#notetoself Feed

*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: Dylan Riley on Romania, Italy, Spain: fascism develops because civil society makes patrimonial rule impossible... and right-wingers need an alternative...

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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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Note to Self: We hear a lot about the military revolution at the end of the sixteenth century: we hear about Gustaf Adolf, about Maurice van Nassau, even about (the earlier) Gonsalvo de Cordoba. We hear about the effective use of firearms and cannon. Discipline. Logistics—both ammunition supply and keeping guys fed and (relatively) plague free. And we hear of the victories won by Maurice van Nassau and Gustaf Adolf of Sweden over the half-modernized Spanish and Austrian armies, just as we hear of the victories won a century earlier by Gonsalvo de Cordoba and his half-modernized tercios over the unmodernized Italian mercenaries and French cavaliers. But we don't hear much about similarly striking victories won a little bit earlier somewhat further to the east...

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Note to Self: Industrial Policy in Korea: Readings:

Alice Amsden (1989): Asia's Next Giant https://www.google.com/books/edition/Asia_s_Next_Giant/j0E9qKIqD-cC chs. 1-6...

Nathan Lane (2019): Manufacturing Revolutions: Industrial Policy and Networks in South Korea https://delong.typepad.com/lane-korea.pdf...

L.E. Westphal: (1990): Industrial Policy in an Export Propelled Economy: Lessons from South Korea’s Experience https://delong.typepad.com/files/westphal.pdf

Ha-Joon Chang (1993): The political economy of industrial policy in Korea." Cambridge Journal of Economics 17.2 (1993): 131-157 https://delong.typepad.com/files/chang.pdf

Rodrik, Dani. "Getting interventions right: how South Korea and Taiwan grew rich." Economic Policy 10.20 (1995): 53-107 https://delong.typepad.com/files/rodrik-korea-taiwan.pdf

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Note to Self: The continued strength of landed military service aristocrats in government left Europe on the eve of World War I potentially vulnerable to currents of thought that were anti-liberal, pro-hierarchy, and authoritarian...

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Note to Self: Lessons from East Asian Development: Japanese Industrial Policy: Readings:

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Note to Self: Polanyi's problem is he writes badly. Hyman Minsky had next-to-no footprint until Charlie Kindleberger took Minsky's view of the world and turned it into a readable history. There's definitely space to do something like that with Polanyi—fictitious commodities, the market wants to treat your community, your occupation, your security of employment as market commodities, but people believe they have rights beyond market rights when the market gives rights only to those who control resources useful for making things for which rich people have serious Joneses...

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This From Dan Alpert Still Makes Immense Sense

Note to Self: 30-Year Treasury bonds continue astonishingly, bizarrely low:

30 Year Treasury Constant Maturity Rate DGS30 FRED St Louis Fed

It is no longer the case that they are at their lowest levels ever, but this from Dan Alpert still makes immense sense: Dan Alpert: "We awake this morning to an all-time low yield on 30 year US Treasury bond: 2.107%. This is nearly 40 basis points below the average interest rate on all marketable treasury securities https://t.co/j3trQPFxfN. It is time to borrow and invest in infrastructure #LockItIn:


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Note to Self: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: "Since the recession a decade ago, free-market economics (also known as neoliberalism) has been questioned on multiple fronts. As the dominant governing strategy for the past 40 years—including the Democratic administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—the Left today is increasingly challenging neoliberalism. Indeed, as the primaries approach, many former Clinton and Obama officials are even openly challenging the 'power of markets' belief. In his new book, A Crisis Wasted, Reed Hundt, chair of the Federal Communications Commission under Clinton and a member of Obama’s transition team, makes the argument that Obama missed an opportunity to push for a new progressive era of governance, a miscalculation that ultimately hobbled his administration. Hundt is not alone on this score. In a viral Vox article earlier this year, former Clinton administration economist Brad DeLong said that the Democratic Party has and should move past market friendly neoliberals like himself. Please join us for a very special conversation between Hundt and DeLong about the limits of, and challenges to, free-market economics with Joshua Cohen, co-editor of Boston Review. WHERE: Outdoor Art Club, One West Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941. WHEN: Monday, September 9, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (PST)...

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Note to Self: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War: Hoisted from the Archives](https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/02/note-the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-archive-entry-from-brad-delongs-webjournal.html): Harry Dexter White... George Kennan... George Marshall... Arthur Vandenberg... Paul Hoffman... Dean Acheson... Harry S Truman... Dwight D. Eisenhower... Gerald Ford...

#notetoself #2019-09-04

Note to Self: A not atypical tankie: Paul M. Sweezy:

An Obituary (2004): Marxist Economist Paul Sweezy Is Dead: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: I would like Paul Sweezy to be remembered for the following passage: "The publication in 1952 of Stalin’s Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR would make possible today a more satisfactory reply.…In the light of [Stalin’s] explanation…I would like to amend the statement which Mr. Kazahaya criticizes.…[The amended statement] conveys my meaning more accurately than the original wording and is, I think entirely in accord with Stalin’s view." (Paul Sweezy (1953): The Present as History (New York: Monthly Review Press), p. 352.) Paul Sweezy called himself an intellectual. Paul Sweezy publicly revised his opinion on an analytical issue in order to agree with the position taken by a genocidal tyrant. Fill in the blank: Paul Sweezy was a ...

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Note to Self: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: "Since the recession a decade ago, free-market economics (also known as neoliberalism) has been questioned on multiple fronts. As the dominant governing strategy for the past 40 years—including the Democratic administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—the Left today is increasingly challenging neoliberalism. Indeed, as the primaries approach, many former Clinton and Obama officials are even openly challenging the 'power of markets' belief. In his new book, A Crisis Wasted, Reed Hundt, chair of the Federal Communications Commission under Clinton and a member of Obama’s transition team, makes the argument that Obama missed an opportunity to push for a new progressive era of governance, a miscalculation that ultimately hobbled his administration. Hundt is not alone on this score. In a viral Vox article earlier this year, former Clinton administration economist Brad DeLong said that the Democratic Party has and should move past market friendly neoliberals like himself. Please join us for a very special conversation between Hundt and DeLong about the limits of, and challenges to, free-market economics with Joshua Cohen, co-editor of Boston Review. WHERE: Outdoor Art Club, One West Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941. WHEN: Monday, September 9, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (PST)...

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I Want My Country Back!

Note to Self: I Want My Country Back!: It is a really strange situation. It has a lot of "if he were nots":

  • If he were not president, Trump’s family would already have moved for a guardianship ad litem...

  • If he were not so authoritarian, we would be profoundly sad that someone—hate him, love him, simply be amused by him—has been such an entertaining celebrity...

  • And if he were not so deranged, we would be in the streets demanding the constitutional order be observed and wondering just what we should do when someone begins taking him seriously and literally when he says that the Washington Post and Catherine Rampell are the enemies of the people, when he says what we really need to do is get rid of the judges, when he says we should let the guys in the mirrored sunglasses in the security agencies do their thing.

It is not an America I ever thought that I would live in, I must say...

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The Flight to Safety in Asset Markets Has Now Become a Thing in Itself...

Note to Self: The market has now delivered 100 basis points of easing in the ten-year Treasury window since the end of last October. On the 30-year bond, you would have made a 20% profit if you bought it last October and sold it today, compared to a 3.5% profit on the S&P Composite over the same period. That is a major, major sentiment shift. That means that a number of people short debt with riskier operations than the S&P Composite are about to face margin calls and rollover difficulties. We will shortly see how solvent the market judges them.

No, it is not yet August 2007. But it is much closer to August 2007 than I expected to see for another generation:

Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Daily Treasury Real Yield Curve Rates

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Note to Self: Why was Jonathan Weisman's economic policy reporting for the Washington Post so execrable back in the mid-2000s? A person who was, as they say, very, very, very, very, very familiar with the matter:

Jonathan's big problem is that he's not that deep into the issues, and he has no backup. There's nobody that he can go to in that building to tell him 'this was how X was trying to mislead you' or 'this is Y's history' or 'be very careful here: if you get this detail Z wrong, they'll come down on you extremely hard'...

In retrospect, I think we can conclude that it was not that Weisman was mismanaged by the Washington Post editorial staff: I'm happy to believe that there was gross mismanagement, but gross mismanagement does not lead one to contrast the view of Paul Krugman with that of Donald Luskin or of a White House aide who does not dare give his name and say "economists furiously debate". That is someone who has made a deliberate decision to make their career by being a complaisant mouthpiece for insider anonymous sources

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Note to Self: Let me say that I am 100% behind Roxane Gay here. When Jonathan Weisman was covering economics and monetary policy, he was a "Paul Krugman and Donald Luskin disagree about the shape of the earth: who can tell who is right?" guy. Those of us who talked to him took the incompetence for granted—and more than that: a willful desire to not understand the issues because then he might be unable to properly suck up to the sources he wished to suck up too.

Given that history, my mind is closed on the incompetence question. And I'm happy to listen on the racism one:

Roxane Gay: "Guys, Jonathan Weisman emailed me to say he thinks I owe him an 'enormous apology'. The audacity and entitlement of white men is fucking incredible. I am legitimately shocked. Like. What? He also emailed my assistant. WTF? And he also emailed Harper Collins. Uhh, @nytimes, get your boy...

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Note to Self: On the one hand, we are worried because we know we are not terribly rational animals, and we know that big data can find correlations. We thus fear people will then use those correlations to hack our brains for their profit or advantage—and for our loss. we fear they will learn how to hack our brains to get us to think, say, do, or buy things that are not in accord with our best selves or our long-term goals—things that we will later on profoundly regret.

On the other hand, this morning, while I was waiting for my first appointment, I was served up nine bra ads—and not because I have desires to cross-dress that I have not yet admitted to myself. It was because Big Ad Data is not smart enough to figure out: "although this internet identity is associated with this credit card number, the person surfing the web right now is not the person who buys the bras"...

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Enormous Possibilities in China...


Note to Self: There are immense possibilities in China.

On the screen earlier today we saw Chinese military politician Peng Dehuai, who did command the army that inflicted the greatest defeat on an American army ever in the retreat from the Yalu River. But during the years of the Great Leap Forward he was the Chinese politician who did most to serve the people. And we are desperately short of his like in both Beijing and Washington, both of which are facing very different but, I think, equally grave crises of governance. Sp here is a poem he wrote in 1958 on an inspection tour of the Great Leap Forward famine:

Grain scattered on the ground, potato leaves withered;
Strong young people have left to make steel;
Only children and old women reap the crops;
How can they survive the coming year?
Allow me to raise my voice for the people!

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Perhaps Britain's Supersession by America Was Not Inevitable...


Note to Self: Perhaps Britain's supersession by America was not inevitable. In 1860 the United States had a full-citizen population of 25 million, and Britain and its Dominions had a full-citizen population of 32 million. By 1940 the full-citizen numbers were 117 and 76 million. But the pro-rated descendents of the full citizens as of 1860 were 50 and 65 million, advantage Britain and the Dominions. Up to 1924 New York welcomed all comers from Europe and the Middle East. London and the Dominions were welcoming only to northern European Protestants.

A Britain more interested in turning into Britons or Canadians the migrating Jews, Poles, Italians, Romanians, and even Turks who do not happen to be named Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson—who bears Turkish Minister of the Interior Ali Kemal's Y and five other chromosomes, and hence is, by all the rules of conservative patriarchy, a Turk— would have been much stronger throughout the twentieth century.

Perhaps it would not be in its current undignified position.

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Note to Self: "Consider Alasdair Macintyre... In the beginning: boring naive and jejune Marxisant socialist... Today: boring, naive, and jejune neo-Thomist... But in the middle, along the trajectory, Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic through Against the Self-Images of the Age to Hegel and After Virtue... what a thinker! what a powerful awareness of the attractiveness of different positions! what deep insights generated by position and opposition—even if he never gets to aufhebung—composition!...

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Note to Self: Is there somebody I should read who has thought deeply and powerfully about these issues?: Homer's Odyssey Blogging: "Like Little Birds... They Writhed with Their Feet... But for No Long While...": I love [David] Drake. I love the Odyssey. But I am distressed to find myself somewhat more sympathetic than I want to be with Plato's recommendation that only "hymns to the gods and praise of famous men" be allowed in the Just City because allowing more would lead to sensation and melodrama and would excite the baser instincts of men. And I have now opened up the following can of worms: How do we educate people to read—listen—watch—properly, so that they become their better rather than their worse selves? Mind you, I do not wish that the Odyssey were otherwise (or that David Drake wrote otherwise). But I do wish we teachers taught better how to read—and listen—and watch...

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Note to Self: Playing with Sargent-Stachurski QuantEcon http://quantecon.org: I have long been annoyed with the standard presentation of the Solow Growth Model because the state variable k—capital per effective worker—is not observable in the real world, while the capital-output ratio κ is. Moreover, the steady-state capital-output ratio has an easy to remember and intuitive description: it is the savings rate divided by the economy's steady-state investment requirements. Capital per effective worker has no such intuitive description. Plus the capital-output ratio exhibits exponential convergence to the steady-state. Capital per effective worker does not:

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Note to Self: The question is whether our current market values are in fact "Pangloss" values, and are going to come back to earth at some point, with the shock provided by that return to earth providing a nasty expectational shock that will cause a depression—but with that return to earth delayed long enough to plausibly reelect Trump—or whether current values are appropriate given underlying fundamentals, and are in fact about the only thing keeping us out of a depression right now...

My sense is that "we need to raise reserve requirements in a boom" is very good policy; but that "we need to pop this bubble" is almost always very bad policy.

And we do not appear to have any (large) equity bubble. The weirdness is all in bond prices:

S P 500 PE Ratio 90 Year Historical Chart MacroTrends

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Note to Self: The establishment-survey payroll-employment number (red line) contain within them a guess as to how many newly-formed forms there are that have not yet caught up to and entered the payroll system. When a recession starts, that guess at the fudge factor can be way high.

On the other hand, the household-survey employment number (blue line) has a lot more statistical noise in it.

The bet right now is that late last year the household survey interviewers just happened by luck on a bunch of people enthusiastic about working, but nothing is guaranteed. It might be that the firm birth-death guess is leading the establishment survey (red line) astray:

Civilian Employment Level FRED St Louis Fed

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