#economicgrowth Feed

Teasers for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Il Quarto Stato

Current Versions of Chapters 1-3:

  1. DRAFT: My Grand Narrative
  2. DRAFT: Themes
  3. DRAFT: Making a Global Economy and Society, 1870-1914

Outtakes and Deleted Scenes:


Continue reading "Teasers for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"" »


The 1870 Inflection Point in Transport and Trade: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia": An Economic History of the Long 20th Century

International Trade Our World in Data

The metallurgy to cheaply make the rails and the engines of the railroad had made transport over land wherever the rails ran as cheap as travel up navigable watercourses or across the oceans had every been, and made it faster.

The mid-nineteenth century Massachusetts transcendentalist author and activist Henry David Thoreau’s response to the railroad was: “get off my lawn!”:

To make a railroad round the world.... Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere in next to no time and for nothing, but though a crowd rushes to the depot and the conductor shouts “All aboard!” when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over—-and it will be called, and will be, “a melancholy accident”...

Continue reading "The 1870 Inflection Point in Transport and Trade: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia": An Economic History of the Long 20th Century" »


No, the Trump administration is not very competent at achieving its stated goals. But that does not mean that the Trump administration is not doing enormous harm under the radar by simply being its chaos-monkey essence. The smart David Leonhart tries to advise people how to deal with this: David Leonhardt: Trump Tries to Destroy the West: "[Trump's] behavior requires a response that’s as serious as the threat...

Continue reading "" »


Peter Jensen, Markus Lampe, Paul Sharp, and Christian Skovsgaard: The role of elites for development in Denmark: "How did Denmark get to Denmark?... Hundreds of butter factories could spring up in a few years in the 1880s... dominance in agricultural exports could be so rapidly consolidated... why this happened in Denmark and not elsewhere...

Continue reading "" »


Paul Krugman: Brexit Meets Gravity: "These days I’m writing a lot about trade policy. I know there are more crucial topics, like Alan Dershowitz. Maybe a few other things? But getting and spending go on; and to be honest, in a way I’m doing trade issues as a form of therapy and/or escapism, focusing on stuff I know as a break from the grim political news...

Continue reading "" »


The Circa-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution: A Possible Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Il Quarto Stato

Do I have space for this in the ms.? Or do I need to go into kill-my-darlings mode?


3.1: The ca.-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution

In the world as it stood in 1870 there was seen to be a huge disjunction between the growing effective economic power of the human race and the proper distribution of this potential wealth to create a prosperous and happy society. That science, technology, and organization could wreak miracles had become commonplaces. Best friends Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels probably put it best in 1848:

The business class, during… scarce 100 years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to [hu]man[ity], machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?…

Continue reading "The Circa-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution: A Possible Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"" »


1870 as the Inflection Point: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century

Il Quarto Stato

3.0: 1870 as the Inflection Point https://www.icloud.com/pages/0qen52fK3MKE3TlUkF4ViGtFQ: As of 1870 the smart money was still placed on the bet that the British Industrial Revolution would not mark a permanent divergence of human destiny from its agricultural-age pattern. All agreed that the Industrial Revolution had produced marvels of science and technology. All agreed that it allowed the world to support a much greater population than had previously been deemed possible. All agreed that it gave the world’s rich capabilities that, along many dimensions, fell little short of those previously attributed to gods. All agreed that it had greatly multiplied the numbers of the comfortable—that there were now many more people who did not feel the immediate bite of insufficient food, insufficient clothing, and insufficient shelter.

Continue reading "1870 as the Inflection Point: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century" »


Convergence Weighting by People Divergence Weighting by Nations: Cedarbrook Notes

2018-03-12_Brad_DeLong_Party_Card_pages

Cedar Brook Notes: LYes, the world as a whole has become more equal over the past generation. This is overwhelmingly because two very large countries—India and China—have harvested a great deal of the low-hanging fruit of development because of better policies. If you think they will continue to do so, well and good: then you can be optimistic. If you think they will or may well not, then globalization and the rise of a global overclass augur for a future in which the rise of the Second Gilded Age is truly global rather than nationally American.


Implications of the Acceleration of the Pace of Growth of the Value of Human Knowledge: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia: The Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Nikola_tesla_electricity_high_resolution_-_Google_Search

With November 8, 2016, the Long 20th Century comes to an end. It began in 1870, when the combination of the development of the industrial research lab, the screw-propellered iron-hulled steamship, the submarine telegraph network, and America's openness to (European) immigration brought the world out of the age of gunpowder empires and set it on the escalator to prosperous modernity. It ended in 2016, when the U.S. abandoned its role as Kindlebergian hegemon and as the, at least in its own mind, City Upon a Hill.

So it is time to finish my twentieth century history book, which has been hanging fire for two decades now as the 20th Century seemed to refuse to stop—as things kept happening that seemed to be the continuation of 20th Century processes.

Right now I am working on Chapter 2: Themes. I am making a hash of it. This part of it does not say what I want it to say, and I am not sure that what I want to say is what I should say. Advice, anybody?


2.3: The Advance of Technological and Organizational Knowledge

Continue reading "Implications of the Acceleration of the Pace of Growth of the Value of Human Knowledge: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia: The Economic History of the Long 20th Century"" »


Feminism in the Long 20th Century: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia: The Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Pioneer_Birth_Scene_Pictures___Getty_Images

With November 8, 2016, the Long 20th Century comes to an end. It began in 1870, when the combination of the development of the industrial research lab, the screw-propellered iron-hulled steamship, the submarine telegraph network, and America's openness to (European) immigration brought the world out of the age of gunpowder empires and set it on the escalator to prosperous modernity. It ended in 2016, when the U.S. abandoned its role as Kindlebergian hegemon and as the, at least in its own mind, City Upon a Hill.

So it is time to finish my twentieth century history book, which has been hanging fire for two decades now as the 20th Century seemed to refuse to stop—as things kept happening that seemed to be the continuation of 20th Century processes.

Right now I am working on Chapter 2: Themes. I am making a hash of it. This part of it does not say what I want it to say, and I am not sure that what I want to say is what I should say. Advice, anybody?


2.2: The Arrival of Feminism

Continue reading "Feminism in the Long 20th Century: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia: The Economic History of the Long 20th Century"" »


J. Bradford DeLong (2008): Trade and Distribution: A Multisector Stolper-Samuelson Finger Exercise

Il Quarto Stato

An argument that I think is true—and important—but that I have never been able to get anybody else to pay attention to. Maybe I have just made an algebra mistake, and people are silent because they would feel embarrassed if they pointed that out. But I do not think so:

J. Bradford DeLong (2008): Trade and Distribution: A Multisector Stolper-Samuelson Finger Exercise: One of the basic building blocks of the political economy of international trade is the Stolper-Samuelson result: the shift from no trade to free trade is good for the owners of the abundant factor of production, but bad for the owners of the scarce factor of production. This accounts for why support for free trade tends to be stronger in democratic than in authoritarian regimes. The scarce factor of production tends to be, well, scarce. Hence not many potential voters own a lot of it. Hence the political support for trade protection in any system of government that gives weight to broad, as opposed to strong, preferences will tend to produce trade liberalization.

In the United States, and to some degree in western Europe, things are widely thought to be different—or so the argument goes, The relatively abundant factors of production are things like capital, organization, and technology, which have concentrated ownership. The scarce factor of production is labor. Hence free trade tends to be politically unpopular because it is not in the interest of the majority of potential voters.

This argument of an inconsistency between free trade and the well-being of the majority of potential voters rests substantially on the two-factor example of the Stolper-Samuelson result. It does not fare too well when we generalize to a situation in which there are a number of different factors—even if the ownership of the abundant factors of production is very concentrated indeed....

For λ very close to one, the critical φ* is also close to one. Trade among countries with small differences in relative proportions of the trade-relevant factors of production is good only for households that hold a greater than proportionate share of the initially abundant factor... households for which φ > 1. But as λ moves away from 1 things change. Efficiency and productivity gains grow faster than do the income redistributions from changing factor prices. Even households where the share of ownership of the initially-abundant factor is significantly less than proportionate can benefit. In the limit as N becomes large, the condition on φ for free trade to benefit the household becomes: φ* > ln(λ)/(λ−1)... Read MOAR


#delongpapers
#politicaleconomy
#globalization
#free trade

We may not believe Bob Allen's provocative economic history of Soviet Russia, however. I think that Russia is enough of a "European" country that an "Asian" or "Latin American" baseline is not appropriate. Aside from the value to the world of a heavy industrial complex in Magnitogorsk in 1939 (a big aside), the Stalinist road to industrial society was not only genocidal and long-run counterproductive but medium-run stupid. But why Mehmet Ali Pasha was unable to make Egypt a cotton-spinning and -weaving center remains a fascinating question: Tom Westland: Russia vs Egypt: "In both 19th century Egypt and 20th century Russia, the path to industrial growth was blocked by a formidable swamp: subsistence agriculture...

Continue reading "" »


Edward Bellamy: How I Came to Write Looking Backward: Weekend Reading

Rivera: Detroit Industry

Edward Bellamy (1889): How I Came to Write _Looking Backward: "I accept more readily the invitation to tell in _The Nationalist how I came to write Looking Backward for the reason that it will afford an opportunity to clear up certain points on which inquiries have been frequently addressed to me...

Continue reading "Edward Bellamy: How I Came to Write Looking Backward: Weekend Reading" »


Blurb for Janeway: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, 2nd Edition

Neither Adam Smith’s nor Henry Ford's picture of the economy is relevant for us today. What thumbnail picture is relevant? We do not know, but Bill Janeway thinks harder and more successfully about this question than anybody else I have seen...

William H. Janeway: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, 2nd Edition: "Legendary economist Hyman Minsky identified author William H. Janeway as a 'theorist-practitioner' of financial economics; this book is an expression of that double life. Interweaving his unique professional perspective with political and financial history, Janeway narrates the dynamics of the innovation economy from the standpoint of a seasoned practitioner of venture capital, operating on the frontier where innovative technology transforms the market economy. In this fully revised and updated edition, Janeway explains how state investment in national goals enables the innovation process and why financial bubbles accelerate and amplify its impact. Now, the digital revolution, sponsored by the state and funded by speculation, has matured to attack the authority, and even the legitimacy, of governments. The populist response in the west, especially in the United States, opens the door for China to seize leadership of the innovation economy from America..."

Continue reading "Blurb for Janeway: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, 2nd Edition" »


Duncan Weldon: "The one tweet version https://twitter.com/DuncanWeldon/status/1007681332137418759: 'Britain had unusually high wages compared to much of Europe (a legacy of more colonial trade) and easy access to coal. High wages and cheap energy made the introduction of labour saving technology profitable in Britain when it wouldn’t have been elsewhere..." https://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/media/2162/allen-industrev-global.pdf

Continue reading " " »


Yes: Last Fall the Unprofessional Republican Economists Were Lying About Corporate Taxes, Investment, and Growth. Why Do You Ask?

There were "economists" last fall telling us that the Trumpublican tax cut was going to raise real wages in America substantially and soon: Robert J. Barro, Michael J. Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence B. Lindsey, Harvey S. Rosen, George P. Shultz, John. B. Taylor; Larry Lindsey and Douglas Holtz-Eakin; James Miller, Charlie Calomiris, Jagdish Bhagwati; Kevin Hassett; Greg Mankiw; and the others. The people who last fall were telling us that the Trumpublican tax cut was going to raise wages by boosting growth by a number they decided was 0.4% per year—get us an extra 80 billion dollars of prosperity each year growing over time—all did so by pointing to the investment channel: (a) the tax cut would make investment more profitable, (b) we would then have about 800 billion a year of extra investment, (c) the added production made possible by that investment would be 80 billion a year, (d) and eventually wages would rise. (a) has happened. (b) was supposed to take effect quickly—this year. But (b) has broken down: business investment "should" be jumping from 13% to 17% of total production. It is not. So far it has jumped from 12.4% to 13.1%—one-sixth of the jump we were promised:

Gross private domestic investment Domestic business FRED St Louis Fed

This comes as no surprise: Paul Krugman: Tax Cuts and Leprechauns: "The immediate effect of cutting the corporate tax rate... a big fall in taxes collected from corporations...

Continue reading "Yes: Last Fall the Unprofessional Republican Economists Were Lying About Corporate Taxes, Investment, and Growth. Why Do You Ask?" »


The Damnation of the Professional Republican Policy Intellectuals

Inferno

I have long known that the thoughtful and pulls-no-punches Amitabh Chandra has no tolerance for fuzzy thinking from Do-Gooder Democrats. He is one of those who holds that not even a simulacrum of utopia is open to us here, as we muck about in the Sewer of Romulus here in this Fallen Sublunary Sphere. ”There are always trade-offs“, he says. “Deal with it“, he says. But here he leans to the other side, and, well, snaps: Amitabh Chandra: "GOP thinktanks https://twitter.com/amitabhchandra2/status/1007261629547982849 are the biggest milksops. From healthcare policy to environmental policy, from national security policy to fiscal policy, they have tacitly endorsed a mountain of anti-market + anti-growth + anti-America policies so as not to not upset their political masters...

Continue reading "The Damnation of the Professional Republican Policy Intellectuals" »


Reviewing Richard Baldwin's _The Great Convergence...

Preview of Reviewing Richard Baldwin s The Great Convergence

My review of the superb and extremely thought provoking: Richard Baldwin (2016): The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization http://amzn.to/2sIcr6C. Reviewed for Nature http:nature.com: The iron-hulled oceangoing steamships and submarine telegraph cables of the second half of the 19th century set off a first wave of economic globalization. The intercontinental transport of both staple commodities and people became extraordinarily cheap. The container of the second half of the 20th century made the transport of everything non-spoilable—and some things spoilable—essentially free. It set off a second wave of economic globalization.

Continue reading "Reviewing Richard Baldwin's _The Great Convergence..." »


Necessities become things that are beneath our notice. Conveniences become necessities. Luxuries become conveniences. And then we invent new luxuries—like feeling put upon yesterday because a new 2 terabyte backup disk cost as much as $70 and took 8 hours to get delivered to my door, so I couldn't get all of my backups done last night: Jeff Bezos: Divine Discontent: Disruption’s Antidote: "One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent...

Continue reading "" »


Well, since capitalism delivers higher real wages than any other system we know about, how can you oppose it root-and-branch except by somehow claiming it is fruit from a poisoned tree?: Matthew Yglesias: "I would like to read an intellectual history of how exactly “slavery was a boon to economic development” became the leftist position, and “actually, slavery is a retrograde anti-growth system as well as an immoral one” (Marx’s view!) became the neoliberal sellout view:"

Continue reading "" »


Not quite true. It is what the Left New Dealers' consensus was. They had lost power in the U.S. But enough of them made it across the Atlantic to do a lot of good: Daniel Davies: "If you like the German social, political and economic model, it's worth remembering that what it really represents is the consensus of American opinion on how to build a stable non-Communist polity if you were starting from scratch, circa 1945..."

#shouldread

Dark Satanic Millian Liberalism from John Stuart Mill

Curvelearn com William Blake Poetry Analysis GCSE

John Holbo used to talk about “Dark Satanic Millian Liberalism“. But what he never said was that it has its origins in John Stuart Mill himself.

Here are three passages from Principles of Political Economy I find interesting:

Continue reading "Dark Satanic Millian Liberalism from John Stuart Mill" »


1870: The Real Industrial Revolution?: Hoisted from the Archives from Ten Years Ago

1870: The Real Industrial Revolution?:: The most important fact to grasp about the world economy of 1870 is that the economy then belonged much more to its past of the Middle Ages than to its future of—well, of us, and what our successors eventually decide they want to use as an overarching term with which to label our age of fuel, machine, and digit.

Continue reading "1870: The Real Industrial Revolution?: Hoisted from the Archives from Ten Years Ago" »


Martin Feldstein (1979): Introduction to The American Economy in Transition: Weekend Reading

Martin Feldstein (1979): Introduction to The American Economy in Transition: "The post-[World] War [II] period began in an atmosphere of doubt and fear...

Continue reading "Martin Feldstein (1979): Introduction to The American Economy in Transition: Weekend Reading" »


About one-fifth of western European cities saw a total eclipse of the sun during medieval times. Those triggered cities were thereafter more likely to build public mechanical clocks early. And building a clock early boosts your population by a quarter across the centuries. This is either freakish statistical mischance, or a truly great thing: Lars Boerner and Battista Severgnini: Time for Growth: "This paper studies the impact of the early adoption of... the public mechanical clock...

Continue reading "" »


This Year Post-Great Recession America Falls Behind Post-Great Depression America in Recovery

Recovery from the Great Recession and Great Depression

This year, 2018, will be the 11th year after the 2007 business cycle peak that preceded what is generally called the “Great Recession“. This year American national income per capita will be about 7.5% above its 2007 level. If we are lucky we will hit 10% above 2007 in 2020. That is growth of 0.4% per year—compared to the yardstick of 2.0% per year that we were reasonably expecting back in 2007.

Continue reading "This Year Post-Great Recession America Falls Behind Post-Great Depression America in Recovery" »


Understanding Karl Marx

So I woke up this morning bright and early ready to work... and I promptly let myself get distracted and procrastinated for an hour tracing links from Noah Smith's denunciation of Karl Marx:

Noah Smith: Remember Karl Marx for the many things he got wrong: "Marx didn’t make it to 200, but the ideas he injected into the global conversation and the ideologies that bear his name far outlasted the German economist and philosopher...

I, of course, agree with Noah—he does cite me favorably, after all. And then I realized that I had never put my "Understanding Karl Marx" lecture slides up anywhere...

Continue reading "Understanding Karl Marx" »


Gains from Trade: Is Comparative Advantage the Ideology of the Comparatively Advantaged?

Gains from Trade: Is Comparative Advantage the Ideology of the Comparatively Advantaged?: Trade, technology, job losses, and globalization–and their effects on prosperity and political turmoil.

Chair: Rohinton Medhora
Speakers: Brad Delong, Nadia Garbellini, Kaveh Majlesi, Arjun Jayadev
Discussant: Joseph Stiglitz, Pia Malaney

#shouldread

American Economic History: Slides for Wrap-Up Lecture...

Each time I do this I think there must be a way to do it better. But each time I fail to think of one...

Good ideas very welcome...

Here we are https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0AuVq4veo1M_lK-EXXK3kQUwg:

NewImage

Continue reading "American Economic History: Slides for Wrap-Up Lecture..." »


The Tech Boom and the Fate of Democracy: Ars Technica Live: Definitely Not My Morning Coffee

Definitely Not My Morning Coffee: Ars Technica Live: Annalee Newitz and Brad DeLong: The Tech Boom and the Fate of Democracy "Ars Technica Live #21... Filmed by Chris Schodt, produced by Justin Wolfson...

Annalee writes: "Last week, we had lots of questions about the fate of democracy in a world where the Internet feeds us propaganda faster than we can fact check it...

Continue reading "The Tech Boom and the Fate of Democracy: Ars Technica Live: Definitely Not My Morning Coffee" »


Globalization: What Did Krugman Miss?: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast

Brad delong morning coffee Google Search

Wednesday night at Ars Technica LIVE! at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland—located beneath where the eight-lane Interstate 580 crosses the ten-lane California Highway 24—there were three demands from the People of the Internet Appearing in Meatspace for a return of the Morning Coffee podcast.

So why not?


Globalization: What Did Krugman Miss?: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast:

Paul Krugman has a very nice short “framework for thinking about globalization and the world” piece derived from a talk he gave at the IMF last fall.

But…

Globalization: What Did Krugman Miss?: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast

Continue reading "Globalization: What Did Krugman Miss?: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast" »


I Look at How Bad Professional Republicans Calling Themselves Economists Are Today, and...

Clowns (ICP)

A friendly correspondent points out to me that the "serious and respected" professional Republican economists of 20 years ago were as big bull-------- as those today—and that I was complaining about them, albeit attempting to be more polite, back then.

Case in point: Allan Meltzer: Hoisted from the Archives from Twenty Years Ago: Allan Meltzer Drags Down the Level of the Debate...: He attracted my ire for going beyond a line he should not have gone beyond:

Continue reading "I Look at How Bad Professional Republicans Calling Themselves Economists Are Today, and..." »


Note to Self: This needs to go back into the pile to be reread: Jan deVries (2008): The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present (9780521719254): "In the long eighteenth century, new consumer aspirations combined with a new industrious behavior to fundamentally alter the material cultures of northwest Europe and North America...

Continue reading "" »


The Captured Economy: Book Talk at U.C. Berkeley | Tu Apr 10 @ 2 PM | Blum Hall Plaza Level

https://www.icloud.com/pages/0o9LLDvrhW-xkx2N_NL7x-hVw | 2018-04-10

HL 2018 04 10 The Captured Economy pages pdf 1 page

“The best attempt so far at a social democratic–libertarian synthesis of the origins and cure of our current political-economic ills…”—Brad DeLong

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality

Brink Lindsey and Steve Teles

Niskanen Center: https://niskanencenter.org

Continue reading "The Captured Economy: Book Talk at U.C. Berkeley | Tu Apr 10 @ 2 PM | Blum Hall Plaza Level" »


Do We Really Care Whether the Profits from American Slavery Were Reinvested to Spur Faster American Economic Growth or Not?

Happy american slave plantation picture Google Search

Do We Really Care Whether the Profits from American Slavery Were Reinvested to Spur Faster American Economic Growth or Not?

Brian Fennesey: "Gavin Wright keeping the slave-capitalism debate lively: Slavery was profitable to slaveholders but it kept the region underdeveloped and claims about its centrality to US economic growth are exaggerated! #DukeMonumentsSymposium...

Continue reading "Do We Really Care Whether the Profits from American Slavery Were Reinvested to Spur Faster American Economic Growth or Not?" »


What Do I Know About "The tech boom and the fate of democracy"?

I will be very interested in finding out!

Annalee Newitz: The tech boom and the fate of democracy: Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 7:00 PM | Eli's Mile High Club, 3629 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Oakland, CA 94609: "Right now the U.S. tech economy is booming, but what will be the long-term effects of automation and AI?...

Continue reading "What Do I Know About "The tech boom and the fate of democracy"?" »


Globalization: What Did Paul Krugman Miss?

The China Shock

This is a very nice short framework-for-thinking-about-globalization-and-the-world piece by Paul Krugman: Paul Krugman (2018): Globalization: What Did We Miss?

It is excellently written. It contains a number of important insights.

But.

I have, unusually, a number of complaints about it. I will make them stridently:

Continue reading "Globalization: What Did Paul Krugman Miss?" »


A Question About the Future of Work...

2018 HRBI Center for Responsible Business Berkeley Haas

Asked at: Berkeley Haas School Center for Responsible Business 2018 Microsoft Conference on Business, Technology, and Human Rights: The Future of Work: I think I understand why previous waves of technology have boosted the employment and wages of unskilled workers. It is because “unskilled” human work is a very hard AI problem. Thus enormous numbers of jobs have been created for humans—jobs that are in a sense drudgery, but necessary drudgery:

Continue reading "A Question About the Future of Work..." »


Franklin Delano Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address

FDR First Inaugural

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933): I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels...

Continue reading "Franklin Delano Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address" »


Harold Macmillan: "Greeks to Their Romans...": Document: On the Twentieth Century Imperial Succession

File Allied leaders in the Sicilian campaign jpg Wikipedia

D.R. Thorpe: Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan

[Harold] Macmillan dubbed Roosevelt ‘The Emperor of the West’, and Churchill ‘The Emperor of the East’. When Eisenhower paid court to Roosevelt, Macmillan said to Bob Murphy, ‘Isn’t he just like a Roman centurion?’ The classical analogy famously went further. To Dick Crossman, Director of Psychological Warfare at AFHQ, he said:

We, my dear Crossman, are Greeks in this American empire. You will find the Americans much as the Greeks found the Romans – great big vulgar, bustling people, more vigorous than we are and also more idle, with more unspoiled virtues, but also more corrupt. We must run A.F.H.Q. as the Greeks ran the operations of the Emperor Claudius...

Continue reading "Harold Macmillan: "Greeks to Their Romans...": Document: On the Twentieth Century Imperial Succession" »


Should-Read: An oldy now, but a very goody: The treatment of human capital in this paper is inadequate: the benefits of human capital are private to the learner, which I think is wrong, and teachers in rich countries are 50 times as good at getting human capital into the brains of learners as are teachers in poor countries, which I think is wrong. Human capital largely acts as a force multiplier for physical capital. But the underlying lesson is very good: the Solow model can fit quite well if you assume capital production function parameters of a half or more: N. Gregory Mankiw, David Romer, and David Weil (1992): A CONTRIBUTION TO THE EMPIRICS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH: "This paper examines whether the Solow growth model is consistent with the international variation in the standard of living...

Continue reading "" »


NIkola Tesla

Tesla

Wednesday Economic History: It is traditional to talk about Thomas Alva Edison. The most famous inventor in the world, "the wizard of Menlo Park", New Jersey, registered more than 1000 patents and founded 15 companies—including what is now called General Electric. But that story is too well-known. Let’s talk about Nicola Tesla instead.

Continue reading "NIkola Tesla" »