#noted Feed

Doug Jones: Copernicus Versus the Scientific Method https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/copernicus-versus-the-scientific-method-5/: 'Ptolemy needed to assume that the five planets (not counting the sun and moon) have both cycles (the big circles) and epicycles (the little circles).... Some of the cycles and epicycles vary independently, while others are exactly tied to the motions of the sun. For Mercury and Venus, the epicycles vary independently, taking different periods of time (88 days, 225 days) to complete a circuit. Their cycles, by contrast, take exactly one Earth year to complete a circuit. Furthermore, the deferent, the point at center of each epicycle, is always exactly in line with the sun. For Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on the other hand, it’s the other way around. The cycles vary independently (1.88, 11.86, and 29.46 years to make a complete circuit). But the epicycles take exactly one Earth year... [and] the line from deferent to planet is exactly parallel to the line from Earth to Sun.... Copernicus’s model, by contrast, doesn’t just replace five circles (the cycles for Mercury and Venus, and the epicycles for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) with one (for the Earth going around the Sun). It also automatically explains why the five superfluous cycles show an otherwise unexplained synchronic parallelism. People who read Copernicus 1543 book carefully (not many at first) could see he had a real explanation for something that’s just a mysterious coincidence in Ptolemy.... Solomonoff induction... can explain why Copernicanism is a better theory.... Bayes’ Rule.... And where do scientists get their prior probabilities?... Solomonoff... He argues that we can use the theory of algorithmic complexity, as developed by Kolmogorov.... If your theory were turned into a computer program, how long would the program be? The longer the program, the lower the prior probability, where probabilities fall off exponentially with length of program...

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Jeremiah Dittmar and Kipper Seabold: New Media and Competition: Printing and Europe's Transformation after Gutenberg http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1600.pdf: "We study the role of book content in economic, religious, and institutional development after the introduction of printing, and the role of competition in determining the amount and content of local printing. We focus on (1) business education content and (2) religious ideas during the Protestant Reformation. We construct data on printing output and competition in European cities 1454-1600.We document positive relationships between business education content and city growth, and Protestant content and institutional change. We find competition predicts content. We confirm the relationships between competition, content, and outcomes using printer deaths as a source of exogenous variation...

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Matthew Chapman: Uber and Lyft Put Up $60 million for Ballot Fight: 'On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft are prepared to spend 60 million in support of a potential California ballot question in 2020 that would prevent their workers from being classified as employees. The push comes as the California legislature advances AB 5, which would require any workers who perform functions that aren’t outside the course of their employer’s business to be classified as an employee—codifying a decision last year by the California Supreme Court. Uber and Lyft have kept their margins low by classifying their workers as self-employed contractors who just happen to use their app as a social network to find passengers. This means that they are not covered by a number of protections that employees receive, like the right to unionize or to receive overtime pay...

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A very nice look-back at a big story from a decade ago that simply did not happen:

Ben Casselman: The White-Collar Job Apocalypse That Didn’t Happen https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/business/economy/jobs-offshoring.html: "'Where in retrospect I missed the boat is in thinking that the gigantic gap in labor costs between here and India would push it to India rather than to South Dakota', Mr. Blinder said in a recent interview.... Adam Ozimek revisited Mr. Blinder’s analysis to see what had happened over the past decade. Some job categories that Mr. Blinder identified as vulnerable, like data-entry workers, have seen a decline in United States employment. But the ranks of others, like actuaries, have continued to grow.... Over all, of the 26 occupations that Mr. Blinder identified as 'highly offshorable' and for which Mr. Ozimek had data, 15 have added jobs over the past decade and 11 have cut them. Altogether, those occupations have eliminated fewer than 200,000 jobs over 10 years, hardly the millions that many feared.... In the jobs that Mr. Blinder identified as easily offshored, a growing share of workers were now working from home. Mr. Ozimek said he suspected that many more were working in satellite offices or for outside contractors, rather than at a company’s main location. In other words, technology like cloud computing and videoconferencing has enabled these jobs to be done remotely, just not quite as remotely as Mr. Blinder and many others assumed.... Call centers. Telemarketing jobs have declined sharply in the United States since 2007, as much of the work was sent overseas. But the number of customer service representatives has continued to grow.... Telemarketers are essentially selling products and often working from a script. Customer service and other call-center work like tech support often require a more nuanced understanding of the customer experience...

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There are remarkably good odds that the next global recession will be triggered by the miscalculations of politicians who have no business holding any office whatsoever. I have but one quibble with Nouiiel Roubini's argument here. The situation in Argentina is dire for Argentina and the southern cone, but it is not the kidn of thing that can provoke a global recession. Trump and Johnson, by contrast, might: 

Nouriel Roubini: Four Collision Courses for the Global Econom https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/playing-chicken-with-global-economy-trump-china-iran-argentina-by-nouriel-roubini-2019-09: "Between US President Donald Trump's zero-sum disputes with China and Iran, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's brinkmanship with Parliament and the European Union, and Argentina's likely return to Peronist populism, the fate of the global economy is balancing on a knife edge. Any of these scenarios could lead to a crisis with rapid spillover effects.... In each case, failure to compromise would lead to a collision, most likely followed by a global recession and financial crisis.... The problem is that while compromise requires both parties to de-escalate, the tactical logic of chicken rewards crazy behavior. If I can make it look like I have removed my steering wheel, the other side will have no choice but to swerve. But if both sides throw out their steering wheels, a collision becomes unavoidable...

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Of all the very strange things the New York Times has published since October 1, 2016, perhaps the strangest is the Bret Stephens column comparing George Washington University Professor Dave Karpf to Joseph Goebbels.

Why did Stephens do this? Because Karpf had tweeted “the bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens” in reply to New York Times assistant editor Stuart A. Thompson's tweet that there were bedbugs in the New York Times newsroom.

In response to things like this, I find the Washington Post's Alexandra Petri usually responds at the appropriate level. And she does so here:

Alexandra Petri: I Am a Bedbug and Would Like to Be Kept Out of This Mess: "My name has been soiled and made dirty like a place I would love to relax at with my blood meal. Please, I would like to be kept out of this mess. I know that, as a bedbug, this is not a phrase you would expect to hear vibrate forth through my rostrum, but hear me out. I am just trying to live my life. Instead, I have been thrust into a story I never asked to be part of. This is not my fight, and I don’t know any of the people involved. Please, stop using me to insult people. I don’t know these people. I don’t know anything other than that some of them emit kairomones and I need to make use of them for a blood meal to escape my final nymphal stage. That’s it. So stop invoking my name! Fight your own battles. I understand very well that I am not welcome in your society. This is the double standard. I have spent a long time developing a thick, chitinous skin, covered with bristles and hairs. But that does not mean that words do not sting, too...

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No matter what our domestic economic problems, it is still essential to remind ourselves that for humanity as a whole the years since 1980 have seen the greatest improvement in economic well-being, globally, of any forty-yer period in human history. We have been truly blessed:

Noah Smith: Globalization Has Cut Inequality Between Rich and Poor Countries https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-24/globalization-has-cut-inequality-between-rich-and-poor-countries: "Up through the 1980s, the blessings of the Industrial Revolution seemed largely confined to a handful of countries in Western Europe, East Asia, the U.S., Australia and Canada. But in the past three decades, there has been a sea change, and developing countries have made great strides in catching up. Although inequality has risen within some nations, at the global level it’s going down: Much of this catch-up is happening in countries that are still largely poor, such as India or Indonesia. To an economist—or someone who cares about alleviating the suffering of the world’s poorest people–this still represents a miracle. But a skeptic of globalization might wonder whether it can really be called a success if broad middle-class living standards still remain the exclusive privilege of a handful of nations, many of them former colonial powers...

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John Authers: Newsletter: Powell Will Need a Horror Show to Cut Again https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxwDrvGtsgdxLzJlcxQKswVjrTMM: 'Every so often, I make a good call. It’s nice when it happens. So I start by drawing your attention to... “Could this be the point when Powell tries to stake out his hawkish credentials once again, and stock market day-traders, mugs though they are, show they have at last learned to anticipate this and price it in? We will know soon enough.” It turns out that the answer was “yes”.  One more good call and I can say I am right more often than a broken clock.... The Federal Open Market Committee cut its target rate for the third meeting running, and tried to give itself space not to cut again, also for the third time running.... But it still included a caveat which was enough to reassure everyone that he was no more hawkish than they had feared: “if developments emerge that are a cause for a material reassessment of our outlook, we would respond accordingly.”... A “material reassessment” would imply the Fed would need to be proved seriously wrong, which in turn would imply a recession. So we could go along with the gloriously lugubrious assessment of TS Lombard’s U.S. economist Steve Blitz: “This means it will take recessionary signals to cut and that, in turn, means they will be too late to avoid recession.” That is in line with the lesson of history... either there is a recession, or the Fed has cut as much as anyone could have hoped. Now, eat, drink and make merry...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (October 31, 2019)

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MUST OF THE MUSTS

  • Comment of the Day: Grizzled in Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming To an End https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_grizzled_-in-age-of-the-expert-as-policymaker-is-coming-to-an-end-alas-i-dont-think-its-usual.html: 'Alas, I don't think it's usually possible for non-experts to evaluate expert judgements. The Reinhard and Rogoff example is more the exception than the rule. Consider the case of global warming. Google 'Conversion of a Global Warming Skeptic'. This is a case where is took 18 months of work, which was funded so it could be not only full time but assisted, for a Phd in physics to accumulate enough background to become convinced that the climate scientists had been right all along...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: _Orlando Letelier (1976): The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll: _ https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/orlando-letelier-1976-the-chicago-boys-in-chile-economic-freedoms-awful-toll-hoisted-from-the-archives.html: 'It is nonsensical... that those who inspire, support or finance that economic policy should try to present their advocacy as restricted to “technical consid erations,” while pretending to reject the system of terror it requires to succeed...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Contra Raghu Rajan: Economic Stimulus Has Not Failed, It Has Not Been Tried (on a Large Enough Scale) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/contra-raghu-rajan-economic-stimulus-has-not-failed-it-has-not-been-tried-on-a-large-enough-scale.html: 'Back in 2007 I would have said that every macroeconomist who has done any homework at all believes that coordinated monetary and fiscal expansion together increase at least the flow of nominal GDP. Now comes the very smart Raghu Rajan to say, apparently, not so...

  • Weekend Reading: Benjamin Wittes: The Collapse of the President’s Defense https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/benjamin-wittes-the-collapse-of-the-presidents-defense-weekend-reading.html: 'It was never a strong defense. After all, Trump himself released the smoking gun early in L’Affaire Ukrainienne when the White House published its memo of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That document erased any question as to whether Trump had asked a foreign head of state to “investigate”—a euphemism for digging up dirt on—his political opponents. There was no longer any doubt that he had asked a foreign country to violate the civil liberties of American citizens by way of interfering in the coming presidential campaign. That much we have known for certain for weeks. The clarity of the evidence did not stop the president’s allies from trying to fashion some semblance of defense. But the past few days of damaging testimony have stripped away the remaining fig leaves...

  • Weekend Reading: Milton Friedman (1982): Free Markets and the Generals https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/milton-friedman-1982-free-markets-and-the-generals-weekend-reading.html: 'Military juntas in other South American countries have been as authoritarian in the economic sphere as they have been in politics.... None, with the exception of Chile, has supported a fully free market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle. Inflation has been cut from 700% a year in mid-1974 to less than 10% a year. After a difficult transition, the economy boomed, growing an aver age of about 8% a year from 1976 to 1980. Real wages and employment rose rapidly and unemployment fell. Imports and exports surged after export subsidies were eliminated and tariffs were slashed to a flat 10% (except for temporarily higher rates for most automobiles)...

  • Voltaire: The Presbyterians https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/voltaire-the-works-of-voltaire-vol-xix-philosophical-letters: 'Though the Episcopal and Presbyterian sects are the two prevailing ones in Great Britain, yet all others are very welcome to come and settle in it, and they live very sociably together, though most of their preachers hate one another almost as cordially as a Jansenist damns a Jesuit. Take a view of the Royal Exchange in London, a place more venerable than many courts of justice, where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact business together, as though they were all of the same religion, and give the name of Infidels to none but bankrupts; there the Presbyterian confides in the Anabaptist, and the Churchman depends upon the Quaker’s word. At the breaking up of this pacific and free assembly, some withdraw to the synagogue, and others to take a glass. This man goes and is baptized in a great tub, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that man has his son’s foreskin cut off, and causes a set of Hebrew words—to the meaning of which he himself is an utter stranger—to be mumbled over the infant; others retire to their churches, and there wait the inspiration of heaven with their hats on; and all are satisfied. If one religion only were allowed in England, the government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but, as there is such a multitude, they all live happy, and in peace...

  • The fall of the Roman Empire in the west: implications for literature and literary culture: Erich Auerbach: Mimesis: 'Gregory of Tours: "Serious local fighting arose at that time between inhabitants of the region of Tours. For Sicharius, son of the late John, celebrated the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord at the village of Manthelan with Austrighiselus and the other neighbors. And the priest of the place sent a boy over to invite some of the men to come to his house for a drink. When the boy got there, one of those he invited drew his sword and did not refrain from striking at him. He fell down and was dead. Sicharius was friendly with the priest, and when he heard that one of his boys had been murdered, he took his arms and went to the church to wait for Austrighiselus...

  • But... But... But... There are no hot summer nights in Sausalito!: Wikipedia: Sausalito Summernight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausalito_Summernight...

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IMHO, the late Marty Weitzman's finest work. I would give a testicle or equivalent value to have written this:

Marty Weitzman: Prices vs. Quantities https://delong.typepad.com/prices-vs-quantities.pdf: "There is, it seems to me, a rather fundamental reason to believe that quantities are better signals for situations demanding a high degree of coordination. A classical example would be the short run production planning of intermediate industrial materials. Within a large production organization, be it the General Motors Corporation or the Soviet industrial sector as a whole, the need for balancing the output of any intermediate commodity whose production is relatively specialized to this organization and which cannot be effortlessly and instantaneously imported from or exported to a perfectly competitive outside world puts a kink in the benefit function. If it turns out that production of ball bearings of a certain specialized kind (plus reserves) falls short of anticipated internal consumption, far more than the value of the unproduced bearings can be lost. Factors of production and materials that were destined to be combined with the ball bearings and with commodities containing them in higher stages of production must stand idle and are prevented from adding value all along the line. If on the other hand more bearings are produced than were contemplated being consumed, the excess cannot be used immediately and will only go into storage to lose implicit interest over time. Such short run rigidity is essentially due to the limited substitutability, fixed coefficients nature of a technology based on machinery. Other things being equal, the asymmetry between the effects of overproducing and underproducing are more pronounced the further removed from final use is the commodity and the more difficult it is to substitute alternative slack resources or to quickly replenish supplies by emergency imports. The resulting strong curvature in benefits around the planned consumption levels of intermediate materials tends to create a very high comparative advantage for quantity instruments. If this is combined with a cost function that is nearly linear in the relevant range, the advantage of the quantity mode is doubly compounded...

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Carmen Ye: Why We Need Better Re-Employment Policies For Formerly Incarcerated African American Men: "African American men... 33 percent of the 1.56 million Americans held in state or federal prisons.... When these men are released from prison, what will their employment prospects look like?... Black applicants with no criminal record receive a callback or job offer at the same rate as white applicants with a felony conviction. Yet black applicants without a criminal record were three times as likely to get a callback as those with a record...

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I have some disagreements with this by the smart Sufi, Mishkin, and Hooper: the evidence for "significant nonlinearity" in the Phillips Curve is that the curve flattens when inflation is low, not that it steepens when labor slack is low. There is simply no "strong evidence" of significant steepening with low labor slack. Yes, you can find specifications with a t-statistic of 2 in which this is the case, but you have to work hard to find such specifications, and your results are fragile. The fact is that in the United States between 1957 and 1988—the first half of the last 60 years—the slope of the simplest-possible adaptive-expectations Phillips Curve was -0.54: each one-percentage point fall in unemployment below the estimated natural rate boosted inflation in the subsequent year by 0.54%-points above its contemporary value. Since 1988—in the second half of the past 60 years—the slope of this simplest-possible Phillips curve has been effectively zero: the estimated regression coefficient has been not -0.54 but only -0.03. The most important observations driving the estimated negative slope of the Phillips Curve in the first half of the past sixty years were 1966, 1973, and 1974—inflation jumping up in times of relatively-low unemployment—and 1975, 1981, and 1982—inflation falling in times of relatively-high unemployment. The most important observations driving the estimated zero slope of the Phillips Curve in the second half of the past sixty years have been 2009-2014: the failure of inflation to fall as the economy took its Great-Recession excursion to a high-unemployment labor market with enormous slack. Yes, if we had analogues of (a) two presidents, Johnson and Nixon, desperate for a persistent high-pressure economy; (b) a Federal Reserve chair like Arthur Burns eager to accommodate presidential demands; (c) the rise of a global monopoly in the economy's key input able to deliver mammoth supply shocks; and (d) a decade of bad luck; then we might see a return to inflation as it was in the (pre-Iran crisis) early and mid-1970s. But is that really the tail risk we should be focused monomaniacally on? And how is it, exactly, that "the difference between national and city/state results in recent decades can be explained by the success that monetary policy has had in quelling inflation and anchoring inflation expectations since the 1980s"? Neither of those two should affect the estimated coefficient. Much more likely is simply that—at the national level and at the city/state level—the Phillips Curve becomes flat when inflation becomes low:

Peter Hooper, Frederic S. Mishkin, and Amir Sufi: Prospects for Inflation in a High Pressure Economy: Is the Phillips Curve Dead or Is It Just Hibernating? https://delong.typepad.com/files/phillips-hibernating-1.pdf: "Evidence on whether the Phillips curve is dead, i.e. that its slope has flattened to zero. National data going back to the 1950s and 60s yield strong evidence of negative slopes and significant nonlinearity in those slopes, with slopes much steeper in tight labor markets than in easy labor markets. This evidence of both slope and nonlinearity weakens dramatically based on macro data since the 1980s for the price Phillips curve, but not the wage Phillips curve. However, the endogeneity of monetary policy and the lack of variation of the unemployment gap, which has few episodes of being substantially below zero in this sample period, makes the price Phillips curve estimates from this period less reliable. At the same time, state level and MSA level data since the 1980s yield significant evidence of both negative slope and nonlinearity in the Phillips curve. The difference between national and city/state results in recent decades can be explained by the success that monetary policy has had in quelling inflation and anchoring inflation expectations since the 1980s. We also review the experience of the 1960s, the last time inflation expectations became unanchored, and observe both parallels and differences with today. Our analysis suggests that reports of the death of the Phillips curve may be greatly exaggerated...

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There is no single effect of "automation" on the workforce and the labor market. It is long past time for us to dig deeper, and here is a good piece of spadework:

Sotiris Blanas, Gino Gancia, and Tim Lee: How Different Technologies Affect Different Workers https://voxeu.org/article/how-different-technologies-affect-different-workers_: "Since the early 1980s, technology has reduced the demand for low and medium-skill workers, the young, and women, especially in manufacturing industries. The column investigates which technologies have had the largest effect, and on which types of worker. It finds that robots and software raised the demand for high-skill workers, older workers, and men, especially in service industries.... From 1982 to 2005, using data from 30 industries spanning roughly the entire economies of ten high-income countries.... We used the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to evaluate which jobs are more prone to automation based on the type of tasks they require.... Industrial robots decrease low-skill employment, while they increase the income shares of high and medium-skill workers, old workers, and men.... In manufacturing, robots lower low-skill, young, and female employment, while in services, they increase medium-skill and male employment. In both sectors, robots increase the income shares of high-skill, old, and male workers. Our results are consistent with the view that robots replace workers who perform routine tasks, especially in sectors where automation is more widespread, such as manufacturing. By contrast, they increase employment and incomes in sectors where automation has started more recently, such as in services, a sector in which new occupations are appearing. Given the industrial and occupational composition of these sectors, that robots are likely to complement engineers, product designers and managers–that is, occupations that are dominated by high-skill, more senior, and male workers. Software has a similar effect to robots, whereas ICT capital is associated with employment gains mostly for medium and low-skill workers...

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Gary Forsythe: A Critical History of Early Rome: 'By 264 B.C. peninsular Italy was firmly under Roman military control. Its population consisted of three different categories of people. First of all, there were the Roman citizens. They occupied the actual territory of the Roman state, which stretched across central Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic, extended southward in a strip down along the Volscian coast to the Bay of Naples, and included northern Campania. According to Roman census figures, which seem to be credible from the early third century B.C. onwards, the adult male Roman population at this time numbered more than a quarter of a million. Secondly, there were the states allied to Rome. In geography and population they formed the largest of the three categories. They were the various Etruscan, Umbrian, Picene, Sabellian, Messapic, and Greek communities of northern and southern Italy, who still exercised local autonomy over their own affairs but were bound to Rome by individual bilateral treaties. Generally speaking, these states were governed by republican constitutions of various configurations, and political power was largely in the hands of local landed elites, who had the same basic social, economic, and political interests and outlook as the Roman aristocracy. The third category of people in Roman Italy were the Latin colonies scattered throughout the peninsula. Since their inhabitants enjoyed Latin status and had Rome as their mother-city, they were closely bound to the Roman state by law, language, culture, and sentiment. Though numerically the smallest of the three categories, their numbers were deployed geographically to best safeguard Roman interests in the lands of the allied communities. Rome held the commanding central position of this legal structure, which integrated all these peoples into a single military organization. Both the Italian allies and the Latin colonies were bound directly to Rome by individual treaties which spelled out their rights and obligations. As long as domestic tranquillity was maintained, Rome was content to allow the allied...

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Phoebe Weston: Ancestral Home of All Human Beings Discovered https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/homo-sapiens-origin-humans-botswana-zambezi-river-a9174396.html: 'Vast wetland south of Zambezi river was cradle of all mankind and sustained our ancestors for 70,000 years: Scientists have pinpointed a fertile river valley in northern Botswana as the ancestral home of all human beings: The earliest anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) arose 200,000 years ago in a vast wetland south of the Zambezi river which was the cradle of all mankind, a new study has revealed. This lush region–which also covered parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe – was home to an enormous lake which sustained our ancestors for 70,000 years, according to the paper published in the journal Nature. Between 110,000 and 130,000 years ago, the climate started to change and fertile corridors opened up out of this valley. For the first time, the population began to disperse–paving the way for modern humans to migrate out of Africa, and ultimately, across the world...

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Alwyn Young (1994): The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience https://www.nber.org/papers/w4680: 'The fundamental role played by factor accumulation in explaining the extraordinary postwar growth of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.... While the growth of output per capita in these economies has averaged 6% to 7% per annum over the past two and a half decades, the growth of output per effective worker in the non-agricultural sector of these economies has been only 3% to 4% per annum.... Total factor productivity growth rates... are well within the bounds of those experienced by the OECD and Latin American economies over equally long periods of time. While the growth of output and manufacturing exports in the newly industrializing economies of East Asia is virtually unprecedented, the growth of total factor productivity in these economies is not...

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Justin August: Upgrading to OSX Catalina as an Anaconda User https://medium.com/@justinaugust/upgrading-to-osx-catalina-as-an-anaconda-user-2e71db194764: 'Big news! There’s a new MacOS out! It brings lots of nice features. Bad news! If you’re a user of the Anaconda distribution for Python, Data Analysis and Jupyter Notebooks you may want to wait. Installing Catalina will disable your Anaconda distribution and move the folder from your root directory to a folder on your desktop called Relocated Items. More details can be found here. My steps for correcting this were...

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The fall of the Roman Empire in the west: implications for literature and literary culture: Erich Auerbach: Mimesis: 'Gregory of Tours: "Serious local fighting arose at that time between inhabitants of the region of Tours. For Sicharius, son of the late John, celebrated the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord at the village of Manthelan with Austrighiselus and the other neighbors. And the priest of the place sent a boy over to invite some of the men to come to his house for a drink. When the boy got there, one of those he invited drew his sword and did not refrain from striking at him. He fell down and was dead. Sicharius was friendly with the priest, and when he heard that one of his boys had been murdered, he took his arms and went to the church to wait for Austrighiselus...

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-29:

  1. Boing Boing: Multi-Tools https://www.getgeekey.com https://kelvintools.com/product/kelvin-spinner/ https://1tac.com/shop/accessories/wallet-multi-tool https://www.gearinfusion.com/products/everratchet...

  2. Daniella Thompson: High-Peaked Colonial Revival, a Bay Area Phenomenon

  3. Nadiezda Kizenko (2000): A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People https://books.google.com/books?isbn=027101976X: "Three introductory comments.... While I have tried to do justice to a figure as complex as Father John, this is not a hagiography.... Because I intend this book... for readers... interest[ed] in the history of Russia and... of Christianity, I have included background material.... I am well aware that Father John still sparks intense reactions...

  4. Orlando Letelier: The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll https://www.thenation.com/article/the-chicago-boys-in-chile-economic-freedoms-awful-toll/: 'Repression for the majorities and “economic freedom” for small privileged groups are two sides of the same coin...

  5. Joshua Gans: Does Being Rich Make You Better at Allocating Capital? https://digitopoly.org/2019/10/27/does-being-rich-make-you-better-at-allocating-capital/...

  6. Steven Greenhouse: Where Are the Workers When We Talk About the Future of Work? https://prospect.org/labor/where-are-the-workers-when-we-talk-about-the-future-of-work/: 'CEOs, Silicon Valley investors, and techno-academics talk to themselves about new technologies, but workers must have a say in these debates as well...

  7. Emily Stewart: Elizabeth Warren Has a Lot of Supporters on Wall Street Over Trump https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/10/23/20916138/wall-street-elizabeth-warren-supporters-donald-trump: '“I’m fully on board with soaking the rich, 100 percent, and if that involves me paying more taxes, let’s go”...

  8. João Medeiros: This Economist Has a Plan to Fix Capitalism. It's Time We All Listened https://www.wired.co.uk/article/mariana-mazzucato: 'Mariana Mazzucato has demonstrated that the real driver of innovation isn't lone geniuses but state investment. Now she's working with the UK government, EU and UN to apply her moonshot approach to the world's biggest challenges...

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Voltaire: The Presbyterians https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/voltaire-the-works-of-voltaire-vol-xix-philosophical-letters: 'Though the Episcopal and Presbyterian sects are the two prevailing ones in Great Britain, yet all others are very welcome to come and settle in it, and they live very sociably together, though most of their preachers hate one another almost as cordially as a Jansenist damns a Jesuit. Take a view of the Royal Exchange in London, a place more venerable than many courts of justice, where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact business together, as though they were all of the same religion, and give the name of Infidels to none but bankrupts; there the Presbyterian confides in the Anabaptist, and the Churchman depends upon the Quaker’s word. At the breaking up of this pacific and free assembly, some withdraw to the synagogue, and others to take a glass. This man goes and is baptized in a great tub, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that man has his son’s foreskin cut off, and causes a set of Hebrew words—to the meaning of which he himself is an utter stranger—to be mumbled over the infant; others retire to their churches, and there wait the inspiration of heaven with their hats on; and all are satisfied. If one religion only were allowed in England, the government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but, as there is such a multitude, they all live happy, and in peace...

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Walter Jon Williams: Reviews Too Late: Money Heist http://www.walterjonwilliams.net/2019/10/reviews-too-late-money-heist/: 'While recovering from surgery I binged, mainly continuing my exploration of Spanish TV with Money Heist (Casa de Papel, “House of Paper”)  I do like an intricate caper, as my Maijstral books demonstrate, and this is probably the longest caper ever filmed, something like sixteen hours of television originally split into two seasons.  (One crime over two seasons!)  The series was one of the most-watched in Europe last summer, which attracted the interest of Netflix.  When Netflix acquired the series it was re-edited into 22 episodes, and two more seasons were filmed.  (I’m halfway through Season Three, and Season Four has yet to be released.) So, whatta we got here?  Master criminal El Professor (Álvaro Morte) recruits a group of criminal specialists to take over the Spanish mint, run off a couple billion euros over a week’s time, and cleverly vanish along with the cash.  To preserve anonymity, each of the team adopts the pseudonym of a city, and the tale is narrated by Tokyo, a young woman with a history of robbing banks, and who recently watched her boyfriend gunned down when a heist she planned went terribly wrong.  Tokyo isn’t an unreliable narrator, exactly, but she’s an unreliable human being, prone to making an impulsive grand gesture at exactly the wrong moment. And in fact El Professor turns out to have made quite a number of mistakes in casting his crime...

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This is absolutely brilliant, and quite surprising to me. I had imagined that most of discrimination in the aggregate was the result of a thumb placed lightly on the scale over and over and over again. Here Pat and Chris present evidence that, at least in employment, it is very different: that a relatively small proportion of employers really really discriminate massively, and that most follow race-neutral procedures and strategies:

Patrick Kline and Christopher Walters: Audits as Evidence: Experiments, Ensembles, and Enforcement https://eml.berkeley.edu//~crwalters/papers/reasonable_doubt.pdf: "We develop tools for utilizing correspondence experiments to detect illegal discrimination by individual employers. Employers violate US employment law if their propensity to contact applicants depends on protected characteristics such as race or sex. We establish identification of higher moments of the causal effects of protected characteristics on callback rates as a function of the number of fictitious applications sent to each job ad. These moments are used to bound the fraction of jobs that illegally discriminate. Applying our results to three experimental datasets, we find evidence of significant employer heterogeneity in discriminatory behavior, with the standard deviation of gaps in job-specific callback probabilities across protected groups averaging roughly twice the mean gap. In a recent experiment manipulating racially distinctive names, we estimate that at least 85% of jobs that contact both of two white applications and neither of two black applications are engaged in illegal discrimination. To assess more carefully the tradeoff between type I and II errors presented by these behavioral patterns, we consider the performance of a series of decision rules for investigating suspicious callback behavior under a simple two-type model that rationalizes the experimental data. Though, in our preferred specification, only 17% of employers are estimated to discriminate on the basis of race, we find that an experiment sending 10 applications to each job would enable accurate detection of 7- 10% of discriminators while falsely accusing fewer than 0.2% of non-discriminators. A minimax decision rule acknowledging partial identification of the joint distribution of callback rates yields higher error rates but more investigations than our baseline two-type model. Our results suggest illegal labor market discrimination can be reliably monitored with relatively small modifications to existing audit designs...

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I suspect that this will be to the taste of very few people who read this. But I think that this—and Marshall Berman's (1982) All That Is Solid Melts into Air http://books.google.com/?isbn=0860917851—is well worth your attention. One way to approach it is to note that back before 1500 humanity's collective technological and organizational possibilities grew at a proportion rate of something like 0.04% per year. Now they grow at 2% per year. Thus changes in what we can do and how we can organize ourselves to do it that used to happen over a 50-year timespan now take place in one revolution around the sun. Thus "modern" people must continually reinvent and reinvent ourselves in a way very foreign to all of the memory of our past historical experience. What are the consequences of this? Humanist late-twentieth century New York CUNY Marxist took a stab:

Marshall Berman (1984): The Signs in the Street: A Response to Perry Anderson https://newleftreview.org/issues/I144/articles/marshall-berman-the-signs-in-the-street-a-response-to-perry-anderson: "‘To be modern’, as I define it... ‘is to experience personal and social life as a maelstrom, to find one’s world in perpetual disintegration and renewal, trouble and anguish, ambiguity and contradiction: to be part of a universe in which all that is solid melts into air. To be a modernist is to make oneself somehow at home in this maelstrom... to grasp and confront the world that modernization makes, and to strive to make it our own.’ Modernism aims ‘to give modern men and women the power to change the world that is changing them, to make them the subjects as well as the objects of modernization.’ Anderson is willing to accept this as a vision of 19th-century culture and politics, but he thinks that it is irrelevant to our century, let alone to our day.... I could assail Anderson’s reading of modern and contemporary history in plenty of ways, but it wouldn’t do anything to advance our common understanding. I want to try something different. Anderson’s view of the current horizon is that it’s empty, closed; mine is that it’s open and crowded with creative possibilities. The best way to defend my vision might be to show what this horizon looks like, what’s actually out there as I see it.... A massive black woman gets on, bent under numerous parcels; I give her my seat. Just behind her, her fifteen-or-so-year-old daughter undulates up the aisle, radiant, stunning in the skin-tight pink pants she has just bought.... They continue an argument.... The mother still won’t look, but after awhile she lifts her eyes slowly, then shakes her head. ‘With that ass,’ she says, ‘you’ll never get out of high school without a baby. And I ain’t taking care of no more babies. You’re my last baby.’ The girl squeezes her mother’s arm: ‘Don’t worry, Mama. We’re modern. We know how to take care of ourselves.’ The mother sighs, and addresses her packages: ‘Modern? Just you take care you don’t bring me no modern babies.’ Soon I get off, feeling as happy and whole as the girl in the bus. Life is rough in the South Bronx, but the people aren’t giving up: modernity is alive and well...

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As we hand more and more control over to agencies whee humans are not really in the loop, we are going to find lots of unintended and deleterious consequences. When the Sacklers sicked Purdue Pharma on the world to make themselves some money, did they imagine that it would decide that addicting lots of Americans to oxycontin was a strategy it would follow? Probably not. Corporations with diffused responsibility and everybody looking only at their narrow piece is one way to take humans out of the loop. Algorithmic systems are another:

Kris Shaffer: How Algorithms Amplify Our Own Biases and Shape What We See Online https://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/algorithms-bias-internet: "The following is an excerpt from Kris Shaffer’s book, Data Versus Democracy: How Big Data Algorithms Shape Opinions and Alter the Course of History. It is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis.... When a user performs a search, the model takes their search terms and any metadata around the search (location, timing, etc.) as inputs, along with data about the user from their profile and activity history, and other information from the platform’s database, like content features and the profiles and preferences of other similar users. Based on this data, the model delivers results—filtered and ranked content, according to predictions made about what the user is most likely to engage with...

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Doug Jones: Empires and Barbarians https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/empires-and-barbarians-5/: 'The fall of Rome involved the disintegration of the Roman state; the collapse of long-distance trade; the disappearance of mass-produced pottery, coinage, and monumental architecture over large areas; declining literacy among commoners and elites; great insecurity of life and property, and demographic collapse. The process was drawn out and played out differently in different regions. In the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, central government supported by taxation continued; in the West it largely disappeared. The nadir in the West was perhaps the tenth century. We might set the turning point at the battle of Lechfeld (955): a last set of invaders off the steppes, the Magyars, was defeated by the Emperor Otto, and then adopted Christianity, gave up nomadic marauding, and settled down as feudal lords in Hungary.... The overall trend of history is for more complex societies to replace less complex. (Important note: “more complex” is not the same as “nicer.”) But the process is an uneven one, in part because military effectiveness is only loosely coupled with social complexity...

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The Song Dynasty revolution: Doug Jones: A Cycle of Cathay https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/a-cycle-of-cathay-2/: 'Jacques Gernet: "The innovations which make their appearance in East Asia round about the year 1000… form such a coherent and extensive whole that we have to yield to the evidence: at this period, the Chinese world experienced a real transformation.… The analogies [with the European Renaissance] are numerous–the return to the classical tradition, the diffusion of knowledge, the upsurge of science and technology (printing, explosives, advance in seafaring techniques, the clock with escapement…), a new philosophy, and a new view of the world.… There is not a single sector of political, social or economic life in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries which does not show evidence of radical changes in comparison with earlier ages. It is not simply a matter of a change of scale (increase in population, general expansion of production, development of internal and external trade) but of a change of character. Political habits, society, the relations between town and country, and economic patterns are quite different from what they had been.… A new world had been born...

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*John Preskill *: Explains ‘Quantum Supremacy’ https://www.quantamagazine.org/john-preskill-explains-quantum-supremacy-20191002/: 'In the 2012 paper that introduced the term “quantum supremacy,” I wondered: “Is controlling large-scale quantum systems merely really, really hard, or is it ridiculously hard? In the former case we might succeed in building large-scale quantum computers after a few decades of very hard work. In the latter case we might not succeed for centuries, if ever.” The recent achievement by the Google team bolsters our confidence that quantum computing is merely really, really hard. If that’s true, a plethora of quantum technologies are likely to blossom in the decades ahead...

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Scott Aaronson: Quantum Supremacy: The Gloves Are Off https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=4372: 'does IBM’s analysis mean that “quantum supremacy” hasn’t been achieved? No, it doesn’t—at least, not under any definition of “quantum supremacy” that I’ve ever used. The Sycamore chip took about 3 minutes.... three minutes versus 2.5 days is still a quantum speedup by a factor of 1200. But even more relevant, I think, is to compare the number of “elementary operations.” Let’s generously count a FLOP (floating-point operation) as the equivalent of a quantum gate. Then by my estimate, we’re comparing ~5×10^9 quantum gates against ~2×10^20 FLOPs—a quantum speedup by a factor of ~40 billion.... The broader point is that neither party... denies that the top-supercomputers-on-the-planet-level difficulty of classically simulating Google’s 53-qubit programmable chip really is coming from the exponential character of the quantum states in that chip, and nothing else...

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I wish to once again flag this: Recession Ready. We are not yet out of time to take steps to keep the next recession from turning into a depression. But the clock is ticking. Here is an issue are in which the sooner we take action, the better. And here we at Equitable Growth and the Hamilton Project have, I think, done a very good job: Equitable Growth: Recession Ready https://equitablegrowth.org/recession-ready-2/: "Economic recessions are inevitable and they are painful, with harsh short-term effects on families and businesses and potentially deep long-term impacts on the economy and society. But we can ameliorate some of the next recession’s worst effects and minimize its long-term costs if we adopt smart policies now that will be triggered when its first warning signs appear. Equitable Growth has joined forces with The Hamilton Project to advance a set of specific, evidence-based policy ideas for shortening and easing the impacts of the next recession...

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Looking forward to this. Still, Heather, $26.55 for an ebook?: Hooks Book Events: "Please join us Oct. 30th, for Programs w/ a Purpose with @HBoushey, Pres./CEO of @equitablegrowth. She will discuss her book, Unbound: Heather Boushey Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do about It: 'Many fear that efforts to address inequality will undermine the economy as a whole. But the opposite is true: rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to market competition. Heather Boushey breaks down the problem and argues that we can preserve our nation’s economic traditions while promoting shared economic growth...

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Let me highlight this once again: The very sharp Martin Wolf reacts to the Business Roundtable's recognition that it and the corporations of which it consists need to take on a much broader system-stabilization role. In my view, the first thing the Business Roundtable and its fellow travelers need to do is for them to recover control of the political right from the armies of political and media grifters. They need to weigh on on what right-wing politicians ought to stand for. So far they have not:

Martin Wolf: Why Rigged Capitalism Is Damaging Liberal Democracy https://www.ft.com/content/5a8ab27e-d470-11e9-8367-807ebd53ab77: "Economies are not delivering for most citizens because of weak competition, feeble productivity growth and tax loopholes.... The US Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of 181 of the world’s largest companies, abandoned their longstanding view that 'corporations exist principally to serve their shareholders'.... What does—and should—[this] moment mean? The answer needs to start with acknowledgment of the fact that something has gone very wrong. Over the past four decades, and especially in the US, the most important country of all, we have observed an unholy trinity of slowing productivity growth, soaring inequality and huge financial shocks.... The economy [is] not delivering... in large part... [because of] the rise of rentier capitalism.... Market and political power allows privileged individuals and businesses to extract a great deal of such rent from everybody else.... If one listens to the political debates in many countries, notably the US and UK, one would conclude that the disappointment is mainly the fault of imports from China or low-wage immigrants, or both. Foreigners are ideal scapegoats. But the notion that rising inequality and slow productivity growth are due to foreigners is simply false.... Members of the Business Roundtable and their peers have tough questions to ask themselves. They are right: seeking to maximise shareholder value has proved a doubtful guide to managing corporations. But that realisation is the beginning, not the end.... We need a dynamic capitalist economy that gives everybody a justified belief that they can share in the benefits. What we increasingly seem to have instead is an unstable rentier capitalism, weakened competition, feeble productivity growth, high inequality and, not coincidentally, an increasingly degraded democracy. Fixing this is a challenge for us all, but especially for those who run the world’s most important businesses...

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Jonathan Sallet: Competitive Edge: Five Building Blocks for Antitrust Success: The Forthcoming FTC Competition Report https://equitablegrowth.org/competitive-edge-five-building-blocks-for-antitrust-success-the-forthcoming-ftc-competition-report/: "Here are five building blocks for successful antitrust enforcement that the FTC should embrace in order to, as its Chairman Joseph Simons said (quoting his predecessor Bob Pitofsky), 'restore the tradition of linking law enforcement with a continuing review of economic conditions to ensure that the laws make sense in light of contemporary competitive conditions'.... Pay attention to growing market concentration.... Business models are evolving... today, multisided business models intersect with other economic trends that include network effects, the aggregation of data, and vertical integration.... Antitrust enforcement protects competition, not just consumers.... Modern economic analysis is up to the challenge.... Congress gave the FTC broader enforcement tools than just the Sherman and Clayton Acts...

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-27:

  1. Mark Graham: The Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now is New and Improved https://blog.archive.org/2019/10/23/the-wayback-machines-save-page-now-is-new-and-improved/: 'You can now save all the “outlinks” of a web page with a single click.... When users are logged in with their free Archive.org account, SPN-generated archives can be saved to that user’s “My web archive” public gallery of archived pages.... In addition to capturing more high-quality archives of web page elements (HTML, JavaScript, Image files, etc.), SPN can now also produce a screenshot...

  2. Roderick Long: Old Philosopher Yells at Clouds https://aaeblog.com/2019/10/21/old-philosopher-yells-at-clouds/: 'I’m sure I can’t be the first to notice the ways in which Plato’s Protagoras is framed as a response to Aristophanes’ Clouds, but I’m not aware of any previous discussion of the connections I have in mind.... I have in mind a more specific set of dramatic parallels...

  3. Alison Flood: Susan Sontag was true author of ex-husband's book, biography claims https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/13/susan-sontag-her-life-benjamin-moser-freud-the-mind-of-the-moralist-philip-rieff: 'Sontag: Her Life says she wrote Freud: The Mind of the Moralist by Philip Rieff, whom she married at 17...

  4. Allison Martell: Canada's Trudeau Clings to Power, but Loses Some of His Luster https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-election-trudeau-newsmaker/canadas-trudeau-clings-to-power-but-loses-some-of-his-luster-idUSKBN1X1065: 'Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held on to his job in Monday’s election, securing his spot as one of the world’s few high-profile progressive leaders, but tarnished by scandal and with his power diminished...

  5. Kevin Jones: Downtown Berkeley's Logan Park Wins Zoning Board Approval Thursday Night https://www.berkeleyside.com/2019/10/25/downtown-berkeleys-logan-park-wins-zoning-board-approval-thursday-night: 'Logan Park is... what owner William Schrader Jr. described as “the largest project possible allowed under the downtown plan and the density bonus”... two buildings that will occupy much of the block on Shattuck Avenue between Channing Way and Durant... hundreds of units for residents—most likely students—and many retail spaces as well...

  6. Apple: Record Video and Audio in a Keynote Presentation https://support.apple.com/kb/PH28041?locale=en_US...

  7. Apple: Edit Video and Audio in Keynote Presentations https://support.apple.com/kb/PH28037?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US...

  8. Wikipedia: List of Marshals of France https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Marshals_of_France#Vincent_Auriol,_1947%E2%80%931954...

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That your grandfather Governor John Buchanan campaigned against federal voting rights acts, raised the poll tax, and established pensions for Confederate veterans—that all that goes unmentioned in the context of "I have shared in the emotional damage imposed by discrimination...", "From that day forward I have shared in the emotional damage imposed by discrimination..." and "'fairness' assumed for me a central normative position..." demonstrates either an absolutely stunning lack of self-awareness or a conscious intellectual judo move to distract attention from the racial politics of the white southern establishment: James Buchanan (2009): Karen Ilse Horn, ed, "Roads to Wisdom: Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics" https://delong.typepad.com/document.pdf: "What did the Navy teach you?... I experienced overt discrimination for being a non-Easterner, a nonestablishmentarian. In the whole group of 600 boys, there were only about twenty who were graduates of Yale, Harvard, Princeton—all Ivy League. By the end of this first boot camp period, they had to select midshipman officers. Out of the 20 boys from the establishment universities, 12 or 13 were picked, against a background of a total of 600. It was overtly discriminatory towards those of us who were not members of the establishment... James Buchanan (2009): Better than Plowing: "From that day forward I have shared in the emotional damage imposed by discrimination, in any form, and 'fairness' assumed for me a central normative position decades before I came to discuss principles of justice professionally and philosophically...

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-25:

  1. Bret Devereaux https://acoup.blog/author/aimedtact/

  2. Wikipedia: Antonine Plague: Smallpox?...

  3. Wikipedia: Plague of Cyprian: Ebola variant? Measles?...

  4. Wikipedia: Valerian: 253-260...

  5. Wikipedia: Gallienus: 253-268...

  6. Wikipedia: Plague of Justinian: Bubonic Plague?...

  7. Xenophon: Anabasis http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1170/1170-h/1170-h.htm...

  8. Pseudo-Aristotle: Oeconomica https://ia600201.us.archive.org/9/items/oeconomica01arisuoft/oeconomica01arisuoft.pdf...

  9. Xenophon: The Economist http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1173/1173-h/1173-h.htm...

  10. Wikipedia: Aleksandr Tsekalo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Tsekalo...

  11. Mark Graham: The Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now is New and Improved https://blog.archive.org/2019/10/23/the-wayback-machines-save-page-now-is-new-and-improved/: 'Have you ever wanted to archive all the web pages linked from an email message?  Well, you are in luck because now you can forward that email to “savepagenow@archive.org” and after a few minutes you will get an email back filled with Wayback Machine playback URLs...

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Matthew Yglesias: Impeachment Protests and Mass Resistance Are Needed to Beat Trump https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/10/18/20905686/resistance-protest-impeachment-rallies-trump: "Watergate is the ur-text for how Americans imagine the defeat of a sitting president, but it shouldn’t be how to think about the impeachment of Donald Trump.... A lawless government cannot be constrained by the institutions of the law alone. It is popular mass resistance that creates a crisis point and forces action. And if Democrats want to beat Trump’s stonewalling tactics in 2019, they should consider doing it again.... Defeating Nixon... meant winning a series of difficult elite insider games.... Building a consensus that compelled the president to resign was arduous, and the people who did it are rightly proud of their work. But none of this is relevant to contemporary politics, any more than the Senate’s unanimous passage of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act has relevant lessons for contemporary climate politics. Today’s Congress is much more partisan and much more ideological, featuring many members who have no personal loyalty to Trump but who can nevertheless be expected to stand by him through thick and thin, thanks to broader partisan and policy objectives. In an extraordinary moment, you need to reach beyond ordinary politics.... The mechanisms through which protest works seem multifaceted, with some of the impact driven by direct personal participation, some driven by witnessing the protest themselves, and some driven by media coverage which serves to rebroadcast key elements of the protest message. The key to it all, however, is that bothering to show up to a march is a moderately costly investment of time and energy. When a bunch of people do that, it serves as a powerful signal to the rest of society that something extraordinary is happening.... The Constitution is in need of defending. And it would be extremely foolish to believe that Republican senators and Federalist Society judges are going to come riding out of the woods in order to do the job....

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Alice Dreger: Napoleon Chagnon Is Dead https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20191023-dreger-chagnon: "The peer-reviewed article I ultimately published in Human Nature about the AAA task force is the angriest academic piece I have ever written.... Tierney had misrepresented so much. The chair of the AAA task force knew it too. That was Jane Hill, former president of the AAA. During my research, Sarah Hrdy shared with me a previously confidential message, dated April 15, 2002, in which Hill responded to Hrdy’s concerns about the task force’s work. 'Burn this message', Hill told Hrdy. 'The book [by Tierney] is just a piece of sleaze, that’s all there is to it (some cosmetic language will be used in the report, but we all agree on that). But I think the AAA had to do something because I really think that the future of work by anthropologists with indigenous peoples in Latin America—with a high potential to do good—was put seriously at risk by its accusations, and silence on the part of the AAA would have been interpreted as either assent or cowardice. Whether we’re doing the right thing will have to be judged by posterity.'... Of course, the failure of facts in the Darkness case extended beyond academe. If The New Yorker and W.W. Norton had done proper fact-checking, so much mischief would have been avoided. Still, the AAA made it all much worse. The AAA could have done what the National Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Human Genetics, the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, and the Society for Visual Anthropology did: looked at the facts and condemned Tierney. Instead, the AAA thanked Tierney 'for his valuable service.' A kangaroo court. A show trial. That’s how many saw the AAA investigation. The AAA membership eventually voted to rescind acceptance of the report. 'It was really amateur hour' at the AAA, Hagen told me...

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The best thing I have yet seen on how industrial organization, concentration, and monopsony drive the conclusion that increases in the minimum wage do not reduce employment in the United States today—or, rather, for which groups of workers minimum wage increases lower and for which raise employment:

José Azar, Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, Ioana Marinescu, Bledi Taska, and Till von Wachter: Minimum Wage Employment Effects and Labor Market Concentration: "Why is the employment effect of the minimum wage frequently found to be close to zero? Theory tells us that when wages are below marginal productivity, as with monopsony, employers are able to increase wages without laying off workers, but systematic evidence directly supporting this explanation is lacking. In this paper, we provide empirical support for the monopsony explanation by studying a key low-wage retail sector and using data on labor market concentration that covers the entirety of the United States with fine spatial variation at the occupation-level. We find that more concentrated labor markets–where wages are more likely to be below marginal productivity–experience significantly more positive employment effects from the minimum wage. While increases in the minimum wage are found to significantly decrease employment of workers in low concentration markets, minimum wage-induced employment changes become less negative as labor concentration increases, and are even estimated to be positive in the most highly concentrated markets. Our findings provide direct empirical evidence supporting the monopsony model as an explanation for the near-zero minimum wage employment effect documented in prior work. They suggest the aggregate minimum wage employment effects estimated thus far in the literature may mask heterogeneity across different levels of labor market concentration...

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David Glasner: What’s Wrong with DSGE Models Is Not Representative Agency https://uneasymoney.com/2019/09/16/whats-wrong-with-dsge-models-is-not-representative-agency/: "The completely ad hoc and artificial concept of a representative firm was not well-received by Marshall’s contemporaries.... The young Lionel Robbins... subjected the idea to withering criticism.... James Hartley wrote about the short and unhappy life of Marshall’s Representative Firm in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. One might have thought that the inauspicious career of Marshall’s Representative Firm would have discouraged modern macroeconomists from resurrecting the Representative Firm in the barely disguised form of a Representative Agent in their DSGE models, but the convenience and relative simplicity of solving a DSGE model for a single agent was too enticing to be resisted. Therein lies the difference between the theory of the firm and a macroeconomic theory. The gain in convenience from adopting the Representative Firm was radically reduced by Marshall’s Cambridge students and successors who, without the representative firm, provided a more rigorous, more satisfying and more flexible exposition of the industry supply curve and the corresponding partial-equilibrium analysis than Marshall had with it. Providing no advantages of realism, logical coherence, analytical versatility or heuristic intuition, the Representative Firm was unceremoniously expelled from the polite company of economists. However, as a heuristic device for portraying certain properties of an equilibrium state—whose existence is assumed not derived—even a single representative individual or agent proved to be a serviceable device with which to display the defining first-order conditions, the simultaneous equality of marginal rates of substitution in consumption and production with the marginal rate of substitution at market prices.... An excellent example of this heuristic was provided by Jack Hirshleifer in his 1970 textbook Investment, Interest, and Capital.... Here is how Hirshleifer explained what was going on:

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The Berkeley History Department slavery studies group, plus David Blight on Yale, on how much of what we see as "scientific labor management" from the business side and "deskilling Taylorization" from the labor side has its roots in slaveholding society ideas of the worker as an "instrumentum mutum" in the words of Roman statesman Cato the Elder—merely a "tool that speaks": David Blight, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Caitlin Rosenthal, and Jennifer D. King: The Business of Brutality: Slavery and the Foundations of Capitalism:

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Ian Dunt: "Caroline Lucas, Green https://twitter.com/IanDunt/status/1186680346408042498: 'I want to speak out on behalf of those who do not share this govt's vision of a mean-minded little Britain, with our borders closed and our horizons narrowed. For those like me who are proud to stand up for the precious right to be able to work and study and live and love in 27 other countries, who celebrate the contribution made by the 3 million EU citizens in our country. For those who recognise that imperfect thought it undoubtedly is, the EU remains the greatest international venture for peace, prosperity and freedom in history.' Thank f--- for Caroline Lucas, man. Really...

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Ian Dunt: "Rory Stewart. Let's find out where he's at https://twitter.com/IanDunt/status/1186677364878663680: Ah, maybe a good place. 'My big beg to the House, and here I am speaking to colleagues who voted for Brexit, is let's please in these very very final stages, do it properly. This is your great founding moment. This is your opportunity to create an enormous constitutional change that can last for 40 years. So do it properly.' Stewart valiantly pointing out that he has backed Brexit deals over and over again. 'I'm not a member of this party anymore. I don't get any bonus points. But in return, people deserve scrutiny. This is a hell of a big document. I know they'll be many voices in the Chamber who say we've been talking about this long enough. We cannot think like this. This is our parliament. We cannot do down our parliament. This was an exercise in regaining the sovereignty of parliament. And if it's about regaining the sovereignty of parliament, then treat parliament with respect. If you are taking back control, then show that you are worthy to exercise that control...

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