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11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings: Econ 115 F 2020

Required Readings Note:

The required readings for Module 11 are rather long—but not nearly as long as for Modules 9 & 5, where I wound up taking two weeks per module.

There is Skidelsky chapter 6 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/chapter-skidelsky-keynes-6.pdf. The chapters of Skidelsky before this one I've been all about how canes was smart and right. This chapter is, from Skidelsky’s view as of 1995, as an enthusiastic advocate of the neoliberal turn, how Keynes’s disciples were dumb and wrong. It is a very good analysis, on the level of events and ideas, of why people decided to take the neoliberal turn.

11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings
https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0wiN44cBruFAXnvv0weXzgCNw
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-11.1-neoliberal-turn-readings.pptx
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/11/111-the-neoliberal-turn-hyperglobalization-readings.html
https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f080038834026bdea77620200c/edit Frame your reading of it around these three quotes:

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8.2.0. WWII & Cold War Intro Video: Econ 115

https://share.mmhmm.app/d76c99fa29734fa2a9b2445ede510ba6


8.2.0. WWII & Cold War Intro Video: Econ 115

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-8.2.0-wwii-%26-cold-war-video-intro-10.0.pptx
https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0LhfMB65IaKYZYESYgmuUqZhA
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/10/820-wwii-cold-war-intro-video-econ-115.html

10:00 :: 1100 words
2020-10-25

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The Unequal World: Has Resource Access Had an Important Role to Play?: Econ 115: Problem Set 3

https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/econ-115-f-2020-assignments/blob/master/ps03.ipynb
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/10/the-unequal-world-has-resource-access-had-an-important-role-to-play-econ-115-problem-set-3.html

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Review: Exponential Growth & Dataframe Access: Econ 115: Problem Set 7

https://github.com/braddelong/econ-115-f-2020-assignments/blob/master/ps07.ipynb
https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/econ-115-f-2020-assignments/blob/master/ps07.ipynb
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/10/review-exponential-growth-dataframe-access-econ-115-problem-set-7.html

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Disaster Capitalism: DevEng 215 2020-10-22

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/05yW08oQvx5uDpAZcxmObZsZA
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/deveng-215-2020-10-22.pptx
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/10/disaster-capitalism-deveng-215-2020-10-22.html

This incorporates-by-reference the readings & lectures from week 9 of Joeva Rock's Fall 2020 instantiation of GPP 115...

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3.1. Imperialism & Colonized || Required Readings || Econ 115 || complete by We 2020-09-23

Prefatory note: In addition to chapter 6—Imperialism & Colonized—of the DeLong draft, the assigned reading this week contains two short pieces, selections from books.

 

The first reading is 19 pages from W. Arthur Lewis's 1977 book The Evolution of the International Economic Order. The 19 pages assigned cover Lewis's story of:

  • the division of the world as a result of 1870 to 1914 globalization into middle class farmers in the global north and poor farmers in the global south,
  • how cumulative processes amplified this difference by concentrating manufacturing with its powerful positive externalities for growth in the global north,
  • how global market fluctuations and depressions further hindered the prospects for growth of countries that were not lucky enough to find themselves in or elbow themselves into the charmed circle,
  • and Lewis’s one-page postscript that provides—from his late 1970s perspective—his list of practical and politically feasible action items to boost global south development.

Focus on Lewis’s major point: that it did not take bad will or large-scale theft and violence (although large-theft and violence there was) for the globalization that brought world trade and colonial rule to serve as a global inequality amplifier: the simple competitive workings of the market did that all on its own, and that outcome of the division of the world into the global north and global south was “efficient”, as economists use that word.

 

The second reading is 15 pages from Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, about the coming of colonialism to the Igbo people of what is now Nigeria. You should all, sometime, read this novel entire—indeed, I suspect that about half of you already have. The portion assigned is the end of the book: from protagonist Okonkwo’s return to his patriarchal-line community from exile to his death by suicide, as accident and conquest by the British colonial masters deprive him of the life he wanted to live, and he cannot find a way through. This is so even as others adjust to the New Dispensation:

The white man had indeed brought a lunatic religion, but he had also built a trading store and for the first time palm-oil and kernel became things of great price, and much money flowed into Umuofia…

Achebe firmly keeps the camera in the book on Okonkwo, but if you look at the margins of the scenes you can see how others react very differently to the inversion of authority and the creation of various kinds of opportunity that global trade, communication, ideas diffusion, and colonial rule bring. How would a novel about one of the other characters be different?

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Themes | Lecture

When do I say the Long 20th Century really started? 1870. Why then? The third modern watershed—the third step-up in the global pace of economic growth—globalization, and the start of the American century. When do I say the Long 20th Century really ended? 2016. Why then? Four reasons: (1) end of the American century, (2) slowdown in global-north growth, (3) failures of economic management, (4) revival of what we now call neo-fascism as a challenge to liberal democracy...

Quantities: What was the typical human standard of living back in 1870? Perhaps $4/day—$1300/year. What is the typical human standard of living today? Perhaps $35/day—$12000/year. Is there a "typical" human standard of living today? Maybe not: global inequality is much greater than it was in 1870, and even more so in 1800. A global north of 800 million with a typical standard of living of $50000/year—$150/day; a global south of 6.8 billion with a typical standard of living of $7000/year—$20/day Is the world today a utopia? Definitely not… Is greater San Francisco today a utopia? What do you think?

Grand Narrative

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.1-grand-narrative-%23tceh.pdf
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.1-grand-narrative-%23tceh.pptx

21:00 of audio

 

Inequality & Humanity

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.2-inequality-%23tceh.pdf
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.2-inequality-%23tceh.pptx

14:00 of audio

 

What Has Gone Badly Wrong?

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.3-going-wrong-%23tceh.pdf
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.3-going-wrong-%23tceh.pptx

15:30 of audio

  Slouching Towards Utopia?

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.4-slouching?-%23tceh.pdf
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-1-lecture-3.4-slouching?-%23tceh.pptx

4:30 of audio

.#berkeley #economichistory #highlighted #lectures #tceh #themes #2020-08-30

Dasgupta on Doing Economics | Lecture

Why would one want to “think like an economist”?: What is “thinking like an economist”? Cost-benefit, opportunity cost, system equilibrium, marginality. This turns out to be useful for thinking about the economy. (Other things too: but mostly the economy.) But Dasgupta has a different take, a game theorist's take...

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-0-lecture-3.3-dasguptas-take-%23tceh.pptx

 

.#berkeley #cognition #economics #highlighted #lecture #rhetoric #2020-08-29

Sokrates vs. Machiavelli on the Educational Process | Lecture

On books:

Machiavelli: "I… step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them... I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me..."

Sokrates: "The creations... if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence…. [Words] once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom they should reply, to whom not..."

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-0-lecture-3.2-education-process-%23tceh.pptx

 

.#berkeley #books #cognition #educationalprocess #highlighted #lecture #2020-08-29

Macroeconomics for Beginners | Optional Lecture

The “general glut”: What people used to talk about, instead of recession and depressions. It focuses on what is going on: excess supply in pretty much all of the markets. Back Up to 1803: Jean-Baptiste Say argued back then that a “general glut” was a metaphysical impossibility: “If certain goods remain unsold, it is because other goods are not produced; and that it is production alone which opens markets to produce.... Whenever there is a glut, a superabundance, [an excess supply] of several sorts of merchandize, it is because other articles [in excess demand] are not produced in sufficient quantities...” By 1830 Say had changed his mind...

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-5-lecture-3.O.1-optional-macro-for-beginners-%23tceh.pptx

 

.#berkeley #economics #highlighted #lecture #macro #monetaryeconomics #monetarypolicy #optional #2020-08-29

Lectures: Left- & Right-Wing Alternatives to þe ‘Classical Liberal’ Order

6.3.1. Alternatives to the ‘Classical Liberal’ Order: Really-Existing Socialism

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-6-lecture-3.1-alternatives-%23tceh.pptx

 

6.3.2. The Rule of Josef Stalin

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-6-lecture-3.2-stalin-%23tceh.pptx

 

6.3.3. Fascism

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-6-lecture-3.3-fascism-%23tceh.pptx

 

6.3.4. Naziism

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-6-lecture-3.4-naziism-%23tceh.pptx

 

6.3.5. How Many Species of Anti-Democratic Totalitarian Movements?

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-6-lecture-3.5-totalitarianism-%23tceh.pptx

.#berkeley #economichistory #lectures #tceh #2020-08-28

A "Liberal" Education | Optional Lecture

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/lecture-optional-liberal-education.pptx

“Liberal education” ≠ “kinda left- wing education” here. “Liberal education” here means “appropriate to somebody free”. Someone with control over their own destiny. Someone with a share of control over our common destinies. Not a serf, not a cleric, but also not a vassal—not somebody embedded in the system in a fixed place...

.#berkeley #cognition #education #humancapital #lecture #optional #2020-08-27

The Ethics of a University | Optional Lecture

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/lecture-optional-ethics-university.pptx

Never thought this was necessary before... It probably still isn’t necessary today... But this past decade has been a very weird, very norm-breaking decade in a lot of ways So it is best to be clear on what we are doing here... This is a university... A safe space for its members, and a safe space for their ideas...

.#berkeley #cognition #education #lecture #optional #moralresponsibility #2020-08-27

Things I Have No Time to Teach þis Fall, But þt I Would Like to—Note to Self

school-of-athens-banner

"Data Science" & "Thinking Like an Economist":

 

Andy Matuschak would approve of how Niccolo Machiavelli reads:

html https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/things-i-have-no-time-to-teach-this-fall-but-that-i-would-like-tonote-to-self.html
edit html https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f080038834026be40b4d46200d/edit

A Grand Narrative Catechism: The Global Economic History of the Long 20th Century, 1870-2016

6a00e551f080038834022ad378f7ac200d

What does DeLong see as the proper temporal boundaries of the “Long 20th Century”?
The Long 20th Century began around 1870, when the triple emergence of globalization, the industrial research lab, and the modern corporation in the context of the market economy set the world on the path that pulled it out of the dire poverty that was humanity’s lot in all centuries before; and when America took the steps that made it the place where much of the action was—“the furnace where the future is forged”, to quote Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky. The Long Twentieth Century ended in 2016, with the sharp shock of the near-return of Great Depression-era macroeconomic conditions, with the failure of the anemic economic recovery from the Great Recession that started in 2008 to bring a restoration of the post-1870 normal pace of productivity growth; and with the election of Donald Trump, an American president hostile to global leadership, to global cooperation, and to the very ideas that America was open to immigrants.



.#berkeley #econ115 #economichistory #highlighted #slouchingtowardsutopia #tceh #teaching #teachingeconomics #teachinghistory #2020-07-08
html file: https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/a-grand-narrative-catechism-the-global-economic-history-of-the-long-20th-century-1870-2016.html
edit html file: https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f0800388340264e2e777c2200d/edit

How Are We Supposed to Teach?

My day job as a professor is teaching people at the college level. Americas colleges and universities are highly, highly effective as teaching institutions: we boost people’s incomes by about 7% for each year attended, and it looks as though only 2%-points of those 7 are signaling and selection—the rest are true value. Moreover, those who major in my discipline, economics, appear to gain an extra 20% in income relative to those similarly situated who major in some other non-STEM discipline. Plus we genuinely believe that we open mental doors, and give our students the tools they need to live richer lives.

But there has long been a problem with colleges and universities as an industry: we do not really understand how we do it. Much of what we do is give lectures, assign readings, and administer tests. But the research shows that most of our students learn very little from lectures, are rather poor at learning from readings (when they do them, rather than take a look at the pile we have overassigned and give up), and cram for tests in a way that turns test studying into the opposite of effective reinforcement learning.

The smart money has been that our success as an industry is primarily the result of the social-intellectual rather than the formal-intellectual component of higher education. But we are not sure. This problem, however, has been on the back burner for years… generations… perhaps centuries… because our “customers” have long been highly satisfied.

But now this knowledge problem of ours has suddenly become urgent. The social-intellectual component of education has come crashing down in the age of coronavirus. We badly need to retool. We badly need to retool immediately. Yet we do not know how to do so:

Scott Galloway: How Coronavirus Will Disrupt Future Colleges & Universities https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/scott-galloway-future-of-college.html: ‘The value of education has been substantially degraded. There’s the education certification and then there’s the experience part of college. The experience part of it is down to zero, and the education part has been dramatically reduced.... At universities, we’re having constant meetings, and we’ve all adopted this narrative of “This is unprecedented, and we’re in this together,” which is Latin for “We’re not lowering our prices, bitches.” Universities are still in a period of consensual hallucination with each saying, “We’re going to maintain these prices for what has become, overnight, a dramatically less compelling product offering.” In fact, the coronavirus is forcing people to take a hard look at that 51,000 tuition they’re spending.... It’s a great year to take a gap year.... Ultimately, universities are going to partner with companies to help them expand. I think that partnership will look something like MIT and Google partnering. Microsoft and Berkeley. Big-tech companies are about to enter education…

 #berkeley #cognition #noted #teaching #universities #2020-06-04

Noted: Orenstein: COVID Tracking

Natalie Orenstein: UC Berkeley to track asymptomatic COVID-19 spread in East Bay by testing 5,000 people https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/04/17/uc-berkeley-to-track-asymptomatic-covid-19-spread-in-east-bay-by-testing-5000-people?goal=0_aad4b5ee64-f57ae443c9-333194481: 'Researchers want to understand much more about asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus in the East Bay, so they’re launching a major longitudinal study following at least 5,000 local people who show no sign of the disease. They hope the results will guide policy and preventive measures. “We have no idea how many asymptomatic people are walking around with detectable virus,” said Lisa Barcellos, who’s leading the study with Eva Harris. “This is a real-time capture of how things are now and how they’ll change.” The researchers will come up with a 5,000-person group representative of the population in the East Bay—on the bay side, from Hercules through Oakland.... Ultimately Barcellos and Harris expect to produce a trove of data on asymptomatic spread by zip code, age, sex, and race/ethnicity. While there are disturbing reports across the country of higher COVID-19 death rates for black people, for example, there are not a lot of hard data on risk factors yet, and generally “what we know is coming from cases that were hospitalized,” said Barcellos. “A representative, population-based sample is much more informative from a public health perspective,” said Barcellos, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics... #berkeley #coronavirus #noted #publichealth #2020-05-18


Intro: How Do We Learn (Online Especially)?

Intro: How Do We Learn (Online Especially)?

Universities will make a hash of moving online unless we answer the question: How do we learn? This video is the leadoff to a module that suggests some possible answers. We also need to know what economics is—and how it is good for. And the module that follows this video intro suggests some possible answers to those questions also.

(No: the module is not yet written up...)

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Notes from Lockdown (from Project Syndicate)

https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/notes-from-lockdown

I. Where We Are & What I Am Doing

As of now, the guess is that one person in 80 in California has or had the coronavirus. We rank 30th among the United States with 40 confirmed (and probably 60 true) coronavirus deaths per million. I am trying not to catch the disease, so that I do not then become one of those who spread it. I am going for long (isolated) walks in the hills of Berkeley and Oakland. I am watching lots of old movies. I am trying to let the orange-haired baboon who is President Trump live rent-free in my brain only between 8:00-8:15 PM, and spend only 8:15-9:00 PM thinking about coronavirus. And otherwise I am trying to play my position.

 

II. I Am, Right Now, for Relaxation...

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Economic Growth in Historical Comparative Perspective: Assignment 8: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective

Econ 135: Assignment 8: Character of Modern Economic Growth Paper https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/economic-growth-in-historical-comparative-perspective-assignment-8-economic-growth-in-historical-perspective.html: Explain, in about 500 words, how the character of modern economic growth as it has been seen in the world since 1870 differs from economic growth—or not-growth—in previous eras since the invention of agriculture. Upload your short essay to this webpage. Submitting: a text entry box. Due Apr 8 at 11:59pm...

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Assignment: Tell Us What Is Happening to You, and What You Wish For

This epidemic is nasty: one case at a Biogen executives meeting on Feb 26-27 spread the virus to 100 of the 200 meeting participants. It kills 15% of people in their 80s who get it, 8% of people in their 70s, 3% of people in their 60s, 1% of people in their 50s, and is like a bad flue to people younger.

One frequently discussed scenario for coronavirus in the United States is that it now infects one in every two thousand people, that its infection rate doubles every week, that attempts at social distancing will fail to impact the spread of the virus, that the virus will not become less virulent as the northern hemisphere warms up, and the virus will infect half the population before herd and natural immunity bring a halt to it spread here in America.

Under this scenario—which is optimistic, in some senses of the word—this virus kills one million people in the United States. Under this scenario, the number of those infected will double for seven more weeks, at which point one in fifteen will be newly infected, and then the spread will slow—but your chances of catching the virus will still be high—for another twelve weeks before the epidemic is over here. That carries us for five months—until the end of July. And in many other scenarios we are dealing with this for longer, even if we manage to flatten the curve or if this virus is seasonal, and so vanishes this summer to come back next winter.

We are moving the university online: to lecture slides with audio, to zoom sessions, to asynchronous email for office hours, and to take home assignments. But there are lots of other things we could provide you and lots of other interactions we could set up, if it would assist you this spring.

Assignment: _Please write at least 250 words—at least one page—telling us what you want us to know about how your life is going right now, and informing us of your views of how we should organize and run this class going forward. Submit it at:


Complete it, please, by 5 pm Fri Mar 20, but late submissions will not be penalized...

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Study Questions: Pre-Commercial Revolution Economies

Study Questions for the History of Economic Growth: For Midterm 1: Econ 135

  1. Explain in words what the steady-state balanced-growth path Solow-Malthus equilibrium equation for real living standards https://delong.typepad.com/.a/6a00e551f0800388340240a50c1a9a200b-pi tells us about what the level of income will be in a Malthusian society.
  2. Explain in words what the steady-state balanced-growth path Solow-Malthus equilibrium equation for the level of population https://delong.typepad.com/.a/6a00e551f0800388340240a50c1aa8200b-pi tells us about what the level of population will be in a Malthusian society.
  3. What do you think are the three most reasons not to take the Solow-Malthus model as gospel in understanding pre-Industrial Revolution economic growth—and its absence?
  4. What are three data sources that economic historians rely on to try to get a handle on the pace of economic growth in pre-modern times?
  5. Why did average incomes and prosperity levels remain so low back before the year 1500?
  6. What were the most important changes that made the Industrial Revolution possible?
  7. Where and when did the Industrial Revolution take place?
  8. What theory about why the Industrial Revolution happened when and where it did do you find most attractive?
  9. What are the limitations of and problems with the theory that you find most attractive about why the Industrial Revolution happened when and where it did?
  10. Were income and standards of living under the Roman Empire subject to Malthusian constraints?
  11. How, so far in this course, has the concept of economic class been important in shedding light on understanding processes of economic growth?
  12. Based on what we have covered in this course so far, what do you expect to see in economic growth in the world economy over the next 50, 100, and 1000 years?
  13. In the Solow growth model, what are the important determinants of prosperity in the sense of income per worker, and how do those determinants interact?
  14. Why is Michael Kremer's (and Paul Romer's, and Jared Diamond's) theory of growth—that much of economic growth can be explained by the facts that ideas are non-rival and that two heads are better than one—attractive?
  15. Why is Michael Kremer's (and Paul Romer's, and Jared Diamond's) theory of growth—that much of economic growth can be explained by the facts that ideas are non-rival and that two heads are better than one—inadequate?
  16. Why is it probably wrong to suppose that humanity's effective effort at innovation and technology development at any point in time is proportional to the human population then?
  17. What kinds of innovative effort are positive-sum? What kinds of innovative effort are negative-sum?
  18. Why do extensive empires often appear to have higher standards of living than other, more divided societies that possess the same level of useful ideas about technology and organization?
  19. Why do extensive empires often appear to have greater population densities than other, more divided societies that possess the same level of useful ideas about technology and organization and the same quality of natural resources?
  20. What was the "Columbian Exchange" and why was it important for economic growth?
  21. What was the impact of the Spanish Conquest on the population levels and the living standards of the Amerindian population living in the Americas when the conquistadores arrived?
  22. Explain why you are annoyed by Jared Diamond's claim that the invention of agriculture was a big mistake.
  23. On what evidence does Greg Clark base his conclusion that English working-class standards of living were roughly $2.50 a day in the eight centuries before 1800?
  24. Was the standard of living of the English working class highest in 1310, 1450, or 1800; and why was it highest when it was highest?
  25. Why does Lant Pritchett believe the world today is much more unequal than it was back in 1800? Do you buy his argument?
  26. Why, in Partha Dasgupta's view, is money an extremely useful societal invention?
  27. Why, in Partha Dasgupta's view, does "Becky" have so much more social power and opportunities than does "Desta"?
  28. At what rate does income per worker grow in the Solow growth model when an economy is on its equilibrium balanced-growth path? Why does it grow at that rate?
  29. At what rate does society's total income grow in the Solow growth model when an economy is on its equilibrium balanced-growth path? Why does it grow at that rate?
  30. What changes would tend to make an economy following the Solow growth model and on its equilibrium balanced-growth path richer?
  31. What changes would tend to make an economy following the Solow growth model and on its equilibrium balanced-growth path poorer?
  32. What is meant by saying that an economy is a "Malthusian economy"?
  33. What is meant by the "demographic transition"?
  34. Why doesn't technological progress raise standards of living in a Malthusian economy on its steady-state balanced-growth path?
  35. What do economic theorists think is the reason that the much larger global STEM workforce today than in 1870-1900 has not led to a faster proportional rate of technological progress now than back then?
  36. What does Aristotle claim are the four branches of household resource management, and which of the four does he think is most important?
  37. How much does Aristotle think a philosopher—or any aristocratic Greek male—should know about economic matters: market prices of commodities and production technologies?
  38. Why does Aristotle believe that markets and merchants are useful for a city-state, and for a Greek aristocratic male?
  39. Why does Aristotle believe that markets and merchants and too much knowledge about them are dangerous and destructive for a city-state, and for a Greek aristocratic male?
  40. Why does Gilgamesh deserve to be King of Uruk? And what should his people do when they recognize that he has turned into an overbearing tyrant?
  41. Why does Willem Jongman believe that the classical Mediterranean became so rich and prosperous, so much so that, in the words of the historian Edward Gibbon: "If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of [the Emperor] Domitian [in 96] to the accession of [the Emperor] Commodus [in 180]..."?
  42. Why, in Willem Jongman's view, was the prosperity of the Antonine-Age Roman Empire between the assassination of the Emperor Domitian in 96 and the accession of the Emperor Commodus in 180 not followed by a further expansion of or even the maintenance of equal prosperity?
  43. What happened to the living standards of peasants and craftsmen in western Europe in the two centuries after the 1346-1348 Bubonic Plague, and why do economic historians (led by Robert Brenner) think what happened happened?
  44. What happened to the living standards of peasants and craftsmen in eastern Europe in the two centuries after the 1346-1348 Bubonic Plague, and why do economic historians (led by Robert Brenner) think what happened happened?
  45. Consider the course of history in western Europe after the Bubonic Plague of 1346-8, the course of history in eastern Europe after the Bubonic Plague of 1346-8, and the course of history in the Roman Empire after the Antonine Plague of 165-180. Which two do Willem Jongman and Melissa Dell think are more closely analogous? Why and how?
  46. Why, in Peter Temin's view, was the prosperity of the Antonine-Age Roman Empire between the assassination of the Emperor Domitian in 96 and the accession of the Emperor Commodus in 180 not followed by a further expansion of prosperity and a 1500 years-earlier Industrial Revolution?
  47. Why, in Peter Temin's view, was the prosperity of the Antonine-Age Roman Empire between the assassination of the Emperor Domitian in 96 and the accession of the Emperor Commodus in 180 not followed by a further expansion of prosperity that carried the proportional growth rate of the value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization up from the 0.06%/year of the year -1000 to year 1 Axial Age to something like the 0.15%/year of the year 1500 to year 1700 Commercial Revolution Era?
  48. Why, in Moses Finley's view, was the prosperity of the Antonine-Age Roman Empire between the assassination of the Emperor Domitian in 96 and the accession of the Emperor Commodus in 180 not followed by a further expansion of or even the maintenance of equal prosperity?
  49. What factors made it so that the year 1 was much more likely to have seen the Mediterranean dominated by a Rome-based formal empire of conquest and legions first and trade and cultural influence second than an Athens-based informal empire of trade and cultural influence first and conquest and fleets second?
  50. What, in Josh Ober's view, was the likelihood that classical Mediterranean civilization might have attained something like the pace of commercial activity and productivity growth of the 1500-1700 Commercial Revolution Era?
  51. What is Brad DeLong's guess of the average proportional rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the long Agrarian Age between the invention of agriculture in the year -8000 and the year 1500? Why was this rate of growth so low?
  52. What is Brad DeLong's guess of the average proportional rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the Commercial Revolution Era of 1500-1770? Why was this rate of growth so much higher than in the previous Agrarian Age? Why was this rate of growth so much lower than in the subsequent Industrial Revolution Era?
  53. What is Brad DeLong's guess of the average proportional rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the Industrial Revolution Era of 1770-1870? Why was this rate of growth so much higher than in the previous Commercial Revolution Era? Why was this rate of growth so much lower than in the subsequent Modern Economic Growth Era?
  54. What is Brad DeLong's guess of the average proportional rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the Modern Economic Growth Era of 1870-today? Why was this rate of growth so much higher than in the previous Industrial Revolution Era?
  55. What is Brad DeLong's guess of what the average proportional rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization will be in the next five centuries? Why doesn't he think it will be higher? Why doesn't he think it will be lower?
  56. What is Brad DeLong's guess of what the average proportional rate of growth of human living standards was between the year -6000 and 1500. What factors made it so low?
  57. What is Brad DeLong's guess of what the average proportional rate of growth of human living standards was between the year -6000 and 1500. What factors made it so much lower than the rate of growth of the useful ideas stock?
  58. Suppose that the rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the world had stuck at its Commercial Revolution Era 1500-1770 pace. What would you guess the world economy would look like today in terms of total human population and average living standards and productivity levels?
  59. Suppose that the rate of growth of the real value of the stock of useful human ideas about technology and organization in the world had stuck at its Industrial Revolution Era 1770-1870 pace. What would you guess the world economy would look like today in terms of total human population and average living standards and productivity levels?
  60. Suppose population growth in the "advanced west"—the European North Atlantic coast countries that were the most technologically advanced and became militarily powerful in the Commercial Revolution Era 1500 to 1770—had been at its historic level of 0.4%/year over 1500 to 1770, that invention and innovation had proceeded as in actual world history, but that the rest of the world had managed to fight off European colonialism and retain control of the Americas and of Indian Ocean trade in non-European hands. Would living standards in the European North Atlantic coast countries have then been likely to increase between 1500 and 1770? (In our history they increased by some 40% over that period.)

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Lecture Notes: Malthusian Agricultural Economies

Th Feb 6: 2.1. Malthusian Agricultural Economies

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Lecture Notes: Simulating the Solow Growth Model

How does an economy well-approximated by the Solow growth model—one that has a constant labor-force growth rate n and labor-efficiency growth rate g; a constant savings-investment share of production s and capital deprecation rate δ; and a constant elasticity θ of production Y with respect to the economy's capital intensity κ, where capital intensity is defined as κ = K/Y, the quotient of the economy's capital stock K and its production level Y—behave? What does it do? How are you—if you are a student—to understand it? And to use it?

Standard explanations often focus on graphs like:

Solow_growth_model_graphs

which are often unhelpful.

With this class I would like—if I can get it working—to take another tack. If you have a Berkeley CalNet account, click on this link: https://datahub.berkeley.edu/hub/user-redirect/git-pull?repo=https%3A%2F%2Fgithub.com%2Fbraddelong%2Flecture-support-2020&urlpath=tree%2Flecture-support-2020%2F. If you have access to another Jupyter notebook server, go to https://github.com/braddelong/lecture-support-2020. In either case, then open the file: lecture-support-solow-2020-01-23.ipynb. You should then have, open, my Solow Growth Model Simulator. Click in the second code cell—the one whose first line is—"# SET PARAMETERS, INITIAL CONDITIONS, AND SCENARIO LENGTH IN THIS CELL". You can now edit the text in this code cell. Do so in order to either accept defaults or change the variable assignment statements (those with no "#" in the first column and an "=" sign in them to set values for the model parameter in the lines:

  • n = 0.01 # the labor-force L proportional growth rate
  • g = 0.02 # the labor-efficiency E proportional growth rate
  • s = 0.12 # the share of production Y that is saved and invested
  • δ = 0.03 # the capital depreciation rate
  • θ = 1.09 # the elasticity of production Y with respect to capital intensity κ

Then click lower down and edit in order to accept default or choose alternative starting values L_0, E_0, and κ_0 for the initial values as of time 0 for the labor force, labor efficiency, and capital intensity in the lines:

  • L_0 = 1
  • E_0 = 1
  • κ_0 = 8

Then click lower down again and either accept the default or choose the length of time for which the simulation will run in the lines:

  • T = 100

Then go up to the top of your environment. In the "Kernel" drop down menu click on "Restart Kernel and Run All Cells"

Then scroll down the webpage. If all has gone well you should see, interspersed among the code, ten graphs showing how each of and some combinations of the model variables behave over time.

Note what looks interesting. Then go back to the top, and change something in the second code cell. Once again, go up to the top of your environment, and in the "Kernel" drop down menu click on "Restart Kernel and Run All Cells". What has changed? What strikes you as interesting? Take notes.

Repeat until you think you have an understanding of how an economy that happened to be well-modeled by the Solow growth model would behave.

The assignment? Write 200-300 words on the simulations you carried out, why you chose the parameter values and starting conditions you did, what (if anything) you learned from this exercise, and how useful you think models and exercises like this are in understanding economic growth out there in the real world.


https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/lecture-support-2020/blob/master/lecture-support-solow-2020-01-23.ipynb

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Model Economic History Papers

Note: Gross and Moser have been heavily, heavily revised since submission: you are not expected to write something that gets into the AER as-is.

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Weekly Economic History Memo Questions Bank

Memo 1: Malthusian Economies

Was the invention of agriculture the worst mistake in the history of the human race?

Readings:


 

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Lecture Notes: 1.1. Theory: Robert Solow's Growth Model: The History of Economic Growth: Econ 135

Th Jan 23: Robert Solow's Growth Model


Notes & Further Readings:

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Lecture Notes: The Solow Growth Model: The History of Economic Growth: Econ 135

Jupyter (formerly iPython) notebook:

https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/long-form-drafts/blob/master/solow-model.ipynb
https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/long-form-drafts/blob/master/solow-model-2-basics.ipynb
https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/long-form-drafts/blob/master/solow-model-3-growing.ipynb
https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/long-form-drafts/blob/master/solow-model-4-using.ipynb
https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/long-form-drafts/blob/master/solow-model-5-pre-industrial.ipynb

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0. Introduction: The History of Economic Growth: Econ 135

Rosling-dollar-street

T Jan 21: Growth in Historical Perspective, Humans and Their Economies


Notes & Further Readings:

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-1. Before Class Begins: The History of Economic Growth: Econ 135

Jetsons

  1. Acquire: An iClicker, and access to the course readings

  2. Read: Course administration documents https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-course-summary.pdf https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-course-procedures.pdf https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-administrative.pdf

  3. Read: Partha Dasgupta (2007): Economics: A Very Short Introduction, Prologue & chapters 1-4 https://delong.typepad.com/files/dasgupta-economics.pdf

  4. Read: Aristotle: Politics, Book I https://delong.typepad.com/files/aristotle-politics-book-i.pdf

  5. Do Assignment 1 (3 pts) https://tinyurl.com/dl-2020-01-18a: Write & answer a syllabus FAQ question, due T Jan 21 9:00 am.


Notes & Further Readings:

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The History of Economic Growth: Econ 135: Assignments

Suggested Question (and Answer) for Course FAQ List: Assignment 1: Read the syllabus documents: https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-course-summary.pdf https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-course-procedures.pdf https://delong.typepad.com/files/135-administrative.pdf

Using the information in the syllabus, think up a question that should be on the FAQ—the Frequently Asked Question—list for the course.

Answer the question you thought up.

Upload your question and answer to your account at the course on canvas.

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Reading Notes on Book I of Aristotle's "Politics"

Let me remind you about Aristoteles son of Nikomakhos of Stagira:

He lived from -384 to -322, in the Greek-speaking communities around the Aegean Sea. He spent most of his time in Athens. For the two millennia following his death, he would be, for a large chunk of the world, THE Philosopher: capital “P” and capital “THE”. 1650 years after his death, poet Dante Alighieri would call him “the Master… of those who know”, “il Maestro di color che sanno”. Aristotle’s was, even at so long a distance in time, the most powerful intellectual name that one could conjure with...


https://www.icloud.com/pages/0nLIYWAFXAkPWR0xug-NT21vg


https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0SKox_f6G3cEvDxV-biXLgcPA


Aristotle: Politics, Book I https://delong.typepad.com/files/aristotle-politics-book-i.pdf

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A Note on Reading Big, Difficult Books...

Medieval-reading

Knowledge system and cognitive science guru Andy Matuschak writes a rant called Why Books Don’t Work https://andymatuschak.org/books/, about big, difficult books that take him six to nine hours each to read:

Have you ever had a book… come up… [and] discover[ed] that you’d absorbed what amounts to a few sentences?… It happens to me regularly…. Someone asks a basic probing question… [and] I simply can’t recall the relevant details… [or] I’ll realize I had never really understood the idea… though I’d certainly thought I understood…. I’ll realize that I had barely noticed how little I’d absorbed until that very moment…

However, he goes on to say:

Some people do absorb knowledge from books… the people who really do think about what they’re reading.… These readers’ inner monologues have sounds like: “This idea reminds me of…,” “This point conflicts with…,” “I don’t really understand how…,” etc. If they take some notes, they’re not simply transcribing the author’s words: they’re summarizing, synthesizing, analyzing…

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Note to Self: One take on how we can learn better:

  • Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen: How Can We Develop Transformative Tools for Thought? https://numinous.productions/ttft/: 'It’s difficult not to be disappointed, to feel that computers have not yet been nearly as transformative as far older tools for thought, such as language and writing.... We believe now is a good time to work hard on this vision again. In this essay we sketch out a set of ideas we believe can be used to help develop transformative new tools for thought...

  • Andy Matuschak: Why Books Don’t Work https://andymatuschak.org/books/: 'Books are magical! Human progress in the era of mass communication makes clear that some readers really do absorb deep knowledge from books... the people who really do think about what they’re reading.... Readers must learn specific reflective strategies... run their own feedback loops... understand their own cognition.... These skills fall into a bucket which learning science calls “metacognition”.... It’s challenging to learn these types of skills.... Worse, even if readers know how to do all these things, the process is quite taxing...

  • Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen: Quantum Computing for the Very Curious https://quantum.country/qcvc: 'Presented in a new mnemonic medium which makes it almost effortless to remember what you read...

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A Note: Read Oxford "Very Short Introductions" as a Way of Studying for the Econ 105 Exam...

In general, I am not a believer in studying by rereading things you have read before. I am a believer in reading new things, related to but different from those already assigned in the course. This seemed (and seems) to work far better for me than going back over what I have already read. (Some clues as to why this works can be found in Andy Matuschak: Why Books Don’t Work https://andymatuschak.org/books/: "People [who] do absorb knowledge from books... are the people who really do think about what they’re reading.... If they take some notes, they’re not simply transcribing the author’s words: they’re summarizing, synthesizing, analyzing. Unfortunately, these tactics don’t come easily..." It comes easily to me if I am reading something new but related.) If you are like me, you might find it more productive in studying for the exam not to reread already assigned passages, but rather to take a look at three books from Oxford's Very Short Introduction series:

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Adam Smith: Society & the “System of Natural Liberty”

2.3) Society & the “System of Natural Liberty”: Adam Smith was a genius because he had a truly game-changing insight into how our societal division of labor should be organized. As far as the production and distribution of our collective material wealth is concerned, you see, most of what we need and want is both excludible and rival.

If something is “excludible”, that means we can assign it an owner—some one of us can be designated to control it, and to decide on its use, or decide to transfer “ownership” of it to something else. If something is excludible, we can push the decisions about how it is to be used out to the periphery of society, to the people on the ground who know what is going on, rather than have the decision made by some centralized bureaucracy clueless because of its inability to reliably judge information conveyed to it at third- or fourth-hand. Having ownership makes sense if information about what is going on is dispersed and hard to assemble: giving control to people on the spot is then a very good idea.

If something is “rival”, that means that one person's use of it forecloses the opportunities of others: if I am using this iPhone, you cannot be using the same iPhone. If a good is rival, that one of us is using it diminishes the opportunities and possibilities available to others. That makes them poorer. Thus it makes sense to charge a price for somebody using a rival commodity. That makes them feel in their gut the effects of their decisions on the opportunities open to others. Charging prices is a way to align individuals’ incentives about whether it is worth it for them to make use of a commodity with the effects of their decision on the overall well-being of the society.

Hence, Adam Smith argued in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the wealth of nations is most greatly enhanced by following the dictates of what he named the System of Natural Liberty—“liberty” because it leaves people free to do what they wanted with their labor and their possessions, “natural” because it conforms with human nature, "system" because it can be and is extended to the status of a general principle. Let people decide what they want to do with their things and their labor, and they arrange themselves in a large highly-productive societal division of labor. Self-interest focuses people on creating value. Competition curbs any distracting focus of self-interest on accomplishing exploitation.

This “System of Natural Liberty” is, Smith argues, good. As Heilbroner summarizes:

Self-interest… drives men to action…. [But] a community activated only by self-interest would be a community of ruthless profiteers. This regulator is competition, the socially beneficial consequence of the conflicting self-interests of all the members of society. For each man, out to do his best for himself with no thought of social cost, is faced with a flock of similarly motivated individuals who are in exactly the same boat…. A man who permits his self-interest to run away with him will find that competitors have slipped in… will find himself without buyers in the one case and without employees in the other. Thus very much as in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, the selfish motives of men are transmuted by interaction to yield the most unexpected of results: social harmony…. The… market is that it is its own guardian. If output or prices or certain kinds of remuneration stray away from their socially ordained levels, forces are set into motion to bring them back to the fold. It is a curious paradox which thus ensues: the market, which is the acme of individual economic freedom, is the strictest task master of all…

This leads to a fraught question: Is this a theological point? Is the fact that acting “naturally” in the sense of giving market exchange free rein produces good results evidence that there is a benevolent Providence out there? Is this a teleological point? Are, in some sense, money and gift-exchange aimed at creating prosperity? How is it that processes that are not human—that lead to consequences not desired directly by any human—have a mind of their own, and lead to good ends? It is indeed a marvel that, as Smith puts it, in his theory at least:

[While] every individual… endeavours… to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value… labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can…. He… neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it…. He intends only his own security…. He intends only his own gain…. In this, as in many other cases, [he is] led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention…”

It is a marvel. But what kind of a marvel is it?

It is not that Smith is opposed to government. Government is necessary to protect property, and to enforce contracts: people—most people—will respect others’ property and keep their own contracts, most of the time. But for the non-most people and at the non-most times we need the police, hence we need government. We need public works. We need public education. We need national defense. Adam Smith is very clear on all of these. In fact, Book V of the Wealth of Nations on what the government should do and how it should do it is the largest of the five parts of the book. But, Smith is certain, attempts of some centralized bureaucrat to undermine the System of Natural Liberty in its proper sphere—to direct who should do what when and where—were likely to produce not wealth and prosperity but poverty and misery.

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Lecture Notes: Adam Smith

Salon

Adam Smith starts with the observation that humans are largely but not exclusively self-interested creatures: we are, largely but not exclusively greedy. Yet we have a complex and sophisticated societal division of labor. And that division of labor is essential to our prosperity. Indeed, it is essential to our survival: drop one or two of us into the Sierra Nevada, even in summer, and we will quite likely die. Drop 100 of us, and we will quite likely survive, and even flourish. How can animals that are by nature greedy nevertheless cooperate on a large scale? That is the deep moral-philosophical question that we can see in both of Smith’s big books...

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Hoisted from the Archives from 2006: Tightwad Hill

Tightwad Hill: Stanford Week: "Many of the great rivalries are fundamentally class rivalries - the "big-city" university v the land grant agriculture college. This is what fuels Alabama/Auburn, or Oregon/OSU. Some are even about religion (BYU/Utah) or fashion (USC/UCLA). Cal/Stanford is the only great rivalry that's fundamentally about ideology.... The ideology at play here is authoritarianism. Cal teaches its own to question authority by imposing a faceless, soul-crushing bureaucracy upon its students.... Four years at Berkeley feels like a Kafka novel-you come out with a perhaps too-healthy skepticism of professors, administrators, Presidents and the like. Stanford is a school next to a mall and some golf courses that is populated by cheerful authority figures who want to like you. They serve as your counselor, and help you choose your classes. They arrange comfy dorm rooms, and social events with your fellow fascinating students drawn from all parts of the country. They want you to succeed, because you're one of them-the few, the proud, the elites. Isn't it grand? You exit Stanford feeling really, really good about yourself. You exit Berkeley happy to have survived the experience. Berkeley is exhilirating; Stanford is pleasant. Both sets of alumni run the world, but only one group of alumni feels entitled to...

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Berkeley Social Science: Authors Meet Critics: The Populist Temptation _ http://matrix.berkeley.edu/event/authors-meet-critics-populist-temptation: "Please join us on October 3, 2019 at 4pm for a book talk featuring: Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics & Political Science, UC Berkeley; Paul Pierson, Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley; Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley. Barry Eichengreen’s book, _The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era, places the global resurgence of populism in a deep historical context. It argues that populists tend to thrive in the wake of economic downturns, when it is easy to convince the masses of elite malfeasance. While bankers, financiers, and ‘bought’ politicians are partly responsible, populists’ own solutions tend to be simplistic and economically counterproductive. By arguing that ordinary people are at the mercy of extra-national forces beyond their control, populists often degenerate into demagoguery and xenophobia. Eichengreen posits that interventions must begin with shoring up and improving the welfare state so that it is better able to act as a buffer for those who suffer most during economic slumps. In discussing his book, Eichengreen will be engaging two eminent colleagues: Paul Pierson, a renowned specialist in populism, social theory, and political economy, and Brad DeLong, a distinguished economist who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Clinton Administration and is currently a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. This talk is presented as part of Social Science Matrix's new "Authors Meet Critics" book series, which features lively discussions about recently published books by social scientists at UC Berkeley...

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