#internet Feed

Blogging: What to Expect Here...

Preview of REMIND YOURSELF Blogging What to Expect Here

The purpose of this weblog is to be the best possible portal into what I am thinking, what I am reading, what I think about what I am reading, and what other smart people think about what I am reading...

"Bring expertise, bring a willingness to learn, bring good humor, bring a desire to improve the world—and also bring a low tolerance for lies and bullshit..." — Brad DeLong

"I have never subscribed to the notion that someone can unilaterally impose an obligation of confidentiality onto me simply by sending me an unsolicited letter—or an email..." — Patrick Nielsen Hayden

"I can safely say that I have learned more than I ever would have imagined doing this.... I also have a much better sense of how the public views what we do. Every economist should have to sell ideas to the public once in awhile and listen to what they say. There's a lot to learn..." — Mark Thoma

"Tone, engagement, cooperation, taking an interest in what others are saying, how the other commenters are reacting, the overall health of the conversation, and whether you're being a bore..." — Teresa Nielsen Hayden

"With the arrival of Web logging... my invisible college is paradise squared, for an academic at least. Plus, web logging is an excellent procrastination tool.... Plus, every legitimate economist who has worked in government has left swearing to do everything possible to raise the level of debate and to communicate with a mass audience.... Web logging is a promising way to do that..." — Brad DeLong

"Blogs are an outlet for unexpurgated, unreviewed, and occasionally unprofessional musings.... At Chicago, I found that some of my colleagues overestimated the time and effort I put into my blog—which led them to overestimate lost opportunities for scholarship. Other colleagues maintained that they never read blogs—and yet, without fail, they come into my office once every two weeks to talk about a post of mine..." — Daniel Drezner

Continue reading "Blogging: What to Expect Here..." »

How much of this correlation is causal? And how much is associational? I do not think we really know, in spite of studies of the build-out of broadband in France. The U.S. is a different country. Nevertheless, I for one think that it is long past time to put universal broadband in the same bucket as basic sanitation and rural electrification—as something that is part of the citizens' share of being an American: Delaney Crampton: Why accessibility to broadband matters in reducing economic inequality in the United States: "A strong correlation between household income and in-home connectivity—a pattern that persists across both rural and economically depressed urban communities...

Continue reading "" »

I concur with Noah Smith here that the biggest dangers of machine learning, etc., are not on the labor but on the consumer side. They won't make us obsolete as producers. They could make us easier to grift as customers. Consider that nearly all of Silicon Valley these days is seeking not to make electrons get up and dance in circuits or to make circuits get up and dance in applications that accomplish tasks users wish done, but rather in trying to hack users' brains so their eyeballs will stay glued to screens: Noah Smith: Artificial Intelligence Still Isn’t All That Smart: "Machine learning will revolutionize white-collar jobs in much the same way that engines, electricity and machine tools revolutionized blue-collar jobs...

Continue reading "" »

MOAR Problems with Twitter...

San Francisco Bay

There are more problems with Twitter than the Nazis, the shrillness, the out-of-context mobs, the unhinged rants, the Nazi shrillness, the out-of-context Nazi mobs, the unhinged Nazi rants, the shrill out-of-contezt mobs, the unhinged shrill rants, the out-of-context unhinged rants, the shrill Nazi out-ofcontext mobs, the shrill Nazi unhinged rants, the unhinged rants by Nazi out-of-context mobs, the shrill out-of-context unhinged ranting mobs, and the Nazi shrill unhinged rants by out-of-context mobs.

When something good happens on Twitter, it has no positive externalities: it is too compressed and allusive to be of use to anybody not immediately and directly plugged in—and often it is not even of use to many who are engaged but who cannot follow the compressed and coded 280-character discourse. Back in THE DAY, debates between weblogs produced things of value to a large watching audience, and had large positive externalities.

For example, this day. Great for me and for a few others. But any good for a larger audience?:

Suresh Naidu: @CoreyRobin clarifies the s-word:

Corey Robin: The New Socialists: Socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent... the insurance representative... decree[inig] that the policy... doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy.... We bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse—just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.... Socialists want to... establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.... The biggest boundary today’s socialists are willing to cross is the two-party system.... Democrats are also complicit in the rot of American life. And here the socialism of our moment meets up with the deepest currents of the American past.... It was said that liberalism was freedom plus groceries. The socialist, by contrast, believes that making things free makes people free.... Socialism is not journalists, intellectuals or politicians armed with a policy agenda.... It is workers who get us there, who decide what and where “there” is. That, too, is a kind of freedom. Socialist freedom.

Rakesh Bhandari: You mean the s-d compound word, right? And it's a pretty weak s-d too insomuch as the promise here seems to be that universal health insurance would make it easier for some employees to escape more-than-ordinarily abusive bosses. Not really the socialist critique of capitalism! It's pretty much the end of ideology where the leftist Jacobin and the Nobel economist both agree that capitalism can be fixed by universal health insurance that makes it easier to leave extraordinarily abusive bosses and restrictions on arbitrary sacks. Yet catastrophes await

Brad DeLong: Steering by the Socialist Idols in the Heavens Leads Us to Sail Not Towards but Away from the Shores of Utopia: (Early) Monday Corey Robin Smackdown: Robin writes of "the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy". But that is not a problem with "the market": that is a problem with bureaucracy. National health systems face the same problems and make the same kinds of decisions with respect to "medical appropriateness" as do private insurers. Robin writes of freedom from "the need to smile for the sake of a sale". But that is not a problem with "the market": that is a problem with the need we have for a complex division of labor in order to be a rich society, in the context of the very human fact that people will not be eager to deal with you as a cooperative partner if you are a misanthropic grouch. The market provides a partial way around the unfreedoms generated by institutions of bureaucratic organization and social cooperation.... [But] the market pays attention to the wealthy and only the wealthy. But the problem then is one of poverty—that we have managed to arrange a very wealthy society in such a way that it has a lot of not-wealthy people in it. Contrary to what Robin claims, utopia is indeed the liberal dream of freedom plus groceries—with "groceries" standing in for enough wealth to route yourself around the unfreedoms created by bureaucracy and by your own misanthropic nature when they bind too tightly...

Cosma Shalizi: In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You: Capitalism, the market... bureaucracy... democratic polity... can be... cold monster[s].... We... live among these alien powers... try to direct them to human ends... find the specific ways in which these powers we have conjured up are hurting us, and use them to check each other.... Sometimes... more... market mechanisms, sometimes... removing... goods and services from market allocation.... Sometimes... expanding... democratic decision-making... and sometime... narrowing its scope.... Leaving some tasks to experts... recognizing claims of expertise to be mere assertions of authority... complex problems, full of messy compromises. Attaining even second-best solutions is going to demand “bold, persistent experimentation”, coupled with a frank recognition that many experiments will just fail, and that even long-settled compromises can, with the passage of time, become confining obstacles...

Suresh Naidu: The Shalizi and Robin essays are complements not substitutes. Borrowing your language: Corey is showing the undemocratic nature of negishi weighted swfs; Cosma is saying all feasibly computed swf are inefficient (criticizing both planning and markets).

Brad DeLong: Touché... Except that Corey's examples are flaws of bureaucracy and of the modes of sociability ("smile for a sale"), not flaws of market—which are externality, moral hazard, monopoly, negishi values, etc. Getting rid of markets won't tame bureaucracy or change modes of sociability.

Ilyana Kuziemko: Suresh to borrow our fave example of powerlessness and “nonfreedom,” I wonder if there is more joyless, dutiful laughing at the bad jokes of superiors in capitalism or socialism...

Brad DeLong: Now that is genuinely funny...

Ilyana Kuziemko: There is a hell a lot of it under capitalism! :)

Steven Klein: Freedom as non-domination-Pettit is in the background. I think just saying "its bureaucracy" underestimates the difference between a for-profit companies bureaucracy and government health care subject to public accountability, however attenuated. And what about this core example: "we’re forced to submit to the boss"? There's an interesting debate about whether freedom as non-domination—being free not just from external restraints but from subordination—is furthered or hindered by the market: https://t.co/goUG5FkwRF. Robert Taylor defends market freedom: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/exit-left-9780198798736?cc=us&lang=en&. Gourevitch argues basically you need full workplace democracy to realize freedom: https://t.co/hWZJCE4QEg. And I advance basically a left-wing social democratic critique of Pettit and Taylor (although Pettit would say he is closer to my position than I think he is): https://t.co/Q720I6724Q.

Suresh Naidu: I find that Taylor book interesting, in that he basically rests his case on an ideal of perfect competition/complete contracts. If real world markets are rife with deviations from that (e.g. monopsony and efficiency wages), I think the neo-republican case for markets falls apart.

Rakesh Bhandari: I think the language Robin is reaching for to describe his annoyingly vague sense of freedom can be found in Sen's and Nussbaum's capability approach. I think you need that before you can coherently critique welfare functions 1 reply 1 retweet 0 likes Reply 1 Retweeted 1 Like Direct message

Steven Klein: It's freedom as non-domination-Pettit is in the background. I think just saying "its bureaucracy" underestimates the difference between a for-profit companies bureaucracy and government health care subject to public accountability, however attenuated.

Brad DeLong**: There are failures of insurance that are market failures—the inability to purchase insurance because of moral hazard is a big one. But "bureaucracy" ain't one. To pretend getting rid of markets will cure bureaucracy takes you in a very bad direction...

Steven Klein: Right, but I think the difference is between decisions on treatment being opaque and nebulous and them being made through some public procedure. Yes, public health systems ration - they key is in how the rationing is done.

Suresh Naidu: There are real limits to the traditional neo-republican notion of freedom when it comes to big impersonal institutions. i.e. the problem is the discretion/caprice available to the bureaucrat/boss, not the institutional logic being implemented by the bureaucrat/boss.

Brad DeLong: But the institutional logic can be as alienating and as large a source of unfreedom as the caprice of the boss... Cf.: Ursula K. LeGuin: The Dispossessed, passim...

Suresh Naidu: "Freedom as non-domination". Absolutely.

Rakesh Bhandari: Eduardo Porter gave the disturbing example of old age homes that go private overprescribing medications that rob the elderly of many of their remaining conscious hours so that they require fewer staff members to take care of them.

Steven Klein: when it comes to health care, I'd take a government quisling terrified of breaking the rules over some precarious worker incentivized to find ways to deny claims or limit payments

Suresh Naidu: Right, assuming the bureaucrat doesn't have any discretion, and is just implementing the agenda of his employer, it matters whether her employer is a democratic government or a profit-maximizing firm. But you can imagine both democratic or market failures that could go either way.

Scotrt Ashworth: This is where I declare Brad a better empirical political scientist than Steven.

Steven Klein: Give me my political theory idealizations :)

Scott Ashworth: If your defense of Corey here is that BS-ish but inspirational talk is politically valuable and the NYT is for politics not intellectualism, I will concede defeat. 😏

Suresh Naidu: Why is it BS-ish? I think it's putting in public an academic conversation about freedom and markets that has been happening for awhile.

Suresh Naidu: Scott, is it because there is no distinctive market/nonmarket solution to bureaucratic agency problems, so scope for arbitrary whims remain constant?

Pseudoerasmus: I'm sympathetic to the healthcare example but I wonder how much of the “smiling for the boss” stuff is really about having to deal with tyrannical employers who can threaten your livelihood, rather than just middle-class intellectuals’ distaste for hustling to acquire luxuries...

Brad DeLong: But the health care example is a problem with bureaucracy! Not with the market! We know where socialists who destroy the markets in an attempt to deal with the evils of bureaucracy wind up, and it is not a good place!'

Pseudoerasmus: I totally agree with that! Socialism does not eliminate people’s subjections to other people’s whims; but the guy thinks ‘democracy’ will, I guess.

Brad DeLong: But "democracy" subjects all minorities to the whims of the demos. The demos serves you a hemlock cocktail, you drink a hemlock cocktail...

Suresh Naidu: The neo-repubs have a broader definition of democracy than majoritarianism....in including robust checks and balances/civil rights

Ilyana Kuziemko: As we were discussing, I think the freedom argument is a clever argument in that it neutralizes a common defense of capitalism but isn’t an effective central theme for socialism...

Brad DeLong: Say, rather, that power is minimized by having multiple societal organizing mechanisms—wealth and market, direct democratic, representative democratic, by lot, technocratic, cultural, ideological affinity. The key is to keep one from subsuming all the others, as one or the other is wont to do...

Suresh Naidu: Yes I like this.... It's a variant of Walzer's spheres of justice..but in means putting up barricades against "markets in everything"...

Ilyana Kuziemko: Wasnt that Uncle Milton’s argument? That economic inequality helped check government tyranny by creating a separate power center? But then we got Citizens United.

Brad DeLong: Yep. And indeed...

Brad DeLong: Yes. Immense barricades...

Ilyana Kuziemko: Like confiscatory marginal tax rates on income over some very small multiple of one million or what?

Brad DeLong: Yup... But, as I said, Corey’s implicit claim that bureaucratic and mode-of-societal-cooperation forms of domination would melt away if not for "the market" strikes me as false and jejune. As I said: needed editorial attention... Read Cosma Shalizi instead...

Steven Greenhouse: Why so many young Americans are attracted to Socialism, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Rakesh Bhandari: Except it's wrong. Clinton whom these new socialists (sic) hate proposed wildly progressive income taxes, stricter regulations on shadow banking than the putative socialist Sanders, and a massive green infrastructure program. They did everything to alienate the left from her.

Manu Saadia: More on the @CoreyRobin article and @de1ong rejoinder. To PK "socialism with American characteristics" is Western European social democracy…

Paul Krugman: Corey Robin and... Neil Irwin... get at a lot of what’s wrong with the neoliberal ideology... [of] low taxes and minimal regulation... that free markets translate into personal freedom.... In fact, the daily experience of tens of millions of Americans – especially but not only those who don’t make a lot of money – is one of constant dependence on the good will of employers and other more powerful economic players.... And it’s even more naïve now than it was a few decades ago, because, as Irwin points out, large economic players are dominating more and more of the economy.... What can be done about it? Corey Robin says “socialism” – but as far as I can tell he really means social democracy: Denmark, not Venezuela. Government-mandated employee protections may restrict the ability of corporations to hire and fire, but they also shield workers from some very real forms of abuse. Unions do somewhat limit workers’ options, but they also offer an important counterweight against corporate monopsony power. Oh, and social safety net programs can do more than limit misery: they can be liberating. I’ve known many people who stuck with jobs they disliked for fear of losing health coverage; Obamacare, flawed as it is, has noticeably reduced that kind of “lock in”, and a full guarantee of health coverage would make our society visibly freer.... Seriously, do the real differences between New York and Florida make New Yorkers less free?... If you’re a highly paid professional, it probably doesn’t make much difference. But my guess is that most workers feel at least somewhat freer in New York than they do in FL. Now, there are no perfect answers to the inevitable sacrifice of some freedom that comes with living in a complex society; utopia is not on the menu. But the advocates of unrestricted corporate power and minimal worker protection have been getting away for far too long with pretending that they’re the defenders of freedom–which is not, in fact, just another word for nothing left to lose...

This may, to some degree, be the growing pains of new technology. There were people who strongly objected to printing, on the grounds that the only way to truly grok a book was to copy it out word-for-word by hand. In their view, printing produced a bunch of shallow intellectual poseurs who would have only a surface and inadequate knowledge of the books that they had not really read but only skimmed (cf.: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein (1980): The Printing Press as an Agent of Change https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0521299551; Johannes Trithemius (1492): In Praise of Scribes https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0919026087). And Sokrates's attitude toward writing as a greatly inferior simulacrum and inadequate mimesis that could not create the true knowledge obtained through real dialogue is well known (cf.: Plato (370 BC): Phaedrus). Nevertheless, we believe that we have managed to adapt to printing and indeed to the creation of manuscript rather than just the oldest oral master-and-apprentice intellectual technologies. Perhaps we will find different things to be true once we will have trained our information-technology networks to be our servants as trusted information intermediaries and intellectual force multipliers, rather than (as they know are) the servants of the advertisers that pay them and thus that try to glue our eyeballs and attention to screens whether having our eyeballs and attention so-glued helps us become more like our best selves or not. But as of now the empirical evidence has become overwhelming: Susan Dynarski: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen: "When college students use computers or tablets during lecture, they learn less and earn worse grades. The evidence consists of a series of randomized trials, in both college classrooms and controlled laboratory settings...

Continue reading "" »

What Is the Proper Role of Weblogs in the 2020s?: I Asked My Readers, and They Have Said...

School of Athens

Comments of the Day:

Ezra Klein... was reminiscing about the early days of blogging and how that compares to the new, more popular formats, like Twitter. He made a good case. Twitter is more about talking to those who already agree with you and you really don't expect the person you're "responding" to in your tweets to engage with you. Blogs were often (though hardly always) intended to substantively engage with people you disagree with with the intention, or at least the hope, that that person will actually take what you say seriously and respond in a serious, substantive manner.... I do miss that meatier aspect of blogs, even if they didn't necessarily lead to energetic dialogues between people of differing viewpoints. At least they offered more of a possibility of that happening. So what I would suggest is: use the blog to create energetic dialogues between people of differing viewpoints. It could be used for, oh how could I describe it, maybe "Socratic" dialogues, but between real people even if they're not as witty as the pseudo-Greeks who occasionally pop up on "Grasping Reality".... And that's my what is old is new again idea!

Continue reading "What Is the Proper Role of Weblogs in the 2020s?: I Asked My Readers, and They Have Said..." »

The very sharp Doug Rushkoff tries to recall tech to its utopian aspirations, rather than its current money-making reality. The fascinating thing is that tech is not very good in reality at money-making for anyone who is not the luckiest of lucky people—yet tech is very good at getting consumer surplus to users, who then use it to build utopia... or dystopia... depending: Doug Rushkoff: Survival of the Richest: "There was a brief moment, in the early 1990s, when the digital future felt open-ended and up for our invention...

Continue reading "" »

Three cheers for the Verge, willing to tell it like it is and try to be a trustworthy information intermediary: T.C. Sottek et al.: Newsrooms must stand up to targeted campaigns of harassment: "A widespread campaign of harassment has targeted Verge reporter Sarah Jeong for a number of tweets she wrote years ago. Many of those now reacting to these tweets have intentionally taken them out of context...

Continue reading "" »

Sunday Morning Twitter: Functional Finance/A Better World Is Possible Tweeting...

Preview of Sunday Morning Twitter Functional Finance A Better World Is Possible Tweeting

A better world—a better twitter—is indeed possible...

Suresh Naidu: I will stake my fancy economics job on this: Nothing in @Ocasio2018's policy program is inconsistent with a 2018 understanding of economics.

Wojtek Kopczuk: I missed it before, by my favorite colleague to disagree with. Congratulations on tenure @snaidunl!

Suresh Naidu: Sigh you drew me out. Tell me which policy is infeasible and not addressing some market failure?

Wojtek Kopczuk: They are inconsistent with the government budget constraint. And her MMT support is definitely inconsistent with mainstream economics.

Suresh Naidu: MMT is totally consistent with lots of mainstream macro when the economy is demand constrained (and fiscal theory of the price level when its not). it is unfortunate its adherents dont see that. And budget constraints are endogenous.

Ivan Werning: What do you have in mind?

Suresh Naidu: Oh crap a real macroeconomist. I think stripped of mysticism, MMT is really boils down to "fiscal mutipliers greater than 1", which could be true in demand constrained economy.

Continue reading "Sunday Morning Twitter: Functional Finance/A Better World Is Possible Tweeting..." »

The Rise of the Robots: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

  • Very wise words from close to where the rubber meets the road about how the Rise of the Robots is likely to work out for the labor market over the next generation or so: Shane Greenstein: Adjusting to Autonomous Trucking: "Let’s come into contact with a grounded sense of the future.... Humans have invented tools for repetitive tasks, and some of those tools are becoming less expensive and more reliable...

  • The answer is: probably in the late 1960s: Joe McMahon: When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?: "When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?...

  • IMHO, the "long run" problems Martin discusses need to be postponed: we don't know enough about the future to even begin to think intelligently about them. The "medium run" problems, by contrast, deserve a lot of attention right now: Martin Wolf: Work in the age of intelligent machines: "How do you organise a society in which few people do anything economically productive?...

Continue reading "The Rise of the Robots: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads" »

Ancient Technologies of Organization and Mental Domination, Clerks, Linear B, and the Potnia of Athens



Ancient Technologies of Organization and Mental Domination, Clerks, Linear B, and the Potnia of Athens:

@e_pe_me_ri: I still can't believe I got away with this footnote:


Now I want to read the article this footnote is drawn from...

@e-pe-me-ri: You can! (Though I can't promise that the rest is quite so pithy): https://www.academia.edu/34570648/Creta_Capta_Late_Minoan_II_Knossos_in_Mycenaean_History …

Continue reading "Ancient Technologies of Organization and Mental Domination, Clerks, Linear B, and the Potnia of Athens" »

Public Sphere/Journamalism: Some Fairly Recent Must- and Should-Reads

stacks and stacks of books

  • I think that this is a very important thing to remember. The Fed View—and the zero-marginal-product workers view—and a lot of other pessimistic views about the economy's non-inflationary speed limit for recovery and growth were totally, catastrophically wrong over the past decade. The people who strongly advocated for such views thus had a badly-flawed Vision of the Cosmic All. Thus I think there is no reason to put a weight higher than zero on their current views of how the world works—unless they have publicly and substantially done the work to mark their beliefs to market. Certainly the Federal Reserve has not yet done so: Timothy B. Lee: "Every additional month of strong employment growth and weak wage growth makes people who said we were near full employment in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 look wronger..."

  • Kevin Drum: We Need to Figure Out How to Fight Weaponized Disinformation: "I’ve been blogging for 15 years, and there’s never been a day when I wanted to stop...

Continue reading "Public Sphere/Journamalism: Some Fairly Recent Must- and Should-Reads" »

Rebecca Henderson: People

I got an email from the extremely smart and insightful Rebecca Henderson. It closed with: “hope to cross paths with you soon”; she had remarked at the conference we were at that she had not seen me in... it seemed like forever...

And I had thought: She is right. I have not seen her in... 20? years....

Yet she has been a very live intellectual presence to me—as one of my (regrettably few) go-to persons on intellectual property industrial organization and antitrust.

Continue reading "Rebecca Henderson: People" »

What Is the Best Way to Introduce Myself to Audiences These Days?

image from www.evernote.com

J. Bradford Delong is Professor of Economics and Chief Economist of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a weblogger for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. From 1993 to 1995 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the United States Department of the Treasury. Right now he is best known for:

Is this ⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎⬆︎ it? What would be better?

Lee McIntyre: "Cognitive scientists recommend using a "truth sandwich" to report lies: : ay the truth, then show the liar telling the lie, then fact check it. Otherwise the well known 'repetition effect' allows the news media to be used to amplify lies..."

Brian Stelter: "Journalists, 'you need to face something squarely: You're confronted with radical hacking of your own systems of operation. This requires radical rethinking of those systems' --@DanGillmor" https://medium.com/@dangillmor/dear-journalists-stop-letting-liars-use-your-platforms-as-loudspeakers-cc64c4024eeb


A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump: Hoisted from June 10, 2017

Hoisted: A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump... (June 10, 2017):

I wrote http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/must-read-two-points-diversity-and-finding-truth-in-the-sense-of-rough-consensus-and-running-code-where-i-think-larry.html: Two points (diversity and finding truth in the sense of rough consensus and running code) where I think Larry Summers is 100% correct. One point (Charles Murray) where I think Larry is broadly right but that things are more complicated. And one point (sensitivity training) where I think Larry Summers is more wrong than right. But more on that anon. Definitely worth reading.

This is the "anon":

Continue reading "A Few Notes on Higher Education in the Age of Trump: Hoisted from June 10, 2017" »

Note to Self: Working on Today...:

CFP Panel on the Transparent Society: David Brin's Book Ten Years Later: Hoisted Ten Years Later

Panopticon Google Search

It is now 20 years since David Brin wrote The Transparent Society. Book holds up very well, all things considering: CFP Panel on the Transparent Society: David Brin's Book Ten Years Later: Michael Froomkin:

The Transparent Society Ten Years Later : This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of David Brin's controversial book, "The Transparent Society". The book argues that in the face of the explosion of sensors, cheap storage, and cheap data processing we should adopt strategies of vision over concealment. A world in which not just transactional information, but essentially all information about us will be collected, stored, and sorted is, Brin says, inevitable. The only issue left to be decided is who will have access to this information; he argues that freedom, and even some privacy, are more likely to flourish if everybody - not just elites - has access to this flood of data. The book remains controversial and much-talked-about. The panel will explore how Brin's claims hold up ten years later and whether (or how far) we're on the road to a Transparent Society.

Here is my presentation:

Continue reading "CFP Panel on the Transparent Society: David Brin's Book Ten Years Later: Hoisted Ten Years Later" »

Note to Self: I am pretty good at making sure Twitter does not seize my attention and hack my brain. But many other people are not. Platforms so that you can control aggregators.

How was it that Tim Berners-Lee's Open Web crushed the Walled Gardeners in the 1990s? And how have the Walled Gardeners made their comeback?

And what can be done?: Manton Reece (2014): Microblog Links: "Brent Simmons points to my post on microblogs and asks...

Continue reading "" »

The Rise of the Robots: Recent Must- and Should-Reads as of May 15, 2018

Il Quarto Stato

  • Another piece worrying that human beings are simply unequipped to deal with an advertising supported internet, in which money flows to those who hack your brain to glue your eyeballs to the screen: Ben Popken: As algorithms take over, YouTube's recommendations highlight a human problem: "A supercomputer playing chess against your mind to get you to keep watching...

  • OK, Ben: how do we write regulations that constrain aggregators that want to hack our brain and attention and empower platforms that enable us to accomplish what we prudently judge our purposes to be when we are in our best selves? How was it that printing managed to, eventually, generate a less-unhealthy public sphere? Young Habermas, where are you now that we need you?: Ben Thompson: Tech’s Two Philosophies: "Apple and Microsoft, the two 'bicycle of the mind” companies'... had broadly similar business models... platforms.

Continue reading "The Rise of the Robots: Recent Must- and Should-Reads as of May 15, 2018" »

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2005): Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space

School of Athens

Weekend Reading: Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2005): Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space: "Getting online just gets easier and easier...

...It’s an inescapable truth that for some people, the most interesting way to participate in online discourse is to kick holes in the conversation. Others—many of them young, but some, alas, old enough to know better—have a sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that their having an opinion means the rest of us are obliged to listen to it. Still others plainly get off on verbally abusing others, and seek out conversations that will offer them opportunities to do so. And so on and so forth: the whole online bestiary:

Continue reading "Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2005): Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space" »

Exemplifying Equitable Growth: Mr. Google Serves Me a Baker's Half-Dozen from the WCEG Website, and What I Learn Thereby...

Equitable growth Google Search

Time to relaunch the Equitable Growth http://equitablegrowth.org website!

That makes this a good time to look back at what Equitable Growth does and has been doing over this past half decade. As I grow older, I become more and more and organizational realist: The Purpose of an organization is what it does, rather than what its mission statement says it is going to do or what it’s funders believe that their money is going to pay for. What the worker bees do determines what the organization does. What the planners and vision architects say does not determine what the organization does.

Thus I look for exemplars: What are the things on the current Equitable Growth website that exemplify what it does, or perhaps what it should do?

Let's ask Mr. Google:

Continue reading "Exemplifying Equitable Growth: Mr. Google Serves Me a Baker's Half-Dozen from the WCEG Website, and What I Learn Thereby..." »

Intermediate Macroeconomics: Econ 101b: Spring 2018: U.C. Berkeley: Sample Final (DRAFT)

In a sense, closed book exams have been obsolete since 1500. You could argue before 1500 that people would often find themselves in situations in which they had to produce documents and write answer is calling on nothing but what they had currently running on their own wetware. Books, after all, were very expensive. At five pages an hour, figure it would take a month to produce one copy of a book, and that is only the direct, skilled labor required.

After 1500, however closed book exams made no sense—at least not without a theory of why acting like a medieval monk would in fact teach habits of mind and thought that would help us think and write in a world where people were surrounded almost always by their notes and their libraries.

And now, of course, the young ones are never without their smartphones.

So it is time for us professors to start writing exams that test and teach habits of thought relevant for a world in which you have rapid broadband access to the entire online library of humanity at nearly every instant.

Therefore this exam is open note, open book, and open smartphone—or whatever other device you wish to bring...

Only one form of information access is prohibited: direct two-way interaction with other Turing class entities). In case you are uncertain, here are examples of five examples of Turing class entities:

Continue reading "Intermediate Macroeconomics: Econ 101b: Spring 2018: U.C. Berkeley: Sample Final (DRAFT)" »

Your Own Private Intellectual Elysium: Delong Morning Coffee Podcast

Photo Booth

By judiciously muting and blocking people you can create a truly useful individual Internet feed. The problem is that that does nothing to produce a truly useful functioning intellectual community. And that is what we really need...

Your Own Private Intellectual Elysium

Thx to Wavelength and the very interesting micro.blog http://delong.micro.blog/2018/04/21/your-own-private.html

Text: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/creating-your-own-private-internet-intellectual-elysium.html

Live from Rant Central: Charlie Stross has had it with you people—those of you people who abandon worldbuilding and the exploration of possible human civilizations different from ours in the future direction for spectacle, and warmed over Napoleonic or WWII stories in fancy future dress: Charlie Stross: Why I barely read SF these days: "Storytelling is about humanity and its endless introspective quest to understand its own existence and meaning...

Continue reading "" »

Should-Read: The very sharp Matthew Yglesias is extremely frightened about the future of America. I am not so frightened of Trump—I think that even if Republicans holding on to both houses of Congress we will get checks and balances working either through Amendment 25 or through the Justice Department and the New York Attorney General. The thing that scares me more is the next Trump, the competent Trump, the fascist playing on ethno-cultural resentments and fueled by plutocracy. As Karl Marx wrote in his appallingly sexist way of what he saw as a similar episode with the rise of Napoleon III back in 1850: "It is not enough to say, as the French do, that their nation was taken unawares. Nations and women are not forgiven the unguarded hour in which the first adventurer who came along could violate them..." The very sharp Charlie Stross proposes that advertising-supported internet and cable have hacked our brains in the pursuit of, as Zeynep Tufekci puts it, "a dystopia to get people to click on ads", and that we are hosed. I find myself searching for analogous hackings by print post-Gutenberg, by pamphlet and folio in the Enlightenment, by the first mass media in the age of adult male suffrage, and by radio in the age of Nuremberg rallies and fireside chats—and how the public sphere developed defense mechanisms. But I do not have any answers here: Matthew Yglesias: 2018 is the year that will decide if Trumpocracy replaces American democracy: "Loyalty to Donald Trump is the new principle of Republican Party politics...

Continue reading "" »

Determining Bargaining Power in the Platform Economy: Reinvent Full Transcript


Reinvent: Determining Bargaining Power in the Platform Economy: Our political system has been hacked by time, circumstance, chaos, and disaster...

Continue reading "Determining Bargaining Power in the Platform Economy: Reinvent Full Transcript" »

Economics as a Professional Vocation

Real GDP Growth Rate

Should-Read: The very sharp Binyamin Applebaum had an interesting rant yesterday: Binyamin Applebaum: @BCAppelbaum on Twitter: "I am not sure there is a defensible case for the discipline of macroeconomics if they can’t at least agree on the ground rules for evaluating tax policy...

Continue reading "Economics as a Professional Vocation" »

Monday Smackdown Tickler: I Am Begging...


I am begging for links to high quality smackdowns of arguments that I have made...

If I never change my mind because of evidence, I never get any smarter. So, please, send 'em along. I want to get smarter. And I do very much want to get smarter.

I could always use Monday's "Smackdown" feature to highlight Paul Romer and Robert Lucas's different "interpretations" of the Volcker disinflation. But the feature is supposed to be at least 50% smackdowns of me...

Weekend Reading: The Rise of the Thought Leader: David Sessions on Dan Drezner

Weekend Reading: David Sessions: The Rise of the Thought Leader: "How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual... https://newrepublic.com/article/143004/rise-thought-leader-how-superrich-funded-new-class-intellectual

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: The Rise of the Thought Leader: David Sessions on Dan Drezner" »

The 17 Berkeley Classes in Our Largest Lecture Hall This Fall...

Increased CS course demand leads to overflowing auditorium The Daily Californian

The 17 classes in Berkeley's largest lecture hall: Wheeler Auditorium Classes: Fall 2017:

Computer Science, etc.: 9:

  • COMPSCI-STAT C8: Foundations of Data Science
  • COMPSCI 61A: The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
  • COMPSCI 61B: Data Structures
  • COMPSCI 61C: Great Ideas of Computer Architecture (Machine Structures)
  • COMPSCI 70: Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory
  • COMPSCI 170: Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems
  • COMPSCI 186/286: Introduction to Database Systems
  • ELENG 16A: Designing Information Devices and Systems I
  • ELENG 16B: Designing Information Devices and Systems II

Continue reading "The 17 Berkeley Classes in Our Largest Lecture Hall This Fall..." »

Do "They" Really Say: "Technological Progress Is Slowing Down"?


Consider the 256 GB memory iPhone X: Implemented in vacuum tubes in 1957, the transistors in an iPhoneX alone would have:

  • cost 150 trillion of today's dollars: one and a half times today's global annual product
  • taken up a hundred-story square building 300 meters high, and 3 kilometers long and wide
  • drawn 150 terawatts of power—30 times the world's current generating capacity

Continue reading "Do "They" Really Say: "Technological Progress Is Slowing Down"?" »

Data Science, Computer Literacy, and the Skill of Writing with a Fine Chancery Hand...

2017 08 30 More than a Few Words About Computer Literacy in the Twenty First Century

About a month and a half ago I decided that there was really no place in any of my classes for my "what you really ought to know about doing economics" lecture http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/07/how-to-think-like-an-economist-if-that-is-you-wish-to.html: it would be either incomprehensible (because students would not understand it) or unnecessary (because students would already know it).

Continue reading "Data Science, Computer Literacy, and the Skill of Writing with a Fine Chancery Hand..." »

Live from Berkeley: Making Textbooks & Course Readers Affordable: Berkeley on the Leading Edge: "Friday, October 27, 2017 :: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. :: Environmental Design Library Atrium http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/environmental-design-library: Can students afford to take your class?...

Continue reading "" »