BRIEFLY NOTED: 2021-03-18 Th
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...
Figuring out how to do antitrust in the age of the attention economy is really, really hard:
Ben Thompson: The FTC’s Google Documents, the Staff Memo, the Economists Memo: ‘The fundamental premise of the Politico article, along with much of the antitrust chatter in Washington, misses the point: Google is dominant because consumers like it. That doesn’t mean the company didn’t act anticompetitively, or that we shouldn’t think seriously about acquisitions or contracts or advertising. Such thinking, though, has to start with a certain degree of humility about the fundamentally different nature of the Internet and how it is leading to these Aggregator-type outcomes. It really might be different this time.…
Very Briefly Noted:
Gretchen Kell: UC’s Deal with Elsevier: ‘What it took, what it means, why it matters… LINK: <https://news.berkeley.edu/2021/03/16/ucs-deal-with-elsevier-what-it-took-what-it-means-why-it-matters/>
Masahisa Fujita, Paul Krugman, & Anthony J. Venables (1999): The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, & International Trade<https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/spatial-economy>
American Economic Association: Best Practices for Economists: ‘Building a More Diverse, Inclusive, and Productive Profession… LINK: <https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/best-practices>
Robert Skidelsky: Sequencing the Post-COVID Recovery <https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/keynes-criticism-of-new-deal-relevant-to-covid19-by-robert-skidelsky-2021-03>
Patrick Wyman: The Afroasiatic Languages & the Green Sahara, 10,000 Years Ago: ‘Eventually, of course, the Sahara got much drier. It’s hard for us to imagine it as anything other than an inhospitable desert, but 10,000 or so years ago, it would’ve been one of the best places on the planet to live. Anyway, this is just my theory… LINK: <https://patrickwyman.substack.com/p/the-afroasiatic-languages-and-the>
Yegor Gaidar (2007): The Soviet Collapse: Grain & Oil: ‘In 1985 the idea that the Soviet Union would begin bargaining for money in exchange for political concessions would have sounded absolutely preposterous to the Soviet leadership. In 1989 it became a reality, and Gorbachev understood the need for at least $100 billion from the West to prop up the oil-dependent Soviet economy… LINK: <https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/20070419_Gaidar.pdf>
Laura Tyson & Susan Lund: The Post-Pandemic Labor Market’s Long-Term Scars: ‘Even before the COVID–19 crisis, African-Americans, Hispanics, women, and workers without a post-secondary education faced dimming prospects as a result of automation and other trends. Now, these forces have been strengthened, creating an even bigger mismatch between worker qualifications and available jobs… LINK: <https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/pandemic-permanent-job-losses-need-worker-retraining-by-laura-tyson-and-susan-lund-2021-03>
John Maynard Keynes (1919): The Economic Consequences of the Peace: ‘[Their] view of the world… filled with deep-seated melancholy the founders of our Political Economy. Before the eighteenth century mankind entertained no false hopes. To lay the illusions which grew popular at that age’s latter end, Malthus disclosed a Devil. For half a century all serious economical writings held that Devil in clear prospect. For the next half century he was chained up and out of sight. Now perhaps [with World War I] we have loosed him again… LINK: <https://oll.libertyfund.org/title/keynes-the-economic-consequences-of-the-peace#preview>
Martin Sandbu: US Stimulus Package Leaves Europe Standing in the Dust: ‘Europe and the US will loom less large in the global economy as emerging countries outperform their growth. That is inevitable. What we do not know is how fast that US and European dominance will be whittled away…. US president Joe Biden has delayed his country’s relative decline. EU leaders, however, look set to accelerate theirs. Biden’s $1.9tn fiscal stimulus package, passed last week, may not be literally visible from space, but it is certainly of planetary scale. In the OECD’s March update to its forecasts, the organisation estimated that the US stimulus will add one whole percentage point to projected global growth. It more than doubled its 2021 growth forecast for the US itself, from 3.3 to 6.5 per cent. Biden’s own administration foresees US output returning to its potential three to four years faster because of the stimulus…
Neil Irwin: Move Over, Nerds. It’s the Politicians’ Economy Now: ‘“This legislation has everything to do with restoring the confidence of the American people in democracy and in their government, and if we can’t respond to the pain of working families today, we don’t deserve to be here,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of the Biden bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act. Republicans unanimously opposed the Biden legislation, but it has not been quite the scorched-earth opposition to deficit-widening action seen during the Obama administration…. f the concerns described by Mr. Summers and Mr. Blanchard about the size of the new relief bill materialize, and the result is excessive inflation or some type of crisis, Democrats will pay a price for their actions…
Duncan Black: I’m Gonna Tell You How It’s Gonna Be: ‘Yes he’ll fade away: “Ex-president Donald Trump finds himself adrift while in political exile. And Republicans, and even some allies, say he is disorganized, torn between playing the role of antagonist and party leader. ‘There is no apparatus, no structure and part of that is due to a lack of political understanding on Trump’s behalf’, said a person close to the former president, noting that Trump has struggled to learn the ropes of post-presidential politicking.” He’s lazy, stupid, and a micromanager, and at least somewhat radioactive at the moment. Also it isn’t a secret that he stiffs everybody. Not a magnet for the best people… LINK:
John Paul Koning: Hacksilver: ‘The first coins were invented in Lydia… in the 7th Century B.C.E…. Belief among some archaeologists that a form of proto-coinage had been invented prior to the Lydians and their electrum coins. This proto-coinage came in the form of sealed and regulated bags of hacksilver…. Morris Silver, an economist who researches ancient economies, describes Mesopotamian texts of the middle of the second half of the third millennium that show silver being used by street vendors, to pay rent, purchase dates, oil, barley, animals, slaves, and real estate…. Assyrian economic texts from the 7th C B.C. show that the majority of all types of payments were already being made in silver, including those for tribute, craftsmen obligations, and for conscription and labor commutations…. 6 minas (c. 3 kg) of silver are owed by two men to the merchant Ashur-idi. One third of the loan must be paid by the next harvest and the rest at a later date. If it is not repaid by that time it will accrue interest charged at a monthly rate….
Hacksilver… silver ingots, hacked pieces of ingot, silver scrap, and cut up bits of silver jewellery…. One reason for the hacking or cutting-up of silver may have been to make small change…. Another less obvious reason for hacking… is that it may have been a way for merchants to check for quality…. For over a thousand years, silver circulated as a medium of exchange, in hacked form. The big innovation with coins is the stamp. Because we trust the issuer’s brand, we needn’t weigh out or assay (i.e. smash/hack) silver prior to engaging in trade. So trade was much more fluid…. Proto-coiners… suggest that bagged and sealed hacksilver was already circulating in a way similar to coins. Some authority, perhaps a government administrator or a merchant, pre-weighed a certain amount of good hacksilver, bagged it, and affixed their seal…. If the proto-coiners are right, that… pushes the effective date of coinage technology back by 500 or so years….
One of the key hoards around which the debate revolves is the Tel Dor hoard… north of Haifa… excavated in the 1990s by Ephraim Stern…. The Tel Dor hoard dates to somewhere between 1000 B.C.E and 900 B.C.E. The hoard consists of a jug containing 17 bundles of hacksilver wrapped up by linen cloth (see photo of one of the bundles below)…. The silver weighs 8.5 kilograms… the equivalent of forty-six years of labour…. The bundles were closed with bullae, or clay seals. But these seals do not contain a name, just a pattern…. One of these bundles… registered at 490.5 grams…. The Babylonian shekel… each shekel weighed 8.3g, and 60 shekels was worth 1 mina. Thus a mina would have weighed 500 grams… as if the bundle was a very large denomination mina coin…
Michael R. Gordon & Dustin Volz: Russian Disinformation Campaign Aims to Undermine Confidence in Pfizer, Other Covid–19 Vaccines, U.S. Officials Say: ‘Russian intelligence agencies have mounted a campaign to undermine confidence in Pfizer Inc.’s and other Western vaccines, using online publications that in recent months have questioned the vaccines’ development and safety, U.S. officials said…. Websites played up the vaccines’ risk of side effects, questioned their efficacy, and said the U.S. had rushed the Pfizer vaccine through the approval process, among other false or misleading claims…. “We can say these outlets are directly linked to Russian intelligence services,” the Global Engagement Center official said of the sites behind the disinformation campaign. “They’re all foreign-owned, based outside of the United States. They vary a lot in their reach, their tone, their audience, but they’re all part of the Russian propaganda and disinformation ecosystem.” In addition, Russian state media and Russian government Twitter accounts have made overt efforts to raise concerns about the cost and safety of the Pfizer vaccine in what experts outside the U.S. government say is an effort to promote the sale of Russia’s rival Sputnik V vaccine…
Holman Christian Standard Bible: Leviticus 16: ‘The LORD spoke to Moses…. “Aaron will present the bull for his sin offering and make atonement for himself and his household. Next he will take the two goats and place them before the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting. After Aaron casts lotsm for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other for azazel, he is to present the goat chosen by lot for the LORD and sacrifice it as a sin offering.p 10But the goat chosen by lot for azazel is to be presented alive before the LORD to make purification with it by sending it into the wilderness for azazel…. When he has finished purifying the most holy place, the tent of meeting, and the altar, he is to present the live male goat. Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the Israelites’ wrongdoings and rebellious acts—all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wildernessa by the man appointed for the task.ah The goat will carry on it all their wrongdoings into a desolate land, and he will release it there…. The man who released the goat for azazel is to wash his clothes and bathe his body with water; afterward he may reenter the camp…