#noted Feed

What To Watch For in the Employment Report

Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker is closely watching the labor market in advance of this week’s employment report. The employment report will be one of our first significant clues as to the extent to which the coronavirus supply shock is turning into a demand shock as well:

Nick Bunker: May 2020 Jobs Day Preview: Tracking the Spread of the Coronavirus Shock https://www.hiringlab.org/2020/06/02/may-2020-jobs-day-preview/: ‘The coronavirus has devastated the US economy, leading to the destruction of over 21 million payroll jobs since February.... The concentration of job losses so far is unsurprising, with the leisure and hospitality sector seeing total employment drop by almost 50%. Employment in the utilities sector has barely fallen, losing less than 1% of jobs.

If the cumulative employment drop starts to pile up in utilities or other indirectly affected sectors, that could mean that more of the aggregate job loss is due to a systematic, economy-wide shock rather than a sector-specific one. Cumulative job loss will also put the eventual jobs recovery in a fuller context....

Hopes for a V-shaped recovery were already fleeting, but if more and more employers are shedding jobs, they might be gone for good. Elsewhere in the report, I’ll be looking for the answers to these questions:

  • Will unemployment due to reasons other than temporary layoff start to rise, as job loss becomes permanent?

  • Will employers continue to reduce work hours and shift more workers to involuntary part-time work?

  • How much further will the drop in the labor force participation rate hold down the rise in the unemployment rate?…

    coronavirus #equitablegrowth #labormarket #macro #noted #2020-06-02


Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks Is Way Out of Line

Equitable Growth’s Amanda Fischer finds the acting Comptroller of the Currency going way beyond his competence, apparently in order to try to curry favor with his political masters. It is his job to help avoid unnecessary negative financial and economic fallout from necessary public health measures. It is not his job to try to put constraints that would prevent undertaking necessary and desirable public health measures:

Amanda Fischer: ‘About this letter from Acting @USOCC head Brian Brooks to mayors & county officials... https://twitter.com/amandalfischer/status/1267831757950328832: ‘I have not seen such an opportunistic, inappropriate & frankly dangerous statement from a financial regulatory official maybe ever https://occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2020/nr-occ-2020-73a.pdf. Brooks wrote to state & city officials basically telling them, "nice economy you have there; I wouldn't want anything to happen to it." It should be read as more of a threat than a warning. And it is obviously theatrics meant to endear himself to the President. Brooks is telling mayors & county officials that there may be a banking crisis if they don't reopen, as commercial businesses default on loans & cause a cascade of defaults that elected officials should consider.

A couple points on why Brooks is wildly inappropriate:

First, he's not an epidemiologist, and the OCC is independent of the Executive branch. He has no idea if reopening is actually worse for the economy. In fact, plenty of economists have cautioned against premature reopening as being bad for long-term growth & public health.

Second, it is not mayors' or county officials' responsibility to worry about financial stability. His examiners should do a better job of predicting losses, and the OCC and Federal Reserve should do a better job of ensuring banks are well-capitalized. Don't put this on mayors. It is also rich given the actions taken by the OCC and Federal Reserve to deplete banks' loss-absorbing capital, including allowing banks to continue to pay out dividends given all the risks Brooks cites in this letter.

Finally, the letter is wild, considering the debate in Congress right now. A simple way to keep the economy on ice is to ensure people & small businesses have adequate money to pay their bills. If people have money, creditors have money, & banks will be fine. Brooks' own political leadership seems to oppose extending UI, direct payments or other relief—relief that would ease pressure on the banking sector. Instead, Brooks is trying to threaten states and cities to reopen without regard for public health recommendations…

#coronavirus #macro #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-06-02

Why Do We Need Automatic Triggers?

The first and most crucial tasks of economic policy in the coronavirus public health crisis are to keep the supply shock from becoming a distributional shock and from becoming a demand shock as well. Successfully accomplishing these ranks requires, first, a great increase in social insurance spending: in a country as rich as this one is, nobody should be thrown in the poverty and destitution and have to deal with those problems as well as with the disease. The expansion of social insurance spending cannot be precisely targeted: lots of people will wind up getting more than their fair share. Too bad: it is inappropriate to make the best the enemy of the good and the attainable here, and to make it such that in order to prevent some from getting more than their share, we ensure that many who need support get much much less.

Somewhat similarly, the necessary expansion of aggregate demand in order to maintain and return the economy to as close to full employment as possible will attract, in fact has already attracted, critics. Preventing the coronavirus shock from becoming a major and prolonged demand shock will be inconsistent with the government not spending a lot more, will be inconsistent with a stability in the value of the national debt, will be inconsistent with avoiding a long run increase in taxes, may well be inconsistent with any form of normalizing interest rates to gratify rentiers, And might be inconsistent with maintaining a 2% per year Inflation target. Once again, the proper societal response would be: too bad. As John Maynard Keynes said: what we can do, we can afford in the sense of arranging government finances to make it so.

Our task is to arrange government finances so that Americans can do as much as possible, and not to hit what are some times artificial and are sometimes intermediate policy objectives targets:

Heather Boushey: Off-Kilter Podcast: Beyer + Boushey https://medium.com/@OffKilterShow/beyer-boushey-8be89af1e80: ‘Continuing Off-Kilter’s ongoing series on poverty and inequality in the age of COVID19… This week brought the somber news that 2.1 million more Americans filed for unemployment in the past week. This brings the total number of unemployment claims over the last 10 weeks to 40.8 million — more than a quarter of the American workforce. Meanwhile, 1 in 5 families, including 1 in 3 families with children, are reporting they can no longer afford adequate food.... We run through some of our listeners’ top FAQ — like, what are automatic triggers and why do we need them?... Rebecca sat down with Democratic Congressman Don Beyer, Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (and self-described “econ junkie”) and Heather Boushey, president & CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and author of Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It. This episode’s guests: Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), vice chair, U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. Heather Boushey, president & CEO, Washington Center for Equitable Growth…

#coronavirus #equitablegrowth #macro #noted #socialinsurance #2020-06-02

Tracking the Labor Market Spread of the Coronavirus Shock

Nick Bunker: May 2020 Jobs Day Preview: Tracking the Spread of the Coronavirus Shock https://www.hiringlab.org/2020/06/02/may-2020-jobs-day-preview/#sendgrid_mc_email_subscribe: ‘The coronavirus has devastated the US economy, leading to the destruction of over 21 million payroll jobs since February.... The concentration of job losses so far is unsurprising, with the leisure and hospitality sector seeing total employment drop by almost 50%. Employment in the utilities sector has barely fallen, losing less than 1% of jobs. If the cumulative employment drop starts to pile up in utilities or other indirectly affected sectors, that could mean that more of the aggregate job loss is due to a systematic, economy-wide shock rather than a sector-specific one. Cumulative job loss will also put the eventual jobs recovery in a fuller context.... Hopes for a V-shaped recovery were already fleeting, but if more and more employers are shedding jobs, they might be gone for good. Elsewhere in the report, I’ll be looking for the answers to these questions: * Will unemployment due to reasons other than temporary layoff start to rise, as job loss becomes permanent? * Will employers continue to reduce work hours and shift more workers to involuntary part-time work? * How much further will the drop in the labor force participation rate hold down the rise in the unemployment rate?…

#forecasting #labormarket #macro #noted #2020-06-02

John Maynard Keynes: How Much Does Finance Matter?

John Maynard Keynes: How Much Does Finance Matter https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-keynes-finance-matter.pdf: ‘Where we are using up resources, do not let us submit to the vile doctrine of the nineteenth century that every enterprise must justify itself in pounds, shillings and pence of cash income, with no other denominator of values but this. I should like to see that war memorials of this tragic struggle take the shape of an enrichment of the civic life of every great centre of population. Why should we not set aside, let us say, £50 millions a year for the next twenty years to add in every substantial city of the realm the dignity of an ancient university or a European capital to our local schools and their surroundings, to our local government and its offices, and above all perhaps, to provide a local centre of refreshment and entertainment with an ample theatre, a concert hall, a dance hall, a gallery, a British restaurant, canteens, cafes and so forth. Assuredly we can afford this and much more. Anything we can actually do we can afford. Once done, it is there. Nothing can take it from us. We are immeasurably richer than our predecessors. Is it not evident that some sophistry, some fallacy, governs our collective action if we are forced to be so much meaner than they in the embellishments of life?…

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Not Aged Well

Things that have not aged well. Hassett was not an excellent choice for Chairman of the CEA: Mark M. Zandi, Justin Wolfers, & al. (2017): Letter in Support of the Nomination of Kevin Hassett to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers https://medium.com/@hassett.economists.letter/letter-in-support-of-the-nomination-of-kevin-hassett-to-be-chairman-of-the-council-of-economic-78c483f9821b: ‘Dr. Hassett has a record of serious scholarship on a wide range of topics, including tax policy, business investment, and energy. He has engaged on an even wider range of topics in the public policy debate and in his work at the Federal Reserve and as a consultant to the Department of the Treasury during the Administrations of President George H.W. Bush and President William J. Clinton. In addition, we appreciate that Dr. Hassett has consistently made an effort to reach out to a wide range of people from across the ideological spectrum both to promote economic dialogue and to collaborate on research and public policy proposals. For all of these reasons we believe that Dr. Hassett would be an excellent choice for Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and urge the Committee to move as expeditiously as possible… #economicsgonewrong #incompetence #moralresponsibility #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-05-29


This Is Not Like the 1970s...

The extremely thoughtful David Glasner explains why those who analogize the coronavirus supply shock to the monopoly oil price shocks of the 1970s are profoundly mistaken. This is not an inflationary supply shock. This looks overwhelmingly likely be a profoundly deflationary supply shock:

David Glasner: “The Idleness of Each Is the Result of the Idleness of All” https://uneasymoney.com/2020/03/20/the-idleness-of-each-is-the-result-of-the-idleness-of-all/: ‘Whether the cause of the downturn is a supply shock or a demand shock. Some, perhaps many, seem to think that if the shock is a supply, rather than a demand, shock, then there is no role for a countercyclical policy response designed to increase demand...

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North Dakota Has a Culture Problem

Cristina Cabrera: GOP Guv. Doug Burgum Tearfully Pleads Anti-Maskers To ‘Dial Up Your Empathy’ and End ‘Political’ Divide https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-guv-tearfully-pleads-anti-maskers-to-dial-up-your-empathy-and-end-political-divide: ‘North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) despairs.... “If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support,” the Republican governor said during an emotional press briefing on Friday. “They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments,” he continued, voice breaking. Burgum took a moment to collect himself before continuing: “They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have COVID, and they’re fighting.” The governor begged North Dakotans to avoid “creating a divide” either “ideological or political” over the importance of wearing a mask with so many lives at stake. “This is a, I would say, senseless dividing line,” he said. “And I would ask people to try to dial up your empathy and your understanding.” Burgum’s plea comes as some of his fellow Republicans, including President Donald Trump, publicly refuse to wear masks that prevent the spread of COVID-19, disregarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation… #fascism #noted #moralresponsibility #orangehairedbaboons #2020-05-29


I Find Alberto Alesina's Death Very Sad...

Ben was much closer to my friend Alberto Alesina than I was, so I pass him the mic: Benjamin Schoefer: 'Incredibly sad news https://twitter.com/Schoefer_B/status/1264382682089156609. Alberto Alesina was one of the three economists that led me to study economics, and a wonderful human being. One of my fondest memories includes a day in Jerusalem with Alberto and @joana_naritomi. I wish I could have met him one last time. Rest in peace.... "From @Cutler_econ Dear economist friends. I am very sad to report that Alberto Alesina passed away today. Apparently, he was hiking with his beloved wife Susan and had a heart attack. He was a great treasure whom we shall all miss… #asknotforwhomthebelltolls #economists #noted #2020-05-27


Princeton's Semi-Confidence

Princeton is confident that it can be a research and a graduate university in the time of coronavirus—be face-to-face enough so as not to require a fundamental transformation. But as for undergraduates?:

Christopher Eisgruber: To the Princeton Community: The State of the University, and Planning for the Academic Year Ahead https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/05/04/president-eisgruber-writes-princeton-community-about-state-university-and-planning: ‘We will be dealing with COVID‑19 for months or longer.  This University, like all of America and the world, must proceed accordingly.... Our ability to restart our in-person teaching and research will depend upon whether we can do so in a way that respects public health and safety protocols.... [About] laboratories, libraries, and other facilities... we are optimistic.... We are also optimistic about resuming on‑campus graduate advising and instruction this summer and in the fall.... Undergraduate education presents more vexing questions...

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I do not see anyone inside the Trump administration understanding how the international monetary system works. And I see no sign that Steve Mnuchin—whose brief this is—is willing to spend any time trying to learn. But if he were, he would be listening to Barry Eichengreen. Right now COVID-19 is administering a disastrous health shock to the world. Following that is the less deadly but still important negative supply shock to our economies. Behind that is a manageable but as yet unmanaged knock-on domestic demand shock. And behind that is the rapidly-apporaching international financial crisis with its global negative demand shock that, as of yet, nobody is seriously trying to manage:

Barry Eichengreen: Managing the Coming Global Debt Crisis https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/managiing-coming-global-debt-crisis-by-barry-eichengreen-2020-05: ‘These countries’ private companies borrow in dollars.... When it comes to the stabilizing use of monetary and fiscal policies, emerging markets are hamstrung. Which is why we are back to Baker Plan 2.0...

...suspend[ing] interest payments... private creditors... roll[ing] over an additional $8 billion worth of commercial debt. That, at least, is something. But, to borrow the baseball apostle Yogi Berra’s line, it is also “déjà vu all over again.” The Baker Plan likewise proceeded on the premise that the shock was transient and that a temporary debt standstill would be enough....

By 1989, seven unproductive years after the onset of the crisis, the Baker Plan finally was superseded by the Brady Plan.... Debts were written down. Bank loans were converted into bonds—often a menu of securities from which investors selected their preferred terms and maturities. Advanced-economy governments facilitated the transaction by providing “sweeteners”.... Today’s crisis is also being treated as temporary, with a moratorium on interest payments and a promise of commercial credits remaining valid only through the end of the year. The reality is different. Weak global growth and depressed primary commodity prices will persist. Supply chains will be reorganized and shortened, auguring further disruptions of trade. Receipts from tourism and remittances will not pick up anytime soon. And unless the debt overhang is addressed, capital flows will not resume… #finance #internationalfinance #macro #noted #2020-05-27


Noted: Donna Lu: Universal Basic Income

Very good news on the praticality and usefullness of a UBI: results of a social experiment from Finland: Donna Lu: _Universal Basic Income Seems to Improve Employment & Wellbeing) https://www.newscientist.com/article/2242937-universal-basic-income-seems-to-improve-employment-and-wellbeing/: ‘Finland’s universal basic income study has revealed that the programme doesn’t seem to disincentivise work: Finland ran a two-year universal basic income study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 monthly payments with no strings attached. The payments of €560 per month were not means tested and were unconditional, meaning they were not reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients were not able to opt out, as the test was written into legislation. Minna Ylikännö at the Social Insurance Institution of Finland announced the findings in Helsinki today via livestream.... Between November 2017 and October 2018, people on basic income worked an average of 78 days, which was six days more than those on unemployment benefits. There was a greater increase in employment for people in families with children, as well as those whose first language was not Finnish or Swedish – but the researchers aren’t yet sure why. When surveyed, people who received universal basic income instead of regular unemployment benefits reported better financial wellbeing, mental health and cognitive functioning, as well as higher levels of confidence in the future... #equitablegrowth #noted #socialinsurance #ubi #2020-05-27


2.4 Million More UI Filings

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that still more workers, 2.4 million of them, lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits in the past week. Relaxing lockdowns looks to have increased the virus caseload. Relaxing lockdowns has not all has not yet boosted production:

Equitable Growth: ’2.4 Million Workers Applied for Unemployment Benefits in the Week of May 10–16 https://twitter.com/equitablegrowth/status/1263447742627667968: 'According to the US DOL’s Weekly Unemployment Insurance claims report released today. Since the onset of the #coronavirus crisis in mid-March, 38.6 million workers have filed initial UI claims. The number of continued claims reached 25 million the week ending May 9. The insured unemployment rate, which represents the share of workers receiving benefits as a percentage of the labor force, reached 17.2 %—a 1.5 percentage point increase from the previous week. While the additional $600 in unemployment benefits stipulated under the #CARESAct are set to expire on July 31, the #HeroesAct, which passed the House of Representatives last Friday, would extend the extra benefits through January 2021. Want to learn more about why extending additional Unemployment Insurance benefits would be good for workers and the entire economy? Check out this piece by Kate Bahn https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-good-economics-behind-generous-unemployment-benefits-51585594272… #equitablegrowth #macro #noted #unemployment #2020-05-27


Trump: The Cruelty Is the Point...

IMHO, It is long past time for advertising-supported social media to die. The incentives facing Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and company are extremely poisonous. And—unlike Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, even Elon Musk—Jack and Mark regard themselves as in the business of piling up as much money as they can, rather than as enabling and guiding human progress. It needs to stop. They are, as somebody-or-other said, our modern tobacco companies—only profiting from human addiction to controversy and polarization and susceptibility to misinformation rather than human addiction to nicotine: Brian Klaas: 'Trump took the tragic death of a young woman, Lori Klausutis https://twitter.com/brianklaas/status/1265239671140909058, and has tried to exploit it for political gain in the most disgusting way imaginable. This letter from her husband to [Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey] asking him to delete Trump’s sick tweets is a heart-wrenching must read.…

#fascism #journamalism #moralresponsibility #noted #orangehairedbaboons #publicsphere #2020-05-27

Recommended; Andy Slavitt

There are some nuggets of valuable information to be found in the huge sea of misinformation, chaos, and anger that is Twitter. I strongly recommend that you follow Andy Slavitt if you are on what I have heard called "the bad website": Andy Slavitt: COVID Update May 21 https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1263628261470461955: ‘Something is happening... that we should pay attention to... [but] we are ignoring it and the many warnings it represents.... "Waves"... emerge in the interaction of people & virus. It's not the virus attacking & retreating. It's not like waves that come in from the sea carrying momentum & energy. It's us. We’re not having the summer lull in the US. We’re not exploding but the death rate isn’t materially dropping. If we keep hovering around R=1, small factors may push us to one side or another of the divide. So it is possible there will be a perceived summer lull. But we could be crushing this virus instead if we doubled down on SD. Hardly anyone's even saying that. Fauci & others have repeatedly warned that while summer conditions may be less favorable to the virus, given how contagious it is & given our lack of population immunity, there is no reason to be confident it can't grow through the Summer. It has NOT declined significantly in US. 100,000+ DEAD AMERICANS BY THIS MONDAY, 150,000+ BY THE ELECTION due to Trump’s delays and lack of leadership...

#coronavirus #noted #orangehairedbaboons #publichealth

Remembering Facerbook's Video Semi?-Fraud

Jason #StayHome Kint: The industry and publishers chased Facebook’s news, learning only later they may have been fraudently deceived... https://twitter.com/jason_kint/status/1263762461271998466. Since Facebook was gifted global news headlines yesterday by prognosticating on work from home 5-10yrs from now, a reminder Facebook is supposed to be “mostly video” this year.... It was one of the long list of reasons not to trust Facebook. Did Facebook’s faulty data push news publishers to make terrible decisions on video? Publishers' "pivot to video" was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real...

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The extremely thoughtful David Glasner explains why those who analogize the coronavirus supply shock to the monopoly oil price shocks of the 1970s are profoundly mistaken. This is not an inflationary supply shock. This looks overwhelmingly likely be a profoundly deflationary supply shock:

David Glasner: “The Idleness of Each Is the Result of the Idleness of All” https://uneasymoney.com/2020/03/20/the-idleness-of-each-is-the-result-of-the-idleness-of-all/: ‘Whether the cause of the downturn is a supply shock or a demand shock...

...Some, perhaps many, seem to think that if the shock is a supply, rather than a demand, shock, then there is no role for a countercyclical policy response designed to increase demand.... The problem with that reasoning is that reductions in supply are themselves effectively reductions in demand. The follow-on reductions in demand constitute a secondary contractionary shock on top of the primary supply shock, thereby setting in motion a cumulative process of further reductions in supply and demand....

Continue reading "" »


With Trump, the Cruelty Is the Point...

With Trump, almost always, this is true: the cruelty is the point: Steve M.: How It Must Pain Trump's Followers to Observe His Cruelty! https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/05/how-it-must-pain-trumps-followers-to.html: ‘As U.S. deaths from COVID-19 reach 100,000, President Trump—laser-focused as always on America's most serious problems...

...is picking a fight with Joe Scarborough, insinuating, despite all evidence, that Scarborough murdered Lori Klausutis, a staffer who died in the then-congressman's office in 2000. The pro-Trump New York Post assumes that most of Trump's supporters wish he would stop behaving this way:

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Noted: Yglesias: Suppress the Virus!

There seems to be one big piece of good news in the fight against Covid-19. The battle to keep the caseload low enough that hospitals do not collapse and the death rate rise from 1% to 4% or so appears to have been won, worldwide.

Now there is a second battle: to push the bulk of the potential caseload out beyond the date at which an effective vaccine arrives and so reduce the global death toll from its likely non-vaccine value of 50 million to a small fraction of that:

  1. That battle can be lost.
  2. That battle can be won expensively, through prolonged and expensive social distancing and other measures that push the virus ’s reproduction rate R down to near one.
  3. That battle can be won quickly and cheaply, by sharp short-term massive virus repression, followed by controlling reemergences via large scale and frequent trace-&-test-&-isolate.

Sane, intelligent, and competent countries are trying for option (3) in this second battle, and it looks like many of them will succeed. The Trump administration and its crowd of grifters and enablers appear to have decided that (1), losing this second battle, is best for their personal pocketbooks and reelection chances.

The very wise Matt Yglesias protests:

Matthew Yglesias: Coronavirus Mitigation Could Kill Thousands. Suppress the Virus, Don’t Just “Flatten the Curve” https://www.vox.com/2020/5/6/21241058/coronavirus-mitigation-suppression-flatten-the-curve: ‘With the disease seemingly beaten back domestically, Hong Kong is now in a position to start switching emphasis to a strategy focused on border controls.... The city has a clearly articulated strategy that it calls “suppress and lift”: ease restrictions now when cases are at zero, but then clamp back down as necessary to push cases back down if they pop up. Taiwan has also had no new cases for several days...

...New Zealand has not done quite this well, but the government believes it has successfully identified and isolated all of the country’s coronavirus cases and is lifting restrictions, on the claim that the virus has been “eliminated” in the country. South Korea’s outbreak is now down to single-digit numbers of new cases per week.... The United States, meanwhile, is moving to open up on the basis of a vaguely articulated assumption that settling for mitigation is good enough....

The United States has not really tried the strategies that have made suppression successful. To accomplish that, America would need to invest in expanding the volume of tests, invest in more contact tracers, and create centralized quarantine facilities.... Since the US didn't spend April doing that, trying to achieve suppression—along the lines of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and New Zealand—would necessarily involve more delay and more economic pain. But doing so would save potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of lives and almost certainly lead to a better economic outcome by allowing activity to truly restart…

#coronavirus #noted #orangehairedbaboons #publichealth #2020-05-19

Noted: Jackson & al.: Global Economic Effects of COVID-19...

We really have very little idea what the long-term and even the short term economic effect of the coronavirus will be. We have a somewhat better handle on the human mortality costs: a worst-case scenario of 240 million worldwide deaths, a bad-case scenario of 50 million worldwide deaths, and hopes that vaccines and much better antiviral treatment protocols will arrive soon enough to substantially reduce that death toll. But virus suppression is now a lost cause—individual countries can suppress and can thus hope to insulate their populations until vaccine arrival, but for the globe as a whole, we are in mitigation mode. And as for morbidity? We really do not know enough to say much of anything: James K. Jackson & al.: Global Economic Effects of COVID-19 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R46270.pdf: ‘Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first diagnosed, it has spread to over 190 countries and all U.S. states. The pandemic is having a noticeable impact on global economic growth. Estimates so far indicate the virus could trim global economic growth by as much as 2.0% per month if current conditions persist. Global trade could also fall by 13% to 32%, depending on the depth and extent of the global economic downturn. The full impact will not be known until the effects of the pandemic peak. This report provides an overview of the global economic costs to date and the response by governments and international institutions to address these effects…

#coronavirus #macro #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-05-18

Noted: Salathé & Case: What Happens Next?

The best educational tool for learning about the epidemiology of COVID-19 that I have yet found. If you time, study it carefully and thoroughly: Marcel Salathé & Nicky Case: What Happens Next? COVID-19 Futures, Explained With Playable Simulations https://ncase.me/covid-19/: ‘Fear's not the problem, it's how we channel our fear. Fear gives us energy to deal with dangers now, and prepare for dangers later. Honestly, we (Marcel, epidemiologist + Nicky, art/code) are worried. We bet you are, too! That's why we've channelled our fear into making these playable simulations, so that you can channel your fear into understanding: The Last Few Months (epidemiology 101, SEIR model, R & R0). The Next Few Months (lockdowns, contact tracing, masks). The Next Few Years (loss of immunity? no vaccine?) This guide... is meant to give you hope and fear. To beat COVID-19 in a way that also protects our mental & financial health, we need optimism to create plans, and pessimism to create backup plans. As Gladys Bronwyn Stern once said, “The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute”. So, buckle in: we're about to experience some turbulence…

#coronavirus #noted #2020-05-18

Noted: Henry Farrell: "Public" Choice

Henry Farrell: “Public” Choice https://crookedtimber.org/2020/05/12/public-choice/: ‘The public choice approach tends to prefer models that I suspect are particularly unlikely to be helpful in understanding key aspects of the public’s reactions to coronavirus.... Public choice [is] specifically unhelpful... [because] as described by the late Charles Rowley, longtime editor of the journal Public Choice, the public choice approach is a "program of scientific endeavor that exposed government failure coupled to a programme of moral philosophy that supported constitutional reform designed to limit government". In other words, it is not a neutral research program, but one that has a clear political philosophy and set of aims. Bluntly put, it starts from governments bad, markets good, and further assumes that the intersection between governments and markets (where private interests are able to "capture”" government) is very bad indeed. This is useful for understanding some aspects of politics.... There is an interesting affinity between public choice and Marxism, another analytic approach with an associated political program. Both agree on the awful things that can happen when government and business interests are in cahoots, even if each sees a different party as the serpent in its paradise.... [But] it’s a terrible starting point for understanding the public response to coronavirus.... The evidence from public opinion polling is emphatic. People... are in favor of stay at home orders, and closed schools and non-essential businesses.... If there is an instance of democratically legitimate coercion, then stay at home orders are it.... So why then, may the equilibrium break down? It’s clearly not because of express demand from the public. Nor because of cheating (some people may want to free ride, even when the potential rewards include getting sick and dying, but it’s hard to see how they are a majority, or can create one). The plausible answer is that private power asymmetries are playing a crucial role in undermining the equilibrium. Some people—employees with poor bargaining power and no savings—may find themselves effectively coerced into a return to work as normal.... If you’re not lucky, your employer’s power over you may very literally be the power of life and death.... Why don’t you just demand safe working conditions? Perhaps you’re an undocumented immigrant who fears retaliation...

#coronavirus #inequality #noted #politicaleconomy #publichealth #2020-05-18

Noted: Slavitt: ‘COVID-19 a Uniquely Tough American Foe...

It now seems much more likely than not that of all the OECD nations the United States will turn out to have the worst coronavirus response: the highest death rate when this thing comes to an end, coupled with extraordinarily low benefits in terms of how many lives saved by the economic costs incurred. I suspect it will look in retrospect as though any strategy was better than the Trump administration's incoherent an inconsistent mix of strategies. Only Britain seems to have a chance of doing worse. And yet it is almost unthinkable that Boris Johnson will prove to be even less competent than his American counterpart: Andy Slavitt: ‘COVID-19a Uniquely Tough American Foe https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1257477774220066827. The rest of the world is figuring it out. The Czech Republic did it with masks. China with isolation. Germany with testing. Hong Kong with experience. New Zealand with alerts. Greece with discipline. The cost of these lessons is already too high. But it is not beyond our power to change it. But I’m afraid to change this, we do have to first face it…

#coronavirus #noted #orangehairedbaboons #publichealth #2020-05-18

Noted: Hipple: Structural Inequalities Driving U.S. Racial Disparities in Coronavirus

If you missed this last week, you need to read it, and you need to read it right now. Americas in equality of opportunity and result is now very deadly indeed: Liz Hipple: New Congressional Reports Underscore Structural Inequalities Driving U.S. Racial Disparities in Coronavirus Infections & Covid-19 Deaths: ‘Consider Wisconsin, where only 6 percent of the population is black but African Americans make up 25 percent of the confirmed cases and 39 percent of deaths…. Data on how native Americans are becoming infected and dying has been scarce—a longstanding issue of native people made invisible by data gaps—but what data there are suggest that they, too, are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19…. Occupational segregation means that African American and Latinx workers are disproportionately represented in low-wage occupations that can’t be done remotely and are now on the front lines of essential work. They have to continue to show up to work even though it means exposing themselves—and the families they return to after their shifts end—to possible infection…. Black Americans are more likely to suffer from pre-existing health conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, and asthma…. In part, these higher rates of co-morbidities are due to their greater likelihood of living in poverty, as lower socioeconomic status is associated with worse health outcomes. Yet prior research has already made clear that income alone cannot explain racial disparities in health outcomes…

#coronavirus #inequality #noted #publichealth #2020-05-18

Noted: de Ridder: Market Power and Innovation in the Intangible Economy

Maarten de Ridder: Market Power and Innovation in the Intangible Economy http://www.centreformacroeconomics.ac.uk/Discussion-Papers/2019/CFMDP2019-07-Paper.pdf: 'Productivity growth has stagnated over the past decade. This paper argues that the rise of intangible inputs (such as information technology) can cause a slowdown of growth through the effect it has on production and competition. I hypothesize that intangibles cause a shift from variable costs to endogenous fixed costs, and use a new measure to show that the share of fixed costs in total costs rises when firms increase ICT and software investments. I then develop a quantitative framework in which intangibles reduce marginal costs and endogenously raise fixed costs, which gives firms with low adoption costs a competitive advantage. This advantage can be used to deter other firms from entering new markets and from developing higher qual- ity products. Paradoxically, the presence of firms with high levels of intangibles can therefore reduce the rate of creative destruction and innovation. I calibrate the model using administrative data on the universe of French firms and find that, after initially boosting productivity, the rise of intangibles causes a 0.6 percentage point decline in long-term productivity growth. The model further predicts a decline in business dynamism, a fall in the labor share and an increase in markups, though markups overstate the increase in firm profits...

#noted #2020-05-18

Noted: Orenstein: COVID Tracking

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


Noted: Morley: Thucydides & Plague

I try to think about ancient Greece, its economy and its political economy, and I am led back to… COVID-19: Neville Morley: People Are Strange https://thesphinxblog.com/2020/03/21/people-are-strange/: ‘We need history, whether the detailed records of the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century or the careful account of Thucydides of the Athenian plague or the imaginative reconstruction of Camus: as a means of understanding how people may behave under unprecedented conditions of stress and uncertainty.... They don’t behave ‘normally’; the traditional institutions, values and social expectations all buckle and collapse, time horizons shrink—live for the moment’s pleasure, because wealth and life are transitory, and the path of honour takes too long—and emotional states are dramatically heightened, from absolute despair to unshakable confidence.... It’s not normative social science, establishing clear principles on the basis of a fixed idea of human nature. On the contrary, Thucydides’ ‘human thing’ is fuzzy, inconsistent, and somewhat unpredictable; just as no single remedy for the plague works for everybody, so not everyone responds in the same way. Some shun the sick, even their own families, while others risk their lives to keep looking after them; and reducing this to a quantified estimate of self-sacrifice probability rather misses the point.... Thucydides’ juxtaposition of the noble, in retrospect entirely unrealistic generalisations of Pericles’ Funeral Oration and the horrors of the plague—which of course also carried off Pericles... #coronavirus #history #noted #plague #publichealth #2020-05-18


Noted: Alix Gould-Werth: Unemployment Insurance

Successfully running a modern economy requires, on the political economy level, a well-functioning social insurance system. In lots of states we do not have a well-functioning social insurance system. Is centralizing functions at the federal level the solution? Before the age of Trump I would have said “yes”. Now I think, more and more, that administrative reform has to come state-by-state—the slow boring of hard boards: Alix Gould-Werth: Fool Me Once: Investing in Unemployment Insurance systems to avoid the mistakes of the Great Recession during COVID-19 https://equitablegrowth.org/fool-me-once-investing-in-unemployment-insurance-systems-to-avoid-the-mistakes-of-the-great-recession-during-covid-19/: ‘During the Great Recession of 2007–2009 and its aftermath, unemployed workers across the country struggled to access the unemployment benefits to which they were entitled, and our government—at both the state and federal levels—failed to remedy the systemic problems that prevent workers from accessing benefits and thus lead to personal financial hardship and a muted economic stimulus. In the early days of the coronavirus recession, we have seen the problems of the Great Recession echoed in the administrative failures of state Unemployment Insurance agencies. The current disarray in state unemployment benefits programs is neither a surprise nor an accident. It is the result of decades of conscious choices made by policymakers at the state and federal level…. Many states limited Unemployment Insurance benefits, made accessing the program more difficult, and refused to fully fund it…. To be able to respond nimbly to the next twists and turns in the coronavirus recession, policymakers should address three key structural flaws… #equitablegrowth #inequality #noted #socialinsurance #2020-05-18


Noted: Bahn: JOLTS

Started by Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker, its monthly JOLTS Day coverage—coverage of the release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s latest survey results on job openings and labor turnover—should be at the very top of the must-reads in your monthly must-read lists. These survey numbers are, of course, now two months stale, so they speak of a different world than we now live in. Nevertheless, they are very interesting: Kate Bahn & Carmen Sanchez Cumming: JOLTS Day Graphs: March 2020 Report Edition https://equitablegrowth.org/jolts-day-graphs-march-2020-report-edition/: ‘The quits rate decreased sharply from 2.3% in February to 1.8% in March, as workers’ confidence about job prospects declined amid the public health crisis and requisite state shutdowns…. While both the rates of job openings and hires decreased in March, openings did more so, leading to a slight increase in the vacancy yield… #equitablegrowth #labormarket #macro #noted #2020-05-18


Noted: Logan: Inequality

Everyone knows that I have been a great fan of Trevon Logan since he showed up at Berkeley to go to graduate school. He has blossomed into a superb researcher, an impressive administrator, a gifted teacher, and a powerful intellectual voice here in America today. Listen to him: Trevon Logan & Liz Hipple: Equitable Growth in Conversation https://equitablegrowth.org/in-conversation-with-trevon-logan/: ‘Hipple, who leads Equitable Growth’s work on economic mobility, and Logan discuss: The reasons for the disparate health impacts of the coronavirus among black Americans. The historical legacies of structural inequalities in the United States. The economic inequalities faced by African Americans in the coronavirus recession. Policy recommendations to deal with the immediacy of the coronavirus recession. Policy recommendations to deal with historical structural inequalities to power a more equitable economic recovery. The historical legacy of intergenerational mobility, race, and segregation… #equitablegrowth #inequality #noted #2020-05-18


Noted: Krugman & co.: The Case Against Austerity

The best webinar on why austerity is a really bad idea that I have yet managed to see. Basically, the world needs massive social-insurance spending right now for pandemic-related reasons and the world needs substantial inflation right now for macroeconomic balance reasons: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAFb_b4l7S9Af5l5hnVycrMskm11Y61DXQ4 Equitable Growth: A Conversation on Austerity: https://twitter.com/equitablegrowth/status/1262390906222792709 ‘Why, especially in an economic crisis, it is such a dangerous idea. RSVP: https://bit.ly/3dKnnrB… #equitable growth #macro #noted #2020-05-18


Worthy Reads for May 16, 2019

Worthy Reads Here at Equitable Growth:

  1. The current scorecard on House of Representatives action on drug price reform. I do wish I had more of a sense of where he center of gravity of the U.S. Senate is on these issues. I, at least, do not understand the views of here current left-wing of the Republican Senate caucus with respect to... well, with respect to pretty much anything. So I have no idea how they are going to jump here. I wish I did: Michael Kades: U.S. Congress Continues to Make Progress on Drug Price Competition: "Measures passed by the Judiciary Committee on April 30 focus on company efforts to block or delay the development and marketing of generic drugs, medications that are essentially identical to the original brand drugs but that are sold at far lower prices, saving consumers billions of dollars on both drug purchases and insurance premiums. The introduction of generic drugs, originally made possible by the Hatch-Waxman Act 35 years ago, provides meaningful competition where there essentially was none and therefore threatens the profits of drug companies. Some companies have adopted the strategy to prevent or delay the introduction of generics. And they have used gaps in Hatch-Waxman and in other laws, as well as in enforcement standards, to develop successful tactics for preventing competition...

  2. If you missed Alyssa Fisher here on automatic stabilizers on Thrusday May 16, go back and reread it: Alyssa Fisher: Planning for the Next Recession by Reforming U.S. Macroeconomic Policy Automatic Stabilizers: "Six big idea... to be triggered when the economy shows clear, proven signs of heading into a recession...... Gabriel Chodorow-Reich... and... John Coglianese... propose to expand eligibility for Unemployment Insurance and encourage take-up.... Jason Furman and Wilson Powell III... aim to reduce state budget shortfalls during recessions... by increasing the federal matching rate for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.... Hilary Hoynes... and... Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach... propose to limit or eliminate work requirements for supplemental nutrition assistance during recessions.... Indivar Dutta-Gupta... proposes a countercyclical stabilization program through... Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.... Andrew Haughwout... proposes an automatic infrastructure investment program.... Claudia Sahm... proposes to boost consumer spending during recessions by creating a system of direct stimulus payments to individuals...

  3. I am not sure that it is right to say that advocate of "Mothers' Pensions" believed that "the woman’s sphere was in the home". They certainly believed that women's work was important, and beieved that the first and most dire need for social insurance was to make sure that mothers of children had the resources they needed to raise the next generation. But they—and here I am generalizing from my own family history: my great-grandmother Fonnie and my great-great-grandmother Florence—also recognized that their generations were having four pregnancies on average while their grandmothers had had eight, and that they were assisted in the home by an increasing amount of modern technology in the form of consumer durables. And my mother-in-law Barbara maintains to this day that the thing that most changed her life was the clothes-washing machine. Half the number of pregnancies plus consumer durables meant that a lot of female energy could be—and was—directed outside the home: Alix Gould-Werth: After Mother’s Day: Changes in Mothers’ Social Programs Over Time: "As Anna Jarvis was crusading to get Mother’s Day a place on the nation’s calendar, her peers—wealthy, white women who shared her progressive, reform-minded impulses—were laying foundation for our modern social safety net. Though most of these women chose to pursue social change rather than traditional family life, as architects of Mothers’ Pensions, they sided firmly with the view that the woman’s sphere was in the home. Mothers’ Pensions—which were passed into law state by state from 1911 to 1920—were targeted at widows and provided cash payments designed to simultaneously keep children out of orphanages and mothers out of the workplace...

  4. Let me direct your attention to one of the WCEG's young whippersnapper grantees writing smart things: Samir Sonti: The Politics of Inflation: "amir Sonti studies 20th century U.S. labor and economic history. Sonti’s dissertation focuses on the politics of inflation in the United States from the 1930s to the 1980s. He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania...

Continue reading "Worthy Reads for May 16, 2019" »


Noted: Brighouse: Reflections: Teaching Online

Harry Brighouse: Reflections on Moving to Teaching Online https://crookedtimber.org/2020/05/13/reflections-on-moving-to-teaching-online/: ‘Nobody knows what will happen with US colleges and universities in the fall, but it’s a fair guess that at least some, probably most, and not unlikely all, teaching will be online. Whatever is online in the fall will be unlike what was online in the spring: on the one hand people will have had a chance to prepare and train; on the other, classes will lack the glue that in-person meetings prior to going online made possible.... It was the optimal situation for moving online. The first two weeks online I split them into groups of 7-8, and met each for a full hour. Their prep involved writing TWO online responses to readings, and we would discuss one of those readings together during the meeting.... I found it exhausting to meet with students for 2 hours at a time. The main reason, I think, is that managing a discussion is just much more difficult online. In-person there are so many cues, not only to me, but to each other, about what they are thinking, who wants to talk, even what they are likely to say and whom they’ll be responding to. Most of these are absent online, but one is searching for them or for substitutes (which are also often not present!)...

#coronavirus #noted #teachingonline #universities #2020-05-14

Noted: Frauenfelder: Phoenix Checklist

Mark Frauenfelder: Here's the CIA's "Phoenix Checklist" for Thinking About Problems https://boingboing.net/2019/02/28/heres-the-cias-phoenix-c.html: 'The "Phoenix Checklist" is a set of questions developed by the CIA to define and think about a problem, and how to develop a solution: Why is it necessary to solve the problem? What benefits will you receive by solving the problem? What is the unknown? What is it you don’t yet understand? What is the information you have? What isn’t the problem? Is the information sufficient? Or is it insufficient? Or redundant? Or contradictory? Should you draw a diagram of the problem? A figure? Where are the boundaries of the problem? Can you separate the various parts of the problem? Can you write them down? What are the relationships of the parts of the problem? What are the constants of the problem? Have you seen this problem before? Have you seen this problem in a slightly different form? Do you know a related problem? Try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a similar unknown. Suppose you find a problem related to yours that has already been solved. Can you use it? Can you use its method? Can you restate your problem? How many different ways can you restate it? More general? More specific? Can the rules be changed? What are the best, worst and most probable cases you can imagine?...

#cognition #noted #2020-05-13

Noted: Schwarz: Caravels

George Robert Schwarz: The History and Development of Caravels https://nautarch.tamu.edu/Theses/pdf-files/Schwarz-MA2008.pdf: 'Information gained from the available sources reveals many of the caravel’s characteristics through time. This ship type outclassed its contemporaries during the age of exploration because of its highly adaptive characteristics. These traits were, principally, its shallow draught, speed, maneuverability, and ability to sail close to the wind. This combination of attributes made the caravel the ideal ship for reconnaissance along the rocky African coastline, as well as for making the transatlantic voyages to the New World. It was built in a Mediterranean way during its post-medieval phases, a method that still survives in some parts of the world today. During the Age of Discovery (ca. 1430 to 1530), the caravel sat low in the water, had one sterncastle, and was either lateen-rigged or had a combination of square and lateen sails. This vessel reflects the advanced shipbuilding technology that existed in Europe at this time, and played and important role in the voyages which allowed the Europeans to expand their territories around the world. The results of the studies presented in this thesis provide a history and development of the caravel, which was gradual and often obscure. What has been gained from this work is a body of information that can be applied to other studies about ancient seafaring, and can serve as a starting point for further research...

#commercialrevolution #economic hisotry#globalization #noted #2020-05-13

Noted: Becker & al.: Refugees & Human Capital

Sascha O. Becker, Irena Grosfeld, Pauline Grosjean, Nico Voigtländer, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya: Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=11267: 'We study the long-run effects of forced migration on investment in education. After World War II, millions of Poles were forcibly uprooted from the Kresy territories of eastern Poland and resettled (primarily) in the newly acquired Western Territories, from which the Germans were expelled. We combine historical censuses with newly collected survey data to show that, while there were no pre-WWII differences in educational attainment, Poles with a family history of forced migration are significantly more educated today than other Poles. These results are driven by a shift in preferences away from material possessions toward investment in human capital...

#economicgrowth #humancapital #noted #2020-05-13

Noted: Campos: Trump's Acquittal

In the end, Trump's acquittal may be viewed by future historians much like the Roman Senate's decision to block the Gracchi is regarded by current historians: as the start of a huge downward spiral. That presidential corruption and malfeasance are subject to no checks as long as 34 senators fear their reelection chances would be damanged by removal is not a state I ever thought I would ever see America reach, but it has:

Paul Campos: Another Brow-Furrower http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/02/another-brow-furrower: 'This looks like one of those deals where the president says I’ll stop illegally withholding those federal services I’m withholding from your constituents if you stop investigating those financial crimes I committed. Donald J. Trump: "I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!" “Fredo” btw is Cuomo’s brother, who is a CNN reporter. What’s the over-under on how many impeachable offenses this guy has committed since the Senate “acquittal” all those many months weeks days ago?...

#americancollapse #fasciam #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-05-13

Noted: Kaufman; Aesthetic Illusion and Sociopolitical Delusion

I have a very strong feeling that the work of the Frankfurt School is very important as we try to understand our current situation. So if only I could understand the Frankfurt School, I might be a happier man!:

Robert Kaufman: Poetry's Ethics? Theodor W. Adorno and Robert Duncan on Aesthetic Illusion and Sociopolitical Delusion https://www-jstor-org.libproxy.berkeley.edu/stable/pdf/27669156.pdf: 'The overarching and thoroughgoing inhumanity of the situation of what Adorno calls "damaged life" structured everything around it, so that, in Adorno's formulation, wrong life could not—cannot—be lived rightly, and the very attempt or reflex of trying to act ethically, or of finding oneself seeming to act ethically, is precisely what leads one to feel barbaric, for it makes all the more clear that nothing but unjustifiable luck has been operative: at the moment of a sheerly arbitrary, chance, statistical survival, the projection of an ethical attempt to assist the other comes to feel like an unspeakable mockery or perverse miming of ethics, since the thought and act meant to differentiate themselves from the barbarism of survival-due-to-statistical-probability turn out to be not the necessary fiction, not the generative, as if illusion, of undetermined, ethical behavior, but instead the cruel delusion that the latter still has any operative existence in these circumstances...

#cognition #noted #publicsphere #20230-05-13

Noted: Boushey & Cumming: Coronavirus Recession

Much more attention should be being paid to the class skew in the economic pain being caused by the coronavirus recession: Heather Boushey & Carmen Sanchez Cumming: Coronavirus Recession Deepens U.S. Job Losses in April. Especially Among Low-Wage Workers & Women https://equitablegrowth.org/coronavirus-recession-deepens-u-s-job-losses-in-april-especially-among-low-wage-workers-and-women/: ‘many of the workers most affected by the swift economic downturn hold jobs that are not classified as essential and cannot be done from home. This month about 90 percent of job losses happened in sectors where less than one in five workers reported in a survey conducted between 2017 and 2018 that they have the option to telecommute. It is likely that this measure somewhat misrepresents the number of workers who have been able to work from home since the onset of the pandemic. Even so, with 7.7 million jobs lost in the leisure and hospitality industry alone, which makes up nearly half of all the jobs in that sector, jobs where workers previously rarely had the option to telecommute accounted for more than a third of this last month’s economy-wide decline in employment…

#coronavirus #depression #equitablegrowth #inequality #macro #noted #2020-05-13

Noted: Sahm & al.: Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate

Claudia R. Sahm & al.: Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate http://www-personal.umich.edu/~shapiro/papers/w15421.pdf: 'Only about one-fifth of respondents in the Reuters/University of Michigan survey report that the 2008 tax rebates led them to mostly increase spending, while over half said it would lead them to mostly pay off debt. Of those in the mostly-spend category, the response was swift, with over 80 percent reporting increasing their spending within three months of receiving their rebate. Older households, households with higher wealth and higher income, and those expecting future income growth were generally more likely to spend the rebates. A review of other surveys confirms the general pattern of results and suggests that small changes in survey design do not have a major effect on the distribution of responses. The distribution of survey answers corresponds to an aggregate MPC after one year of about one-third. The paper combines this survey-based estimate of the MPC and the survey-based estimate of the timing of spending to show that the rebates help explain the aggregate movements in saving, spending, and debt in 2008. Because the rebate was large and distributed over a short period, it had a non-trivial effect on total spending in the second and third quarters of 2008. Nonetheless, the results imply that the rebates provided only a modest stimulus to spending per dollar of rebate...

#fiscalpolicy #macro #noted #2020-05-13

Noted: Card & al.: Gender Neutrality in Economics

Economics's woman-underrepresentation problem appears due to a drip, drip, drip, drip of small factors everywhere along the pipeline. Here Nagore Triberri and coauthors find that there is a substantial slice of papers of high enough "quality" (as measured by future citations) to get published that do not get published because they are written by women. Yet referees assess papers written by men and women similarly. And editors do not seem biased in their use of referees:

David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, Patricia Funk, and Nagore Iriberri: Gender Neutrality in Economics: The Role of Editors and Referees https://voxeu.org/article/gender-neutrality-economics-role-editors-and-referees: 'Women economists are under-represented across the discipline, from university departments to academic conferences and publishing houses. This column focuses on the editorial process and asks whether the referees and editors of four leading economics journals made gender-neutral publishing decisions between 2003 and 2013. The findings suggest that the gender of the referee does not affect the valuation of a paper and that editors are gender-neutral in valuing advice from referees. However, papers written by women appear to face a higher bar in the quest to be published...

#discrimination #economics #gender #noted #universities #2020-05-13

Noted: Steve M.: Better to Reign in Randian Hell

Steve M.: Better to Reign in Randian Hell https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/05/better-to-reign-in-randian-hell.html: ‘Danes kept their jobs. The trauma of massive numbers of people losing jobs and health insurance, of long lines at food banks—that is the American experience, but it’s not what’s happening in Denmark.... Our response to the pandemic has been worse than Sweden's or Denmark's, and one consequence is that our economy will be in the toilet for years to come. I understand that we're reopening much of America prematurely because our corporate overlords have contempt for their employees and their customers and just want revenue to start flowing again as quickly as possible. But why are they unable to grasp the obvious point that their customers are afraid to come back, and that they'll be even more afraid when, inevitably, the premature reopenings cause a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths? In other words, why aren't the CEOs who have Donald Trump's ear telling him that, for his benefit and theirs (they really don't care about ours), he should be working harder to bend the curve and increase testing and tracing, because that's what it will take to give Americans the confidence to go out and consume?... I've come to the conclusion that many American capitalists aren't seekers of pure profit. They often prefer control.... They don't like being ordered to shut down by the government. They want to forcibly reverse the shutdown—even though it's likely to mean more death and less business, and even though letting the lockdown run its course would make them more money in the long run...

#coronavirus #noted #orangehairedbaboons #publichealth #2020-05-13

Noted: WHO: An Historical Document: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) SITUATION REPORT—1 21 JANUARY 2020

WHO: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) SITUATION REPORT—1 21 JANUARY 2020 https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200121-sitrep-1-2019-ncov.pdf?sfvrsn=20a99c10_4: ‘Event highlights from 31 December 2019 to 20 January 2020: • On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. From 31 December 2019 through 3 January 2020, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. During this reported period, the causal agent was not identified. • On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City. • The Chinese authorities identified a new type of coronavirus, which was isolated on 7 January 2020. • On 12 January 2020, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus for countries to use in developing specific diagnostic kits. • On 13 January 2020, the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand reported the first imported case of lab-confirmed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Situation update: • As of 20 January 2020, 282 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported from four countries including China (278 cases), Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case) and the Republic of Korea (1 case); • Cases in Thailand, Japan and Republic of Korea were exported from Wuhan City, China; • Among the 278 cases confirmed in China, 258 cases were reported from Hubei Province, 14 from Guangdong Province, five from Beijing Municipality and one from Shanghai Municipality; On 15 January 2020, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan (MHLW) reported an imported case of laboratory-confirmed 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On 20 January 2020, National IHR Focal Point (NFP) for Republic of Korea reported the first case of novel coronavirus in the Republic of Korea…

#coronavirus #noted #publichealth #2020-05-13

Noted: Smalligan & Boyens: Paid Medical Leave Research

What we know about the importance and the benefits of paid medical leave, compressed and explained: Jack Smalligan & Chantel Boyens: Paid Medical Leave Research https://equitablegrowth.org/research-paper/paid-medical-leave-research/: ‘Paid medical leave may have an effect on health outcomes… [through] improved health management, earlier treatment, greater healthcare utilization, improved income stability, reduced financial stress, and enhanced return-to-work supports. Research on short-term paid sick leave shows clear societal and personal benefits…. [In] provid[ing] return-to-work services for newly ill and injured workers… the most effective programs emphasize early intervention following the onset of a new condition or worsening of a chronic condition… #equitablegrowth #noted #socialinsurance #2020-05-13


Noted: Boushey: The Path to Recovery

It really is not too late to turn the coronavirus recession into a sharp V-shaped recession. But I would say that the odds that we are going to do so are less than 10%. Only a very small number of people with any access to the levers of power or the megaphones understand that the keys to rapid recovery lie in boosting aggregate demand quickly by enough and in ensuring that businesses are not sent miss leading "bankruptcy shut down” signals. Heather Boushey understands this. Only a small proportion of other people of status and influence in Washington DC understand this:

Heather Boushey: It’s Not too Late to Put the American Economy on a Path to Recovery https://medium.com/@heatherboushey/its-not-too-late-to-put-the-american-economy-on-a-path-to-recovery-809fa1259fdc: ‘We know what we need to do in a recession...

...Unemployment Insurance, aid to the states, enhanced nutrition support, direct payments—and infrastructure and job programs—are the tried-and-true programs that stabilize the macroeconomy while supporting America’s families. Decades of evidence show these programs work. Now, in this package, Congress should ensure that the supports we put in place stay in place by crafting them so that they trigger off when the labor market recovers, and not before… #coronavirus #macro #noted #2020-05-12


Noted: Yes: Time Feels Weird Right Now

Emily VanDerWerff: Why Quarantine Has Made Time Feel so Weird, Explained https://www.vox.com/2020/5/7/21248259/why-time-feels-so-weird-right-now-quarantine-coronavirus-pandemic: ‘March felt longer to people because you could look back to the first half of March, before we were in quarantine, and say, “Oh, all of this stuff happened.” And in the second half of March, people were forced out of their routines, their flow. But April has been the same thing over and over, and retroactively, it feels much shorter... #coronavirus #noted #2020-05-12


Martha Wells Is Having too Much Fun Here...

Highly recommended. Martha Wells appears to have had an illegally large amount of fun writing this novel. Here a newly-created instantiation of Murderbot sets out on what is supposed to be a suicide mission. Murderbot's first person POV:

Martha Wells: Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel https://books.google.com/books?id=sBK_yAEACAAJ&dq=isbn:1250229863: 'Obviously some things had happened since [the] A[--hole ]R[esearch ]T[ransport] had... cop[ied the old me to create me]...

...And ART was right, it couldn’t risk a comm contact, even to get intel. If the Targets managed to deliver the threat to kill ART’s crew, it would put them in control of the situation and we had to avoid that any way we could.

I said, "I’m not actually a human baby, ART, I remember the f---ing directive—I helped write it".

"You’re not making this any easier", ART said.

"You can either have an existential crisis or get your crew back, ART, pick one".

ART said, "Prepare for deployment..."

#books #highlyrecommended #noted #sciencefiction #2020-05-12


Noted: Morley: New Normal?

Neville Morley: The New Normal? https://thesphinxblog.com/2020/04/27/the-new-normal/: ‘Microsoft Teams... [might] be... used for a seminar of 10-12 students, where a class of 150 is clearly a non-starter. But having now had a couple of department meetings via Teams, I’m sceptical.... [Is] online class discussion... what we actually need to prioritis[e?].... Might it be possible to get more people more involved—and even more so if it takes place asynchronously, so people have time to think and compose their answers, rather than privileging the ability to come up with coherent thoughts spontaneously?… #internet #noted #universities #2020-05-11


Noted: Kelly: 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

Kevin Kelly: 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice https://kk.org/thetechnium/68-bits-of-unsolicited-advice/: ‘Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe. Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points. Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better... #cognition #noted #2020-05-11


Noted: Gibbon: Roman Tolerance

Edward Gibbon: Roman Tolerance https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/10/quote-of-the-day-october-5-2011-roman-tolerance.html: 'The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord...

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