#notetoself Feed

La Mission Haut Brion 2020 & 1650

Samuel Pepys: Diary https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/04/10/:

‘Friday 10 April 1663: Up very betimes and to my office, where most hard at business alone all the morning. At noon to the Exchange, where I hear that after great expectation from Ireland, and long stop of letters, there is good news come, that all is quiett after our great noise of troubles there, though some stir hath been as was reported...

...Off the Exchange with Sir J. Cutler and Mr. Grant to the Royall Oak Tavern, in Lumbard Street, where Alexander Broome the poet was, a merry and witty man, I believe, if he be not a little conceited, and here drank a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan,1 that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with.

Home to dinner, and then by water abroad to Whitehall, my wife to see Mrs. Ferrers, I to Whitehall and the Park, doing no business. Then to my Lord’s lodgings, met my wife, and walked to the New Exchange. There laid out 10s. upon pendents and painted leather gloves, very pretty and all the mode. So by coach home and to my office till late, and so to supper and to bed…

.#notetoself #wine #2020-12-25

MOAR Right-Wing Animus Against Einstein—Note to Self

I was browsing through Friedrich von Hayek's The Fatal Conceit—although it is not clear to me how much of this very late (1988) Hayek is Hayek, and how much is “editor” William Warren Bartley https://web.archive.org/web/20050308180246/http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2005_03/ebenstein-deceit.html. Why? Because Hayek is playing a larger part in my history of the Long 20th Century, Slouching Towards Utopia?, as it moves toward finality, and I am concerned that I be fair to him. And I ran across his claim that the “socialists” felt:

an urgent need to construct a new, rationally revised and justified morality which… will not be a crippling burden, be alienating, oppressive, or`unjust', or be associated with trade. Moreover, this is only part of the great task that these new lawgivers—socialists such as Einstein, Monod and Russell, and self-proclaimed 'immoralists' such as Keynes—set for themselves. A new rational language and law must be constructed too, for existing language and law also fail to meet these requirements…. This awesome task may seem the more urgent to them in that they themselves no longer believe in any supernatural sanction for morality (let alone for language, law, and science) and yet remain convinced that some justification is necessary….

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Maskell & Rybicki: Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session

Note to Self: I very much hope that Pelosi and Schumer are already talking to Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and company: the potential for an absolute dog’s breakfast on January 6, 2021 is already remarkably high, and may well increase in probability as things get crazier and crazier over the next two months.

It is also not too early for the House of Representatives to be thinking hard about how to maintain their own security—both on the U.S. Capitol grounds, and for members in transit to the Capitol itself.

The argument that Trump is not trying to gain support among the Republicans for a coup, and that Republicans are not egging one another one to see if they dare to do it, but rather doing something else seems to me to be overhasty and overconfident. Yes, Trump might be trying to establish an extradition-free bolthole for himself in Abu Dhabi. Yes, Trump might be trying to destroy as much evidence linking him to criminality as he can. Yes, Trump might be trying to show that he can disrupt the system so that he can then strike a deal that will leave him confident he will remain out of jail next year. Yes, Trump might simply be confused.

But he might not. And while Giuliani is clearly neither his Göring, his Himmler, or his Heydrich, that does not mean that nobody else is:

Jack Maskell & Elizabeth Rybicki: Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32717.pdf: ‘Basis for Objections: The general grounds for an objection to the counting of an electoral vote or votes would appear from the federal statute and from historical sources to be that such vote was not “regularly given” by an elector, and/or that the elector was not “lawfully certified”...


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Briefly Noted for Tu 2020-10-20


Daniel Davies: Book Talk—Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of Our World https://watson.brown.edu/events/2020/book-talk-dan-davies-lying-money-how-legendary-frauds-reveal-workings-our-world...

Cities with More than 10000 Population https://www.evernote.com/l/AAHhz3j2xe1PY4XJUj0HaDcRMn0VD2bgtqcB/image.png...

Half the World Population https://www.evernote.com/l/AAETx7xhCWVPmbK_sKWWe2Nl2oc6ETuYnTEB/image.png...

Population Density https://www.evernote.com/l/AAFG80xx73hPrJ-o7SASlYf1AOAHSm_LndkB/image.png...

Sidney Kaplan (1976): The "Domestic Insurrections" of the Declaration of Independence https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-kaplan-domestic-insurrections.pdf...

Nisreen Alwan: What Exactly Is Mild Covid-19? https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-alwan-mild-covid-19.pdf...

Persi Diaconis & Frederick Mosteller: Methods for Studying Coincidences https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-diaconis-coincidences.pdf...

Stephen Pulvirent: Hodinkee Radio Episode 107: All About the Apple Watch https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/hodinkee-radio-episode-107-apple-watch-alan-dye: ‘A comprehensive deep-dive into Apple's latest smartwatch…

Anna Mikusheva & Jim Stock (2007): Weak Instruments https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/economics/14-384-time-series-analysis-fall-2013/lecture-notes/MIT14_384F13_lec7and8.pdf: ‘Anderson-Rubin (1949) https://www.evernote.com/l/AAGO6SDBHehDP6AIs3ixnvRIAO0W38s2P10B/image.png https://www.evernote.com/l/AAH4RvtsQutIcoIV5gw7ku-orITWdgvgD-oB/image.png...

Arjun Jayadev & Mike Konczal (2010); The Boom Not The Slump: The Right Time For Austerity https://web.archive.org/web/20110802015309/http://www.rooseveltinstitute.org/sites/all/files/not_the_time_for_austerity.pdf: ‘Such a conclusion is unmerited. The overwhelming majority of the episodes used by A & A did not see deficit reduction in the middle of a slump. Where they did, it o#en resulted in a decline in the subsequent growth rate or an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Of the 26 episodes that they identify as ‘expansionary’, in virtually none did the country a) reduce the deficit when the economy was in a slump and b) increase growth rates while reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio…



Mary Daly: Interview https://www.wsj.com/articles/transcript-wsj-interview-with-san-francisco-fed-president-mary-daly-11602788005 'The bridge… over the coronavirus depends considerably on fiscal agents doing the part that they need to do to…. Without that fiscal stimulus, my outlook is quite a bit more muted. And whether it’s next month or the month after probably doesn’t determine the outlook for the next couple of years, but it definitely does determine how much suffering and pain many American households face.

Wendy Edelberg & Louise Sheiner: What Could Additional Fiscal Policy Do in the Next Three Years? https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-could-additional-fiscal-policy-do-for-the-economy-in-the-next-three-years/: ‘We find that enacting all five of those illustrative policies and increasing federal spending by $2 trillion would raise the level of real (i.e, inflation adjusted) GDP by 0.2 percent in 2020, 4.0 percent in 2021 and 2022, and 1.6 percent in 2023 above the level it would otherwise be (authors’ calculations). If all five policies were enacted, economic activity would return to its projected path prior to the pandemic by the third quarter of 2021. Under current law, that return likely would not occur for perhaps as long as a decade…

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Yes Samuel P. Huntington & His Disciples Are Loons—Note to Self

This has surfaced again in my feed. Please, people stop ending it to me! It leads me down rabbit-holes—what a loon Samuel P. Huntington was, and how favorably citing him is a powerful sign that you are a loon unmoored from reality yourself—that I don't have time for today!

Anyone who thinks—as Gregory Mitrovich apparently does—that Great Britain in 1920 had intrinsic strengths then that enabled it to thereafter retain its global dominance is truly a total idiot. When did Britain dominate anything after 1920? Gregory Mitrovich: Beware Declinism: America Remains Poised for Greatness https://nationalinterest.org/feature/beware-declinism-america-remains-poised-greatness-163810: ‘There can be no doubting that America’s international standing has been undermined by ill-considered wars and the deadly failures of Trump’s pandemic response. However, the intrinsic strength of the United States will, like that of Britain a century ago, enable America to retain its dominance...

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Things I Have No Time to Teach þis Fall, But þt I Would Like to—Note to Self


"Data Science" & "Thinking Like an Economist":


Andy Matuschak would approve of how Niccolo Machiavelli reads:

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All Hands on Deck Time—Note to Self

All the kings men strip

Want to insult a man in America today, call him a woman—as, for example, the New York Times allows and encourages Maureen Dowd to do, albeit only for Democratic and not for Republican male politicians, who somehow seem to always be Manly Men. Want to insult a woman in America today, and you can follow Dowd and call her a man, but it is more effective to call her a whore.

It's time for all hands on deck: "hell among the yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and Saturday night in the back room of Casey's saloon rolled into one". It is time for Sadie Burke and Hugh Miller.

And we haven't even gotten to the mass vote suppression and miscount part or the potential Rubicon moment part of this election:

Steve M.: 'Here's what right-wingers call Harris when they think we're not listening https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-trumpers-other-insulting-nickname.html: "Mattress Kamala" is what your right-wing relatives will be calling her soon, if they aren't already. We'll see whether Trump or any of his surrogates try to take the nickname mainstream…

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Moral Fault Attaches to the Enablers of the New York Times—Note to Self

Note to Self: Moral fault attaches to all the enablers of the New York Times: just saying:

Duncan Black: Maybe It Matters Who Rules The World https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/08/maybe-it-matters-who-rules-world.html: ‘Maybe the actions of the King matter more than the palace intrigue and court gossip. Last night I was reminded of when Maggie Haberman went to bat for Sarah Sanders. Everyone should've known the deal at the WHCA dinner by then, when a Republican is president, anyway. Comedian makes jokes. The Right finds a joke that is OUT OF BOUNDS, throws a hissy fit, declares this proves HOW BIASED AND MEAN THE PRESS ARE TO THEM because a random comedian did a mean joke. Snowflakes melting on the fainting couch, always. And there was Maggie, going for the assist, convinced that Michelle Wolf had INSULTED THE LOOKS OF SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, when Wolf had done no such thing. As is usually the case when someone at the Times fucks up, 8000 people explained it to her, but Maggie wouldn't back down. In 2 sets of tweets, basically:

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT: That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Michelle Wolf @michelleisawolf: Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? 😘

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT: The jokes I watched/heard about her eye makeup weren’t making fun of her appearance? What were they?

Scott 'antisocial distancing' Slater @slaterama: Do better, @maggieNYT. Even dictionary example calls smokey 👀 "a makeup classic that never goes out of style." @michelleisawolf said Sanders "burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye." Pls pinpoint the "intense criticism of her physical appearance."


.#journamalism #moralresponsibility #newyorktimes #notetoself #2020-08-07

Against 'Ideology for Ideology's Sake'—Note to Self

Lincoln douglas

Smart young whippersnapper and Equitable Growth alumnus Marshall Steinbaum attempts to solve the problem of corrupt interests and corrupt ideology with... MOAR IDEOLOGY! Ideology that he hopes, somehow, will be reality-based.

I do not think this will work:

Marshall Steinbaum: 'In order to know what to do https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1016333284320526337, we have to know how things work. To me, the sentiment @Noahpinion expresses here is the moment I get off the 'empirical revolution' train, because this is where it turns toward 'maybe we can avoid ideology after all'. Nope..."

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Coronavirus: My Personal Guess as of 2020-07-31

The epidemiologists, the public health specialists, and the data collectors produce lots of tables and graphs about coronavirus prevalent in the United States, but somehow nobody produces the graphs and tables that I really want to see: estimates not of confirmed cases but of true cases. The United States’s massive failure of testing and surveillance makes all such estimates nearly impossible to produce and subject to enormous uncertainty. Here, for what it is worth, is my personal guess:

My guess is that we are now running at 1.5 million new case a week up from a mid-June low of 650000 cases a week, which is itself down from our late-March infection peak of 2.7 million cases per week. We seem to be stuck: when cases fall, social distancing is relaxed; when cases rise, people get scared and hunker down. The prospect appears to be for depression—national income 10 to 15 percent below potential—and for 6 million infections and 40000 deaths a month until something changes, with any form of herd immunity years away at this pace of infections. But I may well be very wrong, and have missed something very important here: Coronavirus in the U.S.: My Guesses as to Where We Are:

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/coronavirus-in-the-us-my-guesses-as-to-where-we-are.html: As of 2020-07-30: New weekly deaths: 7800…. New weekly inferred cases: 1478400…. Weekly R: 0.97…. Past three weeks’ R: 1.08…

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The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society Annual Banquet

John bell hoods defeat at franklin

The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society! https://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/07/the-maximillian-von-gallwitz-john-bell-hood-society.html: Dedicated to celebrating the memory of two field commanders who may well have been the worst in history: Drink a toast to John Bell Hood on the 7/28 anniversary of his defeat at Ezra Church:

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Coronavirus in the U.S.: My Guesses as to Where We Are

We cannot know where we are going until we know where we have been and where we now are. IMHO, the public health community has not done a good job on setting out even a semi-consensus guess as to where we have been and currently are. The "deaths" graphs lag the current situation by a month. The "cases" graphs are hopelessly distorted by testing inadequacy.

Here, for what it is worth, are my guesses as to where we are right now and where we have been, nationwide. Of course, nationwide estimates are also of limited use...:


  .#coronavirus #highighted #notetoself #publichealth #2020-07-23

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What Is Going on in AZ, FL, SC, TX?—Note to Self; Coronavirus

Note to Self: Would someone please tell me how to translate (a) testing frequency and (b) share of tests that are positive into total true caseloads? If you test at random, you divide confirmed cases by testing frequency to get true cases. If you target your tests perfectly, then true cases are confirmed cases. But where in the middle are we today?

COVID Tracking Project https://twitter.com/COVID19Tracking/status/1279544164187693056: ‘Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina remain the three states with the most troubling data:

2020 07 04 covid states troubling data

.#coronavirus #notetoself #publichealth #2020-07-05

Tomas Philipson: Such a Maroon—Note to Self

Dunning-Krueger to the max: Shorter Tomas Philipson: It's great that Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine, & encouraging others to suck up the supply away from lupus patients for whom it works. It's great that Trump refuses to wear a mask!: Tomas Philipson (2020-05-20): 'There's nothing new about https://twitter.com/TomPhilipson45/status/1263228191457583105 @POTUS using healthcare, in consultation with a physician, that hasn't undergone government approved randomized trials. Most healthcare spending is on services/procedures lacking such evidence. And the majority of cancer drugs are prescribed without it. Patients and doctors, based on trade-offs between effectiveness, side-effects, and prices, often correctly disagree with one-size-fits-all blind randomized trials, which have many problems. This is one reason why @POTUS signed Right to Try to let patients—not bureaucrats—decide. Indeed, the same people who argue POTUS should wear a mask to guard against COVID, for which there is no randomized evidence yet and blinding would be difficult, are the same people who argue that such evidence is crucial for COVID Rx use… .#economicsgonewrong #moralresponsibility #noted #notetoself #orangehairedbaboons #2020-06-30

78 Years Ago Today: The Nazi "Operation Blue" Commences...

Remind Me Again: Friedrich Paulus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2012/07/remind-me-again-friedrich-paulus.html#comments: The Nazis planned to push four armies forward and only four armies forward in the summer and fall of 1942—Sixth, Seventeenth, First Panzer, and Fourth Panzer. One can understand why an army personnel office would choose Hermann Hoth as commander of Fourth Panzer Army and von Kleist as commander of First Panzer Army. But Richard Ruoff as commander of the Seventeenth Army? And Friedrich Paulus as commander of the Sixth Army? What was there in their previous careers to mark them as the right people for army command in Southern Russia in the summer and fall of 1942?

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Note to Self: Pre-Kameron Hurley Uses of the Phrase "Women, Cattle, & Slaves"

Hurley wc s

Note to Self: Pre-Kameron Hurley uses of the phrase "women, cattle, & slaves":

Alexina Mackay Harrison: The Story of the Life of Mackay of Uganda: Pioneer Missionary https://books.google.com/books?id=Xe0-AAAAIAAJ...
Dwayne Woods: Bringing Geography Back In: Civilizations, Wealth, and Poverty https://www-jstor-org.libproxy.berkeley.edu/stable/pdf/3186574.pdf...
David Robinson: Sources of the African Past https://books.google.com/books?id=coGJBAAAQBAJ...
Jeffrey Herbst: States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control https://books.google.com/books?id=4Ed-BAAAQBAJ...
Alison Jolly: Lords and Lemurs: Mad Scientists, Kings with Spears, and the Survival of Diversity in Madagascar https://books.google.com/books?id=PtE3C_mUzCUC...

& Kameron Hurley (2013): 'We Have Always Fought': Challenging the 'Women, Cattle and Slaves' Narrative http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/

.#books #economichistory #inequality #notetoself #2020-06-25

Note to Self: Slavery Course Topics

Emily Eisner asked me: What would you teach if you were to teach an entire course on slavery and the shadows it cast? So I dusted out my "unfreedom" file from the "courses I have never taught" box, & updated the topics:


Ancient & medieval slavery & serfdom

  1. Hierarchy and patriarchy to 1000 BC
    • Inequality, slavery & the poisoned chalice of agriculture
    • Horses, wheels, chariots, & nobles
    • High patriarchy & polygyny
  2. Slavery and serfdom in the early classical world
    • Managing the household
    • “Slaves by nature”
    • Slavery & empires
  3. Inequality, domination, and the market in the classical efflorescences
    • War booty
    • Plantation & mine slavery
    • Slaves “skilled in literature & music”
  4. Did slavery prevent a Hellenistic or Roman industrial revolution?
    • Gaining wealth and power in the classical world
    • Merchants, princes, & oligarchs
    • Culture & work: keeping your hands clean & getting them dirty
  5. From slavery to serfdom: late antiquity & after
    • Manumission & its opposite
    • Honestiores & humiliores
    • Barbarians, thralls, knights, & raids
    • High feudalism
  6. Slave raids & slave trades in the Old World 500-1500
    • Slaves from Ireland, England, & Russia
    • Slaves from France, Italy, Ukraine, & the Caucasus
    • Slaves from Africa
  7. Slaves on horses
    • The creation of Islamic polities
    • Sultans, amirs, clans, & slaves
    • Eunuchs & households
    • Mamelukes & janissaries
  8. The Black Death & the end of the first serfdom, 1300-1600
    • Serfdom on the eve in 1345
    • The class struggle in western Europe
    • Ending feudal tenures & privileges
  9. The Commercial Revolution & the coming of the second serfdom, 1300-1900
    • Cash crops & domination
    • Nobles, czars, & cossacks
    • Ending serfdom in eastern Europe
  10. Conquistadores & enslaving Amerindians
    • Genocide
    • Forced labor
    • Long-term political-economy consequences for Latin America


Modern & capitalist slavery

  1. The Atlantic slave trade, 1500-1780
    • Guns in Africa
    • Sugar islands and the middle passage
    • Calories & luxuries to Britain & elsewhere
  2. Slavery & cotton
    • Who profited from cotton slavery?
    • Westward expansion & the Slavepower
    • The financial calculus of emancipation
  3. Consequences of slavery for Africa
    • The political economy of African slave trades
    • Nathan Nunn’s correlations
    • African growth retardation
  4. Modes of New World slavery
    • “Like a poor third cousin”
    • Industrial & craft slavery
    • Plantation slavery under the slave trade
    • Plantation slavery after the slave trade
    • Selling people south and west
  5. The political & moral economy of a slave society
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Cassius Clay
    • Roger B. Taney
    • Jefferson Davis
    • Abraham Lincoln


Post-slavery North American “herrenvolk” democracy

  1. Abolitionism, abolition, & “reconstruction” 1820-1880
    • The Selling of Joseph & Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    • Wartime “necessity”
    • 40 acres & a mule—not
  2. Jim Crow 1865-2020
    • The corrupt bargain of 1876
    • “Separate but equal”
    • Disenfranchisement & disempowerment
  3. “Race science” & eugenicism 1850-2020
    • “Survival of the fittest”
    • “Improving the race”
    • The need to believe in racial hierarchies
  4. Civil rights 1920-2020
    • The appeal to American ideals
    • The opportunity of 1965
    • The corruption of the Republican Party
  5. The Great Migration & the Great Redlining 1920-2020
    • Other immigrant ghettoes in America
    • How the Black inner city was different
    • Long-term consequences of the great redlining
  6. Mass incarceration & policing
    • White fear & flight
    • Crack & incarceration
    • “Aggressive policing” & Black Lives Matter
  7. The “declining significance of race”? 1970-2020
    • Roads to upward mobility
    • The coming of the second gilded age
    • The mockery of "equal opportunity"


Other dimensions of unfreedom

  1. Master & servant
    • The duties of a servant
    • The duties of an employee
    • Employer monopsony power
  2. The arrival of modern feminism
    • Being female in the agrarian age not for sissies
    • Eating for two & “women’s work”
    • The demographic transition
    • Institutions & opportunities
    • Gender & identity
  3. Wage slavery
    • Marx’s vision
    • Forcing people to enslave themselves
    • The Polanyian view of the market
  4. Gilded ages
    • “I can hire half the working class to shoot the other half”
    • Pinkertons & porters
    • Mass media & the public sphere
    • Monopoly capitalism

Continue reading "Note to Self: Slavery Course Topics" »

Note to Self #tickler: The works & relevance of A.C. Pigou

Note to Self #tickler: The works & relevance of A.C. Pigou:

Ian Kumekawa (2017): The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics https://www.amazon.com/Ian-Kumekawa-ebook/dp/B071R54415/...
Ian Kumekawa (2020): We Need to Revisit the Idea of Pigou Wealth Tax https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-kumekuwa-pigou-wealth-tax.pdf...

Arthur Cecil Pigou (1916): The Economy & Finance of the War: Being a Discussion of the Real Costs 0f the War & the Way in Which They Should Be Met https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-war-finance.pdf...
Arthur Cecil Pigou (1919): The Burden of War & Future Generations https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-pigou-burden-of-war.pdf...
Arthur Cecil Pigou (1920): A Capital Levy & a Levy on War Wealth https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-wealth-tax.pdf...
Arthur Cecil Pigou (1920): The Economics of Welfare https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-economics-of-welfare.pdf... Arthur Cecil Pigou (1940): The Political Economy of War https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-war.pdf...
Arthur Cecil Pigou (1946): Income: An Introduction to Economics https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-income.pdf...
Arthur Cecil Pigou (1947): A Study In Public Finance https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-pigou-public-finance.pdf...

  #economics #equitablegrowth #inequality #politicaleconomy #notetoself #moralphilosophy #tickler #2020-06-07


Note to Self: Books & Articles to Save...

Note to Self: Without access to the Berkeley library, I feel that my brain is 2/3 gone. And it is time-consuming to... take steps...

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...

Question to Self: Are These Sam Bowles's Five Greatest Works?

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Note to Self: Heterogeneity in the S, I, R Model...

So instead of doing my day job this afternoon, I began wondering about how much the Susceptible, Infected, Recovered (or Not)'s suppression of individual heterogeneity affects its conclusions.

Suppose that people have different amounts of gregariousness/infectiveness. If everyone were like the most gregarious and vulnerable people the R_0 for the epidemic would be 5. If everyone were like the least gregarious and vulnerable people the R_0 for the epidemic would be 0. And suppose we have the population varying linearly between those extremes.

How much different would the course of the epidemic be than for a society where everyone was identical, and R_0 was 2.5?

The answer is: substantially.

If I have not made a mistake in my model-building or my python code—always an "if"—then the difference is substantial: 26% of the population escapes the epidemic for R_0 distributed between 0 and 5 with an average of 2.5. Only 10% escapes the epidemic if everyone's R_0 is 2.5.

The intuition is clear: By the time half of the population has been infected, an overwhelming number of those with high R_0's have been infected. Thus those who are still susceptible have personal R_0's much lower than the average. In the early stages, however—before any noticeable component of the population has been infected—the course of the epidemic tracks the average R_0 very closely. It is when it begins to fall off the exponential that the differences become apparent: not only are some of those who would be infected by exponential growth now immune (or dead), but those left who could be infected have lower R_0's than the average.

weblog support: https://github.com/braddelong/weblog-support/blob/master/coronavirus-r0-heterogeneity.ipynb

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What is the Real Prevalence of Coronavirus Across States?


Tests per million times cases per test gives you confirmed cases per million. But we want true cases per million.

Tests per million are different across states because (a) the states are undertaking testing with different levels of effort and (b) the prevalence of the virus is different in different states.

Confirmed cases per million are different across states because (c) states are testing at different rates and (b) the prevalence of the virus is different in different states.

Cases per test are different across states because (d) some states are not testing much and hence are still picking (relatively, for their state) low hanging fruit and (b) the prevalence of the virus is different in different states.

We have data on confirmed cases and tests across states. How do we use that to get real as opposed to fake estimates of where the virus is in the different states?

And then there is the lag: how do we do the nowcast, taking proper account of acceleration and deceleration in the progress of the disease?

Georgia, for example, is fifth in cases per test, at 0.24. Georgia is also fortysixth in tests per million, at 6598. And so Georgia is thirteenth in cases per million, at 1590.

If Georgia were testing at the same rate as New York—30000 per million—how many cases would it be reporting, and what would its confirmed caseload be? Its cases per test is presumably elevated because it is not testing very many people, so simply multiplying by 4.5 is not right. What is right?

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*Note to Self: Reported Coronavirus Cases per Million (2020-03-22 12:00:00 PDT):

Top 20 States;

NY: 1200
WA: 236
NJ: 215
LA: 182
DC: 145
MI: 89
CO: 82
MA: 77
RI: 75
MS: 69
ME: 68
CT: 62
NV: 61
IL: 59
TN: 55
WI: 55
GA: 48
UT: 43
FL: 40
CA: 40

#coronavirus #notetoself #publichealth #2020-03-22

A Note on Coronavirus

Note to Self: Is there anything wrong with this analysis?: With 14 deaths in the U.S., a 1% death rate, and 4 weeks between infection and death, that means that as of Feb 8 there were 1400 coronavirus cases in the United States. If it is doubling every seven days, then now about 22,000 people have and in the next week about 44,000 people in the U.S. will catch coronavirus. These numbers could be five times too big. These numbers could be five times too small. But with only 1 in 10,000 currently affected, it seems 4 or 5 weeks early to start imposing serious geographical quarintines...

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Convincing Biden Victory in South Carolina: Warren's My Guy, But I Will Happily Work Very, Very Hard for Biden...

Note to Self: For the record, of those above, my rank ordering of who is likely to make the best president goes: Warren, Bennet, Klobuchar, Patrick, Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Steyer, Delaney, Yang, Sanders, Gabbard...

Impressively done by Joe Biden and his team: kudos:


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Note to Self: MOAR political economy readings, 1920-1950

#history #notetoself #politicaleconomy #2020-02-22

Once again, playing my position requires not playing my position, and stating that Bill Barr does not speak like an official of the American government should. He is a civil servant, not an uncivil master: Scott Lemieux: Those Who Want Equal Protection of the Laws Give Unquestioned Deference to the Authoritiesy http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/12/those-who-want-equal-protection-of-the-laws-give-unquestioned-deference-to-the-authorities: 'Trump Family Capo Bill Barr expresses his view of the appropriate relationship between law enforcement and the citizenry.... "Today, American people have to focus on... the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers.... They have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves.... If communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” I dunno, I’m beginning to think that making a mobbed-up authoritarian President of the United States was bad...

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Note to Self: Polanyi: Aristotle Discovers the Economy: Hoisted from the Archives: A whole bunch of this article is simply wrong: the claims that "in the fourth century... Greeks initiated the gainful business practices that in much later days developed into the dynamo of market comnpetition" are false. This means that Polanyi is wrong when he says that Aristotle is examining a new phenomenon when he looks at the economy. Aristotle is examining an old phenomenon from the point of view of an Athenian aristocrat. But there is much of value in Polanyi's exposition of what Aristotle says...

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Note to Self: I see no way that live-action Mulan can match animated: animated's delicious subversion of the "Basic Training" tropes seems to me to make it unbeatable?

Actually, where do all the "basic training" tropes come from? They seem well-established by the post-WWI movie "Tell It to the Marines" https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018471/. Captains Courageous https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captains_Courageous? The Red Badge of Courage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Badge_of_Courage? But those aren't basic training. Sergeant le Juane and Corporal Himmelstoss aren't this trope. Does it come from Xenophon? Where, when, and how did the "basic training" tropes enter our culture?

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Note to Self: Richard Dawkins's Existence Poses a Real Problem for the Darwinian Theory of Evolution! https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/09/richard-dawkinss-existence-poses-a-real-problem-for-the-darwinian-theory-of-evolution.html: 'The author… doesn’t care for “Pride and Prejudice”: “I can’t get excited about who is going to marry whom, and how rich they are.”' On a branch of the evolutionary tree as social as we are, genes that predispose you to such a mind state should have been wiped from the pool 50 million years ago… Just saying'...

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Note to Self: The Two Faces of Jean-Baptiste Say... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2010/04/the-two-faces-of-jean-baptiste-say.html: Say I (1803): A Treatise on Political Economy Book I, Chapter XV:

To say that sales are dull, owing to the scarcity of money, is to mistake the means for the cause; an error that proceeds from the circumstance, that almost all produce is in the first instance exchanged for money, before it is ultimately converted into other produce: and the commodity, which recurs so repeatedly in use, appears to vulgar apprehensions the most important of commodities, and the end and object of all transactions, whereas it is only the medium. Sales cannot be said to be dull because money is scarce, but because other products are so. There is always money enough to conduct the circulation and mutual interchange of other values, when those values really exist. Should the increase of traffic require more money to facilitate it, the want is easily supplied, and is a strong indication of prosperity—a proof that a great abundance of values has been created, which it is wished to exchange for other values. In such cases, merchants know well enough how to find substitutes for the product serving as the medium of exchange or money...


Say II (1829): Cours Complet d'Economie Politique Pratique:

The Bank [of England], legally obliged to redeem its banknotes in specie, regarded itself as obliged to buy gold back at any price, and to coin money at a loss and at considerable expense. To limit its losses, it forced the return of its banknotes, and ceased to put new notes into circulation. It was then obliged to cease to discount commercial bills. Provincial banks were in consequence obliged to follow the same course, and commerce found itself deprived at a stroke of the advances on which it had counted, be it to create new businesses, or to give a lease of life to the old. As the bills that businessmen had discounted came to maturity, they were obliged to meet them, and finding no more advances from the bankers, each was forced to use up all the resources at his disposal. They sold goods for half what they had cost. Business assets could not be sold at any price. As every type of merchandise had sunk below its costs of production, a multitude of workers were without work. Many bankruptcies were declared among merchants and among bankers, who having placed more bills in circulation than their personal wealth could cover, could no longer find guarantees to cover their issues beyond the undertakings of individuals, many of whom had themselves become bankrupt...

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Note to Self: Angelo Houston: "Auten-Splinter has been out for over 2 years but I’m just now seeing economists much less journalists even acknowledge it. I find it baffling." Well, in 1982 the top 5 individuals' wealth was 0.3% of America's GDP; today the top 5 individuals' wealth is 2.1% of America's annual GDP. With little movement in the rate of profit, it's hard to reconcile that with AS's belief that top 10% CMA has only risen from 28% to 33%. The sharp disagreement between AS 10%ile & top order statistics of income & wealth distribution creates, in the absence of any successful reconciliation, a very strong presumption that there is something wrong with their procedures. I think that has caused lots of pause...

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Note to Self: What was the impact on the French medieval economy of the Hundred Years' War? The Black Prince shows up in your neighborhood and begins one of his chevauchees—he sets his soldiers to march, loot, burn, rape, kill, and spoil in a (often fruitless) attempt to get the French knights to come out and charge into the killing ground of his longbowmen. How much damage does he do, really? How many dead out of how large a population in how big an area? How much lost in tax revenue and feudal dues over the subsequent decade or two after the Black Prince has gone?

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Note to Self: Best books about pre-industrial human society:

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Note to Self: A historical question I want answered: Some historical questions I want to find the answers to: What was the typical pre-agricultural density of hunter-gatherer populations?

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Note to Self: WTF!?!?, Richard Muller????: Richard Muller (2013): A Pause, Not an End, to Warming https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/opinion/a-pause-not-an-end-to-warming.html: ‘In an essay published online then at MIT Technology Review, I worried that the famous “hockey stick” graph plotted by three American climatologists in the late 1990s portrayed the global warming curve with too much certainty and inappropriate simplicity…

Here is the hockey stick:


The yellow indicates uncertainty. "Too much certainty", Richard?!?! And the temperature proxies have plenty of signal before 1900. "Inappropriate simplicity", Richard?!?! I do wonder how long it had been since he had read Michael E. Mann &al.: Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Thousand Years: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations https://web.archive.org/web/20040311175934/http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/millennium-camera.pdf: 'Building on recent studies, we attempt hemispheric temperature reconstructions with proxy data net- works for the past millennium. We focus not just on the reconstructions, but the uncertainties therein, and important caveats. Though expanded uncertainties prevent decisive conclusions for the period prior to AD 1400, our results suggest that the latter 20th century is anomalous in the context of at least the past millennium. The 1990s was the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, at moderately high levels of confidence. The 20th century warming counters a millennial-scale cooling trend which is consistent with long-term astronomical forcing...

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Note to Self: Property rights. Doug North made a career out of talking about how parliamentary government and independent courts established secure property rights in Britain, and arbitrary royal government and dependent intendents created insecure property rights in France, hence the English economy boomed while the French economy stagnated in the century and a half before the coming of the Industrial Revolution.

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Note to Self Tippy-Top Incomes: At the start of the 1970s the top 0.01% of American workers—then some 8000—had incomes, including capital gains, of about 12,500 times the average. Figure, with an average inflation-adjusted income of about 200/day (and a typical income of about 150 per working day), 2,500,000 (that's 2.5 million) inflation-adjusted dollars per day for the top 0.01%. Today that multiple is not 12,500 but rather 50,000, and the gap between average and typical is larger. So while typical incomes have risen little (to perhaps 200/day), the 15000 workers in the top 0.01% of income this year receive an average of 24,000,000 (that is 24 million) dollars a day. Investment firm Citadel founder Ken Griffin bought the most expensive residence we are aware of last January: the penthouse of 220 Central Park South in New York for 240 million. If he were receiving the average income this year for the top 0.01% (which he may not be), that expense would soak up what he receives in 100 working days.

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Note to Self: One take on how we can learn better:

  • Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen: How Can We Develop Transformative Tools for Thought? https://numinous.productions/ttft/: 'It’s difficult not to be disappointed, to feel that computers have not yet been nearly as transformative as far older tools for thought, such as language and writing.... We believe now is a good time to work hard on this vision again. In this essay we sketch out a set of ideas we believe can be used to help develop transformative new tools for thought...

  • Andy Matuschak: Why Books Don’t Work https://andymatuschak.org/books/: 'Books are magical! Human progress in the era of mass communication makes clear that some readers really do absorb deep knowledge from books... the people who really do think about what they’re reading.... Readers must learn specific reflective strategies... run their own feedback loops... understand their own cognition.... These skills fall into a bucket which learning science calls “metacognition”.... It’s challenging to learn these types of skills.... Worse, even if readers know how to do all these things, the process is quite taxing...

  • Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen: Quantum Computing for the Very Curious https://quantum.country/qcvc: 'Presented in a new mnemonic medium which makes it almost effortless to remember what you read...

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Outside of the charmed magic circle of western and central Europe, North America, and the other Anglo-Saxon settler colonies, few indeed are the economies that have managed successful economic development in the sense of convegence: materially closing any significant fraction of their productivity and living standards gap vis-a-vis the world's economic leaders. The Northeast Asian Pacific Rim, now including China; further south, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam; India and Sri Lanka; elsewhere, Turkey, Chile, Botswana, Mauritius, and Cabo Verde. That is all. And with perhaps one or two exceptions, those few have followed the particular economic development path of using low-wage manufacturing exports to nurture their domestic communities of engineering practice—a path that is now closing.

It has long been easy to see the glass half-full with respect to global economic growth: technologies and organizational forms can be imitated and adopted, do diffuse, and even the poorer parts of the globe are much richer than they were two or one or even half a century ago. It has been much harder to see the glass half-full with respect to convergence: the catching-up and closing of the gap vis-a-vis the world's industrial leaders. Why have so few countries been able to walk the path? And what are our prospects for the future? With the prospective closing of the standard parth for convergence, seeing the glass half-full is becoming harder: perhaps there will be no glass at all.

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