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Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from Others' Archives from Six -and-a-HalfYears Ago: Dan Drezner on Chuck Lane

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Every time I try to get out, they drag me back in...

Now I am being told that nobody with any audience ever thought 15/hour in California was a really bad idea. So time to recall this:

Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from Others' Archives: A correspondent asks me for help: Chuck Lane is being used as an authority on the California's 15/hr by 2023 minimum wage proposal. And Chuck Lane says:

A hot concept in wonkdom these days is “evidence-based policymaking.”… Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s labor leaders have announced legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage… to $15 per hour…. Whatever else might be said about this plan, it does not represent an exercise in evidence-based policymaking. To the contrary: There’s a total lack of evidence that the potential benefits would outweigh potential costs—and ample reason to worry they would not…

Dan Drezner: Why I Don’t Need to Take Charles Lane Seriously: "The Washington Post’s Chuck Lane wrote an op-ed arguing in favor of Jeff Flake’s amendment...

...to cut National Science Foundation funding for political science. In fact, Lane raised the ante, arguing that NSF should stop funding all of the social sciences, full stop. Now, I can respect someone who tries to make the argument that the opportunity costs of funding the social sciences are big enough that this is where a budget cut should take place.  It’s harder, however, to respect someone who: 

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Reading: Homer, Odysseus, Emily Wilson, David Drake: Hoisted from the Archives

6a00e551f080038834022ad385000b200d

Hoisted from the Archives: Homer's Odyssey Blogging: "Like Little Birds... They Writhed with Their Feet... But for No Long While...": Let me riff off of something that crossed my desk.... Emily Wilson's reflections on her translation of the Odyssey, and on the Odyssey itself. There is one passage that always has been, to me at least, horrifyingly freaky in a very bad way. As David Drake—one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors—puts it:

Odysseus caps his victory by slowly strangling–the process is described in some detail–the female servants who have been sleeping with Penelope’s suitors. This is only one example (although a pretty striking one) of normal behavior in an Iron Age culture which is unacceptable in a society that I (or anybody I want as a reader) would choose to live in... a hero with the worldview of a death camp guard...

Indeed:

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The Democrats’ Deficit Line in the Sand: Hoisted from the Archives

Federal Surplus or Deficit as Percent of Gross Domestic Product FRED St Louis Fed

From ten years ago: J. Bradford DeLong: The Democrats’ Line in the Sand: "A dilemma for Democratic deficit-hawk economists trying to determine what good economic policies would be should Barack Obama become president.... A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and it seems pointless to work to strengthen the Democratic links of the chain of fiscal responsibility when the Republican links are not just weak but absent...

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An Unrealistic, Impractical, Utopian Plan for Dealing with the Health Care Opportunity of 2007: Hoisted from the Archives

Medicine Google Search

Of historical interest only: Hoisted from the Archives: An Unrealistic, Impractical, Utopian Plan for Dealing with the Health Care Opportunity: First, it's definitely not a plan, and it's certainly not a proposal for the current or any forseeable future policy and political environment. Think of it as a utopia—and think of it as a utopia coming from a guy who is not a real health economist but has an undeserved reputation because he was good at translating the economese spoken by real health economists like David Cutler, Sherry Glied, Ken Thorpe, Len Nichols, et cetera in a way that made it intelligible to senior Bentsen aides like Marina Weiss and Michael Levy.

So here it is:

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Weekend Reading: David Brooks (2003): The Collapse of the Dream Palaces

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It still amazes me that David Brooks has a paying job: David Brooks (April 28, 2003): The Collapse of the Dream Palaces: "GEORGE ORWELL was a genuinely modest man. But he knew he had a talent for facing unpleasant facts. That doesn't seem at first glance like much of a gift. But when one looks around the world, one quickly sees how rare it is...

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Fama's Fallacy: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago

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I was profoundly embarrassed by and ashamed of the Swedish Nobel Committee and of being an economist when they awarded the Nobel Prize to Eugene Fama.

You see, the economists who cheerled for the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut and claimed it would rapidly and permanently boost annual investment in America by 800 billion had arguments—bad arguments. The economists who condemned Benanke's quantitative easing and claimed it would soon lead to high inflation and a debased dollar had arguments—bad arguments. I do not think any of them made those bad arguments in good faith: the failure of those in either group to acknowledge that they got a big one wrong and to engage in Bayeisan updating is interesting: that silence speaks volumes.

But Fama and the others who claimed a decade ago that, while private decision to spend more boosted employment and production, public decisions to spend more—fiscal stimulus—not only would not, but could not possibly ever boost employment and production... they had no argument at all.

What do I mean? This. This is why I am embarrassed and ashamed: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: Fama's Fallacy, Take I: Eugene Fama Rederives the "Treasury View": A Guestpost from Montagu Norman, former Governor of the Bank of England:

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Weekend Reading: Paul Krugman (2011): Mr Keynes and the Moderns

Paul Krugman's distinction between Chapter 12er and Book 13 Keynesians is, I think, dead on:

John Maynard Keynes and George Bernard Shaw exiting the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1936

Paul Krugman (2011): Mr Keynes and the Moderns: "I’d divide Keynes readers into two types: Chapter 12ers and Book 1ers. Chapter 12 is, of course, the wonderful, brilliant chapter on long-term expectations, with its acute observations on investor psychology.... Its essential message is that investment decisions must be made in the face of radical uncertainty to which there is no rational answer, and that the conventions men use to pretend that they know what they are doing are subject to occasional drastic revisions, giving rise to economic instability.... Chapter 12ers insist is that this is the real message of Keynes...

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Matthew Yglesias: The Lies, The Lies of Andrew Sullivan: Hoisted from the Archives

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Hoisted from the Archives: Matthew Yglesias: The Lies, The Lies: "Andrew Sullivan has been a pretty consistent proponent of the view that Paul Krugman is some sort of liar... [because of his] repeated insistences that George W. Bush's economic policy is founded on a tissue of lies. Krugman is, of course, entirely correct about this. The unnoted irony here is that in his May 14, 2001 column 'Downsize', Sullivan conceded Krugman's point: 'Ah, but the details. The Krugmans and the Chaits will shortly have a cow, if not a whole herd of them. The Times will weigh in again with yet another barrage of articles, editorials, and op-eds opposing any tax relief that would actually benefit those who pay most of the taxes. And, to be fair to these liberal critics, they're right...

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"How an Economy Can Live Beyond Its Means on Its Wits...": Hoisted from the Archives

Preview of How an Economy Can Live Beyond Its Means on Its Wits Hoisted from the Archives

Hoisted from the Archives: How an Economy Can Live Beyond Its Means on Its Wits: P.J. Grigg attacking John Maynard Keynes:

I distrust utterly those economists who have with great but deplorable ingenuity taught that it is not only possible but praiseworthy for a whole country to live beyond its mens on its wits and who, in Mr. Shaw's description, teach that it is possible to make a community rich by calling a penny tuppence—in short who have sought to make economics a vade mecum for political spivs...

Confront economists' theories of depressions and what (if anything) the government should do about them and you find yourself immediately confronted with what look to be at least seven different theories:

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Monday Smackdown: Ezra Klein Smacks Down Paul Ryan as a Grifter, and Himself for a Griftee...

Smackdown

Very welcome to see: Remember: Fool me once, shame on you; fool my twice, shame on me: Ezra Klein: Speaker Paul Ryan Retires: His Legacy Is Debt and Disappointment: "Ryan says that debt reduction is one of those things 'I wish we could have gotten done'. Ryan, the man with the single most power over the federal budget in recent years, sounds like a bystander.... To understand the irony and duplicity of that statement, you need to understand Ryan’s career. After the profligacy of the George W. Bush years and the rise of the Tea Party, Ryan rocketed to the top ranks of his party by warning that mounting deficits under President Obama threatened the 'most predictable economic crisis we have ever had in this country'. Absent the fiscal responsibility that would accompany Republican rule, we were facing nothing less than 'the end of the American dream'. Ryan’s reputation was built on the back of his budgets: draconian documents that gutted social spending, privatized Medicare, and showed the Republican Party had embraced the kinds of hard fiscal choices that Bush had sloughed off. And Ryan presented himself as the wonkish apostle of this new GOP...

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Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from 2008: Why We Called Donald Luskin "The Stupidest Man Alive"

Cargo-Cult economics. Or perhaps "TV economics". Going through motions sorta-kinda like what economists do without understanding why or what the calculations mean: Hoisted: Donald Luskin: Stupidest Man Alive: I remember a similar mistake from the past: Luskin's attempt to compute the real exchange rate produced this:

Grasping Reality with Both Hands The Semi Daily Journal Economist Brad DeLong

on which Luskin commented:

The chart... shows the real exchange rate of the US dollar for a decade before the 1982 memo, and then through the end of the Reagan presidency. It did drift slightly lower for the first couple of years after the memo. But then it took off to new highs—nothing resembling anything like [Summers's and Krugman's late 1982 prediction of] a "return to approximately their historical levels."

in fact the actual real exchange rate was:

Grasping Reality with Both Hands The Semi Daily Journal Economist Brad DeLong

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Monday Smackdown: Revisiting the Trump-McConnell-Ryan Tax Cut Debate

Gross Private Domestic Investment Nominal Potential Gross Domestic Product FRED St Louis Fed

A year ago, during the Trump-McConnell-Ryan corporate tax cut debate, Greg Mankiw wrote that "a relevant exercise for my readers... [is assuming] the capital stock adjusts so that the after-tax marginal product of capital equals the exogenously given world interest rate r..." That was unprofessional. That is not a relevant model for a large country with a floating exchange rate. If you want an investment boom, cut the deficit—like Clinton-Mitchell-Gephardt did over 1993-1996.

Paul Krugman explains why: Paul Krugman: Why Was Trump’s Tax Cut a Fizzle?: "The blue wave means that Donald Trump will go into the 2020 election with only one major legislative achievement: a big tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Still, that tax cut was supposed to accomplish big things. Republicans thought it would give them a big electoral boost, and they predicted dramatic economic gains. What they got instead, however, was a big fizzle...

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J.R.R. Tolkien: The Bespelling of Morgoth: From The Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV: Weekend Reading

Amazon com Beren and Lúthien eBook J R R Tolkien Alan Lee Christopher Tolkien Kindle Store

Or is it the Vamping of Morgoth? "For Lúthien hath many arts/for solace sweet of kingly hearts..."

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV:

There came a slow and shuddering change:
the batlike raiment dark and strange
was loosed, and slowly shrank and fell,
quivering. She stood revealed in hell.

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Weekend Reading: Robert Skidelsky on Writing the Biography of John Maynard Keynes: Fifteen Years Ago on the Internet Weblogging

Hoisted from the Archives/Weekend Reading: "Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions: Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing: Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations: All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times. There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

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How People Ate in Medieval England: Weekend Watching

Jason Kingsley and Chris Carr: How People Ate in Medieval England: "Food that an English knight would encounter on the road... i.e. what might commonly be termed 'peasant food'... farm-to-table artisanal fare... house-brewed beer, artisan bread made from interesting grains, fresh salmon, peas from the garden, and a drizzled sauce made from an unusual herb...

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How Powell May Approach Regulation: Bloomberg Daybreak Asia 2017-12-01: Hoisted from the Archives

From a year ago. Not a transcript but much more what I wish I had said—that is, heavily edited and revised to increase clarity, decrease stupidity, and file a little bit of the ragged stream-of-consciousness rough edges off.

Nevertheless, holds up very nicely, no?

Needless to say, the backdrop here is not the view from the Berkeley Northgate TV studio:

How Powell May Approach Regulation If Named Fed Chair Bloomberg

but this is the view from the conference room in which I am holding pre-exam-week office hours:

View from Blum Center

Unfortunately, the view of the Golden Gate to the left of the frame is blocked by three tall pine trees that have no reason to live, and the peak of Mount Tamalpais is hidden by the salmon-and-white apartment building on the right.

People over the nexzt three months trying to decide between jobs at Berkeley and at universities with larger endowments take norte..

How Powell May Approach Regulation If Named Fed Chair: From 2017-11-01: Anchor: Do you think that's concerning or do you think it's refreshing that Powell comes from the private sector?

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Hoisted from the Archives (December 20, 2010): Can't Anybody in Obama's Inner Circle Play This Game?

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Hoisted from the Archives: Can't Anybody in Obama's Inner Circle Play This Game?: When people in the White House ask me whether I think Obama's SOTU address should be about tax reform or Social Security reform (i.e., 2/3 Social Security benefit cuts, 1/3 tax increases offered by the administration--and God alone knows what happens after that), I want to say: Why not make the SOTU address about jobs and economic recovery?...

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Margaret Thatcher Against Friedrich von Hayek's Pleas for a Lykourgan Dictatorship in Britain: Hoisted from the Archives

Hoisted: Margaret Thatcher Against Friedrich von Hayek's Pleas for a Lykourgan Dictatorship: "My dear Professor Hayek, Thank you for your letter of 5 February. I was very glad that you were able to attend the dinner so thoughtfully organised by Walter Salomon. It was not only a great pleasure for me, it was, as always, instructive and rewarding to hear your views on the great issues of our time...

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Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: The "Hastert' and "Hastertland" Paragraphs from Wooldridge and Micklethwaite's "The Right Nation"

These may be the paragraphs written in this millennium that have aged least well: John Micklethwaite and Adrian Woodridge: The "Hastert' and "Hastertland" Paragraphs from Wooldridge and Micklethwaite's "The Right Nation": "Looking at 'Pelosiville' and 'Hastertland', it is not difficult to see why American politics has shifted to the Right. If American politics is a seesaw, it is an unevenly balanced one. Imagine Dennis Hastert at one end of the seesaw and Nancy Pelosi on the other end, and you have some idea about which party is sitting with its legs dangling in the air. In the war between the two Americas, Hastertland has been winning...

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Monday Smackdown/Hoistred: 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: If I may beg a small slice of your attention...

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'."

Do you by chance remember the larger context of Cochrane's "pounding nails" comment, and do you have any idea why he now claims that you took him out of context? Or what he thinks the proper context would have been?

I would be grateful for any light you can shed on this.

Yours,

Brad DeLong brad.delong@gmail.com


John M. Lippert: "Hi Professor DeLong.

Thanks for your note. Professor Cochrane’s complaint is something of which I became aware several months after we published our story in 2008.... The bottom line is that 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.

Tks,

John Lippert


Just FYI, if I were John Cochrane I would not characterize my 2008 CRSP Forum Keynote as something "I did not write...". And I would not characterize accurate quotations from it as:

an attribution, taken out of context, from a http://bloomberg.com article, written by a reporter [John Lippert] with whom I spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics, and who also turned out only to be on a hunt for embarrassing quotes...

John Cochrane: How Did Paul Krugman Get It So Wrong?: "As one little example, take my quotation about carpenters in Nevada...

...Krugman writes:

And Cochrane declares that high unemployment is actually good: “We should have a recession. People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do.” Personally, I think this is crazy. Why should it take mass unemployment across the whole nation to get carpenters to move out of Nevada?

I did not write this. It is an attribution, taken out of context, from a http://bloomberg.com article, written by a reporter [John Lippert] with whom I spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics, and who also turned out only to be on a hunt for embarrassing quotes.

Nevertheless, I was trying to explain how sectoral shifts contribute to unemployment. I never asserted that ‘it takes mass unemployment across the whole nation to get carpenters to move out of Nevada’. You cannot even dredge up an out-of-context quote for that monstrously made-up opinion. What is the point in conducting debate this way? I do not think that Krugman disagrees that sectoral shifts result in some unemployment, so the quote actually makes sense as economics. The only point is to make me, personally, seem heartless–a pure, personal, calumnious attack, which has nothing to do with economics...


Paul Krugman (2009): How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?: "Milton Friedman certainly never bought into the idea that mass unemployment represents a voluntary reduction in work effort or the idea that recessions are actually good for the economy. Yet the current generation of freshwater economists has been making both arguments...

...Thus Chicago’s Casey Mulligan suggests that unemployment is so high because many workers are choosing not to take jobs: “Employees face financial incentives that encourage them not to work... decreased employment is explained more by reductions in the supply of labor (the willingness of people to work) and less by the demand for labor (the number of workers that employers need to hire).” Mulligan has suggested, in particular, that workers are choosing to remain unemployed because that improves their odds of receiving mortgage relief.

And Cochrane declares that high unemployment is actually good: “We should have a recession. People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do.” Personally, I think this is crazy. Why should it take mass unemployment across the whole nation to get carpenters to move out of Nevada?

Can anyone seriously claim that we’ve lost 6.7 million jobs because fewer Americans want to work?

But it was inevitable that freshwater economists would find themselves trapped in this cul-de-sac: if you start from the assumption that people are perfectly rational and markets are perfectly efficient, you have to conclude that unemployment is voluntary and recessions are desirable.

Yet if the crisis has pushed freshwater economists into absurdity, it has also created a lot of soul-searching among saltwater economists. Their framework, unlike that of the Chicago School, both allows for the possibility of involuntary unemployment and considers it a bad thing. But the New Keynesian models that have come to dominate teaching and research assume that people are perfectly rational and financial markets are perfectly efficient. To get anything like the current slump into their models, New Keynesians are forced to introduce some kind of fudge factor that for reasons unspecified temporarily depresses private spending. (I’ve done exactly that in some of my own work.) And if the analysis of where we are now rests on this fudge factor, how much confidence can we have in the models’ predictions about where we are going?

The state of macro, in short, is not good. So where does the profession go from here?...


Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: The "Hastert' and "Hastertland" Paragraphs from Wooldridge and Micklethwaite's "The Right Nation"

These may be the paragraphs written in this millennium that have aged least well: John Micklethwaite and Adrian Woodridge: The "Hastert' and "Hastertland" Paragraphs from Wooldridge and Micklethwaite's "The Right Nation": "Looking at 'Pelosiville' and 'Hastertland', it is not difficult to see why American politics has shifted to the Right. If American politics is a seesaw, it is an unevenly balanced one. Imagine Dennis Hastert at one end of the seesaw and Nancy Pelosi on the other end, and you have some idea about which party is sitting with its legs dangling in the air. In the war between the two Americas, Hastertland has been winning...

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Monday Smackdown Watch: The New York Times and Bret Stephens Continue to Beclown Themselves Bigtime

The New York Times beclouds itself with: Bret Stephens: The Midterm Results Are a Warning to the Democrats: "Stop manning imaginary barricades, and start building real bridges to the other America. This week’s elections were, at most, a very modest rebuke of a president reviled by many of his opponents, this columnist included, as an unprecedented danger to the health of liberal democracy at home and abroad. The American people don’t entirely agree. We might consider listening to them a bit more—and to ourselves somewhat less. A 27-seat swing gave Democrats control of the House.... The Republican gain in the Senate... underscores what a non-wave election this was...

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The Royal Proclamation of 1763: Weekend Reading

The French and Indian War National Geographic Society

George III Hanover (1763): The Royal Proclamation of 1763: "BY THE KlNG. A PROCLAMATION: >Whereas We have taken into Our Royal Consideration the extensive and valuable acquisitions in America, secured to our Crown by the late definitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris the 10th day of February last; and being desirous that all Our loving Subjects, as well of our Kingdom as of our Colonies in America, may avail themselves with all convenient Speed, of the great Benefits and Advantages which must accrue therefrom to their Commerce, Manufactures, and Navigation, We have thought fit, with the Advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our Royal Proclamation...

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For the Weekend: Recessional—Appropriate for the Trumpist End of the American Century...

Preview of For the Weekend Recessional Appropriate for the Trumpest End of the American Century

Rudyard Kipling (1897): Recessional:

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

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Monday Smackdown: Hoisted: Cliff Asness Department

**Hoisted from the Archives: 7 days before the fifth anniversary of his appearing as lead signatory of the right-wing Republican "Open Letter to Ben Bernanke—Cliff Asness spent 82 minutes talking to Tyler Cowen. The phrase "Federal Reserve" does not appear in the transcript. The phrase "quantitative easing" does not appear in the transcript. The word "monetary" does not appear in the transcript. The word "debasement" does not appear. Tyler Cowen does not ask questions using any of those words. Cliff Asness does not use any of those words in answering questions.

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Weekend Reading: Hilzoy: Liberating Iraq (from 2007)

Hilzoy: Obsidian Wings: Liberating Iraq: "Peter Beinart has a piece in TNR about why he supported the war: 'For myself, perhaps the most honest reply is this: because Kanan Makiya did. When I first saw Makiya--the Iraqi exile who has devoted his life to chronicling Saddam Hussein's crimes--I recognized the type: gentle, disheveled, distracted, obsessed. He reminded me of the South African exiles who occasionally wandered through my house as a kid. Once, many years ago, I asked one of them how the United States could aid the anti-apartheid struggle. Congress could impose sanctions, he responded. Sure, sure, I said impatiently. But what else? Well, he replied with a chuckle, if the United States were a different country, it would help the African National Congress liberate South Africa by force.' He also writes about why he got it wrong...

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Hoisted from the Archives: Robert Skidelsky vs. Niall Ferguson: John Maynard Keynes Is Not Ke$ha (Also, the U.S. Is Not Greece, and 2013 Is Not 1923)

Thinking how to talk about Schumpeter's "Ricardian Vice" and the extremely peculiar boosting by economists formerly of note and reputation of the Trump corporate tax cut, and so revisiting this https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/05/robert-skidelsky-vs-niall-ferguson-john-maynard-keynes-is-not-keha-also-the-us-is-not-greece-and-2013-is-not-1923.html


Hoisted from the Archives: Robert Skidelsky vs. Niall Ferguson: John Maynard Keynes Is Not Ke$ha (Also, the U.S. Is Not Greece, and 2013 Is Not 1923)

And Robert Skidelsky explains what John Maynard "We'll Keep Dancing 'Till We Die" Keynes really meant by "In the long run we are all dead":

Continue reading "Hoisted from the Archives: Robert Skidelsky vs. Niall Ferguson: John Maynard Keynes Is Not Ke$ha (Also, the U.S. Is Not Greece, and 2013 Is Not 1923)" »


Hoisted from the Archives: Niall Ferguson Is Wrong to Say That He Is Doubly Stupid: Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"? Weblogging

Thinking how to talk about Schumpeter's "Ricardian Vice" and the extremely peculiar boosting by economists formerly of note and reputation of the Trump corporate tax cut, and so revisiting this https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/05/niall-ferguson-is-wrong-to-say-that-he-is-doubly-stupid-why-did-keynes-write-in-the-long-run-we-are-all-dead-weblogging.html:


NewImage

Niall Ferguson:

An Open Letter to the Harvard Community: Last week I said something stupid about John Maynard Keynes.  Asked to comment on Keynes’ famous observation “In the long run we are all dead,” I suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’ wife Lydia miscarried.

Niall is wrong. His suggestion was not doubly stupid. There is more.

Niall speaks of Keynes's "In the long run we are all dead" as if it is a carpe diem argument--a "seize the day" argument, analogous to Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" or Herrick's "To the Virgins"--and Ferguson sees his task as that of explaining why Keynes adopted this be-a-grasshopper-not-an-ant "party like we're gonna die young!" form of economics, or perhaps form of morality.

But that is not it at all.

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"In the Long Run We Are All Dead" in Context...

John Maynard Keynes (1923): A Tract on Monetary Reform", pp. 80-82: "[T]he [Quantity] Theory [of Money] has often been expounded on the further assumption that a mere change in the quantity of the currency cannot affect k, r, and k',—that is to say, in mathematical parlance, that n is an independent variable in relation to these quantities. It would follow from this that an arbitrary doubling of n, since this in itself is assumed not to affect k, r, and k', must have the effect of raising p to double what it would have been otherwise. The Quantity Theory is often stated in this, or a similar, form...

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The Grand Strategy of the United States of America: From the Archives from 2003

stacks and stacks of books

Hoisted From the Archives from 2003: The Grand Strategy of the United States of America: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: "The economic policy of the Bush administration has been frightening: The deliberate unbalancing of the long-term finances of the U.S. government in the hope of sharpening the funding crisis of the social-insurance state—with the effect of slowing capital formation and economic growth, and increasing the interest of economic crisis. The backing-away from the Republican Party's historic commitment to free trade. The reversal of Newt Gingrich's proudest achievement: the partial reform of the farm subsidy program.

The security policy of the Bush administration has been more than frightening; it has been terrifying...

... At the moment administration insiders are trying to convince elite reporters that the Bush administration did not deceive outsiders about Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program as much as deceive itself—that the highest levels of the Bush administration proved grossly incompetent at the basics. They did not know how to assess intelligence. Nobody had heard of Machiavelli's 500-year-old warning not to trust exiles: "Such is their extreme desire to return to their homes that they naturally believe many things that are not true, and add many others on purpose; so that, with what they really believe and what they say they believe they fill you with hopes..." Note that this declaration of incompetence is the Bush administration's spin on what happened.

But the most awful and dreadfully terrifying aspect of all has been whenever Bush administration intellectual allies talk about what they see as the motivating theory of the world underlying Bush administration security policy. They call the Clinton Administration naive for believing that international relations is a positive-sum game in which all sides can win. They speak of explicit concern on the part of the United States not just for its absolute but its relative economic power. As the University of Chicago's Dan Drezner puts it, the logic of Bush's National Security Strategy is to "prevent other great powers from rising, in order to ensure the long-term growth of freedom, democracy and prosperity."

But what does "prevent other great powers from rising" mean? What could it possibly mean other than "try to keep China and India desperately poor for as long as possible"—for when China and India close even half the gap in prosperity separating them from the industrial core, their populations alone guarantee that they will be very great powers indeed.

It is certainly not in the interest of world prosperity, or in the interest of China or India, to try to keep them poor. It is not in the national interest of the United States either. The history of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries teaches us that there may well be something uniquely dangerous to world peace and political sanity during the two generations in which a culture is passing from a poor rural agricultural to a rich urban industrial (or post-industrial) economy. Whether the aggressive foreign policy pursued by Wilhelmine Germany, the Leninist and Stalinist agony of Russia, the terrors of Mao, the dictatorships of Mussolini and Franco, or the most monstrous Nazi regime—the twentieth-century transition to industrial society appears to be a very dangerous time both for the citizens of the country in transition and for neighbors and passers-by.

Is it really in the interest of the United States to try to "prevent other great powers from rising" at the cost of lengthening the period of time during which other societies are vulnerable to the devils that afflicted most notably Germany in the twentieth century? Wouldn't the rest of us rather minimize than maximize the time we might be faced with the problem of containing a National Hinduist India, a Wilhelmine China, or a Weimar Russia?

And do the rest of us want the children of China and India to be taught in fifty years that the rich countries at the turn of the twentieth century did all they could to accelerate the growth and increase the prosperity of China and India, or that the rich countries strove to "prevent other great powers from rising"?

It is long past time for a complete change of personnel at all levels of the Bush administration. The world cannot afford to have neoconservatives at high levels of the U.S. government who do not work for global prosperity and peace, but instead for maximum U.S. relative power. Now we do know that there are grownups in the Republican Party—statesmen who work for more rapid economic development, for multilateral cooperation, and for a world in which the United States leads because of its fortunate position rather than dominates because of its military power. They staffed the first Bush administration. Where are they?


#shouldread #security #hoistedfromthearchives

Weekend Reading: Keynes Quoting Malthus

John Maynard Keynes: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: "The doctrine did not reappear in respectable circles for another century, until in the later phase of Malthus the notion of the insufficiency of effective demand takes a definite place as a scientific explanation of unemployment. Since I have already dealt with this somewhat fully in my essay on Malthus, it will be sufficient if I repeat here one or two characteristic passages...

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Weekend Reading Jan Christian Smuts to M.C. Gillett: The Griqua prayer...

Jan Christian Smuts: To M. C. Gillett, Paris, 7 May 1919...

...No, I cannot come over this week-end as I must stop here at this juncture for a few days longer on the off-chance of being useful. I go today in a frock-coat and top hat to join in handing the Germans our so-called Peace Terms. And my mind will go back to another May day in 1902 when Peace Terms were handed to the Boers. And in less than five years those terms had been blown to smithereens by fate and only the semblance of the British flag remained as a reminder of the victors' terms.

And so it may be again. Let us not lose faith in God, the Disposer of things, and in simple human nature which is so much wiser and braver than what one would infer from the activities of the statesmen and the leaders. I often nowadays have the feeling as if some great Spirit is back of things and quietly moving the pieces of history behind the camouflage of our petty stage. So let us have faith and await the greater issue, which, however, may not be in our day.

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Weekend Reading: Robert Solow: A Theory Is a Sometime Thing

Robert Solow: A theory Is a Sometime Thing: "Milton Friedman... aims to undermine the eclectic American Keynesianism of the 1950s and 1960s... goes after two... lines of thought. His first claim is that the central bank, the Fed, cannot ‘peg’ the real interest rate... to undermine the standard LM curve.... The Fed can peg the nominal federal funds rate, but not the real rate...

..."These… effects will reverse the initial downward pressure on interest rates fairly promptly, say, in something less than a year. Together they will tend, after a somewhat longer interval, say, a year or two, to return interest rates to the level they would otherwise have had" (Friedman 1968, p. 6). Now we know what ‘peg’ means.... The goal, remember, is to contradict the eclectic American Keynesian... which did not, after all, require the Fed to control real interest rates forever. If the Fed can have meaningful influence only for less than a year or two, then it is surely playing a losing game, especially in view of those ‘long and variable lags.’ Is that really so?...

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*Sigh* Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal

Author: Sigh Yet More Cleaning Up After the Cockroaches: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: "A normal person, reading Jonathan Weisman in the Washington Post on June 8, would conclude (i) that Steven Moore is an economist, and (ii) that Kevin Hassett, Eric Engen, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, and many other economists are 'reevaluating' the view that budget deficits are a significant minus for the economy, believe that 'the argument against deficits is more about self-righteous moralism than economics', and broadly agree with Richard Cheney's declaration that 'deficits don't matter'...

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(Late) Monday Smackdown: Why Does Clive Crook Think the EU Has a Duty to Sacrifice the Interests Rights of Its Constituents in Brexit Negotiations?

I did not punish this a year ago because it seemed... intemperate. Now it seems not extreme enough. Perhaps if Clive Crook and his colleagues had dared to say: "The Brexiters are bad people pursuing bad policies. They need to be stopped." Instead he and his ilk talked about how important it was that the U.K . have "a fundamentally new relationship" with the E.U., and that the E.U. should bend over backward to make the Brexiters look as good as possible. Not a good look:

Brexit_Means_Brexit

Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Across my desk this morning comes this. And it makes me ask: Whatever happened to the sharp, thoughtful, and witty Clive Crook of 2000? Brexiteers lied, and said that Brexit would bring £350 million a week to boost Britain's National Health Service, that Britons would still be able to live in Europe at will while kicking undesirable continentals out, and that Briton would have a hard border with the EU while still having a soft border with the Irish Republic. It was always a grift. Clive Crook now seems to want... what? For the EU to work hard to make Brexit as small a catastrophe as possible? For the EU sacrifice the rights and interests of its citizens to promote the careers of a bunch of neo-fascist nativist grifter politicians in Westminster? Crook seems to think that the EU should be negotiating as if this were an "on what terms will Britain remain in the EU?" deal. But Brexit means Brexit: Clive Crook: The Harder Brexit Gets, the More Necessary It Seems: "The U.K. has been an ill-fitting member of the EU all along...

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Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: A Historical Document: Weekend Reading

For the Weekend: A Historical Document: Dean Acheson's Lawyer's Brief for the Mid-Twentieth Century Democratic Party: From Dean Acheson (1955): A Democrat Looks at His Party:

p. 23 ff: From the very beginning the Democratic Party has been broadly based... the party of the many... the urban worker; the backwoods merchant and banker; the small farmer... the largelandowners of the South, who saw themselves as being milked by the commerical and financial magnates gathered under Hamilton's banner; the newly arrived immigrants... the party of the underdog.... The many have an important and most relevant characteristic. They have many interests, many points of view, many purposes to accomplish, and a party which represents them will have their many interests, many points of view, and many purposes also. It is this multiplicity of interests which, I submit, is the principal clue in understanding the vitality and endurance of the Democratic Party...

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Hoisted from the Archives: “Unknown Unknowns”: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment

Preview of Hoisted from the Archives Unknown Unknowns High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in

Next time I give a "general macro-finance" talk, I should give this one—updated, of course. But how much updating is needed>: “Unknown Unknowns”: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment (NEEDS REVISION) https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0_py01Y-ZrGddLKba8Rl2r9eQ

It's alternative title is: Confusion: High Public Debt Levels and Other Sources of Risk in Today’s Macroeconomic Environment:

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Monday DeLong Smackdown: Alan Kirman on Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises

Smackdown

Alan Kirman is wise. Listen to him: Monday DeLong Smackdown: Alan Kirman: Self-Fulfilling Financial Crises: For the first time I feel moved to disagree with your assessment here Brad. The behavioral approach proposed by the authors suffers from the same disease as many that have been proposed earlier. It is the idea that one particular "bias" will help to understand and explain the causes and consequences of economic crises. This seems to me to be at odds with what really goes on. Already in 1900 Poincaré criticised Bachelier because he ignored the fact that people tend to behave like sheep. People do not simply receive their information independently and then act on it and in so doing reveal that information. Herd behaviour would suggest that people's beliefs change and are strongly influenced by those with whom they interact...

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Neal Ascherson: Anna of All The Russians by Elaine Feinstein: Weekend Reading

Neal Ascherson: Observer Review: Anna of All The Russians by Elaine Feinstein: "Our lady of sorrows: Elaine Feinstein tells how poet Anna Akhmatova, whose son was in the Gulag, spoke for millions of Russians of their hell under Stalin...

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Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: Weekend Reading

Parcours robot boston boston dynamics Google Search

"The principal control mechanism in factories... is based on programmable logic controllers, or PLCs.. introduced in 1968 to replace electromechanical relays. The 'coil' is still the principal abstraction unit used today, and PLCs are programmed as though they were a network of 24-volt electromechanical relays. Still": Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: "Overestimating and underestimating. Roy Amara was a cofounder of the Institute for the Future, in Palo Alto, the intellectual heart of Silicon Valley. He is best known for his adage now referred to as Amara’s Law: 'We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run'.... A great example... the U.S. Global Positioning System... nearly canceled again and again in the 1980s... first operational use for its intended purpose was in 1991 during Desert Storm; it took several more successes for the military to accept its utility....

Today GPS is in what Amara would call the long term, and the ways it is used were unimagined at first. My Series 2 Apple Watch... the technology synchronizes physics experiments across the globe... synchronizing the U.S. electrical grid... allows the high-frequency traders who really control the stock market to mostly avoid disastrous timing errors.... used by all our airplanes... used to track people out of prison on parole... determines which seed variant will be planted... tracks fleets of trucks and reports on driver performance. GPS started out with one goal, but it was a hard slog to get it working as well as was originally expected. Now it has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that we would not just be lost if it went away; we would be cold, hungry, and quite possibly dead....

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Cosma Shalizi: Machine Learning: Data, Models, Intelligence: Weekend Reading

Parcours robot boston boston dynamics Google Search

"The 'big data' point... huge opportunity... to really expand the data.... The 'machine learning' point... a tremendous opportunity to use more flexible models, which do a better job of capturing... reality. The 'AI' point is that artificial intelligence is the technology of the future, and always will be...": Cosma Shalizi: The Rise of Intelligent Economies and the Work of the IMF: "We've been asked to talk about AI and machine learning.... I do understand a bit about how you economists work, and it seems to me that there are three important points to make: a point about data, a point about models, and a point about intelligence. The... an opportunity, the second... an opportunity and a clarification, and the third... a clarification and a criticism—so you can tell I'm an academic by taking the privilege of ending on a note of skepticism and critique, rather than being inspirational...

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For the Weekend: John Donne

Bridge depicted in Hemingway s For Whom the Bell Tolls Picture of La Ciudad Ronda

John Donne: For Whom the Bell Tolls:

...No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee...

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Prisoner's Dilemma, or Prisoners' Dilemma?: Hoisted from the Archives

Game Theory

Hoisted from the Archives: Prisoner's Dilemma: An extended passage from William Poundstone's (1992) marvelous book Prisoner's Dilemma (New York: Doubleday: 038541580X) https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0307763781. Economists will find it hilarious and thought-provoking. Others will probably find it bizarre and weird. It comes from pp.106-118.

Flood and Dresher devised a simple game where [the Nash equilibrium wasn't such a good outcome for the players].... The researchers wondered if real people playing the game--especially, people who had never heard of Nash or equilibrium points--would be drawn mysteriously to the equilibrium strategy. Flood and Dresher doubted it.

The two researchers ran an experiment that very afternoon. They recruited two friends as guinea pigs, Armen Alchian of UCLA ("AA" below), and RAND's John D. Williams ("JW"). The game was presented purely as a payoff table. The payoffs were:

(AA's payoff, JW's payoff) JW's Strategy 1 [Defect] JW's Strategy 2 [Cooperate]
AA's Strategy 1 [Cooperate] (-1, 2) (1/2, 1)
AA's Strategy 2 [Defect] (0, 1/2) (1, -1)

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Brett Kavanaugh: A Multiple Train Wreck in Many Dimensions: Monday Smackdown

Clowns (ICP)

I confess that I have been procrastinating on various things. Why? Because I have been unable to tear my eyes away from the multiple train crash that is the confirmation process... the career... the life of Brett Kavanaugh. My view of this is a third- or fourth-hand view. It is the view of Georgetown Prep from Sidwell Friends. And it may well be wrong. But I think that it is right. So, with that warning, here goes:

The first... oddity... is Brett Kavanaugh‘s reaction to Christine Blasey Ford. It really ought to have been something like this:

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