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American Twentieth-Century Exceptionalism: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

Il Quarto Stato

Sources of American Exceptionalism

In 1870 the focus of economic growth crossed the Atlantic to America, where continent-wide scale, a flood of immigration, vast resources, and an open society that made inventors and entrepreneurs culture heroes welcomed economic growth. In the United States the Belle Époque, the Gilded Age, the period of the explosion of prosperity set in motion around 1870 lasted without interruption longer than elsewhere in the world. China collapsed into revolution in 1911. Europe descended into the hell of World War I in 1914. In America the period of progress and industrial development lasted longer—perhaps from when the guns fell silent at the end of America’s Civil War at Appomattox in 1865 until the start of the Great Depression in the summer of 1929.

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John Cochrane Prostitutes Himself to Republican Politicians Department: Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from 2015

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Noah Smith: John Cochrane Smackdown: "John writes: 'My surprise in reading Noah is that he provided no alternative numbers. If you don't think Free Market Nirvana will have 4% growth, at least for a decade as we remove all the level inefficiencies, how much do you think it will produce, and how solid is that evidence?...' I don't really feel I need to produce an alternative to a number that was made up as a political talking point. Why 4 percent? Why not 5? Why not 8? Why not 782 percent? Where do we get the number for how good we can expect Free Market Nirvana to be? Is it from the sum of point estimates from a bunch of different meta-analyses of research on various free-market policies? No. It was something Jeb Bush tossed out in a conference call because it was 'a nice round number', after James Glassman had suggested '3 or 3.5'. You want me to give you an alternative number, using the same rigorous methodology? Sure, how about 3.1. Wait, no. 3.3. There we go. 3.3 sounds good. Rolls off the tongue..."

I must say, Cochrane here reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes from tank economist Paul M. Sweezy:

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Migration 1870-1925 and International Economic InequalityOuttake from "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016

Il Quarto Stato

What did matter for inequality and upward mobility in the pre-World War I era was not trade but migration. The descendants of those who lived in Ireland at the start of the nineteenth century are, today, one of the richest groups in the world: less than half of the descendants of the Irish of 1800 live in Ireland today; instead, they are spread throughout America, Britain, and Australia, and they have prospered.

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From Total Industrial to Limited War: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

Preview of From Total Industrial to Limited War An Outtake from Slouching Towards Utopia An Economic

Total Industrial War

A total industrial war sees a state taking control of an economy and society via bureaucracy, mobilizing most young and some old men into its armed forces, and then hurling as much as it can of men, metal, and nitrogen-based explosives at an enemy so using up more than half of society’s productive potential in works of destruction. What is the point? The first aim is to keep the adversary from doing the same to you. The next aim varies: to establish for Germany a proper place in the sun and control of enough land and resources to support a very large and prosperous population; to establish for Japan an empire—a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere—like those European powers had established in the 1800s; to end Hitler’s régime; to reform Germany’s politics and somehow transform it into a peaceful democracy; to end all wars; to keep imperial Germany from turning Russia into a puppet semi-colony; to end the encirclement of Germany by a hostile Russia and a hostile France; to demonstrate that Austria-Hungary can destroy Serbia in retaliation for its state-sponsored assassination of Austria-Hungary’s crown prince; to preserve the balance of power on the European continent; to demonstrate that one’s treaty promises are credible by preserving the independence and neutrality of Belgium as guaranteed by the provisions of the 1839 Treaty of London; to preserve the Union that is the United States of America; to end slavery on the North American continent; “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

Some of these secondary war aims are worth five years of death, destruction, temporary mass poverty, and strict rationing. Most are not.

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Killing My Darlings: A "Great Depression Recovery" Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century, 1870-2016"

No, Brad: The "Great Depression Recovery" chapter needs to be 7000 words, not 30,000. I am willing to torment editors by shipping them 10000 words, but not more:


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13.1: Recovery Outside the United States

The rule to memorize about recovery from the Great Depression is: the sooner countries went off the gold standard, the better; and the less that gold standard habits of orthodoxy fettered countries thereafter, the better. The Scandinavian countries bailed first, and did best. Japan and Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931, but Japan embraced expansionary policies more thoroughly. The U.S. and Germany abandoned the gold standard in 1933, but Hitler had a clearer view that Nazi persistence and success required putting people to work than FDR did with the try-everything-expediency of his New Deal. France stuck it out on the gold standard until 1937, and did worst of all.

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The Great Depression: An Intake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

This is the current draft of chapter 10 of Slouching Towards Utopia?. I am, again, of several minds with respect to it. I think it says what really needs to be said. I am not sure it says it in the right length. And I am not sure that I have successfully assembled the puzzle pieces in the right way...

So tell me what you think of it:


The road to Wigan Pier 75 years on Books The Guardian

X. The Great Depression

https://www.icloud.com/pages/0mzIvbURq0n3I0Ct0e3aCZbEw

George Orwell (1937): The Road to Wigan Pier:

Presently the train hove in sight. With a wild yell a hundred men dashed down the slope to catch her as she rounded the bend. Even at the bend the train was making twenty miles an hour. The men hurled themselves upon it, caught hold of the rings at the rear of the trucks and hoisted themselves up by way of the bumpers, five or ten of them on each truck. The driver took no notice. He drove up to the top of the slag-heap, uncoupled the trucks, and ran the engine back to the pit, presently returning with a fresh string of trucks. There was the same wild rush of ragged figures as before. In the end only about fifty men had failed to get on to either train.

We walked up to the top of the slag-heap. The men were shovelling the dirt out of the trucks, while down below their wives and children were kneeling, swiftly scrabbling with their hands in the damp dirt and picking out lumps of coal the size of an egg or smaller. You would see a woman pounce on a tiny fragment of stuff, wipe it on her apron, scrutinize it to make sure it was coal, and pop it jealously into her sack.

 

10.1: Understanding the Business Cycle

10.1.1: Say’s Law

When market economies emerged, there was great worry that things would not necessarily fit together: Might not the farmers be unable to sell the crops they grew to the artisans because the artisans could not sell the products they made to the merchants who would be unable to make money carrying artisans products to the farmers because the farmers would not purchase anything? Back at the beginning of economics it was Jean-Baptiste Say who wrote that such an idea of a “general glut”—of economy-wide “overproduction” and consequent mass unemployment—was incoherent. Nobody, Say argued, would ever produce anything for sale unless they expected to use the money they earned in order to buy something else. Thus, “by a metaphysical necessity”, as subsequent-generation economist John Stuart Mill outlined Say’s argument in 1829, there can be no imbalance between the aggregate value of planned production-for-sale, the aggregate value of planned sales, and the aggregate value of planned purchases. This is “Say’s Law”.

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The Knot of War 1870-1914: An Intake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

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This is chapter 7 of Slouching Towards Utopia?. I am of several minds with respect to it. I think it says what really needs to be said. I think it says it all in a remarkably short space—or it says it all to me. But it seems, to me, very different in tone from both the rest of the book I have written and from how this stuff is usually presented...

So tell me what you think of it:


VII. The Knot of War, 1914-1920

Nikita Sergeyevitch Khrushchev to John F. Kennedy (1962):

We and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose…

Two chapters ago we shifted our focus from economics to political economy: we needed to look not just at technology, production, organization, and exchange, but also at how people governing themselves and others tried to regulate the economy to preserve or produce a good society, or a society good for them. One chapter ago we shifted our focus to imperial politics: we needed to look not just at how peoples and their elites governed themselves, but how they governed others. Each of these two shifts brought us away from processes and factors that seem almost inevitable—in which the actions of individuals mostly cancel out, and if an opportunity was not seized by one person at one date it would have been seized by another soon after. Each of these two moved us closer to that part of history where individual actions matter: where individuals and their luck can divert history for good, either because of their place in the society or because of the waves of belief and expectations that they set in motion. And so the history became less a flowering of long-planted seeds and more choice and chance.

This chapter takes a further step in that direction: into politico-military affairs, where choice and chance is dominant. This fits awkwardly into an economic history. But it is necessary. For we cannot understand what the world was like in 1918 without looking at World War I. The world in 1914 had been a growing, substantially peaceful, prosperous—with problems, but prosperous—world, in which it was not irrational to be optimistic about human civilization. The world, especially Europe, in the ashes after World War I was different.

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Raising the Curtain: Trade and Empire

Yet Another Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century, 1870-2016"


Il Quarto Stato

Raising the Curtain: The Long Twentieth Century—Trade and Empire

The extent to which the navies and trading fleets of the great European sea-borne empires of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries shaped the industrial development of western Europe has always been one of the most fiercely-debated and unsettled topics in economic history. That European expansion in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries were catastrophes for the regions of west Africa that were the sources of the slave trade; for the Amerindians of the Caribbean; for the Aztecs, Incas, the mound-builders of the Mississippi valley; and for the princes of Bengal and others who found themselves competing with the British East India Company in the succession wars over the spoils of India’s Moghul Empire—that is not in dispute.

But how much did pre-industrial trade and plunder affect European development? That is not so clear.

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“An Extraordinary Episode in the Economic Progress of Man!”: Yet Another Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century, 1870-1914"

DIE, DARLINGS, DIE!!!!!


Il Quarto Stato

“An Extraordinary Episode in the Economic Progress of Man!”

Yet all in all it is not possible to see the 1870-1914 making of the single global economy—and society—as anything other than an extraordinary and wonderful episode in the history of humanity. Looking back from 1919 on the optimistic, economists’ world that he had thought he had lived in up until the start of World War I in August 1914, John Maynard Keynes wrote, in his Keynes-centric upper-class-focused way:

What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August, 1914!... Conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages. The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages.... He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate....

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Six Migrants and Their Descendants Who Made History: Yet Another Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century, 1870-2016"

MOAR DARLINGS MUST DIE!!!!!


Il Quarto Stato

Six migrants and their descendants who made a lot of our history:

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The Disjunction Between Production and Distribution: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016

Il Quarto Stato

KILLING YET MORE OF MY DARLINGS! (sob!)


In the world as it stood in 1870–and even more so in 1914—there was a huge disjunction between the growing effective economic power of the human race and the proper distribution of this potential wealth. Science, technology, and organization were clearly wreaking miracles. The rewards, however, were not going to the scientists and the engineers and the workers, but to the landlords and the financiers and to the organizer-entrepreneurs. The sociological contribution of this latter group in creating organizations and setting them in motion was mighty. Best friends Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels probably put it best in 1848:

The business class, during… scarce 100 years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to [hu]man[ity], machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?…

However, the benefits of greater human power to harvest fruits from nature and organize persons did not trickle down. There were, broadly speaking, as of 1870 three views about why it did not trickle down; and about what, if anything, ought to be done about it:

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Imprisonment by Malthus and "Negative Liberty"

Il Quarto Stato

At the start of the Long 20th Century John Stuart Mill, Britain’s leading economist, leading moral philosopher, and one of its leading imperialists and rulers of the empire as a former India Office bureaucrat, was putting the finishing touches on the final edition of the book that people then looked to to learn economics: Principles of Political Economy, with Some of Their Applications to Moral Philosophy. His book and his thought gave due attention and place to the 1730-1870 era of the British Industrial Revolution. Yet in the year 1870 he looked out on what he saw as a poor and miserable world. “Hitherto”, he wrote, looking at the world and at the Great Britain and Ireland of his day:

it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes...

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Outtake from Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century: The Dire Absolute Poverty of the Globe in 1870 https://www.icloud.com/pages/0-ZwSIf-ES3dfIBtF_dW_DBmQ: You need to understand three things to grasp the state of the world economy in 1870: that the drive to make love is one of the very strongest of all human drives, that living standards were what we would regard as very low for the bulk of humanity in the long trek between the invention of agriculture and 1870, and that the rate of technological progress back before 1870 was glacial, at best...

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Hoisted from teh Archives: Joseph Schumpeter on "Liquidationism"

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Today's Economic History: Joseph Schumpeter on "Liquidationism": "Three things strike me while rereading Schumpeter's 1934 "Depressions" (and also his 1927 Explanation of the Business Cycle):

  1. How much smarter Schumpeter is than our modern liquidationists and austerians--he says a great many true things in and amongst the chaff, which is created by his fundamentally mistaken belief that structural adjustment must be triggered by a downturn and a wave of bankruptcies that releases resources into unemployment. How much more fun and useful it would be right now to be debating a Schumpeter right now than the ideologues calling for, say, more austerity for and more unemployment in Greece!

  2. How very strange it is for Schumpeter to be laying out his depressions-cause-structural-change-and-growth theory of business cycles at the very same moment that he is also laying out his entrepreneurs-disrupt-the-circular-flow-and-cause-structural-change-and-growth-theory of enterprise. It is, of course, the second that is correct: Growth comes from entrepreneurs pulling resources into the sectors, enterprises, products, and production methods of the future. It does not come from depressions pushing resources into unemployment. Indeed, as Keynes noted, times of depression and fear of future depression are powerful brakes halting Schumpeterian entrepreneurship: "If effective demand is deficient... the individual enterpriser... is operating with the odds loaded against him. The game of hazard which he plays is furnished with many zeros.... Hitherto the increment of the world’s wealth has fallen short of the aggregate of positive individual savings; and the difference has been made up by the losses of those whose courage and initiative have not been supplemented by exceptional skill or unusual good fortune. But if effective demand is adequate, average skill and average good fortune will be enough..."

  3. How Schumpeter genuinely seems to have no clue at all that the business cycle is a feature of a monetary economy--how very badly indeed he needed to learn, and how he never did learn, what Nick Rowe and company teach today about the effects of monetary stringency on economic coordination.

  4. And, finally, how absolutely bonkers liquidationism and austerianism remain...

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The Vexed Question of Prussia in World History...

The proclamation of William I as German Emperor in the Hall of Stock Photo 61637437 Alamy

Reading Adam Tooze's powerpoints for his _War in Germany, 1618-1648 course, and thinking about the Vexed Question of Prussia in World History...

For a bit over the first half of the Long 20th Century global history was profoundly shaped by the peculiarity of Prussia. The standard account of this peculiarity—this sonderweg, sundered way, separate Prussian path—has traditionally seen it has having four aspects. Prussia—and the "small German" national state of which it was the nucleus—managed to simultaneously, over 1865-1945:

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Mass Politics and "Populism": An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century"

Il Quarto Stato

Once the people—the male people at first, and the white people overwhelmingly, and the adult people always, that is—had the vote, what were they going to do with it?

 

5.2.1: Inequality in the First Gilded Age: The coming of (white, male) democracy in the North Atlantic was all mixed up with the coming of modern industry—the move out of agriculture and into industrial and service occupations—the coming of the modern city (the move from the farm to someplace more densely populated), and the coming of heightened within-nation income inequality.

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The desperate attempt to justify World War I reached into even Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle (1917): His Last Bow: "There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared..."


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Weekend Reading: Geopolitics, World Trade and Globalization: Learning from the Wise Kevin O'Rourke and Ron Findlay

Hoisted from the Archives: Ron Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton: Princeton University Press): "A feature of the book that may strike some economists as odd or surprising, but will seem entirely commonplace to historians, is its sustained emphasis on conflict, violence, and geopolitics...

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Tyrannies: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

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The twentieth century’s tyrannies were more brutal and more barbaric than those of any previous age. And—astonishingly—they had much of their origins in economic discontents and economic ideologies. People killed each other in large numbers over, largely, questions of how the economy should be organized. Such questions had not been a major source of massacre in previous centuries.

Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.

But wars have caused only about a fifth of this century’s violent death toll.

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1870 as the Inflection Point: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century

Il Quarto Stato

3.0: 1870 as the Inflection Point https://www.icloud.com/pages/0qen52fK3MKE3TlUkF4ViGtFQ: As of 1870 the smart money was still placed on the bet that the British Industrial Revolution would not mark a permanent divergence of human destiny from its agricultural-age pattern. All agreed that the Industrial Revolution had produced marvels of science and technology. All agreed that it allowed the world to support a much greater population than had previously been deemed possible. All agreed that it gave the world’s rich capabilities that, along many dimensions, fell little short of those previously attributed to gods. All agreed that it had greatly multiplied the numbers of the comfortable—that there were now many more people who did not feel the immediate bite of insufficient food, insufficient clothing, and insufficient shelter.

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Dark Satanic Millian Liberalism from John Stuart Mill

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John Holbo used to talk about “Dark Satanic Millian Liberalism“. But what he never said was that it has its origins in John Stuart Mill himself.

Here are three passages from Principles of Political Economy I find interesting:

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"Greeks to Their Romans"-The Twentieth Century Superpower Succession: Delong Morning Coffee Podcast

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20th century British Tory prime minister Harold Macmillan is most known not for anything he did but for a witty letter that he wrote to Dick Cressman, Director of Psychological Warfare at Allied Forces Headquarters in the Mediterranean…

"Greeks to Their Romans"-The Twentieth Century Superpower Succession


Thx to Wavelength and the very interesting micro.blog http://delong.micro.blog/2018/04/21/greeks-to-their.html

Text: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/harold-macmillan-greeks-to-their-romans-document-on-the-twentieth-century-imperial-succession.html

RSS: http://delong.micro.blog/podcast.xml.


This Year Post-Great Recession America Falls Behind Post-Great Depression America in Recovery

Recovery from the Great Recession and Great Depression

This year, 2018, will be the 11th year after the 2007 business cycle peak that preceded what is generally called the “Great Recession“. This year American national income per capita will be about 7.5% above its 2007 level. If we are lucky we will hit 10% above 2007 in 2020. That is growth of 0.4% per year—compared to the yardstick of 2.0% per year that we were reasonably expecting back in 2007.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address

FDR First Inaugural

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933): I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels...

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Document: Teddy Roosevelt (1907): The Malefactors of Great Wealth

Cursor and teddy roosevelt provincetown puritans Google Search

Document: Teddy Roosevelt (1907): Address of President Roosevelt on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the Pilgrim memorial monument https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0Ygwj9sjmrS-tI0aypbStC40A: "We can not as a nation be too profoundly grateful for the fact that the Puritan has stamped his influence so deeply on our national life. We need have but scant patience with the men who now rail at the Puritan's faults. They were evident, of course, for it is a quality of strong natures that their failings, like their virtues, should stand out in bold relief; but there is nothing easier than to belittle the great men of the past by dwelling only on the points where they come short of the universally recognized standards of the present...

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Reading Question/Note Files for Bob Allen: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction

Reading Question/Note Files for Bob Allen: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction:

Robert Allen: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction (0199596654):

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Yes, People at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Think Churchill Was a War Criminal for Not Making Peace with Hitler in May 1940. Why Do You Ask?: Hoisted from the Archives

Hoisted from the Archives: Yes, People at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Think Churchill Was a War Criminal for Not Making Peace with Hitler in May 1940. Why Do You Ask?: David Gordon:

Ludwig von Mises Institute: Given this sorry record, it is hardly surprising that the renewed outbreak of world war in September 1939, which returned Churchill to the British cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty, brought a new hunger blockade of Germany.... Franklin Roosevelt rivaled his British counterpart in his disregard for the rules of civilized warfare....

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VIrtues and Flaws: NAFTA, and Economists' Views of NAFTA

The Benefits of NAFTA on U S Trade ndp analytics and VIrtues and Flaws NAFTA and Economists Views of NAFTA

Apropos of Janet Napolitano's : The future of NAFTA and the state of U.S.-Mexico relations: "A forum hosted by the University of California and Tecnológico de Monterrey..." https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/initiative/uc-mexico-initiative/nafta-conference...


My present thoughts about NAFTA:

Nearly a quarter century ago, early in the Clinton administration, I was one of the leads on the team responsible for constructing estimate of the economic impact of NAFTA. And I definitely have some explaining to do.

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After the Guns of August: Max Weber: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago

Wilhelm II Hohenzollern

Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: After World War I: Weber: Marxism, liberalism, and what we will here call "nationalism"—just to be polite... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/09/lecture-notes-f.html

  • We've talked about Marxism...
  • We've talked about classical liberalism...
  • We haven't talked about "nationalism"...

We read Norman Angell: We did not read Max Weber: nationalism as social-darwinist doctrine:

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Weekend Reading/Hoisted: Nine from Fritz Stern's Memoirs

Nine from Fritz Stern's Memoirs http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/03/nine_from_fritz.html: Fritz Stern (2006), Five Germanys I Have Known (New York: FSG: 0374155402) http://amzn.to/2s6AuiG:

p. 101: Captain Hardinac von Hatten in 1933 on Fritz Stern's father, Rudolf Stern: "For [Rudolf Stern's] exemplary courage at the Somme and his commitment to duty, he was promoted to lieutenant of the reserve, and after the battle of Arras in the spring of 1917, I successfully recommended him for an Iron Cross, First Class. If every soldier of the German army had fulfilled his duty to the fatherland as loyally and courageously in the foremost position as Lieut. Stern did under my command in 1916-1917, we would have been spared the shame of the last fourteen years..."

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Weekend Reading: Leon Trotsky's Not-Entirely-Reliable-Narrator View of Lenin's New Economic Policy of the 1920s

Leon Trotsky's Not-Entirely-Reliable-Narrator View of Lenin's New Economic Policy of the 1920s http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/02/daily-economic-history-leon-trotskys-not-entirely-reliable-narrator-view-of-lenins-new-economic-policy-of-the-1920s.html: "With the bourgeois economists we no longer anything to quarrel over...

...Socialism has demonstrated its right to victory, not on the pages of Das Kapital, but in an industrial arena comprising a sixth part of the earths surface--not in the language of dialectics, but in the language of steel, cement and electricity. Even if the Soviet Union, as a result of internal difficulties, external blows and the mistakes of leadership, were to collapse--which we firmly hope will not happen--there would remain an earnest of the future this indestructible fact, that thanks solely to a proletarian revolution a backward country has achieved in less than 10 years successes unexampled in history.

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Heather Boushey, Brad DeLong and Marshall Steinbaum: After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality

Il Quarto Stato

Equitable Growth in Conversation: A recurring series where we talk with economists and other social scientists to help us better understand whether and how economic inequality affects economic growth and stability. Buy After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality

Heather Boushey, Brad DeLong, and Marshall Steinbaum http://equitablegrowth.org/research-analysis/equitable-growth-in-conversation-brad-delong-and-marshall-steinbaum/: After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality: Heather Boushey: I am so excited that we are here finally to discuss After Piketty. Many of the people who may be reading this column may not actually have kept a copy of Piketty on their night stand and may not remember all the ins and outs, so I want to start off our conversation by asking you, first, what are the key takeaways from Piketty about the effects of inequality on our economy and our society, and second, how does the election of Donald Trump strengthen or weaken Piketty’s analytical, political, economic case? Read MOAR at Equitable Growth

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Lee Atwater, Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, and Joseph Bailey...

Cursor and Preview of Lyndon Johnson 1964 Speech at the Jung Hotel New Orleans October 9 Weekend Reading

Back in 1981, Lee Atwater said:

Now you don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying 'n_gger, n_gger, n_gger'. By 1968... that hurts you.... You... get... abstract... talk... about... cutting taxes and all these things... totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get hurt worse than whites.... If it is getting that abstract and that coded, that we're doing away with the racial problem one way or the other...

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My Very Short Take on World War II...: Hoisted from the Archives

Hoisted from the Archives: My Very Short Take on World War II...: From “September 1, 1939,” by W.H. Auden...

...I sit in one of the dives/On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid/As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:/Waves of anger and of fear
Circulate over the bright/And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;/The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can/Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now/That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,/What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:/and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,/Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return...

NewImage

https://www.icloud.com/pages/0sDN_MGi_vAdd79qSmQ3lIE_Q#2011-01-05--My_Very_Short_Take_on_World_War_II

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One Last April-Fools Note on Niall Ferguson: Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"?

May 09, 2013: Niall Ferguson Is Wrong to Say That He Is Doubly Stupid: Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"? Weblogging: NewImage

Niall Ferguson: An Open Letter to the Harvard Community: "Last week I said something stupid about John Maynard Keynes...

...Asked to comment on Keynes’ famous observation “In the long run we are all dead,” I suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’ wife Lydia miscarried.

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Robber Barons: Honest Broker/Hoisted from 1998

J. Bradford DeLong (1998): Robber Barons:

First draft October 13, 1997; second draft January 1, 1998.


I. Introduction

'Robber Barons': that was what U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson (1934) called the economic princes of his own day. Today we call them 'billionaires.' Our capitalist economy--any capitalist economy--throws up such enormous concentrations of wealth: those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, driven and smart enough to see particular economic opportunities and seize them, foresighted enough to have gathered a large share of the equity of a highly-profitable enterprise into their hands, and well-connected enough to fend off political attempts to curb their wealth (or well-connected enough to make political favors the foundation of their wealth).

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Musings on Thomas Malthus, the Hellenistic Age, the Loyal-Spirit Great Kings of Iran 550-330 BCE, and Other Topics: The Honest Broker for the Week of August 17, 2015

Today's Economic History: Paul Krugman muses:

Paul Krugman: SPQR And All That: "Adrian Goldsworthy’s The Fall of Carthage...

...All pre-industrial societies, I thought, were Malthusian... at the edge of subsistence... [with] a small elite, 5 or 10 percent... liv[ing] on resources extorted.... This model still seems to me to be pretty good for the Roman Empire. But, at least as Goldsworthy describes it, the Roman Republic at the time of the Punic Wars was something very different... social solidarity... loyal allies... strong commitment from a large fraction of the population... military manpower... durability.... Are there any other examples in history like this? And how did they do it?

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Note to Self: On the Tracks of the "Confidence Fairy"...

Note to Self: On the Tracks of the "Confidence Fairy"...

Today's Economic History: Over at Equitable Growth The phrase "confidence fairy" does not appear in Google Ngrams. However, "business confidence" does:

Google Ngram Viewer

The first modern use of "confidence fairy" I can find in google is Paul Krugman's, on July 1, 2010:

With google reporting the second person to mention it as Joe Stiglitz in October:

Among the approximately 18,400 mentions of the phrase, google (anonymized) reports the most salient pieces of the conversation thereby started are: READ MOAR

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Ken Rogoff Fakes Right, Goes Left, and Heads Down the Sideline Toward Global Social Democracy and a Truly Human World...

Over at Equitable Growth: Kenneth Rogoff: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy: "Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality...

And Kenneth Rogoff fakes right:

Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries? READ MOAR

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The Great Depression and the Great Recession in the North Atlantic

2015 McKenna Lecture :: Claremont McKenna College

Over at Equitable Growth: Back in 1959 Arthur Burns, lifelong senior Republican policymaker, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Eisenhower, good friend of and White House Counselor to President Nixon, and Chair of the Federal Reserve from 1970 to 1978 gave the presidential address to the American Economic Association. In it, he concluded that the United States and a lot of choices to make as far as its future economic institutions and economic policies were concerned. And, he said:

These... choices will have to be made by the people of the United States; and economists--far more than any other group--will in the end help to make them...

That's you. "Economists", that is. And I am glad to be here, because I am glad that you are joining us. For we--all of us in America--need you. Arthur Burns was right: you are better-positioned than any other group to help us make the right choices, at the level of the world and of the country as a whole, but also at the level of the state, the city, the business, the school district, the NGO seeking to figure out how to spend its limited resources--whatever. READ MOAR

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Today's Not-Quite-Economic History: Shorter John Holbo: Why the Nazis Are Best Thought of as "Right-Wing"

There is no point in including entire John Holbo posts in Weekend Reading--Crooked Timber (unlike most of the rest of the online world) is highly unlikely to suffer from linkrot, and those who want to read his posts at their Holbonian length can do so over there. But there is a need for a Shorter John Holbo.

Me? I see five political dimensions as one tries to maneuver through the weeds:

  1. pacifist-militarist,
  2. cosmopolitan-nationalist,
  3. egalitarian-hierarchical,
  4. liberal-authoritarian, and
  5. invidualistic-communitarian

(with none of any of the poles being entirely bad--or entirely good, for that matter). The Nazis thus tended to be: militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian communicatarian, except for the Strasser-Roehm bunch who tended to be militarist nationalist egalitarian authoritarian communitarian. (And someone like Jonah Goldberg would tend to be militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian individualistic.)

Shorter John Holbo:

John Holbo: Were The Nazis Right-Wing?--or--Weimar Culture: The Insider As Outsider — Crooked Timber: "The reason the Nazis are regarded by historians as right-wing...

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What Ended the Thirty Glorious Years? Bonus DeLong Smackdown Watch by Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt is an unhappy camper:

Andrew Watt: Overlooking Thirty Years Of Economic History, and Downplaying Keynesian Economics:

What is surprising and worrying in this case is that Brad Delong… has missed out the thirty important years of economic history, and very much downplays Keynesian economics in that period…

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Jim McDonald: Near Global Thermonuclear War in 1961 Confirmed: Noted

Jim McDonald: Making Light: Inaccuracies:

John Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on Friday, 20 January 1961. For those who don’t remember those times, the Cold War was pretty darned cold right then…. Two days after Kennedy asked not, just after midnight on 23 January 1961, a B-52 carrying two thermonuclear devices broke up over North Carolina. We now learn that one of the bombs came close to exploding…. Dr. Ralph Lapp told the story in his book, Kill and Overkill: The Strategy of Annihilation in 1962…. What is new is this: the story has been confirmed. Thanks to the automatic declassification schedule, what was Secret then is unclassified fifty years on. And due to a Freedom of Information Act request, someone has found other documents relating to this event. The Guardian has the original document: It’s commentary by Parker Jones, the gent who was responsible for the mechanical safety of US nuclear bombs.

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Productivity: Saturday Twentieth Century Economic History Weblogging

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The twentieth century saw the material wealth of humankind explode beyond all previous imagining: we—at least those of us who belong to the upper middle class and live in the industrial core of the world economy—are now far richer than the writers of previous centuries’ utopias could imagine. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw, for the first time, productive capability outran population growth and natural resource scarcity. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the average inhabitant of a leading economies—a Briton, a Belgian, a Dutchman, an American, a Canadian, or an Australian—had perhaps twice the material wealth and standard of living of the typical inhabitant of a pre-industrial economy. The standards of living of the bulk of the population underwent a substantial, sustained, and unreversed rise in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for perhaps the first time in a thousand, if not in seven thousand years.

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Tyrannies: Saturday Twentieth Century Economic History Weblogging

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The twentieth century’s tyrannies were more brutal and more barbaric than those of any previous age. And—astonishingly—they had their origins in economic discontents and economic ideologies. People killed each other in large numbers over questions of how the economy should be organized, which had not been a major source of massacre in previous centuries.

Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.

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The Grand Narrative: Saturday Twentieth Century Economic History Weblogging

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Every history tells a story of what happened: one damned thing after another. But which story do you tell?

If you are telling a story of the history of five hundred years ago, you most-likely focus on Martin Luther and Jean Calvin’s Protestant Reformation, on the Spanish conquest of the Americas, on the rise of the Shāhān-e Gūrkānī—the Moghul Empire—in the Indian subcontinent, and maybe a couple more. Those are the axes of the history of the 1500s: religion, expansion, and conquest. If you are telling a story of a thousand years ago, you most-likely focus on the rise of the Song Dynasty in China, on the waning of the golden age that was Abbasid Baghdad-centered Islamic civilization, and on, perhaps, the establishment of feudal “civilization” in western Europe. Those are the axes of the history of the 1000s: politics and culture. Other stories of other centuries would most-likely focus on the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the shift of China’s population center of gravity to the rice-growing south and and so forth. The rise, diffusion, and fall of dynasties, empires, religions, and cultures are the axes of history, with perhaps some reference to what the cultures of material subsistence in the background were and how they slowly changed.

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