by firms who report their employment practices to the EEOC to boost pay transparency.... On March 5, 2019, the judge... ordering the EEOC to collect pay data in the next EEO-1 report.... The ruling could not have been more timely. Just one case in point: In a survey of employees at large technology firms, 60 percent of respondents said that their employer either banned or discouraged discussion of wages...

  16. And Noah Smith believes that if we found enough research universities in small cities, we will have a booming economy elsewhere than the coasts for both industrial-policy and private-entrepreneurship reasons: Noah Smith: Universities and Colleges Can Revive Declining Rural America: "Rural America is losing population, as young people move to the cities. Small towns are still home to tens of millions of people, but they skew older and lower-income.... Some of the critical industries that had supported these areas, such as coal mining, are in decline, while others, like agriculture, are increasingly automated. Many of the manufacturers that supported small factory towns have either moved overseas or turned to robots. Meanwhile, big cities are booming.... Despite population loss and aging, living in a smaller city doesn’t always make you poorer. Because housing and other living costs are so much lower, smaller cities often have cost-adjusted average salaries that are more attractive than the superstar metros... Big cities aren’t the only places to benefit from knowledge industries—ollege towns also thrive in the new economy.... College Station, Texas.... Even small towns like Pikeville, Kentucky, home to the modest University of Pikeville, are doing well.... Government money that gets routed to college towns via state subsidies and federal research grants, then spent locally... tuition fees... university research... attracting smart people to the region and drawing in private investment, research universities harness the forces of knowledge-industry clustering to increase the wealth of an entire region. There’s a good chance that these forces can be harnessed to revive parts of the rural U.S.... It’s worth a shot...

  17. Doug Jones: My Handaxe: "Possession is a social relationship.... Robinson Crusoe didn’t 'own' anything on his island before Friday came along. Linguists have noted something interesting about the language of possession.... Compare... João went to Recife. Chico stayed in Rio. The gang kept Zezinho in Salvador.... The Crampden estate went to Reginald. The Hampden estate stayed with Lionel. Thag kept axe. Of course the Crampden estate didn’t go anywhere in physical space, but it still traveled in the abstract social space of possession.... The Russian preposition y means at/near when applied to a place (People are at Nevsky street) but possession when applied to a person (Hat is 'at' Ivan = Ivan has hat.) What may be going on here... mental machinery for thinking about physical space... gets retooled/borrowed/exapted for thinking about more abstract relationships... close and distant social relationships... time ahead and behind...

  18. Eric Levitz: Trump’s Jokes About Shooting Migrants Are No Laughing Matter: "He made a point of noting that other countries do use weapons in such circumstances, suggested that there might be no other way to 'stop these people', and declined to explicitly condemn the idea that somebody should shoot them. Meanwhile, long before... Trump had already given our nation’s most trigger-happy 'patriots' reason to interpret 'we can’t use weapons' as 'but perhaps you should'...

  19. A conference I am very sorry I am missing: The New Enlightenment: A Call to Arms at Adam Smith’s Panmure House: "The New Enlightenment conference is the result of a transatlantic intellectual partnership between Edinburgh Business School, the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley Research Group (BRG), and Munich-based FWU. 'The conference aims to address the many perplexing management, policy and global governance issues that go to the heart of sustaining the prosperity, vitality and perhaps even the very viability of liberal democracies in the coming decades', said David Teece, professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, chairman of Berkeley Research Group, and the initiator and organizer of the conference. 'We hope to begin important conversations that will shape critical policy and management decisions long into the future'. Smith’s final home, Panmure House, has been rescued and restored by the Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University...

  20. Interesting numbers on multipliers. The problem I am having is that I am not sure whether these are Keynesian demand multipliers, or something more like Enrico Moretti regional-export multipoliers. The decision by DoD to support a factory in congressional district X looks, to me, a lot like a regional positive productivity shock: Alan Auerbach, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, and Daniel Murphy: Local Fiscal Multipliers and Spillovers in the US: "Our baseline estimates imply that a dollar of DOD spending in a city increases GDP in that city by a dollar and increases labour earnings by 0.35, and that an increase of DOD spending equal to a percent of local earnings increases employment by 0.2%...

  21. Mark Thoma sends us to: Chloé Michel, Michelle Sovinsky, Eugenio Proto, and Andrew Oswald: Advertising as a major source of human dissatisfaction | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal: "Although the negative impact of conspicuous consumption has been discussed for more than a century, the link between advertising and individual is not well understood. This column uses longitudinal data for 27 countries in Europe linking change in life satisfaction to variation in advertising spend. The results show a large negative correlation that cannot be attributed to the business cycle or individual characteristic...

  22. Willem Jongman (2006): The Decline and Fall of the Roman Economy: "The real beginnings of that decline and fall, however, may have been in the beginning of a period of much colder and dryer weather, and in the scourge of the Antonine Plague. With the growth of its Empire, with the growth of its cities, and with the growth of a system of government and transportation based on those cities, Rome had created the perhaps most prosperous and successful pre-industrial economy in history. The age of Antoninus Pius was indeed probably the best age to live in pre-industrial history...

  23. Amy Chozick: "It’s dizzying to realize that without even knowing it, you’ve ended up on the wrong side.... In December, after the election, my colleagues in Washington wrote.... I must’ve read this line 15 times: 'Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence'. The Bernie Bros and Mr. Trump’s Twitter trolls had called me a donkey-faced whore and a Hillary shill, but nothing hurt worse than my own colleagues calling me a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence. The worst part was, they were right...

  24. Dionysius of Halicarnassus: Roman Antiquities: Foedus Cassianum (493 BC): "Let there be peace between the Romans and all the Latin cities as long as the heavens and the earth shall remain where they are. Let them neither make war upon another themselves nor bring in foreign enemies nor grant a safe passage to those who shall make war upon either. Let them assist one another, when warred upon, with all their forces, and let each have an equal share of the spoils and booty taken in their common wars. Let suits relating to private contracts be determined within ten days, and in the nation where the contract was made. And let it not be permitted to add anything to, or take anything away from these treaties except by the consent both of the Romans and of all the Latins...


  1. Japan Economic Foundation

  2. wikipedia: Milagro Mexicano: "Milagro Mexicano...

  3. Wikipedia: Import Substitution Industrialization

  4. Wikipedia: Economy of the Soviet Union

  5. Free Exchange: How a Victim Of The Cultural Revolution Mastered Economics: "Weijian Shan is an excellent illustration of the power of economic convergence...

  6. James McHenry: Papers on the Federal Convention of 1787

  7. J.L. Bell: “The Story Is Told…”: "James McHenry recorded in his diary an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin, Elizabeth Powel, and the results of the Constitutional Convention of 1787...

  8. Wikipedia: Timocracy: "In The Republic, Plato describes five regimes (of which four are unjust). Timocracy is listed as the first 'unjust' regime. Aristocracy degenerates into timocracy when, due to miscalculation on the part of its governed class, the next generation of guardians and auxiliaries includes persons of an inferior nature (the persons with souls made of iron or bronze, as opposed to the ideal guardians and auxiliaries, who have souls made of gold and silver). A timocracy, in choosing its leaders, is 'inclining rather to the more high-spirited and simple-minded type, who are better suited for war'. The city-state of Sparta provided Plato with a real-world model for this form of government...

  9. Maireid Sullivan: Celebrating Imbolc, also Known as St. Brigid's Day: "February 1 is St. Brigid's Day, also known as Imbolc, and marks the beginning of spring.... It is one of the four major 'fire' festivals (quarter days, referred to in Irish mythology from medieval Irish texts. The other three festivals on the old Irish calendar are Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain–Halloween)...

  10. Joe's Taco Lounge

  11. Trou Normand

  12. Allie Pape: Japanese Behemoth Ginto Izakaya Japonaise Descends on the Financial District - Eater SF

  13. Gary Forsythe: _A Critical History of Early Rome https://delong.typepad.com/forsythe-rome.pdf #books

  14. Wikipedia: Battle of Lautulae: "315 BC.... There are two versions of the battle. Livy wrote the main narrative of the Battle of Lautulae, quite favorable to Rome. He recounts that the battle was indecisive and had to be broken off because of the coming of the night. However, Livy mentions an alternative account where the Romans were defeated and the master of the horse was killed. However, the aftermath of the battle clearly shows that the Samnites inflicted a major defeat upon the Romans. This was shown through the widespread civil unrest and revolts among Rome's Volscian, Auruncan, and Campanian allies...

  15. Rafael Scopacasa: Ancient Samnium: Settlement, Culture, and Identity Between History and Archaeology https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0198713762 #books

  16. Leah Schnelbach: Quantum Leap Traveled into the Past to Give Us America’s Best Future

  17. Jared Bernstein: The Importance of Getting Ready for the Next Downturn Sooner than Later: "The likely lack of both monetary space and perceived fiscal space may severely dampen the reaction to the next downturn. Moreover, headwinds exist. Thus, we should fix the roof while the sun is behind a few clouds. I’m really worried about this, and you should be too. Still, I sleep like a baby. That is, I wake up screaming every two hours...


#noted #weblogs

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