Briefly Noted: 2021-02-01 Mo

<https://braddelong.substack.com/p/briefly-noted-2021-02-01-mo>

What I have been reading that has arrested me, and made me think. This may be one use I make of my substack as I try to figure out what this platform is useful for. Let me start with things thatwhizzed by, and follow with some long-paragraph chunks that I think are very worth reading,

 

But first:

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And:

One Video That Is Very Much Worth Watching:

40 minutes: JaydenXShooting and Storming Of The US Capitol In Washington DC


Very Briefly Noted:


Seven Paragraphs-Plus for Dinnertime:

Matt YglesiasVaccines Are Better than You Think: ‘None of the people in the Pfizer/Moderna treatment groups died or even fell seriously ill and had to be hospitalized…. These days they vaccinate kids against chickenpox, so kids mostly don’t get chicken pox. But even more remarkable, when they do get chickenpox these days it’s a “sick for a few days” kind of thing not “miss weeks of school while suffering in agony.” This is a really big deal with regard to the lower efficacy we are expecting from the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. A vaccine that’s only 70 percent effective at blocking infection would be expected to generate a larger than that reduction in hospitalizations and an even larger reduction in deaths… LINK: <https://www.slowboring.com/p/good-vaccines>


Kyle OrlandRobinhood’s plan to “democratize finance” hit a GameStop-shaped speed bump [Updated] | Ars Technica: ‘Tenev said point blank that “there was no liquidity problem” and that Robinhood’s move was made “pre-emptively and proactively” to “protect the firm and protect customers.” But in the same interview, he said he “know[s] how Clorox and Lysol felt in the pandemic when they were running out of hand sanitizer and supplies,” which suggests that the company didn’t have enough of something (e.g. money) on hand to handle the SEC requirements for the trading influx… LINK: <https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/01/robinhoods-plan-to-democratize-finance-hit-a-gamestop-shaped-speed-bump/>


James H. Williams & al.Carbon‐Neutral Pathways for the United States: ‘Modeling the entire U.S. energy and industrial system… we created multiple pathways to net zero and net negative CO2 emissions by 2050. They met all forecast U.S. energy needs at a net cost of 0.2–1.2% of GDP in 2050, using only commercial or near‐commercial technologies, and requiring no early retirement of existing infrastructure. Pathways with constraints on consumer behavior, land use, biomass use, and technology choices (e.g., no nuclear) met the target but at higher cost. All pathways employed four basic strategies: energy efficiency, decarbonized electricity, electrification, and carbon capture. Least‐cost pathways were based on >80% wind and solar electricity plus thermal generation for reliability….

In the next decade, the actions required in all pathways were similar: expand renewable capacity 3.5 fold, retire coal, maintain existing gas generating capacity, and increase electric vehicle and heat pump sales to >50% of market share. This study provides a playbook for carbon neutrality policy with concrete near‐term priorities… LINK: <https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020AV000284>


Timothy B. LeeNo, WallStreetBets isn’t robbing Wall Street to help the little guy | Ars Technica: ‘The effort has been so effective in part because its architects have convinced people that it’s not just a pump and dump scheme… a seductive story in which retail investors found a loophole that allows them to make money at the expense of hedge funds…. In reality, most of the gains captured by early GameStop investors will come at the expense of later investors who will be left holding the bag when the stock falls… LINK: <https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/01/the-gamestop-bubble-is-going-to-hurt-a-lot-of-ordinary-investors/>


Noah SmithAbout that TFP stagnation…: ‘Wow! If you look only at the durables sector, there was no Great Stagnation at all…. Durables TFP has been growing more strongly post–1993 than it ever did in the post-WW2 boom! Consider this: In the 26 years from ’47 to ’73, durables TFP nearly doubled, but in the 15 years from ’94-’09, durables TFP more than doubled…. Something big did happen to technological progress… not in 1973… but a decade earlier. In the 15 years to 1963, the two sectors progressed pretty much in tandem. But sometime in the early- to mid–60s, they diverged wildly, with nondurables [and services] TFP rising anemically through the late 70s and then basically flatlining until now….

I think we should look at the “Great Stagnation” as a more subtle phenomenon than simply the exhaustion of the “low-hanging fruit” of nature. Our technologies for producing durable goods are improving faster than ever… LINK: <https://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/tfp-and-great-stagnation.html>


Matt ClancyMaybe There is No Technological Slowdown: ‘Vollrath’s preferred decomposition of the causes of the 1.25% annual slowdown in real GDP per capita growth is: 0.80pp - Declining growth in human capital; 0.20pp - The shift of spending from goods to services; 0.15pp - Declining reallocation of workers and firms; 0.10pp - Declining geographic mobility…. Human capital alone accounts for two-thirds of the slowdown….

This leaves about 0.45pp left over for explanations related to the capital stock and TFP. Indeed, you can see in the graph above that GDP per capita growth drops noticeably in 2007, but TFP growth only drops a bit. Thus, right off the bat, Vollrath argues a slowdown in technological progress explains at most part of one-third of the growth slowdown….

Services involve the purchase of attention from someone: childcare workers, doctors, restaurant servers, and so on. To the extent you are paying for attention from someone, it’s very hard to improve TFP. For these kind of services, TFP growth would entail finding a way to get more minutes of attention out of the same number of workers…. It’s not clear where the extra attention can come from… LINK: <https://mattsclancy.substack.com/p/maybe-there-is-no-technological-slowdown>


Nino Scalia says: The poor should die in the street: Supreme Court (2012–03–27): The Health Care Law & The Individual Mandate: ‘In the health care market, you’re going into the market without the ability to pay for what you get, getting the health care service anyway as a result of the social norms that allow—that—to which we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care.’ JUSTICE SCALIA: ’Well, don’t obligate yourself to that. Why—you know?… LINK: https://www.npr.org/2012/03/27/149465820/transcript-supreme-court-the-health-care-law-and-the-individual-mandate


Briefly Noted: 2021-01-31 Su

It is curious that—so far at least—this from the extremely sharp McKay Coppins has turned out to be wrong: McKay Coppins: ‘People who spent years coddling the president will recast themselves as voices of conscience, or whitewash their relationship with Trump… LINK: <https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/biden-cabinet-inauguration-gop-future>

The Republicans are all doubling down on Trump, even though he is now out of office, and off of Twitter. He has all but disappeared from the general public sphere. Is he still ruling the fever swamps? And do the Republicans not recognize that there is anything else?

Plus Two Videos Well Worth Watching:

Roosevelt & Churchill: Christmas, 1941

Arnold SchwarzeneggerGovernor Schwarzenegger’s Message Following This Week’s Attack on the Capitol

Very Briefly Noted:


Seven Paragraphs-Plus for Dinnertime:

Anna AkhmatovaFrom ‘Requiem’ : ‘During the years of the Yezhovschina, I spent seventeen months standing outside the prison in Leningrad, waiting for news. One day someone recognized me. Then a woman with lips blue from the cold, who was standing behind me, and of course had never heard of my name, came out of the numbness which affected us all. She whispered in my ear (for we all spoke in whispers there): “Can you describe this?” I said, “I can.” Then something resembling a smile slipped over what had once been her face… LINK


Ken UntenerProphets of a Future Not Our Own : ‘It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own. LINK


Rosa LuxemburgThe Russian Revolution: ‘The socialist system of society should only be, and can only be, an historical product, born out of the school of its own experiences, born in the course of its realization, as a result of the developments of living history…. Socialism by its very nature cannot be decreed or introduced by ukase…. The negative, the tearing down, can be decreed; the building up, the positive, cannot. New Territory. A thousand problems. Only experience is capable of correcting and opening new ways. Only unobstructed, effervescing life falls into a thousand new forms and improvisations, brings to light creative new force, itself corrects all mistaken attempts.

The public life of countries with limited freedom is so poverty-stricken, so miserable, so rigid, so unfruitful, precisely because, through the exclusion of democracy, it cuts off the living sources of all spiritual riches and progress…. Otherwise, socialism will be decreed from behind a few official desks by a dozen intellectuals…. Life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously–at bottom, then, a clique affair–a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins (the postponement of the Soviet Congress from three-month periods to six-month periods!)

Yes, we can go even further: such conditions must inevitably cause a brutalization of public life: attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, etc… LINK: <https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/russian-revolution/ch06.htm>


Noah SmithShort Thoughts on the Insurrection: ‘I think Republicans who still support the insurrectionists—or who are still on the fence—are motivated not by hate but by fear. To understand the mind of American conservatives, you have to understand the constant diet of fear that they consume every day. For decades, right-wing talk shows and Fox News have understood that they could get conservatives to tune in by constantly pumping up the fear—fear of a War on Christmas, fear of gay culture, fear of terrorism, fear of Black crime, fear fear fear. During the Trump Era, the chief bugaboos have been A) wokeness, B) immigration, and C) antifa. To be a conservative in America is to exist in a constant state of having people trying to scare you.

Now, in the era of Trumpist insurrection, the chief threat that the fearmongers are hawking is that Republicans and conservatives will become a persecuted class in America….. Some Republicans will see this threatening warning and think “Ehh, that’s hysteria; let’s focus on the real threat of insurrection and then things will be back to normal.” But some will think “OMG it’s true…. I’m going to be hunted and persecuted in my own country just because I’m a conservative…. Who can protect me from this terror?” And for many, the only possible answer to the question of “Who can protect me from this terror?” will be “Trump, and the people who stormed the Capitol”. Having been told that the institutions of America are an existential threat to them, they will cling to the only force they feel might be capable of protecting them….

All the insurrectionists have to do to retain Republican support is to keep pumping up the threat, and keep presenting themselves as the only port in the storm. And some Republicans, tragically, will cling ever tighter to the very monster that is at their throats… LINK <https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/insurrection-thoughts-113>


Tom Snyder: The American Abyss: ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true… LINK: <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html>


Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People: ‘Republican lawmakers misled millions of people into believing the results of a legitimate election could be overturned. Many of them viewed contesting the outcome as a relatively easy way to gain political currency among Trump supporters, knowing all the while that their efforts would have no real impact on who will be sworn into office in two weeks. The deception—primarily led by Trump, yet enabled by members of Congress—set the stage for the violence that unfolded at the Capitol Wednesday. Four people died....

The normally dry procedural affair of counting of the Electoral College votes was viewed by everyday Republicans and zealots alike as the place to make a final stand to overturn the election—even though elected Republicans knew the outcome would ultimately remain unchanged. As my colleague Jonah writes this morning, “Convincing people they need to prevent a coup when no such coup exists is a recipe for violence.” This was the energy that fueled the horde on Wednesday… LINK: <https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/the-consequences-of-lying-to-people>


Scott AlexanderStill Alive: ‘513,000 people read my blog post complaining about the New York Times’ attempt to dox me (for comparison…. So many people cancelled their subscription that the Times’ exasperated customer service agents started pre-empting callers with “Is this about that blog thing?”… I got emails from no fewer than four New York Times journalists expressing sympathy and offering to explain their paper’s standards in case that helped my cause. All four of them gave totally different explanations, disagreeing about whether the reporter I dealt with was just following the rules, was flagrantly violating the rules, was unaffected by any rules, or what. Seems like a fun place to work. I was nevertheless humbled by their support….

Someone who knows New York Times reporters says the guy on my case was their non-hit-piece guy; they have a different reporter for hatchet jobs. After I torched the blog in protest, they seem to have briefly flirted with turning it into a hit piece, and the following week they switched to interviewing everyone who hated me and asking a lot of leading questions about potentially bad things I did….

I think the New York Times wanted to write a fairly boring article about me, but some guideline said they had to reveal subjects’ real identities, if they knew them, unless the subject was in one of a few predefined sympathetic categories (eg sex workers). I did get to talk to a few sympathetic people from the Times, who were pretty confused about whether such a guideline existed, and certainly it’s honored more in the breach than in the observance (eg Virgil Texas)….

I had a phobia of being doxxed. But psychotherapy classes also teach you to not to let past traumas control your life even after they’ve stopped being relevant. Was I getting too worked up over an issue that no longer mattered? The New York Times thought so. Some people kept me abreast of their private discussions (in Soviet America, newspaper’s discussions get leaked to you!) and their reporters had spirited internal debates about whether I really needed anonymity. Sure, I’d gotten some death threats, but everyone gets death threats…. Sure, I might get SWATted, but realistically that’s a really scary fifteen seconds before the cops apologize and go away. Sure, my job was at risk, but I was a well-off person and could probably get another….

In the New York Times’ worldview, they start with the right to dox me, and I had to earn the right to remain anonymous by proving I’m the perfect sympathetic victim who satisfies all their criteria of victimhood…. I don’t think anyone at the Times bore me ill will, at least not originally. But somehow that just made it even more infuriating…


From Yesterday: DeLongTODAY: GameStonk

From 2021-01-29 Fr

From <http://.delongtoday.com>

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out one word—GameStonk!!—with two exclamation points, and with a link to a board on the internet discussion site Reddit, a board that describes itself as: “WallStreetBets: Like 4chan found a Bloomberg terminal”. The word “GameStonk” is a mashup of “stonk”, a misspelling of “stock”, and “GameStop”—the Dallas-headquartered U.S. bricks-and-mortar videogame retailer with 5000 stores, $1 million of annual revenue per store, and currently $200 million a year of losses. The misspelling of “stock” means that Musk wants his readers to know that he is adopting a pose of enthusiasm and excitement: the pose is that he must communicate, and cannot be bothered to spellcheck anything before he sends his words out to the internet. “GameStonk!!” could therefore be translated thus: “excitement, enthusiasm, and approval for (or perhaps for what is currently going on with) the stock of the company GameStop.” 

The price of  GameStop (ticker $GME) immediately rose 60%.

The stock had doubled earlier in the day. The supposed trigger was early Facebook executive and current venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s tweeting that he had bought call options on GameStop, betting the stock would go still higher than it had before. The total equity value of GameStop was $5.5 billion Tuesday morning, $11 billion Tuesday afternoon, $17 billion Tuesday evening, a peak (so far) of $26 billion Wednesday, and $18 billion Thursday as I am taping this.

OK. So what is going on? And what does this mean?

Wikipedia tells us that GameStop is headquartered in suburban Dallas, TX, near to a LEGOLAND:

GameStop is an American video game, consumer electronics, and gaming merchandise retailer. The company is headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, United States, a suburb of Dallas, and operates 5,509 retail stores throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe as of February 1, 2020. The company's retail stores primarily operate under the GameStop, EB Games, ThinkGeek, and Micromania-Zing brands. In addition to retail stores, GameStop also owns Game Informer, a video game magazine.

GameStop last made a profit in calendar 2017: $35 million. It lost $673 million in 2018, lost 20% of its revenue in 2019 down to $6.46 billion for a loss of $471 million, looks to realize $5.26 billion in revenue and lose $200 million, and is forecast—but tracking analysts forecasts are usually optimistic—at revenues of $5.84 billion and break-even in 2022. Up until September, it was worth some $5 per share, $350 million for the 70 million shares outstanding.

The stock jumped in September and October—roughly tripled, boosting the company’s equity valuation from about $350 million to about $1 billion. Why? Because of Ryan Cohen. Ryan Cohen had founded online pet retailer MrChewy in 2011 at the age of 25. He had made a success of it, selling it to PetSmart for $3.35 billion and stepping down from the CEO position in 2019. He had bought 10% of GameStop. He hoped to turn it around: “GameStop needs to evolve into a technology company that delights gamers and delivers exceptional digital experiences—not remain a video game retailer that overprioritizes its brick-and-mortar footprint and stumbles around the online ecosystem…” he wrote. 

Before Ryan Cohen’s appearance, the consensus was that GameStop would be closed in a decade. The market’s valuation was that of the $50 billion in revenue the firm might collect before it closed, it would be generous to think that 1% of that might be ultimately paid out to shareholders. Afterwards, the market was more optimistic: maybe with Ryan Cohen involved, there was a 20% chance GameStop could, instead, become an internet property as valuable as MrChewy was when Cohen sold it to PetSmart. Maybe Ms. Market was right here; maybe Ms. Market was wrong. I tend to think that Ms. Market was being too enthusiastic about the ability of one charismatic 35er with successful experience in an adjacent market segment to make a big difference. But I would not say that I was at all sure that Ms. Market was wrong.

One other thing happened in September-October: an extra 35 million shares or so were shorted. As of August, there were 100 million shares in long positions—people who stood to gain if GameStop went up or paid dividends—and 30 million shares in short positions—people who stood to gain if GameStop went down. By the end of October there were 135 million shares in long positions in 65 million shares in short positions. And then nothing happens until January 12, 2021.

So what happens in the two weeks between the end of January 12 and dawn on January 26? The stock-market valuation of the company then went from $1 to $5.5 billion. Why and how? 

One part of it is a “technical” story. The technical story has two parts. The first part is the “short squeeze” part. Suppose that you are a short seller. And suppose that the price of a stock you have shorted goes up—goes way up. What do you do? On the one hand, the profits from your short, if it comes in, are now much bigger, so you hold on to and may well increase your short position. 

On the other hand you are now poorer—perhaps a lot poorer—and your tolerance for risk goes down. Moreover, you are in this as a business: you cannot get yourself into a situation where one bet going wrong will destroy your ability to make other bets in the future, no matter how big a winner this one bet looks. And, in addition, the fact that the stock has moved against you is evidence that your initial analysis of the situation was, to some degree at least, not accurate. Those will tend to make you shrink your position.

The net effect of these factors is that, for short sellers, their demand curve may well slope the wrong way. Markets are stable because when price goes up demand tends to go down. But if short-sellers decide to cover rather than increase their positions when the price rises, their component of the demand curve does not slope down but slopes up—unless and until much bigger short sellers with much deeper pockets and much greater risk tolerances are attracted into the market.

The second part of the technical story is the call option part. Suppose you want to bet on Ryan Cohen’s success—or bet that it might look like he might possibly be a success. You could buy the stock. Or you could amplify your potential winnings by buying a way-out-of-the-money call option on the stock. That way you can make a bet that might come in really big, and make it cheaply. If you think you have more knowledge than capital, and yet you want to limit your downside exposure by not borrowing to buy stock and hence being on the hook if the stock goes bankrupt, a call option can look attractive.

The question is: who do you buy the call option from? If you can find somebody who wants to make the opposite bet—to bet that Ryan Cohen will not succeed—well and good. But odds are you will buy the call option from somebody who does not have strong views about Ryan Cohen and GameStop. They simply want to collect some money for making a market up front, and then be out of the game. They do not want to gamble. They want to hedge their position.

How do they hedge their position? Well, they sell you a call option and then they buy a little bit of the stock at the market price. If the call option price goes up, it must be because the stock price has gone up. When the call option is way out-of-the-money, a $1 increase in the stock price produces only a very small increase in the value of the option, so you do not need to buy much stock. But as the stock price approaches the option strike price—the price at which you get to buy the stock if you “call” your option—the proper delta hedge requires more and more of the stock. And at the limit, as the option comes into the money, the delta hedge amount becomes one.

Thus as the stock price goes up, your counterparty who has sold you the option must increase his or her long position in the stock in order to stay hedged. From your perspective, you are not doing anything as the stock price rises. You have an option. You are just letting it ride as the stock bounces around. But the combination of you-and-your-counterparty-who-has-hedged-their-position as a unit is another positive-feedback trader: somebody else whose demand curve slopes the wrong way, with your collective demand for the stock not falling but rising as the stock price rises.

And, of course, as the stock price rises, it gains more mindshare. And some of those whom news about the stock touches will decide to buy.

So far we have three factors: short-sellers who can be squeezed, and thus turned into positive-feedback traders; counterparties of call option purchasers, who are positive-feedback traders as well; and the fact that news and buzz is a source of stock demand. There are also three more factors: call them YOLO (as Matt Levine does), rage-against-the-(financial)-machine (as John Authers does), and pump-and-dump.

Let me quote from Matt Levine on YOLO:

The people on the WallStreetBets subreddit sometimes all get into a stock at once. This is fun, a nice social outing in an age of social distancing, a risky but potentially lucrative collective entertainment. Recently they decided to do GameStop. Because, I don’t know, they’re gamers… it’s a little comical to pump the stock of… mall video-game stores during a pandemic, or because… professional investors are short GameStop and they thought it’d be funny to mess with them. Or, especially, because their friends on Reddit were buying…. Take one person who’s long for fundamental reasons, add 100 people who are long for personal-amusement reasons like “lol gaming” or “let’s mess with the shorts,” and then add thousands more who are long because they see everyone else long, and the stock moves: “‘It was a meme stock that really blew up’, said WallStreetBets moderator Bawse1…. GameStop seemed so utterly doomed that the current situation was actually sort of funny to the subreddit’s denizens. Banded together, WallStreetBets members bought in big enough to move the stock…. Here is a seven-hour YouTube video from Friday in which a guy called “Roaring Kitty” dips a chicken tender in champagne to celebrate his GameStop wins. “This is the thing, overbought can stay overbought, remain overbought, even get more overbought,” he says, which is as good a summary of the situation as anything else…

And let me quote from John Authers on rage-against-the-(financial)-machine:

I argued that it was misplaced to take pleasure at the pain for the short-sellers who had attacked GameStop stock, and then been subjected to a “short squeeze” for the ages by traders coordinating on Reddit. I received a bumper crop of feedback… leaving out many with unprintable expletives): “How much did [GameStop short-position hedge fund] Melvin pay you to write this garbage? shill. Literally trying to protect an industry trying to fleece jobs from low income workers. Sleep well chump…” “Watching entitled institutional shorts whine… that millennials equipped with margin accounts & zero fees are collaborating on Reddit to target them is my new favorite sport. Looks perfectly healthy… plus 1 for the little guys.” “Normal isn't putting the retail trader down for being independent while organized hedge funds force you to take their way or suffer in fear. Normal is the American dream and being able to make your own way. This isn't a casino. This is a riot…”

We coordinated our purchases on Reddit, and we got rich, and in the process we made a bunch of overrich institutional Wall Street plutocrats sad and poorer. What is not to like?—that seems to be their view.

Well, what is not to like is that ultimately all the money there is is the dividends that will be paid by GameStop and the price that will be paid by its acquirer whenever the GameStop corporate shell is dissolved and its assets are repositioned. At the moment those who have sold GameStop on its ride up have collected perhaps $14 billion—$7 billion from the shorts and $7 billion from current GameStop holders who were late into their long positions. The short-sellers have lost $7 billion. Current stockholders of GameStop have an asset 

worth $14 billion that they paid $7 billion for—and so a paper profit of $7 billion right now. But the only value to back GameStop is the money that will be flowing out of the firm as distributed profits—and that is likely to be $400 million only, or maybe $700 million, or maybe $1 billion at best.

Current GameStop shareholders are thus looking to lose at least $6 billion of the $7 billion they have paid for the stock—unless they find greater fools willing to take their shares off their hands at something like its current $14 billion paper-profit valuation.

And here we get to the pump-and-dump question: How much do those who have already received $14 billion in profits from GameStonk so far overlap with those who currently hold a $14 billion paper position in GameStonk—a position that was $28 billion at one moment Thursday afternoon? And how much have those who have profited already dumped their positions? And what role did those who have profited play in pumping up the stock in the first place?

Combine pump-and-dump, rage-against-the-(financial)-machine, YOLO, hedged call options as strong sources of positive-feedback trading, and the short squeeze with the excitement provoked by the hope that Ryan Cohen could repeat his success with MrChewy, and you have the stage set for Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya to trigger the quintupling of Tuesday and Wednesday. It is hard to know why they did what they did. It seems likely to be YOLO—for if they had positions, they are likely to spend the rest of their lives enmeshed in nets of lawsuits.

The story is really reminiscent of the bad old days of Gilded Age Wall Street—the Harlem corner, the stats bearcat corner, the Northern Securities panic. (The family story is that one of my great-great grandfathers killed himself with his revolver because he could not face telling his family the scale of his losses in Northern Securities).

There is, however one big difference. In previous search episodes of short squeezes, corners, and massive immediate fast-moving bubble divergences of market prices from fundamentals, there was considerable uncertainty about what those fundamentals really were. Was the stock being pumped above its value by cynics who wanted to dump it later? Or were people who had learned that there was about to be great news about the business trying to quietly buy it up in advance? And were the rumors that there was a pump-and-dump going on false-flag diversions to keep the general public from getting in on a good thing?

Before there was always a universe to be understood and mastered, or Masters of the Universe who you could profit be emulating. Knowledge either about what fundamental values really were or about the plans of insiders. But this time there is no knowledge, there is no pattern.

Just as Donald Trump was a reality-TV simulacrum of a president, so this feels like a reality-TV version of financial Robber Barons. A going-through-the-motions for the camera, but, somehow, not the real thing. Then there was a reason to think things might work out as planned.

Now there is only: GameStonk!!  



Hayek & Einstein...

<https://braddelong.substack.com/p/hayek-and-einstein>

Chasing down an intellectual rabbit hole at Wednesday lunchtime...

 

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. 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….

The aim of socialism is no less than to effect a complete redesigning of our traditional morals, law, and language, and on this basis to stamp out the old order and the supposedly inexorable, unjustifiable conditions that prevent the institution of reason, fulfilment, true freedom, and justice. The rationalist standards on which this whole argument, indeed this whole programme, rest, are however at best counsels of perfection and at worst the discredited rules of an ancient methodology which may have been incorporated into some of what is thought of as science, but which has nothing to do with real investigation…

Who are these Mephistophelean demons seeking to destroy human morality? Keynes, Russell, Monod, and… Einstein?

Let’s leave John Maynard Keynes to one side—even though the paragraph in his essay My Early Beliefs where Keynes calls himself an “immoralist” is, in context, a declaration that when he was young he was foolish, that he is not yet fully wise, and that as a result people regard him with justified suspicion as someone who is “not aware that civilization was a precarious crust erected by the personality and the will of a very few, and only maintained by rule and conventions skillfully put across and guilefully preserved…” Anybody who makes this and claims that Keynes boasted that he was—and saw himself as—an “immoralist” a la André Gide is not in the business of informing but of misleading you.

Let’s leave Bertrand Russell to one side (even though there was nobody more skeptical of idealist thinkers suffering from “the fatal conceit”, and nobody more willing to seek truth from facts.)

But let’s focus for a moment on Jacques Monod. What seems to have incited Hayek’s (or Bartley’s) ire? It is Monod’s short book Chance and Necessity. For Monod, we—indeed, all life—are completely and purely the result of chance and necessity working together, through the process of variation and evolution by natural selection. And what is a choice or a chance decision at one level—the cell can choose to admit or not admit a virus, the antibody can choose to grab onto and tag the virus or let the virus pass by—is at a lower level the result of necessity as the molecules do or do not fit together so that the key can turn the lock or not.

Science, Monod says, has taught us this, and in so teaching has “outrage[d] values… subvert[ed] every one of the mythical or philosophical ontogenies upon which the animist tradition, from the Australian aborigines to the dialectical materialists, has made all ethics rest: values, duties, rights, prohibitions…” Monod’s belief is that as the scientific pursuit of knowledge has brought us to this wisdom, we should response by wisely taking the further advance of scientific knowledge as our ethical touchstone, and accept that our purpose is—we are made—to be Francis Bacon’s Salomon’s House, for which “the end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible…”

Now I would have thought that Monod’s ideas would have been attractive to the Hayek who sees the people’s god as “just a personification of that tradition of morals or values that keeps their community alive”.

So I cannot but believe that Hayek’s (or Bartley’s) real beef with Monod is that he says what are supposed to be the quiet parts too loudly—that it is good for other people to believe that their god is more than just a personification of their moral tradition.

And then we come to… Einstein.

Einstein?

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is not opinion or doctrine, but fact: When you measure the clocks and yardsticks of others who are moving rapidly relative to yourself, you do measure that their clocks tick more slowly than yours and their yardsticks are contracted in the direction of motion and so measure smaller distances than yours. That is simply a fact. GPS satellites are so programmed that if that were not a fact, they would not work.

Why this animus against Einstein? It is true that he did say that socialism was a necessity, and did say something like: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” But how does that translate into Einstein being a crusader “to effect a complete redesigning of our traditional morals, law, and language”?

Am I wrong in misreading this as, at base, simply Hayek viewing a prominent Jew (pretty much any prominent Jew) as an Enemy of the People (George Soros today, anyone?)?

In the same era as The Fatal Conceit was published, you could read the right-wing American Spectator stating as fact that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was simply an enormous conspiratorial con game played against the righteous and the conservative, and that ‘the constancy of the speed of light, irrespective of the observer's movement, has not been demonstrated experimentally”. Never mind that that constancy was what had been tested and demonstrated in the 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment that the American Spectator had just referred to on the previous page.

And you could read stated as fact that even though all professional physicists know that Relativity Theory is false, for the most part they “shrug and accept relativity theory—theirs is not to quarrel with the sainted genius of the twentieth century”, while:

among intellectuals in general, the theory has been much admired: so abstruse, so deliciously disrespectful of the eternal verities, so marvelously baffling to the bourgeoisie. It doesn't interfere with the daily routine, makes no practical difference to the Newtonian world. But it does upset its theoretical underpinnings. Wonderful!”

<https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/bethel-einstein-i.pdf>


W.H. Auden: Spain

<https://braddelong.substack.com/p/wh-auden-spain>

Written just before WWII, during the Spanish Civil War...

 

Yesterday all the past. The language of size
Spreading to China along the trade-routes; the diffusion
Of the counting-frame and the cromlech;
Yesterday the shadow-reckoning in the sunny climates.

Yesterday the assessment of insurance by cards,
The divination of water; yesterday the invention
Of cartwheels and clocks, the taming of
Horses. Yesterday the bustling world of the navigators.

Yesterday the abolition of fairies and giants,
the fortress like a motionless eagle eyeing the valley,
the chapel built in the forest;
Yesterday the carving of angels and alarming gargoyles;

The trial of heretics among the columns of stone;
Yesterday the theological feuds in the taverns
And the miraculous cure at the fountain;
Yesterday the Sabbath of witches; but to-day the struggle

Yesterday the installation of dynamos and turbines,
The construction of railways in the colonial desert;
Yesterday the classic lecture
On the origin of Mankind. But to-day the struggle.

Yesterday the belief in the absolute value of Greek,
The fall of the curtain upon the death of a hero;
Yesterday the prayer to the sunset
And the adoration of madmen. but to-day the struggle.

As the poet whispers, startled among the pines,
Or where the loose waterfall sings compact, or upright
On the crag by the leaning tower:
“O my vision. O send me the luck of the sailor.”

And the investigator peers through his instruments
At the inhuman provinces, the virile bacillus
Or enormous Jupiter finished:
“But the lives of my friends. I inquire. I inquire.”

And the poor in their fireless lodgings, dropping the sheets
Of the evening paper: “Our day is our loss. O show us
History the operator, the
Organiser. Time the refreshing river.”

And the nations combine each cry, invoking the life
That shapes the individual belly and orders
The private nocturnal terror:
"Did you not found the city state of the sponge,

“Raise the vast military empires of the shark
And the tiger, establish the robin’s plucky canton?
Intervene. O descend as a dove or
A furious papa or a mild engineer, but descend.”

And the life, if it answers at all, replied from the heart
And the eyes and the lungs, from the shops and squares of the city
"O no, I am not the mover;
Not to-day; not to you. To you, I’m the

"Yes-man, the bar-companion, the easily-duped;
I am whatever you do. I am your vow to be
Good, your humorous story.
I am your business voice. I am your marriage.

“What’s your proposal? To build the just city? I will.
I agree. Or is it the suicide pact, the romantic
Death? Very well, I accept, for
I am your choice, your decision. Yes, I am Spain.”

Many have heard it on remote peninsulas,
On sleepy plains, in the aberrant fishermen’s islands
Or the corrupt heart of the city.
Have heard and migrated like gulls or the seeds of a flower.

They clung like burrs to the long expresses that lurch
Through the unjust lands, through the night, through the alpine tunnel;
They floated over the oceans;
They walked the passes. All presented their lives.

On that arid square, that fragment nipped off from hot
Africa, soldered so crudely to inventive Europe;
On that tableland scored by rivers,
Our thoughts have bodies; the menacing shapes of our fever

Are precise and alive. For the fears which made us respond
To the medicine ad, and the brochure of winter cruises
Have become invading battalions;
And our faces, the institute-face, the chain-store, the ruin

Are projecting their greed as the firing squad and the bomb.
Madrid is the heart. Our moments of tenderness blossom
As the ambulance and the sandbag;
Our hours of friendship into a people’s army.

To-morrow, perhaps the future. The research on fatigue
And the movements of packers; the gradual exploring of all the Octaves of radiation;
To-morrow the enlarging of consciousness by diet and breathing.

To-morrow the rediscovery of romantic love,
the photographing of ravens; all the fun under
Liberty’s masterful shadow;
To-morrow the hour of the pageant-master and the musician,

The beautiful roar of the chorus under the dome;
To-morrow the exchanging of tips on the breeding of terriers,
The eager election of chairmen
By the sudden forest of hands. But to-day the struggle.

To-morrow for the young the poets exploding like bombs,
The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion;
To-morrow the bicycle races
Through the suburbs on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle.

To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of death,
The consious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder;
To-day the expending of powers
On the flat ephemeral pamphlet and the boring meeting.

To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette,
The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scraping concert,
The masculine jokes; to-day the
Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting.

The stars are dead. The animals will not look.
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.

LINK: https://sites.google.com/a/upr.edu/modernpoetry/Student-Blogs/ivan-andres-rodriguez/spainbywhauden


I Am Wondering If I Want to Move This Party Over to SubStack for Real...

There seems to be no fundamental reason to do so. But it does seem that there may be community-discovery and network reasons to do so. So yesterday I threw a bunch of things up at SubStack: http://braddelong.substack.com:

  • Taking þe Temperature of Twitter: 2021-01-27 We: Twitter has always been absolute s--- at aggregation tools. & that is one of the things that makes it so effective at keeping people inside its walled garden. Aggregation tools allow you to step back, evaluate, and assess. So I am going to see if I can use SubStack to try to do that. I always see myself on Twitter as a pig digging for truffles. Here’s what I have found… LINK: https://braddelong.substack.com/p/taking-e-temperature-of-twitter-2021-ae4

  • Briefly Noted: 2021-01-27 We: What I have been reading this morning that has arrested me, and made me think. This may be one use I make of my substack as I try to figure out what this platform is useful for. Let me start with things that whizzed by, and follow with some long-paragraph chunks that I think are very worth reading, and that I noted this morning.... Very Briefly Noted: Jen Sorensen: For January 26, 2021: GoComics: Freedom LINK. William H. Shrank, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Scott Gottlieb, Sachin H. Jain, Peter Orszag, Brian W. Powers, and Gail R. Wilensky: Health Costs & Financing: Challenges & Strategies For A New Administration | Health Affairs: ‘The HHS secretary should… work… with Congress to decrease the age of Medicare eligibility to fifty-five… LINK

  • Hayek & Einstein...: Chasing down an intellectual rabbit hole at Wednesday lunchtime... I was browsing through Friedrich von Hayek.... 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… LINK

  • Written just before WWII, during the Spanish Civil War...: W.H. Auden (1937): Spain: 'The stars are dead. The animals will not look./We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and/History to the defeated/May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon... LINK

Plus:

  • Fascism: This is the current draft of chapter 11 of my Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century 1870-2016. This is the chapter of the book that I am currently having the most trouble with. So advice & comments are very seriously genuinely welcomed, & badly needed… LINK: https://braddelong.substack.com/p/fascism

This Really Is Fine!

Relatively, that is. Compared to the raging dumpster fire before:

Https bucketeer e05bbc84 baa3 437e 9518 adb32be77984 s3 amazonaws com public images a2f51d61 3163 4c2e 8502 550a3de6f3c3 896x946

====

 

Take a Look at:

Three short thinking pieces on what Biden is doing/should do:

 

Eric LevitzBiden’s Inaugural Address: ‘Biden’s speech was riddled with contradictions. He called for unity (against everything the GOP stands for), and decried extremism (while demanding “bold” action on climate and racial justice). How he resolves these tensions will define his presidency <LINK>

 

Ezra KleinJoe Biden & Democrats Must Help People Fast: ‘Among the many tributaries flowing into Trumpism, one in particular has gone dangerously overlooked. In their book “Presidents, Populism and the Crisis of Democracy,” the political scientists William Howell and Terry Moe write that “populists don’t just feed on socioeconomic discontent. They feed on ineffective government—and their great appeal is that they claim to replace it with a government that is effective through their own autocratic power”… <LINK>

 

Ed LuceJoe Biden Embraces His Inner Radical to Confront Winter Of Peril: ‘America’s… most consequential presidents—George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and FDR—were all leaders of moderate temperament. Their skill was to bring others along…. Biden… spelt out the way… to advance his agenda…. Civility. At another time, such boilerplate language might prompt narcolepsy…. But… Biden’s hand of friendship is also a weapon…. No significant Republican[s]… wav[ing] Mr Trump off from the White House or Andrews Air Force Base speaks volumes…. Biden sketched out the “winter of peril and significant possibility” that is facing America. In practice, Mr Biden’s first 100 days could prove to be very interesting indeed… <LINK>

 

 

====

One thing you should think about studying this spring. Why? Because the subfield of economic development has gotten unbalanced, so that these days it tells us a lot about micro-behavioral parameters and relatively little about, well, economic development. STEG is trying to offer people tools to think about this:

STEGKey Concepts in Macro Development: ‘Why? Macro development is a small field. Textbooks are unavailable, and while many graduate programs teach some of these concepts in their courses, very few have a specific course organised around and dedicated to macro development. This virtual course will fill the gap for Ph.D. students or even junior faculty throughout the profession who are interested in these topics but do not have access otherwise. The virtual classes will be interactive, just as virtual graduate lectures in most departments are now… <LINK>

Plus:


We have no idea whether the person writing this was serious. We have little idea how many people believe that it is, or might be, true:

Https bucketeer e05bbc84 baa3 437e 9518 adb32be77984 s3 amazonaws com public images bf2d80c5 4b03 4735 92e6 609b542286cd 1328x1390

 

 

 
 
1  


Briefly Noted for 2021-01-21(a)

Tom Snyder: The American Abyss https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html: ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true…

Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/the-consequences-of-lying-to-people: ‘Republican lawmakers misled millions of people into believing the results of a legitimate election could be overturned. Many of them viewed contesting the outcome as a relatively easy way to gain political currency among Trump supporters, knowing all the while that their efforts would have no real impact on who will be sworn into office in two weeks. The deception—primarily led by Trump, yet enabled by members of Congress—set the stage for the violence that unfolded at the Capitol Wednesday. Four people died.... The normally dry procedural affair of counting of the Electoral College votes was viewed by everyday Republicans and zealots alike as the place to make a final stand to overturn the election—even though elected Republicans knew the outcome would ultimately remain unchanged. As my colleague Jonah writes this morning, “Convincing people they need to prevent a coup when no such coup exists is a recipe for violence.” This was the energy that fueled the horde on Wednesday…

====

BRIEFLY NOTED:

Joshua Gans: B.1.1.7 https://joshuagans.substack.com/p/b117: ‘B.1.1.7 has an advantage over older variants in infecting people when the mitigation strategies are in place. In other words, it is getting around them.... My guess is that the new variant can obtain more cases in certain settings—like workplaces that previously were able to keep transmission low—and then people carry the new variant home where fewer mitigations are in place and transmission occurs more easily there.... That means that the fight against B.1.1.7 requires the places that have been the most vigilant need more action. It is hard to know what that is.... The other option—and I will continue to beat this still live horse here—is ramping up testing…

Nora Caplan-Bricker: An Overlooked Novel from 1935 by the Godmother of Feminist Detective Fiction https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/an-overlooked-novel-from-1935-by-the-godmother-of-feminist-detective-fiction: ‘A new group biography establishes Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Gaudy Night” as a forerunner of works by Gillian Flynn and Tana French…

Annalee Newitz: What Ancient Roman Hospitality Workers Can Teach Us About This Moment in History https://thehypothesis.substack.com/p/what-ancient-roman-hospitality-workers

Ben Sasse https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/biden-cabinet-inauguration-gop-future: ‘Many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon. They can’t. The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about…

McKay Coppins https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/biden-cabinet-inauguration-gop-future: ‘People who spent years coddling the president will recast themselves as voices of conscience, or whitewash their relationship with Trump altogether. Policy makers who abandoned their dedication to ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘limited government’ will rediscover a passion for these timeless conservative principles. Some may dress up their revisionism in the rhetoric of ‘healing’ and ‘moving forward,’ but the strategy will be clear—to escape accountability by taking advantage of America’s notoriously short political memory...

Acropolis Museum: Digital Museum https://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en/digital-museum: ‘The Acropolis Museum enters dynamically into the world of digital technology and opens new channels of communication with the public. The large number of applications that were developed under the programme “Creation of the Digital Acropolis Museum” showcases the multiple aspects of its exhibits, offers unique experiences in its galleries and creates a new, exciting world for kids and grownups alike. At the same time its new website captures in a contemporary way the Museum’s function and activities, provides multidimensional orientation and entertainment, renders all its collections open and accessible to the international community and forms an attractive environment, designed specifically for children…

Kiona Smith: This Is How Hominins Adapted to a Changing World 2 Million Years Ago https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/01/this-is-how-hominins-adapted-to-a-changing-world-2-million-years-ago/: ‘Jacks of all trades: And even if the earliest hunters and gatherers at Ewass Oldupa would have found later versions of the place totally alien, they would still have recognized the tools people used to survive it. For roughly 200,000 years, hominins relied on the same basic tools to tackle the bracken meadows beside the river, the patchwork of woods and grassland, the lush lakeshore, and the dry steppe. The chopping, scraping, and pounding tools of the Olduwan were relatively simple, but they were also incredibly versatile. According to Petraglia and his colleagues, Olduwan technology offered a basic, general toolkit that worked as well in a lakeside palm grove as it did on a dry steppe. Humans took over the world because we’re generalists, and generalists can adapt to nearly anything. Our early relatives clearly had the same advantage…

Sam Arbesman: Reinventing Book Publishing in the Tech World https://arbesman.substack.com/p/-reinventing-publishing-in-the-tech: ‘attempts to constantly reexamine and reinvent the democratization, distribution, and furthering of knowledge should be watched closely (and please let me know of other examples you are aware of!). For ultimately, publishers are catalysts of world-changing ideas…

John Maynard Keynes (1942): How Much Does Finance Matter https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-keynes-finance-matter.pdf...

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Governor Schwarzenegger's Message Following This Week's Attack on the Capitol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_P-0I6sAck&feature=youtu.be...

40 minutes: JaydenX: Shooting and Storming Of The US Capitol In Washington DC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfiS8MsfSF4&bpctr=1610381708

Gerard Baker (2020-11-16): Four Seasons Total Landscaping Isn’t Exactly the Reichstag https://www.wsj.com/articles/four-seasons-total-landscaping-isnt-exactly-the-reichstag-11605545752: ‘Trump’s shambolic vote challenges provoke cries of “coup” and the usual comparisons to Hitler…

Substack CEO Chris Best https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRJUNF5tHG4

Model Economic History Papers https://delong.typepad.com/teaching_economics/model-economic-history-papers.html

Congressional Record 2021-01-06 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/congressional-record-2021-01-06.pdf...

K. N. Chaudhuri (1968): International Economy in the Nineteenth Century: An Historical Survey https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-chaudhuri-india-1800s.pdf...

Economic History Society: The Long Run https://ehsthelongrun.net/

John Maynard Keynes (1924): A Tract on Monetary Reform https://delong.typepad.com/keynes-1923-a-tract-on-monetary-reform.pdf...

Colonial Williamsburg: Men’s Dress in the 1770s https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2875778182533255


Graydon: COVID Evolving: Comment—Noted

Graydon: COVID Evolving: Comment https://www.bradford-delong.com/2021/01/briefly-noted-for-2021-01-11.html?cid=6a00e551f080038834026bdeb50696200c#comment-6a00e551f080038834026bdeb50696200c: ‘SARS-CoV-2 derives from a bat disease. Bats are weird; bats, unlike nearly all other mammals, have two body temperatures. There's the high, active, flapping around body temperature and the low, resting/estivating, don't starve to death until you can feed again, hanging-upside-down-in-a-cave body temperature...

Continue reading "Graydon: COVID Evolving: Comment—Noted" »


Briefly Noted for 2021-01-11

<https://braddelong.substack.com/p/briefly-noted-for-2021-01-11> I feel uneasy today, as most of this is outside my wheelhouse. But, for what it is worth, here is what I have found most worthwhile over the weekend...

Must-Read:

Bernie Sanders: Why Impeach Now? @BernieSanders: Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office? The answer: Precedent. It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government...

Ian Millhiser: Minority Rule @imillhiser: When Warnock and Ossoff are seated, Democrats and Republicans will each control half of the seats in the Senate. But the Democratic half will represent 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.  America’s anti-democratic Senate, in one number41,549,808...

Joshua Gans: B.1.1.7 <https://joshuagans.substack.com/p/b117>: ‘B.1.1.7 has an advantage over older variants in infecting people when the mitigation strategies are in place. In other words, it is getting around them.... My guess is that the new variant can obtain more cases in certain settings—like workplaces that previously were able to keep transmission low—and then people carry the new variant home where fewer mitigations are in place and transmission occurs more easily there.... That means that the fight against B.1.1.7 requires the places that have been the most vigilant need more action. It is hard to know what that is.... The other option—and I will continue to beat this still live horse here—is ramping up testing…

Tom Snyder: The American Abyss <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html> : ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true…

====

Should-Read: My (Possibly Uninformed) Reflections on the Coup

DeLongTODAY: Why Storm the Capitol Building & Then Do Nothing But Take Selfies?2021-01-08
Project Syndicate: What Next for the MAGA Insurrection? 2021-01-08 

====

BRIEFLY NOTED:

Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People <https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/the-consequences-of-lying-to-people>: ‘Republican lawmakers misled millions of people into believing the results of a legitimate election could be overturned. Many of them viewed contesting the outcome as a relatively easy way to gain political currency among Trump supporters, knowing all the while that their efforts would have no real impact on who will be sworn into office in two weeks. The deception—primarily led by Trump, yet enabled by members of Congress—set the stage for the violence that unfolded at the Capitol Wednesday. Four people died.... The normally dry procedural affair of counting of the Electoral College votes was viewed by everyday Republicans and zealots alike as the place to make a final stand to overturn the election—even though elected Republicans knew the outcome would ultimately remain unchanged. As my colleague Jonah writes this morning, “Convincing people they need to prevent a coup when no such coup exists is a recipe for violence.” This was the energy that fueled the horde on Wednesday…

Nora Caplan-Bricker: An Overlooked Novel from 1935 by the Godmother of Feminist Detective Fiction <https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/an-overlooked-novel-from-1935-by-the-godmother-of-feminist-detective-fiction>: ‘A new group biography establishes Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Gaudy Night” as a forerunner of works by Gillian Flynn and Tana French…

Edward Luce: America’s Dangerous Reliance on the Fed<https://www.ft.com/content/bcb8d4d9-ca6d-45b7-aafc-9e9ecf672a5b>: ‘Alas, the chances are that the Fed will remain “the only game in town”. This would be both a missed opportunity and pose a severe danger. The opportunity is for the US government to borrow long term funds at near zero rates and invest it in productive capacity. The danger of not doing that can be expressed in a simple equation: QE — F = P. Quantitative easing minus fiscal action equals populism…

Wikipedia: Metanarrative <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metanarrative>: ‘In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), Lyotard highlights the increasing skepticism of the postmodern condition toward the totalizing nature of metanarratives and their reliance on some form of "transcendent and universal truth": “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.... The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language…. Where, after the metanarratives, can legitimacy reside?…” Lyotard and other poststructuralist thinkers (like Foucault) view this as a broadly positive development… grand theories tend to unduly dismiss the naturally existing chaos and disorder of the universe…. Postmodernists attempt to replace metanarratives by focusing on specific local contexts as well as on the diversity of human experience. They argue for the existence of a "multiplicity of theoretical standpoints" rather than for grand, all-encompassing theories.… Postmodern narratives will often deliberately disturb the formulaic expectations.… Others have related metanarratives to masterplots, “recurrent skeletal stories, belonging to cultures and individuals that play a powerful role in questions of identity, values, and the understanding of life”…

Simon Schama: Donald Trump’s Weaponised Lies Blew Up in His Face <https://www.ft.com/content/6cde0715-5506-4c09-a804-538031a667d9>: ‘The violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral result should be seen in the context of Mr Trump's (not baseless) belief that a sizeable part of the country cares less about the constitution than it does about him. Wednesday saw the most dramatic consummation of what has always been standard operational procedure for Trumpism: the wink to violence and the empire of lies. His 2016 campaign regularly featured invitations to rough up the media…

Salvatore Cerchio & al.: A New Blue Whale Song-Type Described for the Arabian Sea & Western Indian Ocean <https://www.int-res.com/prepress/n01096.html>: ‘Blue whales in the Indian Ocean… 2 or 3 subspecies… 4 populations, each with a diagnostic song-type. Here we describe a previously unreported song-type that implies the probable existence of a population that has been undetected or conflated…. We label it the ‘Northwest Indian Ocean’ song-type.… Moreover, the potentially restricted range, intensive historic whaling, and the fact that the song-type has been previously undetected, suggests a small population that is in critical need of status assessment and conservation action…

J. A. M. de Sanchez: Stabilizing the Franc <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/france/1928-10-01/stabilizing-franc>: ‘Thus almost exactly twenty-three months after accepting the portfolio of Minister of Finance, M. Poincaré brought to a conclusion the task of fiscal reform which he had set himself. If M. Poincaré's achievements in his first year were remarkable,[i] those in his second have been no less so. Not only have the measures which were adopted in 1926-1927 continued to be strictly enforced, but new ones have been sought and applied which have resulted in a further strengthening of the credit structure of the State proper and of the national economy as a whole. So careful and complete were the preparations for de jure stabilization of the franc that the event itself was received in France almost phlegmatically…

====

Annalee Newitz: What Ancient Roman Hospitality Workers Can Teach Us About This Moment in Historyhttps://thehypothesis.substack.com/p/what-ancient-roman-hospitality-workers

Budget Act of 1974 <https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-RIDDICK-1992/pdf/GPO-RIDDICK-1992-34.pdf>…

Robert Keith (2009): The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate’s “Byrd Rule” <https://budgetcounsel.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/crs-the-budget-reconciliation-process-the-senate_s-e2809cbyrd-rulee2809d-bob-keith-rl30862-july-8-2009.pdf>…

Unemployment Rate: 1890-2009 <https://origins.osu.edu/sites/origins.osu.edu/files/4-3-chart1487_0.jpg>…

Wikipedia: Republic of Artsakh <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Artsakh#Current_situation>…

Gaston Jéze: The Economic and Financial Position of France in 1920 <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1883886.pdf>…

Historical Currency Converter <https://www.historicalstatistics.org/Currencyconverter.html>…


Briefly Noted for 2021-01-09

Bernie Sanders: Why Impeach Now? https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1347625769242140675: ‘Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office? The answer: Precedent. It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government…

Ian Millhiser: Minority Rule https://twitter.com/imillhiser/status/1346834407626334209 ‘When Warnock and Ossoff are seated, Democrats and Republicans will each control half of the seats in the Senate. But the Democratic half will represent 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half…

====

BRIEFLY NOTED:

Edward Luce: America’s Dangerous Reliance on the Fed <https://www.ft.com/content/bcb8d4d9-ca6d-45b7-aafc-9e9ecf672a5b>: ‘Alas, the chances are that the Fed will remain “the only game in town”. This would be both a missed opportunity and pose a severe danger. The opportunity is for the US government to borrow long term funds at near zero rates and invest it in productive capacity. The danger of not doing that can be expressed in a simple equation: QE — F = P. Quantitative easing minus fiscal action equals populism…

Wikipedia: Metanarrative https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metanarrative: ‘In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), Lyotard highlights the increasing skepticism of the postmodern condition toward the totalizing nature of metanarratives and their reliance on some form of "transcendent and universal truth": “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.... The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language…. Where, after the metanarratives, can legitimacy reside?…” Lyotard and other poststructuralist thinkers (like Foucault) view this as a broadly positive development… grand theories tend to unduly dismiss the naturally existing chaos and disorder of the universe…. Postmodernists attempt to replace metanarratives by focusing on specific local contexts as well as on the diversity of human experience. They argue for the existence of a "multiplicity of theoretical standpoints" rather than for grand, all-encompassing theories.… Postmodern narratives will often deliberately disturb the formulaic expectations.… Others have related metanarratives to masterplots, “recurrent skeletal stories, belonging to cultures and individuals that play a powerful role in questions of identity, values, and the understanding of life”…

Simon Schama: Donald Trump’s Weaponised Lies Blew Up in His Face https://www.ft.com/content/6cde0715-5506-4c09-a804-538031a667d9: ‘The violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral result should be seen in the context of Mr Trump's (not baseless) belief that a sizeable part of the country cares less about the constitution than it does about him. Wednesday saw the most dramatic consummation of what has always been standard operational procedure for Trumpism: the wink to violence and the empire of lies. His 2016 campaign regularly featured invitations to rough up the media…

Salvatore Cerchio & al.: A New Blue Whale Song-Type Described for the Arabian Sea & Western Indian Ocean https://www.int-res.com/prepress/n01096.html: ‘Blue whales in the Indian Ocean… 2 or 3 subspecies… 4 populations, each with a diagnostic song-type. Here we describe a previously unreported song-type that implies the probable existence of a population that has been undetected or conflated…. We label it the ‘Northwest Indian Ocean’ song-type.… Moreover, the potentially restricted range, intensive historic whaling, and the fact that the song-type has been previously undetected, suggests a small population that is in critical need of status assessment and conservation action…

J. A. M. de Sanchez: Stabilizing the Franc https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/france/1928-10-01/stabilizing-franc: ‘Thus almost exactly twenty-three months after accepting the portfolio of Minister of Finance, M. Poincaré brought to a conclusion the task of fiscal reform which he had set himself. If M. Poincaré's achievements in his first year were remarkable,[i] those in his second have been no less so. Not only have the measures which were adopted in 1926-1927 continued to be strictly enforced, but new ones have been sought and applied which have resulted in a further strengthening of the credit structure of the State proper and of the national economy as a whole. So careful and complete were the preparations for de jure stabilization of the franc that the event itself was received in France almost phlegmatically…

====

Budget Act of 1974 https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-RIDDICK-1992/pdf/GPO-RIDDICK-1992-34.pdf…

Robert Keith (2009): The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate’s “Byrd Rule” https://budgetcounsel.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/crs-the-budget-reconciliation-process-the-senate_s-e2809cbyrd-rulee2809d-bob-keith-rl30862-july-8-2009.pdf

Unemployment Rate: 1890-2009 https://origins.osu.edu/sites/origins.osu.edu/files/4-3-chart1487_0.jpg

Wikipedia: Republic of Artsakh https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Artsakh#Current_situation

Gaston Jéze: The Economic and Financial Position of France in 1920 https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1883886.pdf

Historical Currency Converter https://www.historicalstatistics.org/Currencyconverter.html

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2021-01-09" »


Lwatts: Parler Free Speech Social Network https://parler.com/search?hashtag=trump: ‘Everyone needs to understand my President: Plays 3 layer chess! What did Trump do?????… He said walk down 1600 he didn't know the ANITIFA HIRED BY PENCE WAS THERE, HE NEW THE SUPPORTERS were fine!!!! It was the left that jumped first!!!!! Yall killed a VET,,, A HERO" HOW DARE YOU ALL..... Yeah if I f—- up this bad I would be on every TV channel trying to lie your asses off... #millionmagamarch #supremecourt #voterfraud #MEME #PARLER #PARLERUSA #USA #QANON #MAGA #trump2020 #trump #patriots #StopTheSteal #tuckercarlson #tucker #sidneypowell #kag #2020elect

Karl Marx: Theories of Surplus-Value, Chapter 17 Mhttps://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1863/theories-surplus-value/ch17.htm>: 'The Childish Babble of a Say...

Wikipedia: Quarrel of the Ancients & the Moderns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarrel_of_the_Ancients_and_the_Moderns...

Karl Marx (1867): Capital: Primitive Accumulation https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm...

==========

Erik Hornung: Immigration and the Diffusion of Technology: The Huguenot Diaspora in Prussia https://funginstitute.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/HornungDiaspora20141.pdf: ‘In 1685, religiously persecuted French Huguenots settled in Brandenburg-Prussia and compensated for population losses due to plagues during the Thirty Years’ War. We combine Huguenot immigration lists from 1700 with Prussian firm-level data on the value of inputs and outputs in 1802 in a unique database to analyze the effects of skilled immigration to places with underused economic potential. Exploiting this settlement pattern in an instrumental-variable approach, we find substantial long-term effects of Huguenot settlement on the productivity of textile manufactories…

The bureaucratic deglobalization blowback from Brexit has begun, making a poorer, weaker, littler England: Dutch Bike Bits: Shipping: Brexit https://www.dutchbikebits.com/shipping: ‘Unfortunately, we will not be able to send parcels to the UK from mid December 2020 onward. Quite apart from uncertainty surrounding the shipping cost, taxation etc. after that time, there is also a problem caused by the British government deciding to impose a unique taxation regime which will require every company in the world in every country in the world outside the UK which exports to the UK to apply and collect British taxes on behalf of the British government. For providing this service they intend to charge a fee to every company in the world in every country in the world which exports to the UK. Clearly this is ludicrous for one country, but imagine if every country in the world had the same idea. If every country decided to behave in the same way then we would have to pay 195 fees every year, keep up with the changes in taxation law for 195 different countries, keep accounts on behalf of 195 different countries and submit payments to 195 tax offices in 195 different countries, and jump through whatever hoops were required to prove that we were doing all of this honestly and without any error. Therefore from mid December 2020 onward we ship to every country in the world... except the UK…

Trump. But not smart. Can this really be the bottom line on Brazil’s Bolsonaro?: Gideon Rachman: Jair Bolsonaro’s Populism Is Leading Brazil to Disaster https://www.ft.com/content/c39fadfe-9e60-11ea-b65d-489c67b0d85d: 'I had a chat with a prominent financier about the parallels between Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. “They are very similar,” she said, before adding: “But Bolsonaro is much stupider.” This answer took me aback since the US president is not generally regarded as a towering intellect. But my banker friend was insistent. “Look,” she said. “Trump has run a major business. Bolsonaro never made it above captain in the army.”... The coronavirus pandemic has reminded me of that observation national unity will not emerge while Mr Bolsonaro is president. In classic populist fashion he thrives on the politics of division. Brazil is already a deeply polarised country, where conspiracy theories are rife. The deaths and unemployment caused by Covid-19 are exacerbated by Mr Bolsonaro’s leadership. But, perversely, a health and economic disaster could create an even more hospitable environment for the politics of fear and unreason…

John McLaren & Su Wang: Effects of Reduced Workplace Presence on COVID-19 Deaths: An Instrumental-Variables Approach https://www.nber.org/papers/w28275: ‘Numerous government policies have attempted to keep workers out of the workplace, on the assumption that this will lower transmission of COVID-19. We test that assumption, measuring the effect of aggregate workplace absence on US COVID deaths at the county level through August. Instrumenting with an index of how many local workers pre-pandemic can work from home, based on differences in county occupational mix, we find no effect of workplace absence until mid-May, then a sharply rising effect. By August, moving 10 percent of a county's workers from the workplace would lower deaths there by three quarters one month later…

Wikipedia: Axial Age https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_Age: ‘Axial Age... is a term coined by German philosopher Karl Jaspers in the sense of a "pivotal age", characterizing the period of ancient history from about the 8th to the 3rd century BCE. During this period, according to Jaspers' concept, new ways of thinking appeared in Persia, India, China and the Greco-Roman world in religion and philosophy, in a striking parallel development, without any obvious direct cultural contact between all of the participating Eurasian cultures. Jaspers identified key thinkers from this age who had a profound influence on future philosophies and religions, and identified characteristics common to each area from which those thinkers emerged…

Substack Blog: Substack Welcomes The Dispatch, a New Type of Media Company https://blog.substack.com/p/substack-welcomes-the-dispatch-a: ‘We’ve long believed that people don’t really subscribe to “content”—they subscribe to voices they trust. This collaboration represents what that “subscribe to a person” model might look like when pushed a step further, and it gives us an opportunity to further explore how groups of writers can work together on Substack. We’re also pleased to support The Dispatch’s mission of trying to create a space for discourse that doesn’t have to play by the rules of the attention economy. In their mission statement, Hayes and Goldberg write: "We think the clickbait model is an anathema to serious discourse. We also believe it is a blight to the eye and a disturbance of the mental peace. So we are rejecting the advertising that makes clickbait seem so necessary. It might seem oxymoronic in the current climate, but we want as many readers as possible, but we do not care a whit about traffic." We believe this reader-first approach to publishing is a smart one for the news industry, and we hope others will see it as a model to follow…

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Martin Wolf: The Fading Light of Liberal Democracy https://www.ft.com/content/47144c85-519a-4e25-9035-c5f8977cf6fd: ‘The election of Joe Biden as US president is a relief. But this story is not yet over.... Branko Milanovic.... Capitalist economies go with two distinct political systems in leading economies: the “liberal” model of the US and its allies, which is the concern of Messrs Garton Ash and Diamond, and China’s “political” model...

...Mr Milanovic argues correctly that liberal democracy is a good in itself and also allows peaceful self-correction. People do desire freedom and US voters have disposed of Donald Trump. The Chinese cannot do the same with Premier Xi Jinping.... A third political version of capitalism exists: demagogic authoritarian capitalism.... The ruler is above the law and democratically unaccountable—elections are a sham. But power is personal, not institutionalised. This is corrupt gangster politics. It rests on the personal loyalty of sycophants and cronies. Often the core consists of the family members, viewed as most trustworthy of all. This is the political system Mr Trump wished to install in the US. Such rulers are like wasp larvae that eat the spider from within. They manage to win an election and then erode the institutional and political bulwarks against indefinite personal rule....

Events in the US have shown two crucial things. First, core American institutions including the courts have resisted.... Second, a huge proportion of the Republican party has abetted his lie that the election was rigged. This has underlined another reality of the past four years: the Republican leadership showed absolute obedience to their leader, almost to the last gasp. This is no accident. It is the logical outcome of the political and economic strategy of the “pluto-populist”. Mr Trump is a natural outcome of the strategic goal of the donor class—tax cuts and deregulation. To achieve this end, they have to convince a large proportion of the population to vote against its economic interests by focusing on culture and identity. This strategy has worked and will continue to work: Mr Trump may have gone; Trumpism has not. Not entirely dissimilar patterns can be seen in Brexit Britain....

None of today’s dominant systems is working well. Capitalism is innovative, but creates huge social, political and environmental challenges. Liberal democracy is corroded, even at its core. But the authoritarian politics that challenge it are vastly worse. Unaccountable rule by gangsters or brutal bureaucrats is deeply depressing, even if the latter are much less incompetent. Those of us who continue to believe in freedom and democracy hope Mr Trump was the warning we all needed. But I doubt it. There is none so blind as rich egotists who will not see…

 

David French: Debunking the Frivolous & Dangerous Last-Gasp Effort to Overturn the Election https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/debunking-the-frivolous-and-dangerous-8a0: ‘One of the most dispiriting aspects of a dispiriting year has been watching the supremely cynical post-election contest by conservative lawyers and conservative politicians who know exactly what they’re doing. Intimidated by Trump and desperate for the approval of Trump’s base, they have lent their own gravitas to utterly frivolous arguments, used their platforms to falsely whip up public concerns about election integrity, and then used the concerns they helped create as the justification for continuing a fruitless fight. I could point to any number of public figures, but let’s focus for a moment on two—Sen. Josh Hawley and talk radio host Mark Levin...

..."Issues of mere administration of a general election do not mean there has not been a 'general ballot' at a 'general election.' Plaintiff’s conflation of these potential nonconformities with Constitutional violations is contrary to the plain meaning of the Electors Clause. If plaintiff’s reading of 'Manner' was correct, any disappointed loser in a Presidential election, able to hire a team of clever lawyers, could flag claimed deviations from the election rules and cast doubt on the election results. This would risk turning every Presidential election into a federal court lawsuit over the Electors Clause.")... The time to challenge election procedures is well before the election, not after. In fact, this is a matter of basic election precedent. “Before a court can contemplate entering a judgment that would void election results,” Judge Scudder wrote, “it ‘must consider whether the plaintiffs filed a timely pre-election request for relief.”...

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals isn’t the ultimate authority on Wisconsin law... neither is the junior senator from Missouri. But he knows this. So does Mark Levin. It must be emphasized that both of these men are smart, capable lawyers. And while they may be drinking so much of their own Kool-Aid that they’re now believing their own nonsense, I doubt it. And if they do believe their own nonsense, their lapse in judgment is inexcusable....

Ben Sasse.... "When we talk in private, I haven’t heard a single Congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent—not one. Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will 'look' to President Trump’s most ardent supporters."... We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage. But they’re wrong–and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government…

Continue reading "" »


Why Storm the Capitol Building & Then Do Nothing But Take Selfies?—Grasping Reality Newsletter @ Subsstack

Over at Substack: Why Storm the Capitol Building & Then Do Nothing But Take Selfies? https://braddelong.substack.com/p/why-storm-the-capitol-building-and: What did the people who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 think what’s going to happen?

Let us look at what happened at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue before the insurrection. At the beginning of Donald Trump speech, he tells his audience that they are the overwhelming majority of America, and that the corrupt media are trying to hide that fact:

Donald Trump: Speech “Save America” Rally Transcript January 6: 'The media will not show the magnitude of this crowd. Even I, when I turned on today, I looked, and I saw thousands of people here, but you don’t see hundreds of thousands of people behind you because they don’t want to show that...

Continue reading "Why Storm the Capitol Building & Then Do Nothing But Take Selfies?—Grasping Reality Newsletter @ Subsstack" »


Briefly Noted for 2021-01-07

Time to de-escalate and read and watch something totally unrelated to bad political actors destroying norms of republican political conduct in an attempt to further entrench a plutocracy: Plutarch: Life of Tiberius Gracchus http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Tiberius_Gracchus*.html

Perhaps the second best romance novel I have ever read. Not at all bad as a mystery either: Dorothy Leigh Sayers: Gaudy Night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQiVYVBRO7U

I am happy not getting 3/4 of the illusions that Dorothy L. Sayers makes to history and literature. But if you are not, this is essential: Bill Peschel: Annotations to Gaudy Night https://planetpeschel.com/the-wimsey-annotations/gaudy-night/

Heron of Alexandria was a BOSS: Jeremy Norman: Automata Invented by Heron of Alexandria https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=10

I do know not whether I should be amazed at how much or depressed at how little computing can be done without semiconductors: Wikipedia: Mechanical Computer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_computer#Examples

The start of the positive utopian apocalyptic mode in "western literature": Isaiah: 10-11 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+10&version=KJV...

Continuing the positive utopian apocalyptic mode in "western literature": Daniel: _7 & 12 HCSB https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%2012&version=HCSB...

Good for helping people to understand the place of Aristotle in the medieval and early-modern "western civilization" intellectual mind: Dante: Inferno https://www.danteinferno.info/translations/canto4.html: ‘…Canto 4-Compare Side by Side Translations by Longfellow, Cary, and Norton...

And what little the Spartans said: Plutarch: Apophthegmata Laconica http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Sayings_of_Spartans*/main.html...

Charlie Sykes: Trumpageddon https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/trumpageddon: ‘January 6: The Fire Rises: Chris Truax provides a preview for this remarkable day: "This effort to interfere with the Electoral College count is going to fail, but it has created a blueprint for the next time. The next aspiring authoritarian—and there will be one—will be smarter, smoother, and more organized. Today will be truly dangerous because it will demonstrate that under the current system, a party that controls both houses of Congress can install their candidate as president regardless of the election results. All they need is the political will to do so." Or to put it another way: All they need is to believe that overturning the election is what the majority of their base voters want…

Charlie Sykes: Trumpageddon https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/trumpageddon: ‘The GOP’s Georgia meltdown: First a confession: I thought the Republicans would hold both seats and was, frankly, stunned by last night’s results. So, apparently, was much of what’s left of the GOP. There’s no mystery about what happened: Donald Trump happened: Erick Erickson: "Very clear there's been voter suppression in Georgia. The Georgia Republican Party Chairman, the President of the United States, and the Georgia GOP congressional delegation are the culprits..." Based on the early numbers, Democratic turnout—especially among African Americans—was phenomenal. Republican turnout was meh..." Dave Wasserman: "It's tempting to put it this way: Perdue/Loeffler embrace of Trump in the runoff phase of #GASEN may have alienated suburban Biden/R (Nov.) ticket-splitters, and it's not clear it did as much to drive up turnout in deep red rural GA..." How bad is all for the GOP? On a scale of 0 to 10, Nate Silver tweeted this morning, it’s probably a 9 “not just because of the immediate implications, but also because it may imply that Trump is sort of a poison pill for how the party navigates its future.” The big question now is whether the GOP has learned any lessons from this debacle? Probably not: McKay Coppins: "Republicans lost the White House, the Senate, and stayed out of power in the House this cycle, and a sizable faction of the party will continue to argue that the solution is 'More Trump'…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2021-01-07" »


Briefly Noted for 2021-01-06

BRIEFLY NOTED:

Mary Boykin Chesnut: Mary Chesnut's Civil War https://archive.org/details/marychesnutscivi0000ches_c1c9/page/36/mode/2up

Fournée Bakery: 2912 Domingo Ave https://www.fourneebakery.com/new-page: ‘Berkeley, CA, 94705… Tu-Sa 08:00-18:00 Su 08:00-15:00…

2005: The Lowest Deep on Hoxby-Rothstein https://web.archive.org/web/20050419010702/http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005-3_archives/000735.html: ‘Rothstein makes a convincing case that Hoxby doesn't satisfy (3), if his definition of "small tweaks" is correct…

Rory Muir: Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune: How Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England https://www.amazon.com/Gentlemen-Uncertain-Fortune-Younger-Austens-ebook/dp/B07VZWG67Q/…

Peet's Coffee: Domingo https://locations.peets.com/ll/US/CA/Berkeley/2916-Domingo-Avenue: ‘2916 Domingo Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 843-1434 :: Mo-Su 05:30-18:00...

Theodore Sturgeon: The World Well Lost https://bristolsf.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/the-world-well-lost.pdf…

Ver Brugge Foods https://www.facebook.com/vbfoods/: ‘Mo-Su 09:00-18:00…

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Chris Best & al.: Substack’s View of Content Moderation https://blog.substack.com/p/substacks-view-of-content-moderation: ‘We favor civil liberties, believe in democracy, and are against authoritarianism of all kinds. We also hold a set of core beliefs that are reflected in every aspect of the company: We believe that subscriptions are better than advertising. We believe in letting people choose who to trust, not having click-maximizing algorithms choose for them. We believe that the prevailing media ecosystem is in disrepair and that the internet can be used to build something better. We believe that hosting a broad range of views is good for democracy. We believe in the free press and in free speech–and we do not believe those things can be decoupled.  These beliefs inform how we have designed Substack, which is why, for instance, we don’t support advertising in the product despite many calls to do so, and it’s why we will never use algorithms that optimize for engagement. However, we believe that our design of the product and the incentive structure we have built into it are the ultimate expression of our views. We do not seek to impose our views in the form of censorship or through appointing ourselves as the judges of truth or morality…

Paul Campos: If the Rule You Followed Has Brought You to This, of What Use Was the Rule? https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/if-the-rule-you-followed-has-brought-you-to-this-of-what-use-was-the-rule: ‘I was talking yesterday to a prominent person about potential steps that might be taken to deal with the fact that the president of the United States is a delusional autocrat, who has no intention of leaving office just because he lost an election he has apparently now sincerely—or “sincerely”—convinced himself he didn’t lose.... Trump and his enablers were, to use the relevant wrestling terminology, engaging in a “work” that was likely to morph into a “shoot” eventually. This does seems to have happened in Trump’s case specifically, with one result being that the vast majority of Republicans now believe that the election was in fact stolen.... Neither Trump nor much more important the tens of millions of Americans who now actually do believe the election was stolen are going anywhere for the foreseeable future.... The person I was speaking with... pitched the following idea to me: Trump should be impeached again, immediately.... Trump is still president, and what Trump has been doing to attempt to overturn and discredit the election makes him as much or more deserving of impeachment and removal as anything any president of the United States has ever done, including, remarkably enough, himself. So why not do it?... This will not, of course, “work” in the sense that Trump will be removed from office, but it will emphasize that what Trump has been doing for the past several weeks is or rather should be utterly beyond the pale.... What, my correspondent pressed me, is the argument against doing this? It’s a good question…

Réka Juhász, Mara P. Squicciarini, & Nico Voigtländer: Away from Home & Back: Coordinating (Remote) Workers in 1800 & 2020 https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28251/w28251.pdf: ‘This paper examines the future of remote work by drawing parallels between two contexts: The move from home to factory-based production during the Industrial Revolution and the shift to work from home today. Both are characterized by a similar trade-off: the potential productivity advantage of the new working arrangement made possible by technology (mechanization or ICT), versus organizational barriers such as coordinating workers. Using contemporary data, we show that organizational barriers seem to be present today. Without further technological or organizational innovations, remote work may not be here to stay just yet…

John Naughton: Control Shift: Why Newspaper Hacks Are Switching to Substack https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/26/control-shift-why-newspaper-hacks-are-switching-to-substack: ‘The biggest surprise, though, was how popular the audio diary was: it was consistently the most clicked-on link. And slowly, it dawned on me that audio seems to reach parts of the human psyche that other media cannot. Because the email was coming from a mailing-list server, some subscribers’ spam filters would occasionally block it, and on several occasions I received alarmed emails from readers who wondered if I had succumbed to Covid. But there was clearly something about the regularity of hearing a familiar voice every morning that was important. One reader used to play it during breakfast every morning; one day his wife observed that it was “like Thought for the Day but without the God stuff”. Recording it was quite hard work, and after 100 days I had to stop, as the demands of my day jobs began to ramp up, but the transcripts are now available as an e-book…

====

Martin Wolf: Five Forces That Will Define Our Post-Covid Future https://www.ft.com/content/dd359338-6200-40d3-8427-901bad134e21: ‘First, technology. The march of computing and communications technology continues.... Now, broadband communications, together with Zoom and similar videoconferencing software, has made it possible for a huge number of people to work from home.... Inevitably, this will not only include workers in their home countries, but workers sourced from abroad, too, usually on lower salaries. The result is likely to be a destabilising increase in what might be called “virtual immigration”. Second, inequality. Many higher-paid office workers have been able to work from home, while most others could not.... The likelihood is that the inequalities exacerbated in the pandemic will not have reduced by 2025.... Third, indebtedness.... The pandemic has dramatically increased borrowing by private and public sectors.... Fortunately, government debt is now extremely cheap.... Fourth, deglobalisation. The plausible future is not that international exchange is going to die. But it is likely to become more regional and more virtual.... After the global financial crisis, trade ceased to grow faster than world output.... Covid-19 reinforced these trends. A marked result has been a desire to shift supply chains back home, or at least out of China.... Finally, political tensions... a decline in the credibility of liberal democracy, the rise of demagogic authoritarianism... the rising power of China’s bureaucratic despotism... the rise of populism in core western countries and especially the US. While the victory of Joseph Biden represents a defeat for populism, president Donald Trump’s large share of the vote shows it has not disappeared.... The biggest challenge will demand a global co-operation that will not exist. Sustaining a dynamic world economy, preserving peace and managing the global commons were always going to be hard. But an era of populism and great power conflict will make this far more difficult…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2021-01-06" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-30

Wikipedia: Aelius Aristides https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aelius_Aristides#cite_note-4

Doris Groshen Daniels: Theodore Roosevelt and Gender Roles https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-groshen-roosevelt-gender.pdf: ‘…

Jeremy Norman: Automata Invented by Heron of Alexandria https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=10

Wikipedia: Dialogus de Oratoribus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialogus_de_oratoribus: ‘A short work attributed to Tacitus, in dialogue form, on the art of rhetoric. Its date of composition is unknown, though its dedication to Lucius Fabius Justus places its publication around 102 AD…

Wikipedia: Rota Fortunae https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rota_Fortunae#Origins

Paul Campos: The Last Days of Donald https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/the-last-days-of-donald: ‘This report from Jonathan Swan reminds us that the presidency is still in the hands of a mentally ill aspiring despot who is decompensating quickly…

Wikipedia: New Atlantis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atlantis: ‘[Francis Bacon] portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. The plan and organisation of his ideal college, "Salomon's House", envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure science. The end of their foundation is thus described: "The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible"…

Scott Lemieux: Our Grifter Problem https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/our-grifter-problem: ‘As you are hopefully unaware of, a bunch of Twitter/YouTube grifters on the broad anti-anti-Trump “left” are ginning up a hate campaign against AOC because she won’t go along with their incredibly dumb campaign to “force a vote” on M4A, a tactic which (as AOC points out) has zero chance of making the enactment of M4A or any roughly equivalent program more likely on any time horizon. As Eric Levitz explains, this is very bad.… The idea that structural barriers can be easily overcome by individual politicians who just want it badly enough—like politics is a bad sports movie—is incredibly pernicious…

James McGrath: Teaching Cyborg Students https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2020/12/teaching-cyborg-students.html: ‘Rather than prohibiting students from using technology, we need to realize how many ways they already are that we take for granted, and how many they ought to be yet are not or at least are not doing so wisely, efficiently, or effectively. We need to design activities and assessments that teach them and then evaluate them on their ability to do the things we have always been trying to train them to do–write, read, research–in a manner that does not rely on technology to tell them whether they write well or how to format a reference, but teaches them what they need to know in order to create a bibliography using Word’s built-in function, discern which search results are relevant and credible, and whether the words they have strung together make good sense regardless whether their word processing software has things underlined or not. Currently they are like Joey Tribbiani using the thesaurus function writing a letter…

Bruce Gyory: How Biden Won: Six Hard Truths https://thebulwark.com/how-biden-won-six-hard-truths/: ‘Digging into the exit poll data on gender, education, age, and more.... 1. Women Won the Election for Biden. Women outvoted men—by 4 percent in the Edison data and 6 percent in the AP VoteCast survey—and rejected Donald Trump, denying him re-election. According to the AP VoteCast, Biden carried women by 55-44, while Trump carried men by 52-46.... 2. The ‘Education Gap’ and Its Link to Race and Sex.... White men without college degrees (19 percent of the total vote), gave Trump a landslide margin of 64-34, while white women without college degrees (24 percent of the total vote) gave Trump a large but lesser margin of 60-39.... Among non-white voters, by contrast, Biden won regardless of education status (or sex): among non-white non-college-educated men (7 percent of the vote), he won by 68-30.... 3. Location, Location, Location.... The suburbs cast 45-47 percent of the total vote in high-turnout elections and 48-50 percent of the electorate in low-turnout elections.... 4. The Young and the Faithful. Fourth, the youth vote helped Biden win, even as it did not expand its share of the total vote from 2016.... 5. The Real Enthusiasm Gap.... Among the 46 percent of voters who reported in the AP VoteCast survey that they “disapprove strongly” of President Trump, Biden won 97-1. On the flip side, meanwhile, the voters who said they “approve strongly” of Trump, who voted for him by 98-2, amounted to a much smaller 31 percent of the electorate.... 6. Big Turnout But No Big Shift to the Left.... The one thing Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could agree on was that the impact of Never Trump Republican initiatives—like Republican Voters Against Trump and the Lincoln Project—would be minimal. That assessment was flat-out wrong…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-30" »


Sexual Domination, Large-Scale Rape, & American Slavery: Mary Boykin Chesnut vs. Garnet Wolseley—Noted

Garnet Wolseley (1862): The American Civil War: An English View https://books.google.com/books?id=Qu4nCB-cVoYC: ‘The slaves in large towns are inferior in moral character to those upon plantations; and amongst the former there is always a large admixture of white blood, which is very rare, indeed, amongst farm hands. In many, or I might say in most States, if a woman upon a plantation gives birth to a child of any but ebony hue, it is considered a sort of slur upon the owner of the estate; and she is usually sold to some city master as soon as the fact becomes known, in order, if possible, to hush up the scandal certain to arise in the neighbourhood from the circumstance. I have been informed by many planters that, as a rule, the negresses on estates are a moral class; and as their appearance is repulsive in the extreme, I can well understand there being so few half-caste children in neighbourhoods where the only white men are those of the better classes…

Mary Boykin Chesnut (1861): Mary Chesnut's Civil War https://books.google.com/books?id=WojvfHAX4lgC: ‘I wonder if it be a sin to think slavery a curse to any land. Men and women are punished when their masters and mistresses are brutes, not when they do wrong. Under slavery, we live surrounded by prostitutes, yet an abandoned woman is sent out of any decent house. Who thinks any worse of a Negro or mulatto woman for being a thing we can't name? God forgive us, but ours is a monstrous system, a wrong and an iniquity! Like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines; and the mulattoes one sees in every family partly resemble the white children. Any lady is ready to tell you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody's household but her own. Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds. My disgust sometimes is boiling over. Thank God for my country women, but alas for the men! They are probably no worse than men everywhere, but the lower their mistresses, the more degraded they must be...

Continue reading "Sexual Domination, Large-Scale Rape, & American Slavery: Mary Boykin Chesnut vs. Garnet Wolseley—Noted" »


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

Best Read of 2020: Thomas Orlik: China: The Bubble That Never Pops—Project Syndicate

Brad DeLong: Project Syndicate Commentators’ Best Reads in 2020 https://forbes.kz/life/observation/project_syndicate_commentators_best_reads_in_2020: Thomas Orlik (2020): China: The Bubble That Never Pops: I have always thought that China’s development strategy has only ten more years to run before it ends in tears. In his new book, Bloomberg’s Chief Economist Tom Orlik explains why I have always been wrong – at least about this particular question. Through striking examples and insightful explanations of institutional patterns, he shows how China has managed to turn all four of the great economic cycles since Mao’s death to its own advantage. In spite of “ghost cities,” high levels of bad debt, a great deal of corruption, “white elephant” infrastructure boondoggles, and the rest, China’s government has proved that it has the tools to keep the bicycle upright and moving forward rapidly. And now, thanks to Orlik, we can all see how it works…

Continue reading "Best Read of 2020: Thomas Orlik: China: The Bubble That Never Pops—Project Syndicate" »


What Lifted Trump Could Sink Biden—Project Syndicate

J. Bradford DeLong: What Lifted Trump Could Sink Biden https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/austerity-will-kill-the-income-growth-that-helped-trump-by-j-bradford-delong-2020-12?referral=8420da: ‘Donald Trump managed to receive 74 million votes despite countless failures for the simple reason that he presided over three years of a high-pressure economy in which wages grew rapidly. If the Democrats ignore this lesson or listen to fiscal hawks already pushing for austerity, they will face a painful reckoning in 2024. Very few of the people who voted for US President Donald Trump in the 2020 election are plutocrats who benefited from his and congressional Republicans’ tax cut, or even wannabe plutocrats who can hope to benefit from it in the future. Some Trump voters doubtless are very focused on the installation of right-wing judges on the federal bench. But many among the 74 million who voted for Trump did so for other reasons…

Continue reading "What Lifted Trump Could Sink Biden—Project Syndicate" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-23

Paul Campos: The Last Days of Donald https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/the-last-days-of-donald: ‘This report from Jonathan Swan reminds us that the presidency is still in the hands of a mentally ill aspiring despot who is decompensating quickly…

Wikipedia: New Atlantis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atlantis: ‘[Francis Bacon] portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. The plan and organisation of his ideal college, "Salomon's House", envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure science. The end of their foundation is thus described: "The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible"…

Scott Lemieux: Our Grifter Problem https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/our-grifter-problem: ‘As you are hopefully unaware of, a bunch of Twitter/YouTube grifters on the broad anti-anti-Trump “left” are ginning up a hate campaign against AOC because she won’t go along with their incredibly dumb campaign to “force a vote” on M4A, a tactic which (as AOC points out) has zero chance of making the enactment of M4A or any roughly equivalent program more likely on any time horizon. As Eric Levitz explains, this is very bad.… The idea that structural barriers can be easily overcome by individual politicians who just want it badly enough—like politics is a bad sports movie—is incredibly pernicious…

James McGrath: Teaching Cyborg Students https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2020/12/teaching-cyborg-students.html: ‘Rather than prohibiting students from using technology, we need to realize how many ways they already are that we take for granted, and how many they ought to be yet are not or at least are not doing so wisely, efficiently, or effectively. We need to design activities and assessments that teach them and then evaluate them on their ability to do the things we have always been trying to train them to do–write, read, research–in a manner that does not rely on technology to tell them whether they write well or how to format a reference, but teaches them what they need to know in order to create a bibliography using Word’s built-in function, discern which search results are relevant and credible, and whether the words they have strung together make good sense regardless whether their word processing software has things underlined or not. Currently they are like Joey Tribbiani using the thesaurus function writing a letter…

2005: The Lowest Deep on Hoxby-Rothstein https://web.archive.org/web/20050419010702/http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005-3_archives/000735.html: ‘Rothstein makes a convincing case that Hoxby doesn't satisfy (3), if his definition of "small tweaks" is correct…

Paul Campos: If the Rule You Followed Has Brought You to This, of What Use Was the Rule? https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/if-the-rule-you-followed-has-brought-you-to-this-of-what-use-was-the-rule: ‘I was talking yesterday to a prominent person about potential steps that might be taken to deal with the fact that the president of the United States is a delusional autocrat, who has no intention of leaving office just because he lost an election he has apparently now sincerely—or “sincerely”—convinced himself he didn’t lose.... Trump and his enablers were, to use the relevant wrestling terminology, engaging in a “work” that was likely to morph into a “shoot” eventually. This does seems to have happened in Trump’s case specifically, with one result being that the vast majority of Republicans now believe that the election was in fact stolen.... Neither Trump nor much more important the tens of millions of Americans who now actually do believe the election was stolen are going anywhere for the foreseeable future.... The person I was speaking with... pitched the following idea to me: Trump should be impeached again, immediately.... Trump is still president, and what Trump has been doing to attempt to overturn and discredit the election makes him as much or more deserving of impeachment and removal as anything any president of the United States has ever done, including, remarkably enough, himself. So why not do it?... This will not, of course, “work” in the sense that Trump will be removed from office, but it will emphasize that what Trump has been doing for the past several weeks is or rather should be utterly beyond the pale.... What, my correspondent pressed me, is the argument against doing this? It’s a good question…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-23" »


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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I Should Launch My Substack, Shouldn't I?

Grasping Reality Wednesday Newsletter: On My Mind Right Now: The Current State of the Coronavirus Plague https://braddelong.substack.com/p/on-my-mind-right-now-the-current: ‘We do need to pick a day for this. Let’s pick Wednesday… And what is on my mind right now is the scale and economic impact of the coronavirus plague: Reported case numbers for the coronavirus plague are worth little. Deaths—as long as the health-care system is not in collapse—tell us that there were between 100 and 200 times as many new cases three to four weeks before. It is perhaps fantastical to take Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom—the non-continental Europe nations of the “global north”—as our “yardstick” nations. But if we do, we must be profoundly depressed both at the situation, and at how badly we have fallen short of what nations with competent governance have managed to accomplish…


.#highighted #substack #2020-12-23

Brad DeLong & Om Malik: Is America in Decline?

Pairagraph: Is America in Decline? https://www.pairagraph.com/dialogue/fc2f8d46f10040d080d551c945e7a363/4

I confess I think that this came out very well as an intellectual exercise. I am, however, as I say in it, depressed that Om Malik—for whom I have enormous respect, and whose judgment is very, very good—does not have stronger arguments on his side that America is not "in decline". I had very much hoped to end this debate at least half-convinced to his side. But I am not. Sigh.

I see in my twitter feed right now—the morning of 2020-12-22—that more than 40% of Americans surveyed still "approve" of the job that Donald Trump is doing as president. With the U.S. having had 330,000 coronavirus plague deaths—1 in a thousand people—while Australia has had 908 total—one thirtieth the death rate—with a thousand children kidnapped and permanently separated from their parents, with him and his family trying to steal everything that isn't nailed down, what is to approve? Yet 40%. And 74 million people voted for him.

Om wants to say things like "The sheer number of Americans who participated in our November election should be a source of national pride and renewed optimism" and "it is about taking the steps necessary for moving forward, which we will never do if we insist on dragging our feet while a cloud of gloom swirls above us" and "America has always managed to invent a better tomorrow, even on its most difficult days" and "this is not about pretending".

I say: Yes, America has vast strengths. But we also have 73 million fascists, grifters, asshole racists, assholes, and easily-grifted morons whom the rest of us must carry on our backs as we try to make things better. It would be one thing if they just sat on their hands. But they are trying, actively, to break stuff that we must then fix.

Sisyphus just had to role the rock uphill. He did not have a raving violent madman on his back whom he had to carry while doing so:

Brad DeLong & Om Malik: Pairagraph: Is America in Decline? https://www.pairagraph.com/dialogue/fc2f8d46f10040d080d551c945e7a363/4: Brad DeLong 2020-09-10: Life expectancy at birth in the United States today is 78.6 years. Life expectancy at birth in Japan today is 84.5; in Singapore, 85.1; in Switzerland, 84.3; France, 83.1; in Germany, 80.9. U.S. life expectancy is on a par with Poland, Tunisia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Albania; below Peru, Colombia, Chile, Jordan, and Sri Lanka; and only a year greater than China...

...The United States currently has ~300 deaths per hundred million people per day from the coronavirus plague. The United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Canada each have less than 10.

The United States has the amazing spectacle not just of Donald Trump as president, but of a huge number of American worthies—from Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Kevin McCarthy in the House, from Paul Ryan to Chris Christie, from Dean Baquet and Maureen Dowd and James Bennet to James Comey, all of them deciding that rather than do their proper jobs they would work to raise the odds that Trump would obtain and maintain power and increase the likelihood that he would do major damage in order to boost their personal positions in various ways.

As one of my friends from a not-rich part of East Asia says: "Students from my country come to the U.S. these days. They see dirty cities, lousy infrastructure, and the political clown show on TV, and an insular people clinging to their guns and their gods who boast about how they are the greatest people in the world without knowing anything about what is going on outside. They come back and tell me: 'We have nothing to learn from those people! Why did you send me there?’"

This is a very different vibe from what we had twenty years ago, at the end of the Clinton-Gore years, when the U.S. was victorious in the Cold War, trying to build a freer, more integrated, more peaceful, and more prosperous world; riding the wave of the great internet boom; and had—for the first time in a generation—seen eight years in which typical Americans' wages and salaries were rising rapidly. And now it has been another generation since we have seen typical Americans' wages and salaries rise rapidly.

This is a very different vibe from 70 years ago, when we had the U.S. of the great post-WWII boom and the Marshall Plan that was also, finally, turning its attention to advancing Civil Rights.

This is a very different vibe from 100 years ago, when Leon Trotsky would talk about how he regretted leaving New York for Petrograd, for he was "leaving the furnace where the future was being forged.”

This is a very different vibe from 180 yeas ago, when Alexis de Tocqueville was preaching to one and all that everyone needed to closely examine America, for understanding it was the key to understanding the world's democratic future.

The only argument that America is not in decline is that other countries have worse problems. That may well be true. But that strikes me as too low a bar.

====

Om Malik 2020-10-07: It has been a strange year for the planet, and a particularly challenging one for America. It is as if the universe held up a giant mirror to the country and made us look directly at our most severe and festering troubles. A virus has undone our broken healthcare system, made our upside-down economy even more fragile, and exacerbated our political and social divisions. Recognizing all that, readers might assume I am pessimistic about the prospects of our great country.

But humans, unlike mirrors, can see beyond the surface. Even the most beautiful glimpse the ugliness in themselves. And the imperfect can recognize their own potential.

Let me tell you my own story. Over a decade ago, I was an overworked reporter with a three-packs-a-day smoking habit. I didn’t work out and practiced atrocious eating habits. Not surprisingly, I ended up in the hospital fighting for my life. Forced to take a hard look at myself, I didn’t like what I saw. I made a commitment to turn things around — and I followed through.

Our country and its citizens are at a similar point of reckoning. Given the historical arc of a nation’s life, we should not rush to judge a nation’s prospects based on a single (and so far, single-term) administration — or even a bungled response to one specific crisis. America is an ongoing project. As a society, we are fighting tooth and nail to protect our democratic traditions from attacks both internal and external. Is our performance perfect? No. But we are a long way from Belarus.

In college, I read about the American industry’s decline and the offshoring of jobs to other countries. In the twilight of the last century, it seemed the end was near. And yet, we saw the birth of companies such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix. About a dozen of these large American companies have since become part of the global society and economy.

As other American industries have in the past, the modern tech industry provides an ecosystem in which people throughout the world desire to participate and thrive. Even China, our country’s greatest economic rival, takes its technology cues (and intellectual property) from America. What was a little search engine now employs hundreds of thousands. This is also where Elon Musk, whether you like him or not, willed a commercial electric vehicle industry into existence through a combination of chutzpah, capital, and yes, government support. Tesla may sell fewer cars than its German rivals, but it has convinced the world to adopt this new approach to transportation. It is true that Tesla, Google, and Amazon are not perfect. Capitalism never is.

Our planet is facing an arduous future due to our changing climate. The answers to the myriad problems this creates will emanate from American minds and in the same freethinking, entrepreneurial tradition that allowed Google to be born here. Though we certainly don’t have a monopoly on innovation, we have a track record of doing it better and more frequently than anywhere else. While it is fashionable to be bemused by America, nobody overseas should forget that this is where the necessary ingredients for global prosperity are most likely to be found.

There is no shame in admitting that we are in need of self-improvement. We must begin by addressing the horror of this year, which has exposed a range of problems. I am confident that long-term and even permanent solutions to many of these problems exist. We can and will be better. Maybe it is my day job, or perhaps it is the delusion of an immigrant’s mind, but I believe the tradition of dreaming up something from nothing is still alive in this country. And that is what keeps me betting on America.

====

Brad DeLong 2020-10-07: When this was pitched to me, I jumped at the chance: It seemed to me that ranting about American decadence might get it off my chest and improve morale, which was low. And then when I learned that Om Malik was on the other side I was really excited. I have long thought that Om was great. That he was willing to take the non-decline side made me confident there were much stronger arguments for it than I had recognized. I looked forward to ending this debate heartened, encouraged, and much more than half-convinced.

But after reading Om's response, I find myself worried that his heart is not in it. My précis of it would be: We must imagine that America is not in decline. Why? Because if we recognize that it is in decline we will lose all hope of being able to turn things around.

It is an argument along the lines of Camus's "we must imagine Sisyphus happy". Why must we imagine Sisyphus happy? Because we are in his situation, and if we cannot imagine—i.e., "imagine" in the sense of "pretend", not in the sense of entering into his thought-processes—Sisyphus happy, we despair and cannot do our own work, pointless and futile as that own work may be. It is an argument along the lines of Antonio Gramsci, dying of mistreatment in Mussolini's jails, recognizing that the intellect told him to be pessimistic, but that he needed to overcome that with "optimism of the will”.

Sisyphus happy, we despair and cannot do our own work, pointless and futile as that own work may be. It is an argument along the lines of Antonio Gramsci, dying of mistreatment in Mussolini's jails, recognizing that the intellect told him to be pessimistic, but that he needed to overcome that with "optimism of the will”.

Om's message is that America is not in decline because we might still "take a hard look at [our]sel[ves]... not like what [we] saw... ma[ke] a commitment to turn things around—and... follow... through". Perhaps we will.

This is not helping my morale.

The facts that America has astonishing land, abundant natural resources, and a long history of welcoming immigrants who feel cramped and constrained and unappreciated elsewhere—all these should make America's greatness a slam-dunk and America's future bright. But right now, in the world in which we live, I read my friend Dan Wang writing "I’ve spent the past month in Shanghai, which I think is the best place in the world right now: It’s always been the most fun and livable city in China; and there has been no transmission of the virus since April, with restaurants, bars, and museums all open for months..." I think that America has 150,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths a day, that that amount of virus risk puts a serious crimp in day-to-day activities, that there is no plan for dealing with it, and that at this caseload we are still... three years from likely herd immunity, which we will reach after 1,000,000 more deaths.

It is certainly true we have a long way to fall. Things can still be very comfortable on the way down for a long time. "There is", Adam Smith said in 1776, "much ruin in a nation”.

But I had hoped Om would change my mind.

====

Om Malik 2020-12-22: I have had a long time to noodle on Professor Delong’s response to my continued optimism in America. He certainly didn’t share that hopefulness, and he may have missed the nuance of my argument. So, I will reiterate: If we recognize our problems, we can fix them.

This is not about pretending. It is about taking the steps necessary for moving forward, which we will never do if we insist on dragging our feet while a cloud of gloom swirls above us. I’m happy to report that the forecast calls for better conditions ahead.

In a matter of months, if not sooner, Professor Delong will (I hope) be administered a vaccine that will prevent infection from a novel coronavirus. It may come from a company called Moderna, a venture-backed, American biotech company that is redefining the next frontier of medicine.

Our handling of COVID-19 is emblematic of what makes America a very unique place. Though we absolutely botched our response to the pandemic, this country has also produced one of the vaccines to fight it. Our country has many problems, and we are uniquely capable of solving them.

In his response, the good professor points to a friend’s comments about Shanghai and how livable it feels. If that friend were a Uighur or a Mongolian, they might think differently. It’s a futuristic place, sure, but one with little room for intellectual freedom and debate. For example, Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma paid the price when he spoke bluntly about certain things the ruling party didn’t care to have discussed. The initial public offering of his extremely successful company, Ant Financial, was canceled. It’s also worth noting, as ProPublica recently pointed out, that China’s government-controlled Internet was behind the censorship of coronavirus-related information.

Here at home, we currently have politicians making wild and embarrassing claims about our elections. I suppose in places like Shanghai, where voting for the country’s leader isn’t an option, people are spared such unpleasantness — but that hardly seems preferable. The sheer number of Americans who participated in our November election should be a source of national pride and renewed optimism.

Soon, we will transition to a new administration. Vaccines will be administered. We will move forward. But we must not forget the failures of 2020 or ignore our many other issues. America needs to rebuild its infrastructure, prepare for a changed climate, address its healthcare crisis, and take a hard look at its education system.

Neither self-flagellation nor looking enviously at other countries will solve these problems. Many entrepreneurs I get to interact with are working on solutions. They acknowledge our many shortcomings, rather than wallowing in them, and then they move on to designing and implementing better policies.

America has always managed to invent a better tomorrow, even on its most difficult days. Reality is complex. Where there is struggle, there can also be transcendence. In order to experience the latter, we must first convince ourselves that it is possible.


.#americanexceptionalism #highlighted #orangehairedbaboons #politicaleconomy #2020-12-22

Briefly Noted for 2020-12-22

Matthew Yglesias: The Real Economic Challenge in 2021 https://www.slowboring.com/p/the-real-economic-challenge-in-2021: ‘Back in 2018, there were a lot of articles with headlines like “6 reasons that pay has lagged behind US job growth” and “7 reasons why wage growth is so slow.” In retrospect, this wasn’t that mysterious. The labor market recovery had simply been very slow and 2018 turned out to be a year of accelerating wage growth. Then in 2019, things accelerated further. But the existence of articles puzzling over slow pre-2018 wage growth underscores the dangers of a sluggish recovery. Not only does sluggishness directly reduce wages, it generates complicated explanations for the sluggishness which distract policy attention from the urgent need to simply keep on keeping on with job creation…

Duncan Black: The Good Doctor https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/12/the-good-doctor.html: ‘Birx has had some pals in the media all along, desperate to keep her reputation intact, so this won't hurt at all: "WASHINGTON (AP) — As COVID-19 cases skyrocketed before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, warned Americans to “be vigilant” and limit celebrations to “your immediate household.” For many Americans that guidance has been difficult to abide, including for Birx herself. The day after Thanksgiving, she traveled to one of her vacation properties on Fenwick Island in Delaware. She was accompanied by three generations of her family from two households. Birx, her husband Paige Reffe, a daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren were present..." Lives are complicated, but the people who rule us should at least try to pretend to set an example…

Tim Miller: This Is Your Brain on Newsmax https://thebulwark.com/this-is-your-brain-on-newsmax/: ‘I would guess with a high level of confidence that all of these gentlemen know that Donald Trump lost. Spicer said as much on November 5 before Newsmax realized just how much juice they could get out of the scam. Ruddy openly told the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner that he saw a business opportunity in providing wall-to-wall election fraud fanfic. What these characters are doing is exploiting Trump Nation’s need to believe that their great, nectarine idol is unbreakable and that the only way he could “lose” is if people whom they hate—the Deep State, Big Tech, Antifa, the media, black people—are conspiring against him. So here is the dangerous story they are being told—minute by agonizing minute: Monday, November 30, 11:20 a.m.—National Report: For reference, I am working from bed and live streaming Newsmax via the YouTube TV app. I am armed only with my computer and a pour over coffee in an Ellen Show mug. I’m bracing for pain. First up it’s Trump campaign lawyers, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, together in what appears to be their fancy Washington, D.C. home (Drain the Swamp!). They are praising Jared Kushner’s Middle East genius. The first commercial I see is a Newsmax promo that has Donald Trump saying “Newsmax, you like Newsmax, I like it too” twice in 10 seconds. The next ad is Pat Boone pushing silver. I did not know that Pat Boone was still alive…

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Briefly Noted for 2020-12-21

NASA: The ‘Great’ Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn: ‘What makes this year’s spectacle so rare, then? It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night…

Origins of the Drill Sergeant trope in western literature, and in history: William Shakespeare: Henry V, Act III, Scene 6 https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry5&Act=3&Scene=6&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=1554#1554...

Wikimedia Commons: File:Dishing-the-Whigs-1867.jpeg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dishing-the-Whigs-1867.jpeg

Wikipedia: Anton Cermak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Cermak: ‘44th Mayor of Chicago. In office: April 7, 1931 – March 6, 1933…

Clarence Darrow: Darrow -The Story of My Life http://clarkcunningham.org/PR/Darrow-Strike.htm: ‘The Railroad Strike...

Luke A. L. Reynolds: Who Owned Waterloo? Wellington’s Veterans and the Battle for Relevance https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4392&context=gc_etds

Jason Furman & Lawrence Summers: A Reconsideration of Fiscal Policy in the Era of Low Interest Rates https://www.piie.com/system/files/documents/furman-summers2020-12-01paper.pdf

Aristotle_: Politics http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html: ‘Book I…

Jules Verne & Michel Verne: In the Year 2889 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19362/19362-h/19362-h.htm

Wikipedia: In the Year 2889 (Short Story) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Year_2889_(short_story)

Christine McCloud: How To Use A Shuttle On A Loom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O98vJ8VEF4: ‘How To Use A Shuttle On A Loom…

Anton Howes: Is Innovation in Human Nature? https://www.antonhowes.com/blog/is-innovation-in-human-nature: ‘John Kay’s flying shuttle... an improvement to the loom, which radically increased the productivity of weaving.... Weavers would lift every other warp thread and pass the shuttle from hand to hand, hence passing the weft under the warp threads that were lifted, and over the ones that were not lifted. Under and over, under and over. Kay’s innovation was to use two wooden boxes on either side to catch the shuttle. And he attached a string, with a little handle called a picker, so that the shuttle could be jerked across the loom, at great speed. Here’s a video of it in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O98vJ8VEF4. Kay’s innovation was extraordinary in its simplicity. As the inventor Bennet Woodcroft put it, weaving with an ordinary shuttle had been “performed for upwards of five thousand years, by millions of skilled workmen, without any improvement being made to expedite the operation, until the year 1733”. All Kay added was some wood and some string. And he applied it to weaving wool, which had been England’s main industry since the middle ages. He had no special skill, he required no special understanding of science for it, and he faced no special incentive to do it…

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Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries—Noted

Noah Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-im-so-excited-about-solar-and: ‘In the 19th century we switched to coal... in the 20th century we upgraded to oil.... After World War 2, a global extraction regime and price controls allowed us to keep cheap oil flowing. That ended with the Oil Shocks of the 70s. And though oil became cheaper again in the 80s and 90s, it never attained its former lows, or its low volatility. Then in the 00s it got expensive again.... We didn’t get anything better than oil during this time.... More expensive energy makes physical innovation harder in every way.... This stagnation in energy technology almost certainly contributed to the productivity slowdown of the 1970s.... Why didn’t bits fill the gap?... IT did drive the re-acceleration of productivity that began in the late 80s and continued through the early 00s.... But around 2005... that productivity growth faded.... Some have argued that digital services are substantially undervalued in our economic production statistics.... Physical technology is less “skill-biased” than IT, meaning that pretty much anyone can be a factory worker but only a few people can use computers productively and effectively... [or] IT simply touches less of our lives than energy does.... “Bits” innovation sometimes drives fast productivity growth, and sometimes doesn’t.… The cost declines in solar and batteries — and to a lesser extent, in wind and other storage technologies—comprise a true technological revolution.... And there’s no end in sight to this revolution. New fundamental advances like solid state lithium-ion batteries and next-generation solar cells seem within reach, which will kick off another virtuous cycle of deployment, learning curves, and cost decreases…

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Phipps: View of Hitler as of 1935—Noted

British Ambassador to Germany Eric Phipps looking back after two years at the extraordinary successes inside Germany and in the opinion of Germans of Hitler’s first two years—saving Germany from Versailles, from domination by the Allies, from the Great Depression, and from his own “gangsters” in the form of the SA:

Eric Phipps: Diary https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-phipps-diary.pdf 1935-04-01: ‘Over two years have now elapsed since the electorate of this country, stampeded by the Reichstag fire, voted for the abolition of the Parliamentary régime and the establishment of a National Socialist dictatorship...

During these two years, Adolf Hitler, without losing the loyalty of his old followers to any alarming extent, has won over the great mass of the Opposition to himself and his policy both internal and external. He has achieved this by accomplishing in the opinion of the masses not one but several miracles. In the first place, he has obtained work (or what amounts to work so far as the individual is concerned) for 3 million people. Secondly, he has torn up Part V of the Treaty of Versailles under the very noses of Germany’s former enemies. And thirdly, he has, as it were, liberated Germany from the clutches of his own National Socialist gangsters who threatened at one time to make life a purgatory for all but a privileged caste. The return to more normal conditions during the last six months has indeed been so rapid and so marked that the great bulk of Hitler’s one-time opponents are now, to say the least of it, reconciled to his rule if not to National Socialism.

Furthermore, it is now dawning upon friends and enemies alike that a benevolent despotism has immeasurable advantages over the Parliamentary system in the case of a defeated country. Not only has it an advantage over the travesty of a parliamentary system known as the Weimar Republic but many intelligent Germans are now of opinion that it is preferable to the French and British systems of representative government. It would certainly seem to an unprejudiced observer that a country which is anxious to free itself from the shackles of an oppressive treaty has better prospects if it is prepared to accept a restriction of individual liberty and a concentration of all powers in one hand, provided of course the hand be firm and wise. In the case of Hitler no doubt exists in the German mind that the country’s choice has been fully justified by the history of the last two years….

For years before he came into power Hitler doggedly refused to give any explanation of his mysterious programme for coping with unemployment. Why, he asked should he betray his panacea to his rivals? The mystery is now cleared up and it is evident that Hitler was well-advised to keep his secret to himself. As we now realise, his programme consists not merely of public works of the normal kind but of the very important work of rearming Germany. Today military contracts and contracts for public works are almost indistinguishable. The provision for motor roads which serve equally as military roads is a case in point. In addition the expansion of the army and air force has absorbed large masses of men from the labour market. The simplicity of many of Hitler’s basic ideas savours of genius to the public mind.

In regard to the rearmament of Germany and her return to the field of international politics on an equal footing, neither the Army, the intelligentsia nor the Ministry for Foreign Affairs conceived that the time was ripe for “calling the allied bluff”. Any attempt on Germany’s part to challenge the Versailles Treaty would lead, they firmly believed, to intervention and possibly to the occupation of the Rhineland. Any parliamentary government in this country would have courted disaster in the Reichstag had it embarked on Hitler’s policy of flouting the Treaty.

Even in Hitler’s case the adventure was not devoid of grave personal risk. There was always the chance during the early stages that the signatories of Versailles would pull themselves together and veto German rearmament by the threat of a preventive war. In that case the Hitler régime would have come to an end and Hitler and his chief supporters would have had to choose between suicide and exile. Now that Hitler has put his bold plan into execution his influence is highest in those very quarters where it was at first regarded with most suspicion, namely the Reichswehr Higher Command, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, permanent officialdom and responsible circles generally.

The Germans are not disposed to minimise their difficulties. But they regard Herr Hitler as a prophet and the majority expect with calm obedience that he will find the way to the promised land. He, on his side, is more convinced than ever that fate has chosen him as its instrument just as it chose Frederick the Great65 for the regeneration of the German people. In truth, can we wonder at his conviction? His foreign policy since my arrival at Berlin has been the reverse of that of a “good European”; it has been a crescendo of violence and has hitherto failed to evoke any stronger reaction on the part of the ex-allies than some notes of platonic protest.

Having helped himself, in defiance of the Treaty, on land and in the air, Herr Hitler now suggests, with grim humour, that the British Empire may some day be grateful for the protection of the fleet that he intends to build.66 The size of that fleet at present seems uncertain, but if Herr Hitler adheres to his intention of attaining naval parity with France he will eventually possess a fleet half the size of our own concentrated in an infinitesimal fraction of the waters over which ours is called upon to sail.

So far as I can see, only economics and finance can be expected to counter these proud plans, but economics and finance have in the past proved so elastic as to defy all expert prophecy. Stalin, on the other hand, when he pointed at “that little island” to Mr. Eden on the map, seemed to think that we alone could finally prevent the hegemony of Germany by withholding from her certain raw materials without which she would be unable to continue her present orgy of expenditure on armaments. I do not know whether this course be feasible or not. In any case let us hope that our pacifists at home may at length realise that the rapidly growing monster of German militarism will not be placated by mere cooings, but will only be restrained from recourse to its idolised “ultima ratio” by the knowledge that the Powers who desire peace are also strong enough to enforce it…


.#noted #2020-12-21

Phipps: View of Hitler as of 1933—Noted

Here we have Britain's ambassador to Germany writing in 1933 that Britain needs to take Hitler seriously but not literally–for if it took him literally it would have no logical choice but ‘to adopt the policy of a “preventive” war’. Food for thought for modern times: Trump, Bolsonaro, Modhi, and Johnson need definitely to be taken literally, and it is only acceptable to not take them seriously if you are dead certain not only of their incompetence but of their inability to pass the baton to anyone both competent and ruthless:

Eric Phipps: Diary https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-phipps-diary.pdf 1933-11-21: ‘In contemplating the present situation arising out of an electoral campaign waged against a practically non-existent adversary and conducted with propaganda methods of unexampled violence and mendacity, one is tempted to put certain far-reaching questions regarding the future of the Hitler movement and the future policy of Hitler. It has been asked, for instance, whether the movement is not a convenient screen behind which the old Prussian Nationalism is weaving its dark web. This may well be, but if so the screen itself is singularly inefficacious and fails to conceal the fact that the youth of Germany is being reared in a purely militarist spirit...

...When I told the Chancellor that militarism seemed to me to be the Leitmotiv of this country, whereas elsewhere it was merely an incident, that a spark might suffice to kindle the militarist spirit into a war-like flame, I might have added that the above-mentioned campaign of lies, depicting Germany as the one innocent lamb among a pack of wolves, was not calculated to inculcate in German youth that spirit of peace and understanding advocated so inappropriately and so loudly after Germany’s banging of the Geneva door.

As regards Hitler, I doubt whether he himself realises how far he is at pre- sent the author of Mein Kampf, the full-blown blood-and-thunder book as originally published in Germany, that is to say, and not the recent pale abridged and bowdlerised edition which has been published by his direction and translated into English.

Who can tell how far that Hitler resembles the present German Chancellor who has been making the welkin ring with shouts of peace? In some respects it is certain that he remains true to type for he has not varied over the Jewish question or Austria since writing the book; but it would be too simple and even perhaps dangerous to assume that he maintains intact all the views held and expressed with such incredible violence in a work written in a Bavarian prison 10 years ago, though, of course, those views cannot be left out of consideration in any endeavour to gauge the Chancellor’s intentions on any given subject. His hatred of France, Germany’s deadliest enemy, for instance, is written in flaming letters, and certainly seems difficult to reconcile with his recent attempts to wheedle her into a tête-à-tête conversation.

Again, the recent no-force agreement with Poland is undoubtedly regarded by my French colleague as an attempt to drive a wedge between that country and France. Yet, though this may have entered into Hitler’s calculations, the fact of German-Polish apaisement should nevertheless facilitate France and Germany. In this connection General von Blomberg’s remarks to me are of interest.

To revert to Hitler: we cannot regard him solely as the author of Mein Kampf for in such case we should logically be bound to adopt the policy of a “preventive” war, nor can we afford to ignore him. Would it not therefore be advisable soon to try to bind that damnably dynamic man? To bind him, that is, by an agreement bearing his signature freely and proudly given? By some odd kink in his mental make-up he might even feel impelled to honour it. His signature under even a not altogether satisfactory agreement, only partially agreeable to Great Britain and France and not too distasteful to Italy might prevent for a time any further German shots among the International ducks.

His signature, moreover, would bind all Germany like no other Germans in all her past. Years might then pass and even Hitler might grow old, and reason might come to this side and fear leave it. New problems would present them- selves and old problems, including disarmament, might perhaps have solved themselves through the mere passage of time, and without those Hurculean and hitherto vain efforts to satisfy German “honour” and allay French fear…


.#noted #2020-12-21

Briefly Noted for 2020-12-18

Josiah Ober: Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule. https://www.amazon.com/Political-Dissent-Democratic-Athens-Intellectual-ebook/dp/B00EM2W92E/

Josiah Ober: Mass & Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology, & the Power of the People https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691028648

Daily Beast: Pence Plans to Confirm Trump’s Defeat Then Flee the Country, Says Report https://www.thedailybeast.com/pence-plans-to-confirm-trumps-defeat-then-flee-the-country-says-report>…

James Politi & Colby Smith: Powell Preserves His Dovish Credentials at Tricky Moment for Fed_ https://www.ft.com/content/2a32037d-612d-43bc-b472-ba124bddf47d

Tyler Cowen: The Ideological Shift of the Libertarian Movement on Pandemics https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/12/the-ideological-shift-of-the-libertarian-movement-on-pandemics.html

Minxin Pei: Totalitarianism’s Long Dark Shadow Over China https://www.ned.org/events/lipset-lecture-minxin-pei-totalitarianism-china/

Richard Setterston & al.: Living on the Edge: An American Generation’s Journey through the Twentieth Century https://uchicago.app.box.com/s/82xshvgproh5xf9sf0np8qby41wszehq/file/722218825412

Amazon.com: Elgato Green Screen https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0743Z892W/: ‘Collapsible chroma key panel for background removal with auto-locking frame, wrinkle-resistant chroma-green fabric, aluminum hard case, ultra-quick setup and breakdown: Computers & Accessories…

Amazon.com: Elaro Pop-Up Retractable Green Screen (Self-Contained Case) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QWXVN9J/

====

Plus:

Charles Sykes: Can We Quit Trump? https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/can-we-quit-trump: ‘For the last four years, Vichy Republicans have rationalized their support by insisting that we ignore the tweets and focus on the policies and “accomplishments”. But in his post-presidency there will no wins, just the rage, narcissism, and tweets.... And that’s all there will be, except for the possible indictments, trials, and bankruptcies. That’s why stoking outrage is so crucial for his post presidency. The stab-in-the-back stolen election lie is the wind beneath his wings; grievance is his only real asset. That may be enough to keep his base riled up. But there is also the possibility that rather than consolidate his control of the GOP, he will marginalize himself by continuing to embrace the most deranged elements of his own MAGAverse. His base of operations may drift from Fox News to OAN and his appeal from populism to raw crackpottery…

Jonathan V. Last: 'McMaster believed that power in the Trump administration derived from his job https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/the-nature-of-power. Sarah Huckabee Sanders realized that power in the Trump administration derived from having the president watch you defend him on TV. And further, SHS seems to have figured out that she could parlay that power into power in another context. Watch and see if she becomes governor of Arkansas purely on the basis of being seen as one of the most loyal Trumpists in the country.... Mitch McConnell is entering into a power struggle with Donald Trump.... Mitch declared Joe Biden president-elect yesterday. And good for him, I guess. Though I’m not sure people should get a ton of credit for admitting that the sky is blue after spending five weeks insisting that it was red. McConnell’s calculation is that power derives from holding elected office because that confers the ability to pass legislation.... Trump believes that the real source of power lies further upstream and derives from the ability to command—totally—a large bloc of voters within a single party. Because... it grants him ownership of the Republican party.... McConnell’s view looks like the safer bet right now, because the next time that large bloc of voters gets to exercise their power is two years from now. But my money’s on Trump here.... And then there’s the January 6 vote. McConnell has pushed a lot of chips into the pot by saying that no Republican Senator should force a vote on the Electoral College.... But the dynamics of this are all in the other direction. There will be at least one member of the House who objects and demands a vote, which means that the Senate Republicans will effectively be facing a yes-no vote on supporting Trump, since it will only require one senator to also object. Do you believe that every single Republican senator will be willing to be seen as effectively saying “no” to Trump on what will be basically function as a roll-call vote for a roll-call vote?…

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Simon Schama: Why John le Carré Is a Writer of Substance

Simon Schama: What Makes John le Carré a Writer of Substance https://www.ft.com/content/04df988d-9b09-4e6a-b7d8-70b1a5e654dc: ‘Someone, sometime, had to translate Dean Acheson’s famous 1962 characterisation of a Britain that had “lost an empire but has not yet found a role” into literature. But until le Carré came along, no writer had nailed the toxic combination of bad faith and blundering, the confusion of tactical cynicism with strategic wisdom, with such lethal accuracy.... His writing did... have some precedents.... He belonged to the same “lower-upper-middle-class” as George Orwell.... Like Orwell... le Carré had a pitch-perfect ear for the disingenuous hypocrisies sustaining those who mistook “Getting Away with It” for national purpose. Le Carré’s other literary pedigree... came from Anthony Trollope: the shrewd sense that institutions had collective personalities and psychologies, as if they were extended families. As such, they were the theatre of deadly, high-stakes dramas of loyalty and betrayal…. The scene at the beginning of An Honourable Schoolboy in the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, where “a score of journalists, mainly from former British colonies . . . fooled and drank in a mood of violent idleness, a chorus without a hero” is one of the great set pieces of le Carré writing. At its centre is one of his Dickens-Modern creations: the ancient Aussie, “old Craw” based on someone le Carré knew from that field trip to south Asia, and “who had shaken more sand out of his shorts than most of them would walk over”…

============

John le Carré: The Honourable Schoolboy https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-le-carre-schoolboy.pdf: 'Perhaps a more realistic point of departure is a certain typhoon Saturday in mid-1974, three o’clock in the afternoon, when Hong Kong lay battened down waiting for the next onslaught. In the bar of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a score of journalists, mainly from former British colonies - Australian, Canadian, American - fooled and drank in a mood of violent idleness, a chorus without a hero. Thirteen floors below them, the old trams and double deckers were caked in the mud-brown sweat of building dust and smuts from the chimney-stacks in Kowloon. The tiny ponds outside the highrise hotels prickled with slow, subversive rain. And in the men’s room, which provided the Club’s best view of the harbour, young Luke the Californian was ducking his face into the handbasin, washing the blood from his mouth...

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Randall Munroe’s 2020 Election Map—Noted

Randall Munroe is an international treasure. This is the best 2020 election map that I have yet seen. It combines geographic fidelity with information accuracy and density. You will learn a lot not just about what and where Biden’s edge was in the 2020 election, but also about who Americans are…

Randall Munroe: 2020 Election Map https://twitter.com/xkcd/status/1339341149488746498: ‘http://xkcd.com/2399 ...


.#noted #2020-12-17

Briefly Noted for 2020-12-17

Jonathan V. Last: Everyone Trump Touches Dies: The List https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/everyone-trump-touches-dies-the-list

Edward B. Foley (2019): Preparing for a Disputed Presidential Election: An Exercise in Election Risk Assessment and Management https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2719&context=luclj

Jason Snell: ‘I apologize, I forgot to add a label to my Bezos Chart.https://twitter.com/jsnell/status/481863414180896769...

Simon Schama: What Makes John le Carré a Writer of Substance https://www.ft.com/content/04df988d-9b09-4e6a-b7d8-70b1a5e654dc: ‘Someone, sometime, had to translate Dean Acheson’s famous 1962 characterisation of a Britain that had “lost an empire but has not yet found a role” into literature. But until le Carré came along, no writer had nailed the toxic combination of bad faith and blundering, the confusion of tactical cynicism with strategic wisdom, with such lethal accuracy.... His writing did... have some precedents.... He belonged to the same “lower-upper-middle-class” as George Orwell.... Like Orwell... le Carré had a pitch-perfect ear for the disingenuous hypocrisies sustaining those who mistook “Getting Away with It” for national purpose. Le Carré’s other literary pedigree... came from Anthony Trollope: the shrewd sense that institutions had collective personalities and psychologies, as if they were extended families. As such, they were the theatre of deadly, high-stakes dramas of loyalty and betrayal…

Clove & Hoof: Oakland Butchery & Restaurant https://cloveandhoofoakland.com/

Sascha Segan: Qualcomm Is a Little Too Unbothered by Apple's M1 Macs https://www.pcmag.com/opinions/qualcomm-is-a-little-too-unbothered-by-apples-m1-macs: ‘Qualcomm execs brushed off the superior performance of Apple's new ARM-based Macs. They shouldn’t…

John Gruber: M1 Macs: Truth & Truthiness https://daringfireball.net/2020/12/m1_macs_truth_and_truthiness: ‘M1 Macs embarrass all other PCs—all Intel-based Macs, including automobile-priced Mac Pros, and every single machine running Windows or Linux. Those machines are just standing around in their underwear now because the M1 stole all their pants…

Nadim Kobeissi: On the Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro https://nadim.computer/posts/2020-11-26-macbookm1.html: ‘Five nanometer process, an ARMv8-AArch64 instruction set, unified memory, separate performance and efficiency cores and a ton of accompanying hardware offering acceleration for video decoding, cryptographic operations and more. There’s also a bunch of dedicated silicon for GPU cores that have been shown to rival the Nvidia GTX 1060. This is all on an integrated SoC that consumes a maximum of 15 watts and that generally runs on far less. This is all in a context where Intel is shipping 45W and 65W processors inside laptops, built on 10-14nm transistors, with a dinosaur-age x64 instruction set and integrated graphics that are certainly not even close to competing with a dedicated GTX 1060…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-17" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-13

Supreme Court: 'The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution’ https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/121120zr_p860.pdf...

The Hellenistic Age Podcast: Syrian Nights, Macedonian Dreams https://hellenisticagepodcast.wordpress.com/2020/11/26/055-the-seleucid-empire-syrian-nights-macedonian-dreams/

Melissa: My Singing Vegetables https://www.mysingingvegetables.com/

Robert J. Gordon: The Rise & Fall of American Growth: 'The year 1870 represented modern America at dawn. Over the subsequent six decades, every aspect of life experienced a revolution. By 1929, urban America was electrified and almost every urban dwelling was networked, connected to the outside world with electricity, natural gas, telephone, clean running water, and sewers. By 1929, the horse had almost vanished from urban streets, and the ratio of motor vehicles to the number of households reached 90 percent. By 1929, the household could enjoy entertainment options that were beyond the 1870 imagination, including phonograph music, radio, and motion pictures exhibited in ornate movie palaces…

Noah Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-im-so-excited-about-solar-and: ‘In the 19th century we switched to coal... in the 20th century we upgraded to oil.... After World War 2, a global extraction regime and price controls allowed us to keep cheap oil flowing. That ended with the Oil Shocks of the 70s. And though oil became cheaper again in the 80s and 90s, it never attained its former lows, or its low volatility. Then in the 00s it got expensive again.... We didn’t get anything better than oil during this time.... More expensive energy makes physical innovation harder in every way.... This stagnation in energy technology almost certainly contributed to the productivity slowdown of the 1970s.... Why didn’t bits fill the gap?... IT did drive the re-acceleration of productivity that began in the late 80s and continued through the early 00s.... But around 2005... that productivity growth faded.... Some have argued that digital services are substantially undervalued in our economic production statistics.... Physical technology is less “skill-biased” than IT, meaning that pretty much anyone can be a factory worker but only a few people can use computers productively and effectively... [or] IT simply touches less of our lives than energy does.... “Bits” innovation sometimes drives fast productivity growth, and sometimes doesn’t.… The cost declines in solar and batteries — and to a lesser extent, in wind and other storage technologies—comprise a true technological revolution.... And there’s no end in sight to this revolution. New fundamental advances like solid state lithium-ion batteries and next-generation solar cells seem within reach, which will kick off another virtuous cycle of deployment, learning curves, and cost decreases…


.#brieflynoted #noted #2020-12-12

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/12/briefly-noted-for-2020-12-13.html


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-12

SIEPR Associate's Meeting with Josh Bolten https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVLqRr-PlhM&feature=youtu.be

Matthew Yglesias: The Real History of Race & the New Deal https://www.slowboring.com/p/new-deal

Robert Wade (2003): What Strategies Are Viable for Developing Countries Today? The World Trade Organization and the Shrinking of 'Development Space’ https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-wade-2003-strategies.pdf

Wikipedia: Martha Gellhorn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn: The Face of War https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-gellhorn-face.pdf...

Vowel https://www.vowel.com/

Apple: AirPods Max https://www.apple.com/airpods-max/

Filipe Espósito: iPad Air 4 Benchmark Results https://9to5mac.com/2020/10/04/ipad-air-4-benchmark-results-emerge-on-the-web-as-apple-reportedly-prepares-a14-apple-tv/: ‘First observed by the Twitter user Ice universe, the Geekbench test was performed on an iPad Air 4 running iOS 14.0.1. The Geekbench score reports 1583 for single-core and 4198 for multi-core, compared to 1112 for single-core and 2832 for multi-core of the A12 Bionic chip that powers the previous iPad Air 3. That means the A14 chip has 42% better performance than the A12 chip in single-core and 48% better in multi-core — which can be considered a great improvement for those upgrading from an iPad Air 3. Compared to the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic chip, the A14 chip is about 20% faster in single-core (1327) and 28% faster in multi-core (3286)…

Jessica Price: Do Not Be Daunted...: https://twitter.com/Delafina777/status/1024317315620294657: '"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work. But neither are you free to abandon it...". The text it's referencing is from Pirkei Avot... part of the Mishnah.... Here's the quote that that meme is referencing (Pirkei Avot 2:15-16): "Rabbi Tarfon said: 'The day is short and the work is much, and the workers are lazy and the reward is great, and the Master of the house is pressing'. He used to say: 'It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it...'" While it's a translation that definitely isn't word-for-word, it's actually a very good interpretive translation and completely in keeping with the text.... The "do justly, now" triad is from Micah 6:8. The rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud assumed intimate familiarity with the entire Tanakh/Hebrew Bible, so they often make oblique references to verses and assume the reader will know the verse they're hinting at. The passage from Micah is one of the most famous elucidations of what the work of repairing the world, tikkun olam, consists of. So Shapiro adding it here isn't really an interpretive stretch--it's more just making the implicit explicit. And that beautiful opening? "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief"? It's definitely a bit of poetic license, but I'd say that's the point of "the day is short and the work is much”…

Robert J. Gordon: The Rise & Fall of American Growth: 'The year 1870 represented modern America at dawn. Over the subsequent six decades, every aspect of life experienced a revolution. By 1929, urban America was electrified and almost every urban dwelling was networked, connected to the outside world with electricity, natural gas, telephone, clean running water, and sewers. By 1929, the horse had almost vanished from urban streets, and the ratio of motor vehicles to the number of households reached 90 percent. By 1929, the household could enjoy entertainment options that were beyond the 1870 imagination, including phonograph music, radio, and motion pictures exhibited in ornate movie palaces…

Tom Friedman (2005): It’s a Flat World, After All https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-friedman-2005-flat.pdf

Daniel Jaffee (2012): Weak Coffee: Certification and Co-Optation in the Fair Trade Movement https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-jaffee-2012-weak-coffee.pdf

Olga San Miguel-Valderrama (2009): Community Mothers & Flower Workers in Colombia https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-sanmiguel-2009-colombia.pdf

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-12" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-11

Casey Newton: How Microsoft crushed Slack https://www.platformer.news/p/how-microsoft-crushed-slack: ‘And why the era of worker-centered work tools may be over…

George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100021.txt

DeLong COVID Dashboard https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/dashboard/56322

Ellora Derenoncourt & Claire Montialoux: Minimum Wages & Racial Inequality http://www.clairemontialoux.com/files/DM2020.pdf: ‘The earnings difference between white and black workers fell dramatically in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s.... The expansio... in this decline. The 1966 Fair Labor Standards Act extended federal minimum wage coverage to agriculture, restaurants, nursing homes, and other services which were previously uncovered and where nearly a third of black workers were employed.... Earnings rose sharply for workers in the newly covered industries. The impact was nearly twice as large for black workers as for white. Within treated industries, the racial gap adjusted for observables fell from 25 log points pre-reform to zero afterwards. We can rule out significant dis-employment effects for black workers.... The 1967 extension of the minimum wage can explain more than 20% of the reduction in the racial earnings and income gap during the Civil Rights Era…

Jonah Goldberg: Screwtape Went Down to Georgia https://gfile.thedispatch.com/p/screwtape-went-down-to-georgia: ‘A certain subset of the right has convinced itself that the Democrats aren’t just wrong or even bad, but that they are singularly evil and lethally dangerous enemies of America, hell-bent on destroying all that is sacred by imposing godless socialism on us all. I’ll skip the usual structural reasons for this development—the Big Sort, media balkanization, and, yes, the behavior of some Democrats—and focus instead on the part relevant to my point. The president of the United States said this sort of thing a lot.... The president is a deeply flawed and crude person with a thumbless grasp of the Constitution, the duties of his office, and the most rudimentary tenets of religion and traditional morality. Because this is so incandescently obvious, casting the Democrats as an existential threat to All We Hold Dear makes it a lot easier to overlook these things. Hence all of that “He’s our King David” gibberish from the early days of the Trump presidency. When you’re in a Manichean existential battle with the unholy Forces of Darkness, it’s much easier to overlook the adultery, greed, deceit, and corruption of your anointed champion. Now, normally I’m not one to leap to the defense of Democrats, but I think offering the faint praise that they are not all evil incarnate is literally the least I can do.... For nearly five years now, it has been obvious that Trump was unfit for the job and the arguments marshaled in his defense were cynical rationalizations that, for some, eventually mutated into sincerely held delusions.... For a lot of otherwise decent politicians and commentators, doing the right thing was just too damn hard. At every stage, they fed the Trumpian alligator another piece of themselves and said “This much, but no more.” But now all that is left are stumps, and it’s hard to walk in the right direction on stumps or hold your hands up to shout, “Stop!” when you have no hands.... I understand that this all sounds awfully self-righteous. But I’ll tell you, I feel like I deserve my gloating. I’m not alone in my right to it, but I deserve my share. I’ve been saying “don’t do this” for five years and I’ve been mocked and shunned for it. So forgive me if I enjoy my I-told-you-so moment. Or don’t forgive me. I’m used to it…

Lisa Bryan: Hollandaise Sauce (Easy and No-Fail https://downshiftology.com/recipes/hollandaise-sauce/: ‘The key to getting the consistency right all comes down to the hot melted butter. This recipe emulsifies butter into an egg yolk and lemon juice mixture. So you want to make sure you’re streaming in butter that’s hot enough (just melted won’t do). But in the case that your sauce does break and becomes a speckled mess, don’t fret. Below are two methods to try that will help bring your sauce back to life. Blend 1-2 tablespoons of boiling hot water: As you’re blending, slowly add in the hot water and blend until the consistency is right Add an extra egg yolk: While the blender is on, add an extra egg yolk with a teaspoon of hot water into the blender and blend until it becomes perfectly creamy…

Jonah Goldberg: As outrageous as his effort to delegitimize the election is—and it is very outrageous—that outrage pales like a lit candle next to the noonday summer sun when you compare it to an effort to literally overturn the popular and Electoral College vote and steal the election. But because that outcome is so unlikely, and Trump’s effort to pull it off is so comically inept, people are focusing on the more likely outrage rather than the more outrageous outrage. This was the plan.... His goal was always to steal the election if he didn’t win.... He told all of his voters to vote on Election Day. He expected this would give him a “mirage” lead that night, and then, because he had already established the illegitimacy of mail-in ballots, he could pretend to be justified in proclaiming victory on Election Night. Sure, there would be lawsuits and the like later, but Trump would have momentum on his side. He even telegraphed over and over that he expected the Supreme Court to come to his rescue.... That was his primary explanation for why he thought it was important to get Amy Coney Barrett confirmed. But as Grossman points out, there was just one problem: Trump wasn’t actually leading on Election Night.... This, by the way, explains why Trump World was so very, very, very, angry about Fox’s decision to call Arizona.... The Arizona call ruined the pretext. If Pennsylvania had been the tipping point, they thought they could get the election thrown to the court. But the Arizona call combined with the undeclared result in Georgia preempted that…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-11" »


Unemployment Insurance Claims Signal Renewed Recession

The Macro News: Th 2020-12-10: Starting last June with every week the US economy got better—at least, the number of people continuing to claim unemployment insurance fell when we calculate it on a seasonally adjusted basis. Some of this was people who had been receiving unemployment insurance finding jobs. Some of this was people reaching the end of the benefits to which they were entitled. Nevertheless, if you were people were flowing into the pool of those receiving unemployment insurance payments then were getting out of it.

But this past week's numbers are a sign that that period has come to an end. While one frost does not make a winter, both the seasonally adjusted number of people continuing to receive and the number of people newly claiming unemployment insurance benefits jumped up last week.

The natural way to read this is that the third wave of the coronavirus plague is starting to send the economy into renewed recession. It is, as it was before, not because of lockdowns. As before, the principal cause of the economy turning down is people getting scared, and deciding that they will postpone spending that requires close personal contact off to next year.

The professional Republicans appear to have decided to claim that what the government needs to do is to keep people hungry this winter so that they think they must go to work will-virus or nill-virus, and to block government action to keep spending economy wide from declining.

It’s going to be a bad winter.

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12.2.1-6. Lectures: Neoliberalism's Bankruptcy :: Econ 115 F 2020

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-12.2-lectures-neoliberalisms-bankruptcy-1.53.pptx

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0MO6Z220goOVByRPobcMpzJPQ

12.2.1. East Asia’s Miracles 22.00 min
12.2.2. China Stands Up 9.00 min
12.2.3. How Do We Think About the State’s Role Here? 10.75 min
12.2.4. The Business Cycle Background 10.75 min
12.2.5. The Coming of the Near-Second Great Depression: 2001–2009 21.75 min
12.2.6. Where Did the Regulators & Macroeconomic Managers Go? 9.75 min

1:32.00 of audio…

====

Plus

12.2.7. Zoom Lecture & Q&A https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/94569606763?pwd=VjBPSU5DOVlqUkVQZVJuLzVMTDlMdz09

12.2.0. Neoliberalism’t Bankruptcy 8.00 min https://share.mmhmm.app/e38d4f2886064bd089de73ba73d450e7 https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0cSW4RyldJX6TkrqjBSNs2y3g https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/11/1220-intro-video-neoliberalisms-bankruptcy-econ-115-f-2020.html https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f080038834026bdea966df200c/edit

Continue reading "12.2.1-6. Lectures: Neoliberalism's Bankruptcy :: Econ 115 F 2020" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-11-28

Mark Price: Adam Looney. Phd from Harvard. Undergrad at Dartmouth https://twitter.com/price_laborecon/status/1332651699450810371. Oh boy, can you smell trouble. If you can’t you may want to get tested for COVID-19. He served among other places in Obama’s Treasury. He has an op-ed from a little over a week ago which I’m not going to share again where he argues against the Warren-Schumer proposal to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt…. The point of the Schumer-Warren proposal is Biden can act without the Senate. We all want and need effort to help people cushion the crippling blow of COVID-19 but we have to wait for the Senate. Elevating food stamps as a superior form of stimulus is dishonest at best and deeply hypocritical for a man whose income is facilitated by a Koch-funded enterprise.... Another economist tweeted out the Looney Op-ed invoking their having worked with him in the Obama Administration.... The world is full of really wonderful people who went to Dartmouth and Harvard and work very hard to make sure that millions of poor and middle income children don’t get the same opportunities in life as their own children. That’s a hard lesson for people to learn and it’s an illustration of the way elite networks reinforce and reproduce inequality…

Duncan Black: ell Paid Bullshit Artists https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/11/well-paid-bullshit-artists.html: ‘A standard trick in DC policy circles is to derail any policy by focusing on a "better" policy, which lets you imply the policy's advocates are stupid and/or cruel. One reason to focus on something like debt reduction is that it is something Biden has the power to do, unlike most everything else. This isn't the only reason. It's good on the merits, too, for a variety of reasons, but unless you have a plan to get Mitch McConnell to pass your fantasy plan, then you are just trolling…\

Andy Matuschak & Michael Nielsen: Quantum Country https://quantum.country/

Jean-Louis Gassée: PC Life After Apple Silicon https://mondaynote.com/pc-life-after-apple-silicon-a96861f58442: ‘Apple Silicon, in its first incarnation as the M1 System-on-a Chip, combined with a new macOS version, is about to expand Apple’s share of the PC market — at Intel’s expense…

Paul Musgrave: McDonalds Peace Theory Epitomized America's 1990s Hubris https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/26/mcdonalds-peace-nagornokarabakh-friedman/: ‘In the rich, lazy, and happy 1990s, Americans imagined a world that could be just like them…

Scott Cunningham: Causal Inference: The Mixtape https://scunning.com/cunningham_mixtape.pdf

Charles P. Pierce: George H.W. Bush Dead at 94-41st President Failed to Confront the Republican Party's Rising Madness...

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Briefly Noted for 2020-11-26

Sully Prudhomme: Le Vase Brisé (The Broken Vase) https://onbeing.org/poetry/le-vase-brise-broken-vase/

Jay Rosen: https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/1329582924728037376: The GOP's verified account sent this out. That he won in a landslide. Here, I think, the party made official its break with American democracy. Not saying it wasn't apparent before. It was. Just more official now. As ridiculous as Sydney Powell is, this is a sobering moment. https://twitter.com/GOP/status/1329490975266398210

Kevin Liptak & Devan Cole: Chris Christie Calls Trump's Legal Team a 'National Embarrassment' https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/22/politics/chris-christie-donald-trump-election/index.html: ‘Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Trump has failed to provide any evidence of fraud, that his legal team was in shambles and that it's time to put the country first. "If you have got the evidence of fraud, present it," Christie said.... He decried efforts by the President's lawyers to smear Republican governors who have not gone along with the President's false claims of voter malfeasance. "Quite frankly, the conduct of the President's legal team has been a national embarrassment," he said, singling out Trump attorney Sidney Powell's accusations against Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp…

Lex: Workers vs Robots: A New Kind of Onshoring https://www.ft.com/content/734d7da1-737d-481c-8838-b58b471338ae: ‘Oil rigs have been on the automation march for most of the past decade. Remote control rooms can manage everything from drilling to procurement. The safety advantage of having fewer bodies on rigs is obvious in a pandemic. Benefits to the bottom line are just as clear. Equinor, as Statoil is now known, says the move added more than NKr2bn ($212m) to earnings within a year of its Johan Sverdrup rig going digital. The biggest savings come from shrunken payrolls. In the developed world, robots are set to replace humans in a range of physically tough, repetitive jobs, from order picking in warehouses to lifting the old and infirm…

Josh Marshall: Folks, Let’s Get It the F--- Together https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/folks-lets-get-it-the-fuck-together: ‘I really don’t know what the two years holds. But I’m certain of one thing. It is and will be immeasurably better than Donald Trump having been reelected to a second term in office. No question. You did that. You owe it to yourself to get pumped and rejoice in that. It’s something to savor. It will help sustain you through endless civic work to come…

Jodi Enda: Trump’s Unexpected Power Helps Republicans Win Even If He Doesn’t https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/11/04/trumps-unexpected-power-helps-republicans-win-even-if-he-doesnt/: ‘When Trump’s name is on the top of the ballot, Republicans down the line do better. It feels strange to write that sentence since Trump himself might lose the presidency in this nail-biter of an election. But it remains true that both times he topped the ticket, Republicans down the ballot out-performed expectations…

Wikipedia: Leo Strauss https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss#American_years: Strauss had also been engaged in a discourse with Carl Schmitt. However, after Strauss left Germany, he broke off the discourse when Schmitt failed to respond to his letters…. In 1932, Strauss left his position at the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin for Paris… married Marie (Miriam) Bernsohn, a widow with a young child…. Strauss became a lifelong friend of Alexandre Kojève and was on friendly terms with Raymond Aron, Alexandre Koyré, and Étienne Gilson…. Strauss found shelter, after some vicissitudes, in England, where, in 1935 he gained temporary employment at University of Cambridge, with the help of his in-law, David Daube, who was affiliated with Gonville and Caius College. While in England, he became a close friend of R. H. Tawney…. Unable to find permanent employment in England, Strauss moved in 1937 to the United States, under the patronage of Harold Laski, who made introductions and helped him obtain a brief lectureship…. Strauss secured a position at The New School, where, between 1938 and 1948, he worked the political science faculty and also took on adjunct jobs…. In 1949 he became a professor of political science at the University of Chicago…

Om Malik: Why Are We Underestimating Zoom & It’s Impact? https://om.co/2020/11/25/zoom-its-long-term-impact/: ‘The prevalence of Zoom has shown us that working from a home office can be better than sitting in traffic for two hours. Even if, at this point, we find ourselves despising Zoom and complaining of persistent Zoom fatigue, we will not be going back to our pre-Zoom ways after the pandemic subsides. Whether Zoom remains the standard or gets overtaken by some upstart, Bill Gates predicts “that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away”…

Rated: 5: Scott Peterson: ROX Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019 https://us.nakedwines.com/products/rox-scott-peterson-sonoma-coast-chardonnay-2019#

Alison Roman: Dan Roman's Buttery Roasted Chestnuts in Foil https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/dan-romans-buttery-roasted-chestnuts-foil

Christy Denney: Classic Stuffing Recipe https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/classic-stuffing-recipe/...

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Boehlert: A Crack in the Noise Machine: How Murdoch Derailed Trump—Noted

The thoughtful and insightful Eric Boehlert misses the major moment at which Rupert Murdoch put his press empire at the service of Joe Biden and America in ending the insane clown show that his been the presidential reign of Donald Trump. On the evening of election day, at 23:20 EST, Arnon Mishkin on the Fox News decision desk called Arizona and its 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden. Without Arizona, Trump would need not just Georgia (which Biden won by 0.2%) and Wisconsin (which Biden won by 0.7%) but also at least one of Pennsylvania (which Biden won by 1.2%) or Michigan (which Biden won by 2.8%). Calling Arizona for Biden put out of reach an election close enough that it could be decided for Trump by complaisant judges and a little more voter suppression. Yet Biden won Arizona, in the end, by only 0.3%.

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0yDiAW0blL0iFnRMqyYSAuWIQ

Continue reading "Boehlert: A Crack in the Noise Machine: How Murdoch Derailed Trump—Noted" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-11-25

Bibliotheca Augustana: Tapetum Bagianum http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost11/Bayeux/bay_tama.html: ‘c. 1080…

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers! https://acoup.blog/2020/07/24/collections-bread-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-farmers/

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining https://acoup.blog/2020/09/18/collections-iron-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-mining/

Wikipedia: Pioneer Hi Bred International https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Hi_Bred_International

Wikipedia: DeKalb Genetics Corporation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeKalb_Genetics_Corporation

Steven Rattner: God Help Us if Judy Shelton Joins the Fed https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/opinion/federal-reserve-judy-shelton.html?smid=tw-share: ‘Trump’s latest unqualified nominee to the Federal Reserve Board must be rejected...

Jeremiah: 22 KJV https://biblehub.com/kjv/jeremiah/22.htm: ‘Thus saith the LORD: "Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself", saith the LORD, "that this house shall become a desolation." For thus saith the LORD unto the king's house of Judah: "Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, 'Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?' Then they shall answer, 'Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them'"…

Duncan Black: Failed 4th Estate https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/11/failed-4th-estate.html: ‘I think the very Trump-specific sin of the media (as opposed to their normal sinning) was confusing an understandable decision to "treat this lunatic freakazoid as we would normally treat a president" with "go out of our way to portray this lunatic freakazoid as normal." I get it. It was difficult to do the first part without doing the second part. If the scandal-o-meter goes up to 7 on a tan suit, then anything resembling normal practices can't cope when Trump makes it hit 11 by 7am most days. And, who knows, maybe they didn't even do him any favors. Maybe The People love their lunatic freakazoid president. But the first draft of history has hardly been an accurate one…

Utah HERO Project: Covid-Research State Chart https://marriner.eccles.utah.edu/covid-research-state-chart/

Joan Robinson (1962): Economic Philosophy

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining https://acoup.blog/2020/09/18/collections-iron-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-mining/

Oliver Wyman: Model Projections for COVID-19 Cases https://pandemicnavigator.oliverwyman.com/forecast?mode=country&region=United%20States&panel=baseline

On 2017-12-17, Michael Boskin claimed the TMR tax cut would generate a big boom in equipment investment. Perhaps a full percentage point or so. None of the model-builders agreed with him. And he was wrong: there was none such in 2018 or 2019; spending did not wheel from consumption to investment; “unlocked” foreign earnings were paid out in dividends, not invested in equipment. He has never explained or analyzed why he was wrong. Or why he was confident in the first place: Michael Boskin (29017): Another Look at Tax Reform and Economic Growth__https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/republican-tax-plan-growth-effects-by-michael-boskin-2017-12

100+ Economists (2017): Pass tax reform and watch the economy roar https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-reform-opinion-congress-pass-2017-11

Stan Sakai: Usagi Yojimbo https://www.usagiyojimbo.com/: ‘First published in 1984, [it] continues to this day. Usagi Yojimbo is one of the longest independent serialized comic book series in existence. Stan Sakai, the sole creator, author, and artist who is best known for his series Usagi Yojimbo, the epic saga of Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth-century Japan.  Since then, Stan Sakai has received numerous awards for Usagi Yojimbo including the  National Cartoonists Society Award, multiple Eisner Awards, the Parents' Choice Award, and Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist…

An unprofessional beat sweetener about a Trumpism lobbyist who could neither plan nor execute a successful trade war: Jim Zarroli (2019): China Trade Talks: USTR Robert Lighthizer Is Trump's Hardball-Playing Negotiator https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/696277594/expect-change-robert-lighthizer-is-trump-s-hardball-playing-china-trade-negotiat

John Gruber: One More Thing: The M1 Macs https://daringfireball.net/2020/11/one_more_thing_the_m1_macs: ‘The M1. The new M1-based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini are... three different manifestations of the same computer... far faster machines than the Intel-based Macs they’re replacing. But the big win, and clear focus from Apple, isn’t speed but battery life.... This is the sellable bullet point for the mass market consumer.... The M1 really is an entire system on a chip. Everything is on the M1. The various processors, of course: the CPU cores, the GPU cores, the Neural Engine cores. But everything else is on the M1 too: the storage controller, the Secure Enclave, the memory controller, and, yes, the memory itself. The DRAM for M1-based Macs is on the package (“on the substrate”, I believe, is the technical lingo).... There’s no separate “video memory” and “system memory”—just memory.... Apple’s chip team is really proud of this UMA system and the integrated GPU on the M1. It’s a design that increases performance and power efficiency.... For over a decade, iPhones and iPads have had Apple-designed chips the competition could not and still cannot match. Now the Mac does too…

Sara Gibbs: Everything I Never Wanted to Have to Know About Labour & Antisemitismm https://medium.com/@sararoseofficial/everything-i-never-wanted-to-have-to-know-about-labour-and-antisemitism-649b5bc1e576: ‘I want the last four years of my life back.... If you’re new to this and listening, thank you. I know a lot of my fellow activists will be annoyed that I’m taking this tone but at this point I am so exhausted from four years of begging people to listen on this subject that I am grateful for any new allies and support. If you are listening, you’re already doing more than most. One of the most devastating aspects of Labour’s antisemitism crisis has been seeing the sheer volume of people I like, respect, even consider friends, denying or minimising this issue which has caused me so much personal devastation…

A huge amount—an absolutely huge amount—was lost when Harry Dexter White overrode John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods and placed responsibility for closing "fundamental disequilibria" on deficit countries alone. This policy mistake still haunts us. And odds are that it is about to haunt us again. Jeremy Bulow and Company sound the alarm: Jeremy Bulow & al.: The Debt Pandemic https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2020/09/debt-pandemic-reinhart-rogoff-bulow-trebesch.htm: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly lengthened the list of developing and emerging market economies in debt distress. For some, a crisis is imminent. For many more, only exceptionally low global interest rates may be delaying a reckoning.... Yet new challenges may hamper debt workouts unless governments and multilateral lenders provide better tools to navigate a wave of restructuring…

*Neil Fligstein & Steve Vogel *: Political Economy After Neoliberalism http://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/neil-fligstein-steven-vogel-political-economy-after-neoliberalism: ‘First, then, governments and markets are co-constituted. Government regulation is not an intrusion into the market but rather a prerequisite for a functioning market economy.... Second, real-world political economy hinges on power, both political and market power. Specific forms of market governance—of the kinds we just sketched—do not arise naturally or innocently. They are the product of power struggles between firms, industries, workers, and governments within particular markets and in the political arena.... Third, there is more than one way to organize society to achieve economic growth, equity, and access to valued goods and services. The balance of power between government, workers, and firms differs greatly across countries and time…

Rachel Reeves: Best for Britain https://twitter.com/BestForBritain/status/1288825505333030923: ‘The PM said… a trade deal would be secured by the end of July. Well… we don’t have a trade deal. All we have is a blueprint for a giant lorry park in the middle of Kent…

Alan S. Blinder & Mark W. Watson (2016): Presidents & the US Economy: An Econometric Exploration https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/aer.20140913: ‘The US economy has performed better when the president of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, almost regard- less of how one measures performance. For many measures, includ- ing real GDP growth (our focus), the performance gap is large and significant. This paper asks why. The answer is not found in technical time series matters nor in systematically more expansionary mone- tary or fiscal policy under Democrats. Rather, it appears that the Democratic edge stems mainly from more benign oil shocks, supe- rior total factor productivity (TFP) performance, a more favorable international environment, and perhaps more optimistic consumer expectations about the near-term future…

Wikipedia_: Cocoliztli Epidemics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoliztli_epidemics: ‘A mysterious illness characterized by high fevers and bleeding. It ravaged the Mexican highlands in epidemic proportions... often referred to as the worst disease epidemic in the history of Mexico.... Recent bacterial genomic studies have suggested that.. a serotype of Salmonella enterica known as Paratyphi C, was at least partially responsible for this initial outbreak.[3] It might have also been an indigenous viral hemorrhagic fever

Paul Krugman: Why Did Trump’s Trade War Fail? https://www.gc.cuny.edu/CUNY_GC/media/CUNY-Graduate-Center/PDF/Programs/Economics/Other%20docs/tradewarfail.pdf: ‘There used to be an extensive literature on “effective protection”.... Tariffs on imported inputs provided negative effective protection to downstream activities. And that’s what seems to have happened with the Trump trade war. Tariffs were largely focused on intermediate rather than final goods. The net effect, then, may actually have been to discourage manufacturing!…

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Plus: Kevin Drum: Why Are Republicans Being Such Assholes?s https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/07/why-are-republicans-being-such-assholes/: ‘Bonus unemployment payments... expire today.... The main reason for extending them is because there are millions of Americans who are out of work and they desperately need the money.... [Plus] if the payments are cut off it will devastate an already ravaged economy.... So why are Republicans hemming and hawing?... From a purely selfish perspective, Republicans ought to be in favor of doing anything they can to keep the economy in decent shape through the election.... The whole thing is a disgrace.... Why are Republicans acting so contemptibly?…

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson & Mark Vandevelde: Stephen Schwarzman Defended Donald Trump at CEO Meeting on Election Results https://www.ft.com/content/558f2a68-7d42-4702-b86d-fae5458b3e64: ‘Mr Schwarzman, a Republican donor who has been one of Mr Trump’s most energetic supporters on Wall Street, sought to assuage such fears, saying the president was within his rights to challenge election results and forecasting that the legal process would take its course. He asked whether other participants did not find it surprising that early votes in Pennsylvania had favoured Mr Trump, only for later counts to tip the state in Mr Biden’s favour. Mr Schwarzman said there had been news reports stating that ballots continued arriving days after the election and that some of them may not have been real—issues, he said, that needed to be resolved by the courts, as the president’s legal team has argued…

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Briefly Noted for 2020-11-24

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-19): Senate Republicans, Stop Trump’s Vote Antics Now https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-19/senate-republicans-stop-trump-s-vote-antics-now: ‘It’s no longer enough just to acknowledge the obvious fact that Biden won…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-10): Donald Trump’s Antics Show Contempt for His Own Voters https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-19/donald-trump-s-antics-show-contempt-for-his-own-voters: ‘The president’s election challenges have no realistic chance of succeeding. The goal now is to keep the donations flowing…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-18): Why Are Republicans Embracing Judy Shelton for the Fed Now? https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-18/why-are-republicans-embracing-judy-shelton-for-the-fed-now: ‘After months of blocking her nomination to the Fed, suddenly the Senate majority has had a change of heart…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-17): Joe Biden Has One Urgent Task Right Now https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-17/joe-biden-has-one-urgent-task-right-now: ‘The president-elect can do something Donald Trump never has: offer a coherent message on Covid-19…

Jonathan Schifman: The Entire History of Steel https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a20722505/history-of-steel/: ‘From hunks of iron streaking through the sky, to the construction of skyscrapers and megastructures, this is the history of the world's greatest alloy…

Wikipedia: David Malpass https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Malpass

Wikipedia: Kenneth Elzinga https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=kenneth+elzinga&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Wikipedia: Ferrous Metallurgy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrous_metallurgy | History of the Steel Industry (1850–1970) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_steel_industry_(1850%E2%80%931970) | History of the Steel Industry (1970–Present) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_steel_industry_(1970%E2%80%93present)

Steve Randy Waldman: Social democracy or feudalism https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/8012.html: ‘if we should recognize an echo of empire in contemporary trade imbalances, should we not also recognize an echo of feudalism in contemporary class dynamics? The class wars embedded in trade wars of the past generation have provoked growing chasms of inequality (within societies inscribed by nation-state borders), along with (oh Gatsby curve) declining mobility and dynamism between classes…

Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales https://www.gutenberg.org/files/22120/22120-h/22120-h.htm: ‘Now preye I to hem alle that herkne this litel tretis or rede, that if ther be any thing in it that lyketh hem, that ther-of they thanken oure lord Iesu Crist, of whom procedeth al wit and al goodnesse. And if ther be any thing that displese hem, I preye hem also that they arrette it to the defaute of myn unconninge, and nat to my wil, that wolde ful fayn have seyd bettre if I hadde had conninge. For oure boke seith, 'al that is writen is writen for oure doctrine'; and that is myn entente…

Scott Lemieux: COVID's Been Everywhere, Man https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/11/covids-been-everywhere-man: ‘Remember when Bret Stephens assured us that it was unpossible for COVID to spread beyond the densest urban areas? Obviously, he started with the premise that doing anything to stop the pandemic was bad…. Pro-Trump Republicans are no more likely to update their priors despite them being massively wrong all along…. Bret Stephens is, at least in a strictly formal sense, a professional writer…

Steve M.: Is This Futile? https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/11/are-we-sure-they-know-this-is-futile.html: ‘47% of the country will have an even darker view of Democrats and cities and black voters and "the Deep State." Then we'll be even more divided and the right will be even angrier and more paranoid…. But these cynics don't care that they're encouraging a state of permanent cold civil war…

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11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings: Econ 115 F 2020

Required Readings Note:

The required readings for Module 11 are rather long—but not nearly as long as for Modules 9 & 5, where I wound up taking two weeks per module.

There is Skidelsky chapter 6 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/chapter-skidelsky-keynes-6.pdf. The chapters of Skidelsky before this one I've been all about how Keynes was smart and right. This chapter is, from Skidelsky’s view as of 1995, as an enthusiastic advocate of the neoliberal turn, how Keynes’s disciples were dumb and wrong. It is a very good analysis, on the level of events and ideas, of why people decided to take the neoliberal turn.

11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings
https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0wiN44cBruFAXnvv0weXzgCNw
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-11.1-neoliberal-turn-readings.pptx
https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/11/111-the-neoliberal-turn-hyperglobalization-readings.html
https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f080038834026bdea77620200c/edit Frame your reading of it around these three quotes:

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11.2.0. The Neoliberal Turn: Intro Video: Econ 115 F 2020

mmhmm Interactive Video: https://share.mmhmm.app/22a2ade496c94828a170a2910550751f

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0Iew_EELHLYo1GVrvdtJmpqew
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/econ-115-module-11.2.0-neoliberal-turn-intro-video-16.75.pptx

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Let's Make Matt Yglesias's New Weblog a Success!

I very much hope that Matt Yglesias’s new weblog http://slowboring.com becomes the place to see and be seen on the internet.

Not, mind you, that I expect Matt to get everything right. Or that I expect all of his quick takes to be sound takes:

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https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1330313756522536963.html

Matt--

I find myself more with Tom Scocca here than you. You write https://www.slowboring.com/p/whats-wrong-with-the-media:

The problem here, to me, is not that Walker ought to “stick to sports.” It’s that the analysis is bad. But because it’s in a video game console review rather than a policy analysis section and conforms to the predominant ideological fads, it just sails through to our screens...

And then you say:

What actually happened is that starting in March the household savings rate soared.... Middle class people are seeing their homeowners’ equity rise and... their debt payments fall, while cash piles up on their balance sheets…

This makes sense as a criticism of Ian Walker only if you think that when Ian Walker wrote 'I’d be remiss to ignore all the reasons not to be excited for the PlayStation 5...', it was meant to be the start of an argument that the PS5 will not sell very well because of the epidemiological-economic-cultural uproar of the plague year.

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0HbVeT91VG7G4lI6FMjrekmQw

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