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Daily Notes: 2020-03-28

Charles Pardee is supposed to have compared making monetary policy by the Federal Reserve Board by driving at high speed a car with its windshield painted black, peering into the rear view mirror for your only information about the road ahead. Because we have no testing, only deaths, that is our situation now. We know that three weeks ago the natural log of cases was increasing by two every week. And we hope that the curve has been powerfully bent since then...

NOTES: U.S. Coronavirus Deaths https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0PB6Y9KF-SIgrQpyCsmkjm_Ww:

  • BEND THE CURVE, PEOPLE!!!!
  • 2227 deaths as of 2020-03-28
  • 2.001 is the log growth factor over the past week
  • 900,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to April 18:
    • The people who will die on or before Apr 18 will have caught the coronavirus by... now. They are baked in the cake: Unless the curve has already bent, they are toast.
  • 49,000,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to May 2:
    • The people who will die on or before May 2 will have caught the coronavirus by... Easter.
    • That number is too large: that tells us that the epidemic is running its course between now and Easter—unless the curve is bent, or has already been bent, substantially.
    • Our last time to act to stop spread is... now

 

NOTES: State-by-State Coronavirus https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0BQW1nH3Sk2kadzMnYOIFic_w:

  • Currently 5659 cases and 120 deaths in California: that's 145 reported cases per million—ranking 31st among states in the U.S...
  • If the death rate is 1%, then that means 300 true CA cases per million on Mar 6...
  • If it has been doubling every week, that means about 2400 true cases per million now, and the same number of new cases expected next week...

Continue reading "Daily Notes: 2020-03-28" »


Daily Notes: 2020-03-27

NOTES: U.S. Coronavirus Deaths https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0PB6Y9KF-SIgrQpyCsmkjm_Ww:

  • BEND THE CURVE, PEOPLE!!!!
  • 1696 deaths as of 2020-03-27
  • 1.895 is the log growth factor over the past week
  • 500,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to April 17:
    • The people who will die on or before Apr 17 will have caught the coronavirus by... now. They are baked in the cake: Unless the curve has already bent, they are toast.
  • 22,000,000 is what you get if you project that out over the next three weeks, to May 1:
    • The people who will die on or before May 1 will have caught the coronavirus by... Easter.
    • That number is too large: that tells us that the epidemic is running its course between now and Easter—unless the curve is bent, or has already been bent.
    • Our last time to act to stop spread is... now

 

NOTES: State-by-State Coronavirus https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0BQW1nH3Sk2kadzMnYOIFic_w:

  • Currently 4791 cases and 106 deaths in California: that's 121 reported cases per million—ranking 31st among states in the U.S...
  • If the death rate is 1%, then that means 265 true CA cases per million on Mar 6...
  • If it has been doubling every week, that means about 2100 true cases per million now, and the same number of new cases expected next week...

 

  • Currently 46,000 cases and 600 deaths in New York: that's 2400 reported cases per million—ranking 1st among states in the U.S...
  • If the death rate is 1%, then that means 3100 NY cases per million on Mar 6...
  • If it has been doubling every week, that means about 25000 true cases per million now, and the same number of new cases expected next week...

Continue reading "Daily Notes: 2020-03-27" »


Worthy Reads for March 20, 2019

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. Alan Krueger's suicide is horrible and tragic news. All sympathy to his family. He was a light that shone very brightly for good into many dark corners. May his memory be a blessing: Heather Boushey: [Remembrance: Alan Krueger(https://equitablegrowth.org/press/remembrance-alan-krueger/): "We at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alan Krueger. He was devoted to serving the public and to ensuring that economics was not only about theory but about improving people’s lives.... As a pioneer in the use of natural experiments as the basis for economic research, his work helped create a paradigm shift in the discipline itself.... The lessons learned from the advances in economics in-no-small-part pioneered by Alan underlay much of the cutting edge of economics—and the work we do at Equitable Growth to show how inequality affects economic growth...

  2. I have been waiting for this for a while: it's very good. David R. Howell and Arne L. Kalleberg: Declining Job Quality in the United States: Explanations and Evidence: "We group... explanations... into three broad visions... the competitive market model, in which supply and demand for worker skills in competitive external labor markets generates a single market wage by skill group... contested market models, in which... firms typically have substantial bargaining (monopsony) power; and social-institutional models, which... place greater emphasis on the public policies, formal and informal institutions, and the dynamics of workplace cultures and conflict.... The supply-demand explanation, which has focused on evidence of occupational employment polarization (driven by skill-biased production technologies) and the rise in the college-wage premium.... We conclude by summarizing policy recommendations that follow from each of these visions...

  3. Well worth your time chasing the links from this review of work Equitable Growth has published over the past several years on women's roles. At the root, I think, is that a great many of our economic and societal practices reflect gender reality as it stood 50, 100, or 150 years ago—and both biological and even more societal reality as it stood then was hardly conducive to the empowerment of women. Recall that two centuries ago an overwhelming proportion of women became mothers, that the typical mother stood a one-in-seven chance of dying in childbed, and that the typical mother (if she survived) would spend twenty years eating for two—pregnant or nursing—in a world in which childcare-by-non-relatives was a thing for only the upper class. Legacy institutions from that time are unlikely to serve today's women—or men—well: Equitable Growth: Equitable Growth’s History of Focusing on Women’s Role in the Economy: A Review: "How women are reshaping the American economy.... Gender wage inequality.... Paid family and medical leave.... Women... [and] family economic security.... The gender gap in economics.... The link between bodily autonomy and economic opportunity.... The wages of care.... Motherhood penalties..

  4. The Gap asked researchers to quantify the benefits from offering its employees more regular schedules. The benefits are substantial: Alix Gould-Wirth: Retail workers' Unpredictable Schedules Affect Sleep Quality:: "Retail outlets of The Gap, Inc.... surprising connections between retail workers’ schedules and their sleep patterns.... Joan C. Williams... Susan Lambert... and Saravanan Kesavan.... A novel, multicomponent intervention.... Randomly assigned 19 stores to a treatment group to implement the intervention and nine stores to a control group that did not implement the intervention. The Gap was so committed to increasing the amount of notice workers had of its scheduled shifts that the company extended two components that were originally planned to be part of the intervention—two-weeks advance notice and the elimination of on-call shifts—to all of its workers in North America prior to the beginning of the experiment. So, this experiment tells policymakers and businesses alike how the multicomponent intervention affects workers’ lives beyond advance notice alone..... The intervention made a substantively (and statistically) significant impact on the sleep quality of workers...

  5. And at this I really am crying. There have been a lot of economists behaving very badly indeed in the twenty-six years since I first went to Washington as an adult to start doing economic policy in a serious way. But the late Alan Krueger always behaved well—in communicating with the public, with his colleagues, and with himself. Friend of Equitable Growth Arindrajit Dube puts it best: Arindrajit Dube: "More than any other work,: "More than any other work, Myth and Measurement helped shape my view of building an economics that is open, evidence-driven, and where the core theories can be rejected. Alan Krueger kept reminding us of this, and I won't ever forget it." Alan B. Krueger (May 10, 2018): "Wait. Don’t concede anything. The idea of turning economics into a true empirical science, where core theories can be rejected, is a BIG, revolutionary idea." *Arindrajit Dube (May 10, 2018): "In an empirical science based model of economics, there are fewer 'big thinkers' who dream up of big ideas and more 'plumbers'" Doesn't mean vision and synthesis aren't important, but means knowledge & progress are more emergent than in political economy of 19th/20th century...

Continue reading "Worthy Reads for March 20, 2019" »


Worthy Reads from February 27, 2019

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. Great conversation between Heather Boushey and Emmanuel Saez. My favorite highlight: Heather Boushey: In Conversation with Emmanuel Saez: "Kansas... illustrates beautifully from a research perspective even though it’s a disaster in terms of public policy... tax avoidance... pass-through businesses... huge incentives for high-income earners to reclassify... a big erosion of the wage income tax base in the state... a much bigger negative impact on tax revenue than would have been predicted mechanically.... When governments have actually to balance their budgets, they realize that taxes are useful, and that brings the two pieces of the debate together.... Certainly Kansas didn’t experience an economic boom...

  2. Damon Jones came to Equitable Growth and gave a paper about Alaska's Oil Dividend Fund that made me significantly more optimistic about Universal Basic Income: Damon Jones: Labor Market Impacts of Universal and Permanent Cash Transfers: "UBI-like cash transfer in Alaska: unconditional, universal, long-run, captures macro effects. The macro effects of Alaska PDF on labor supply less negative than the macro effects of an unconditional cash transfer... a very small *(0.001) and insignificant effect on employment to population...

  3. Excellent from the very sharp Elena Prager and Matt Schmitt down at UCLA and out by Lake Michigan. Hospital mergers appear to be as much about gaining market power with respect to health-care workers as about gaining market power with respect to patients and their insurers.There continues to be very little evidence that they are about efficiencies of any kind: Elena Prager and Matt Schmitt: Employer Consolidation and Wages: Evidence from Hospitals: "We find evidence of reduced wage growth in cases where both (i) the increase in concentration induced by the merger is large and (ii) workers’ skills are at least somewhat industry-specific. Following such mergers, annual wage growth is 1.1pp slower for skilled non-health professionals and 1.7pp slower for nursing and pharmacy workers than in markets without mergers.... Observed patterns are unlikely to be explained by merger-related changes aside from labor market power. Wage growth slowdowns appear to be attenuated in markets with strong labor unions, and we do not observe reduced wage growth after out-of-market mergers that leave employer concentration unchanged...

  4. I did not go to last month's Niskansen Center Conference on "Beyond Left and Right": Reviving Moderation in an Era of Crisis and Extremism. But I did watch it. And watching it did provoke a tweetstorm about what I think it needs to do that some have found interesting: Brad DeLong: I think it is fair to say that the already-broken American political public sphere has become significantly more broken since November 8, 2018...

  5. The WCEG has money to spend to support research. It is very easy and straightforward to apply: Equitable Growth: Request for Proposals: "Equitable Growth supports inquiry utilizing many different kinds of evidence, relying on a variety of methodological approaches and cutting across academic disciplines. We are especially interested in projects using data linking individuals, households, and/or firms, and those that utilize geocoded data or rigorous comparative case studies—including across places in the United States, as well as comparing the experience of different countries—that allow for insight into the role of place in shaping economic opportunities and outcomes...

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Worthy Reads from February 13, 2019

Worth Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. Excellent testimony from Heather Boushey. But am I allowed to whimper that focusing too much on the EITC and the CTC may distract attention from the fact that SSI and SSDI are broken, and that the interface between the safety net for the employed and the safety net for the non-employed is very broken?: Heather Boushey: Testimony Before the Ways and Means Committee: "At the bottom end, one easy step is to preserve and expand evidence-backed refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, which lifted 8.9 million American out of poverty in 2017. In the middle, it is important to make sure the fruits of growth are widely shared and to make the economy work for workers and families. Some proven ways to do this include making sure every family can afford to send their children to high quality, affordable childcare and offering a national paid family and medical leave. It can also mean investing in infrastructure. And we need to know much more about the top. Many of the statistics we rely on to inform us about the state of our economy are measures of the average...

  2. And it is time for Equitable Growth's monthly charticle about the most useful monthly employment report—not the (usually) first-Friday report, but rather the JOLTS report: Kate Bahn and Raksha Kopparam: JOLTS Day Graphs: December 2018 Report Edition: "Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for December 2018. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report...

  3. An excellent catch from Equitable Growth's Michael Kades here. The debate over hospital mergers was mostly about whether scale-driven improvements in quality and reductions in cost would or would not be outweighed by the harm done by greater monopoly-power margins in charges to insurance companies and to patients. But it is looking increasingly likely that there are no scale driven improvements in quality or reductions in costs. He sends us to the extremely sharp Austin Frakt: Michael Kades: "The hospital industry, perhaps more than any other, had argued that consolidation will improve quality. Data increasingly says no: Austin Frakt: Hospital Mergers Improve Health? Evidence Shows the Opposite: "The claim was that larger organizations would be able to harness economies of scale and offer better care...

  4. Kate Bahn sends us to Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker. Nick continues his campaign to get people to look not at inflation but at wage growth—which has been slowly inching up since 2014—to gauge how close we are to that mysterious "full employment". Bottom line: we are not there yet: Nick Bunker: "Inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings up 1.7% over the past year. A friendly-reminder that real wage growth isn’t a good metric for assessing short-term health/slack of labor market. (Unless, of course, you think swings in energy prices are telling you something very important about the US labor market.) Far less volatility when you look at core inflation, but at this point why not just look at nominal wage growth?...

  5. I must confess that my knee-jerk reaction given my socialization into the neoliberal cult when young to paid leave programs is to worry that loading responsibility for providing social insurance onto employers is a hazardous activity—it is not the 1920s, and we are not the tarry-eyed Edward Filene certain that paternalistic companies engaged in welfare capitalism can do more to enhance societal well-being than the ardent socialists and social democrats. But evidence is piling up from the laboratories of social insurance that are the states that my knee-jerk reaction is wrong: Heather Boushey: Increasing Evidence of the Benefits of Paid Leave Means Congress Needs to Consider a Federal Program like the FAMILY Act: "The existing state programs—the oldest, in California, dates back to 2004—have provided a laboratory for researchers to study labor and health outcomes for individuals, performance and productivity outcomes for firms, and broader macroeconomic outcomes of paid family and medical leave. This work builds on a considerable body of research from long-established programs in some European countries. The answers to many questions are already coming into focus.... In states with paid leave insurance programs, mothers who use paid leave are more likely to remain in the workforce in the year following a birth. The women experiencing the benefits of these new programs are more likely to be less educated, which makes sense given that they are less likely to have had access to paid leave in the absence of a state program.... In instances where paid leave is provided there is less reliance on public assistance to contend with family medical emergencies. Moreover, there has been no evidence of higher employee turnover or rising wage costs for businesses. Research on parental leave programs abroad also suggests that paid leave of the length contemplated by the FAMILY Act, up to 12 weeks, has a positive effect on women’s income and likelihood of remaining in the workforce...

Continue reading "Worthy Reads from February 13, 2019" »


Worthy Reads from February 6, 2019

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth and Friends:

  1. Louis Brandeis believed that bigness is bad per se—thus failing to see that since, well, at least 1870 value chains and the division of the labor had become sufficiently complicated that efficient production required a great deal of central planning on the level of the large firm. Toyota sells 250 billion dollars worth of cars each year—that is 0.2 percent of glow GDP—and roughly 2/3 of that value flow is under the centrally-planned direction of the Toyota design and production management teams, not the result of arms-length market-price deals between truly independent producers. Bork believed that any bigness was good if could be colorably or uncolorably claimed to be the result of some clever economy of scale that a lawyer who was part of the judge's social circle could think up was never credible as anything other than an excuse for rent-seeking corruption. To find the true path, look, and Jonathan Baker says, to FDR antitrust guru Thurman Arnold: Jonathan Baker: Revitalizing U.S. Antitrust Enforcement Is Not Simply a Contest Between Brandeis and Bork—Look First to Thurman Arnold: "Growing market power in the United States today puts a spotlight on our nation’s antitrust laws—the critical policy tool for restoring competition where it is lacking—from airlines and brewing to hospitals and dominant online platforms. But how can these laws be made more effective in this environment? The best guide from the past is Thurman Arnold, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s longest-serving antitrust enforcer. Arnold helped shape a political consensus for effective antitrust enforcement. Yet his singular contribution is often overlooked in the present-day debate over antitrust’s future. That achievement—the embrace of an antitrust enforcement playbook for supervising large firms that is competition-promoting and economic growth-enhancing—is endangered today...

  2. Now you can watch our Fearless Leader Heather Boushey on the video: Peterson Institute: Confronting Inequality: How Societies can Choose Inclusive Growth: "The Peterson Institute for International Economics holds an event to present the book, Confronting Inequality: How Societies can Choose Inclusive Growth, on January 31, 2019. The book’s authors, Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Andrew Berg of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), along with PIIE Nonresident Senior Fellow Jason Furman and Heather Boushey...

  3. The social safety net alleviates rural poverty. It does not cause it by creating indolence. The then-Whig and now-Republican idea that the rural poor were idle buggers looking for a handout was overwhelmingly false in early nineteenth-century Britain, and is false in early twenty-first century America today James P. Ziliak: Economic Change and the Social Safety Net: Are Rural Americans Still Behind?: "The U.S. economy has been rocked by major business cycle and secular shocks that differentially affected the fortunes of urban and rural areas... coinciding with... the dramatic growth and transformation of the social safety net.... How the... changes have interacted to at times exacerbate, and other times attenuate, well being across regions and over time is little studied.... The analysis here is descriptive...

  4. This puzzles me: at least semi-stable schedules are relatively easy to provide for employers, and are worth a lot to workers. I do kinda wonder if these trends are the result of now two decades of slack labor markets in which workers are and employers want to remind workers that they ought to be grateful for any jobs at all: Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett: For Job Quality, Time Is More than Money: "What we found is striking: Working in the service sector doesn’t only mean low pay and few fringe benefits, it also means turning over the reins to your employer when it comes to when and how much you will work. This so-called 'just-in-time' scheduling approach has consequences for millions of American workers. People with unstable work schedules are markedly less happy. They sleep less well and are more likely to report feeling distressed. This pattern plays out consistently whether we look at short notice, last-minute changes or routine ups and downs in work hours. For instance, employees who worked “on-call” shifts were less likely by half to report good sleep quality than their co-workers who didn’t work on-call...

  5. Bespoke subsidies to individual firms plus lack of transparency equals kleptocracy: Nathan M. Jensen and Calvin Thrall: Who’s Afraid of Sunlight? Explaining Opposition to Transparency in Economic Development: "Why do some firms oppose transparency of government programs? In this paper we explore legal challenges to public records requests for deal-specific, company-specific participation in a state economic development incentive program. By examining applications for participation in a major state economic program, the Texas Enterprise Fund, we find that a company is more likely to challenge a formal public records request if it has renegotiated the terms of the award to reduce its job-creation obligations. We interpret this as companies challenging transparency when they have avoided being penalized for non-compliance by engaging in non-public renegotiations. These results provide evidence regarding those conditions that prompt firms to challenge transparency and illustrate some of the limitations of safeguards such as clawbacks (or incentive-recapture provisions) when such reforms aren’t coupled with robust transparency mechanisms...

Continue reading "Worthy Reads from February 6, 2019" »


Worthy Reads from January 29, 2019

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth:

  1. Equitable Growth's Heather Boushey is engaging with Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, Andrew Berg, and Jason Furman at the Peterson Instute on Thursday January 31: Peterson Institute: Book discussion: Confronting Inequality: How Societies Can Choose Inclusive Growth: "Book discussion with Jonathan Ostry, @LounganiPrakash, and Andrew Berg of @IMFNews on Confronting Inequality: How Societies Can Choose Inclusive Growth with additional comments with @jasonfurman of PIIE & Heather Boushey of @equitablegrowth. January 31, 12:15 pm...

  2. Greg Leiserson has an excellent piece over at MarketWatch for everybody who wants to rapidly get up to speed on what a net-worth wealth tax might be and how it could work: Greg Leiserson: How a wealth tax would work in the United States: "Policy makers looking for a highly progressive tax instrument that raises substantial revenue would find a net-worth tax appealing. Such a tax would impose burden primarily on the wealthiest families—reducing wealth inequality—and could raise substantial revenues. As noted above, the United States taxes wealth in several forms already. Thus, the policy debate is less about whether to tax wealth and more about the best ways to tax wealth and how much it should be taxed. A net-worth tax could be a useful complement to—or substitute for—other means of taxing wealth, as well as a tool for increasing overall taxation of wealth...

  3. I have been waiting for this from Piketty-Saez-Zucman to show up for a while, and here it is now in our WCEG working paper series. This is the simplified and streamlined version on their take on how we should do national income statistics for the twenty-first century—how we can and should take advantage of our data to go beyond averages and seriously track issues of distribution. READ IT! Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman: Simplified Distributional National Accounts: "This paper develops a simplified methodology that starts from the fiscal income top income share series and makes very basic assumptions on how each income component from national income that is not included in fiscal income is distributed.... It can be used to create distributional national income statistics in countries where fiscal income inequality statistics are available but where there is limited information to impute other income.... This simplified methodology can also be used to assess the plausibility of the Piketty, Saez, and Zucman (2018) assumptions. In particular, we will show that the simplified methodology can be used to show that the alternative assumptions proposed by Auten and Splinter (2018) imply a drastic equalization of income components not in fiscal income which does not seem realistic...

  4. Equitable Growth's Will McGrew has a pinned tweet pushing back against the meme that there are "really" no worrisome ethnicity or gender wage gaps because researchers can make such gaps disappear by adding sufficient variables to the right-hand side of a regression analysis. But when you add additional explanatory variables—when you "control"—you need to be very careful that you are only controllin for things that confound the relationship you are trying to study. When you control for things that mediate that relationship, you land up in garbage-in-garbage-out territory: Will McGrew: Wage Gaps: "Some claim that the wage gap disappears if you control for all relevant variables. This is 100% false. According to the evidence, workplace segregation and discrimination are the largest causes of the wage gap faced by Black women...

  5. Equitable Growth's Heather Boushey schools our friend, smart young whippersnapper Noah Smith formerly of Stoneybrook and now of Bloomberg: There is a lot of evidence from political scientists as to how loudlyt money talks in political democracies, and it is very well laid out in Elisabeth Jacobs's contrivbut9ion to our After Piketty: Elisabeth Jacobs (1017): Everywhere and Nowhere: Politics in _Capital in the Twenty-First Century...

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Worthy Reads from January 24, 2019

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. I should long ago have told people to read this pinned tweetstorm from Equitable Growth's Will McGrew. A great many people who should know better—especially people on the ideological right—do not understand that when one assesses factors, one wants to control only for those complications that confound the effects you are trying to study, and that you have no business controlling for those complications that mediate the effects you are trying to study: Will McGrew: "Some claim that the wage gap disappears if you control for all relevant variables. This is 100% false. According to the evidence, workplace segregation and discrimination are the largest causes of the wage gap faced by Black women....

  2. Will McGrew sends us to new EPI employee and friend of Equitable Growth Pedro Nicolaci da Costa: The U.S. Job Market Doesn’t Feel so Hot Despite the Low Unemployment Rate: "Workers need the economy to stay hot so they can begin to see the dividends of high growth.... There are several reasons a purportedly booming U.S. economy doesn’t feel like much of a boon to millions of American workers, chief among them the startling lack of wage growth many have experienced over the past four decades.... A business- and bank-friendly mindset at the Federal Reserve, whose top officials spend a lot more time with their high-flying Wall Street and industry contacts than with workers and community leaders, deepens this imbalance.... Because of the Fed’s proximity to its business contacts, it tends to think of workers as labor costs (not investments in human capital) and wages as inflation (not improvements in standards of living). This colors the Fed’s definition of 'full employment', making policy makers easily swayed by dubious claims from business executives about chronic labor shortages—made without any contention about why wages are not rising on a sustained basis...

  3. In response to a query from Nancy M. Birdsall on what are the most important contributions to feminist economics, Equitable Growth's Kate Bahn provides a shoutout to, among others, my college classmate Joyce Jacobsen of Wesleyan—who got me my first economics RA job: Kate Bahn: "Some good resources are Beyond Economic Man and Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics. I particularly like Joyce Jacobsen's essay on "Some implications of the feminist project in economics for empirical methodology" in the latter...

  4. A new book coming this fall: Heather Boushey: "On the inaugural weekend of the #womensmarch, I decided to write a book for the new economic era and made a plan. Feels really good to have sent the final manuscript in yesterday! 'Unbound' will be out in early fall...

  5. And another from Will McGrew, who is watching California begin trying to implement policies we at Equitable Growth had hoped to see implemented nationwide starting in 2017: Will McGrew: "Congrats to @AnnOLeary & Team Newsom_ on their bold plan for 6 months of paid leave in CA. Research by @HBoushey, @jacobselisabeth & others confirms paid leave can boost labor supply, family earnings & output, driving gov't savings from more tax revenue + less social spending...

Continue reading "Worthy Reads from January 24, 2019" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (January 7, 2020)

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MUST OF THE MUSTS


  1. Reading Notes: A Note on Reading Big, Difficult Books... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/a-note-on-reading-big-difficult-books.html: These are all big, difficult, flawed, incredibly insightful, genius books. And it is a principal task of a successful modern university to teach people how to read such things. Indeed, it might be said that one of the few key competencies we here at the university have to teach—our counterpart or the medieval triad of rhetoric, logic, grammar and then quadriad of arithmetic, geometry, music and astrology—is how to read and absorb a theoretical argument made by a hard, worthwhile, flawed book. People need to understand what an argument is, and the only way to do that is actually go through an argument—to read the argument and try to make sense of it. People need to be able to tell the difference between an argument and an assertion. People need to be able to do more than just say whether they liked the conclusion or not: they need to be able to specify whether the argument hangs together given the premises, and where it is the premises, and where it is the premises themselves that need to be challenged. People need to learn that while you can disagree, you need to be able to specify why and how you disagree. The first order task is to teach people how to read difficult books. Teaching people five facts about some thinker's theoretical perspective is subordinate: those five facts will not stick with them over the years. Teaching them how to read difficult books will stick with them over the years. Knowing what to do with a book that makes an important, an interesting, but also a flawed argument—that is a key skill...

  2. Slouching Towards Utopia: Feminism: I Need to Include Something Like This in My Twentieth Century History Book. But I Would Like Something from 1870-1950—Not Something from 1776 and 1700 and Before... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/feminism-1.html: Yes, back in the Agrarian Age the biological requirements of obtaining a reasonable chance of having surviving descendants to take care of one in one’s old age meant that the typical woman spent 20 years eating for two: 20 years pregnant and breastfeeding. Yes, eating for two is an enormous energy drain, especially in populations near subsistence. Yes, Agrarian Age populations were near subsistence—my great-grandmother Eleanor Lawton Carter’s maxim was “have a baby, lose a tooth” as the child-to-be leached calcium out of the mother to build her or his own bones, and she was an upper class Bostonian born in the mid-1870s. Yes, breastfeeding kept women very close to their children, and impelled a concentration of female labor on activities that made that easy: gardening and other forms of within-and-near-the-dwelling labor, especially textiles. Yes, there were benefits to men as a group from oppressing women—especially if women could be convinced that they deserved it: “Unto the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband; and he shall rule over thee’…” But surely even in the Agrarian Age a shift to a society with less male supremacy would have been a positive-sum change?...

  3. Note to Self: Reply to Angelo Houston https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/note-to-self-angelo-houston-auten-splinter-has-been-out-for-over-2-years-but-im-just-now-seeing-economists-much.html: 'Auten-Splinter has been out for over 2 years but I’m just now seeing economists much less journalists even acknowledge it. I find it baffling.' Well, in 1982 the top 5 individuals' wealth was 0.3% of America's GDP; today the top 5 individuals' wealth is 2.1% of America's annual GDP. With little movement in the rate of profit, it's hard to reconcile that with AS's belief that top 10% CMA has only risen from 28% to 33%. The sharp disagreement between AS 10%ile & top order statistics of income & wealth distribution creates, in the absence of any successful reconciliation, a very strong presumption that there is something wrong with their procedures. I think that has caused lots of pause...

  4. It seems clear that Gordon Wood has read neither Jill Lepore nor the papers of Edward Rutledge. Perhaps he should?: Gordon Wood: Response to the New York Times’ Defense of the 1619 Project https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/12/24/nytr-d24.html: 'Dear Mr. Silverstein: I have read your response to our letter concerning the 1619 Project.... I have spent my career studying the American Revolution and cannot accept the view that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves. No colonist expressed alarm that the mother country was out to abolish slavery in 1776...

  5. Not a surprise: Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce: Disentangling the Effects of the 2018-2019 Tariffs on a Globally Connected U.S. Manufacturing Sector https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/feds/files/2019086pap.pdf: 'Since the beginning of 2018, the United States has undertaken unprecedented tariff increases, with one goal of these actions being to boost the manufacturing sector. In this paper, we estimate the effect of the tariffs—including retaliatory tariffs by U.S. trading partners—on manufacturing employment, output, and producer prices. A key feature of our analysis is accounting for the multiple ways that tariffs might affect the manufacturing sector, including providing protection for domestic industries, raising costs for imported inputs, and harming competitiveness in overseas markets due to retaliatory tariffs. We find that U.S. manufacturing industries more exposed to tariff increases experience relative reductions in employment as a positive effect from import protection is offset by larger negative effects from rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs. Higher tariffs are also associated with relative increases in producer prices via rising input costs...

  6. John Scalzi (2010): Tax Frenzies and How to Hose Them Down https://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/09/26/tax-frenzies-and-how-to-hose-them-down/: 'I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes are theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (January 7, 2020)" »


Worthy Reads from January 3, 2019

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth

  1. If you have not already read all of the WCEG's top 12 of 2018, go read them now: Equitable Growth: Top 12 of 2018: "The effects of wealth taxation on wealth accumulation and wealth inequality.... Why macroeconomics should further embrace distributional economics.... The links between stagnating wages and buyer power in U.S. supply chains.... U.S. income growth has been stagnant. To what degree depends on how you measure it.... Income inequality and aggregate demand in the United States.... Presentation: U.S. Inequality and Recent Tax Changes.... The latest research on the efficacy of raising the minimum wage above $10 in six U.S. cities.... Competitive Edge: There is a lot to fix in U.S. antitrust enforcement today.... Labor Day is a time to reflect on reviving workers’ power in the U.S. economy.... Kaldor and Piketty’s facts: The rise of monopoly power in the United States.... How the rise of market power in the United States may explain some macroeconomic puzzles.... Puzzling over U.S. wage growth...

  2. Robert Bork and his followers' belief that the test for anticompetitive behavior was whether it could be moved anticompetitive in theory beyond a reasonable doubt was poisonous. And here we see people having to argue against it again in a new context: Jonathan B. Baker and Fiona Scott Morton: Antitrust Enforcement Against Platform MFNs: "Antitrust enforcement against anticompetitive... pricing parity provisions... can help protect competition in online markets.... These contractual provisions may be employed by a variety of online platforms offering, for example, hotel and transportation bookings, consumer goods, digital goods, or handmade craft products. They have been the subject of antitrust enforcement in Europe but have drawn only limited antitrust scrutiny in the United States. Our Feature explains why MFNs employed by online platforms can harm competition by keeping prices high and discouraging the entry of new platform rivals, through both exclusionary and collusive mechanisms, notwithstanding the possibility that some MFNs may facilitate investment by limiting customer freeriding...

  3. The Joint Tax Committee should do this, staring January 4, 2019: Greg Leiserson and Adam Looney: A framework for economic analysis of tax regulations - Equitable Growth: "The economic analysis conducted in these cases should focus on the revenues raised and the economic burden imposed on the public as a result of the agencies’ exercise of discretion or the new application of existing authority. The revenues raised and the burden imposed reflect the fundamental tradeoff in taxation, and thus determine a regulation’s costs and benefits. However, the analysis should not attempt to quantify the net benefit or net cost of a regulation as doing so would require the agencies to make controversial assumptions about the social value of revenues and the appropriate distribution of the tax burden. Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis is well-equipped to provide estimates of revenues and burden as they can be built from analyses the Office already produces: revenue estimates, distributional analyses, and compliance cost estimates...

  4. We here at Equitable Growth are certainly doing a good job of picking them, so far: Corey Husak: "So excited and honored that 5 of the 8 Best Young Economists named by @TheEconomist are grantees of @equitablegrowth! Its great to work with and fund the best economic minds of our generation https://twitter.com/TheEconomist/status/1075370969789882368...

  5. And if you want to join some future such list of 8, take a look at our current Equitable Grrowth Request for Proposals at: https://equitablegrowth.org/research-paper/request-for-proposals/?longform=true

Continue reading "Worthy Reads from January 3, 2019" »


Very Briefly Noted 2019-12-31:

  1. Wikipedia: Dérogeance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9rogeance...

  2. John Scalzi: The 10s in Review: Whatever Best of 2010–2019 https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/12/26/the-10s-in-review-whatever-best-of-2010-2019/...

  3. Alissa Wilkinson: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/12/18/21021188/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-review-no-spoilers: 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is what happens when a franchise gives up. The new movie is a colossal failure of imagination...

  4. David Albouy http://davidalbouy.net/...

  5. Reading List for: The "Classical" Mediterranean Economy https://www.bradford-delong.com/reading-list-for-the-classical-economy.html...

  6. Ian Morris: The Eighth-Century Revolution http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/morris/120507: 'In the eighth century BC the communities of central Aegean Greece... and their colonies overseas laid the foundations of the economic, social, and cultural framework that constrained and enabled Greek achievements for the next five hundred years.... Aegean Greeks created a new form of identity, the equal male citizen, living freely within a small polis... defeated all rival models in the central Aegean, and was spreading through other Greek communities...

  7. Ian Morris: The Growth of Greek Cities in the First Millennium BC https://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/morris/120509.pdf: 'I trace the growth of the largest Greek cities from perhaps 1,000- 2,000 people at the beginning of the first millennium BC to 400,000-500,000 at the millennium’s end.... While political power was never the only engine of urban growth in classical antiquity, it was always the most important motor. The size of the largest Greek cities was a function of the population they controlled, mechanisms of tax and rent, and transportation technology...

  8. Max Boot: ‘Downton Abbey’ Reminds Us What ‘Conservatism’ Really Means https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/downton-abbey-reminds-us-what-conservatism-really-means/2019/12/20/beb5df3e-235e-11ea-bed5-880264cc91a9_story.html: 'I can’t stand what American conservatism has become. A movement ostensibly devoted to conserving the best of America is instead tearing down the rule of law and tearing the country apart in order to protect a crude and cruel demagogue. Today’s conservatives equate civility with weakness and moderation with selling out. They celebrate boorish behavior with the mantra “At least he fights!”...

  9. David Edelstein: Little Women Movie Review: Greta Gerwig’s 2019 Version https://www.vulture.com/2019/12/little-women-movie-review-greta-gerwigs-2019-version.html...

  10. Francis A. Walker (1888): Recent Progress of Political Economy in the United States https://www.jstor.org/stable/2485572?seq=10#metadata_info_tab_contents...

  11. Stephen Chu: _How to Study: The "Levels of Processing" Framework https://www.samford.edu/departments/academic-success-center/how-to-study...

  12. Wikipedia: Spaced Repetition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition...

  13. Wikipedia: SuperMemo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperMemo...

  14. Melissa Dell: Econ 1342 https://delong.typepad.com/econe_1342.pdf 'This course examines the history of economic growth, beginning with the divergence between human ancestors and other primates and continuing through the end of the twentieth century. Topics covered include the Neolithic Revolution; economic growth in ancient societies; the origins of modern economic growth; theories and evidence about the institutional, geographic, and cultural determinants of growth; the East Asian Miracle; the middle income trap; the political economy of growth; growth and inequality; and theories and evidence about the persistence of poverty in the world's poorest regions. The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Economics 1342. Students may not count both ECON E-1340 (offered previously) and ECON E-1342 toward a degree...

  15. Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce https://cafedelites.com/crispy-seared-lemon-garlic-herb-salmon/...

  16. Matthew Smith, Danny Yagan, Owen M. Zidar, and Eric Zwick: Capitalists in the Twenty-First Century https://www.nber.org/papers/w25442: 'Tax data linking 11 million firms to their owners show[s]... pass-through profit accrues to working-age owners of closely-held, mid-market firms in skill-intensive industries. Pass-through profit falls by three-quarters after owner retirement or premature death...

  17. Center For American Progress Action Fund: Trump’s False Promise on GM Factories Closing https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2308407469209592...

  18. Center For American Progress Action Fund: How Trump is Hurting Farmers https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416723402448900...

  19. Alex Tabarrok: Summers on the Wealth Tax https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2019/10/summers-on-the-wealth-tax.html...

  20. Rich Miller: Summers Lambasts Warren, Sanders Plans to Tax Wealth of the Rich https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-18/summers-lambasts-warren-sanders-plans-to-tax-wealth-of-the-rich...

  21. Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman: Progressive Wealth Taxation https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Saez-Zucman_conference-draft.pdf...

  22. Catherine Rampell: Would a “Wealth Tax” Help Combat Inequality? A Debate with Saez, Summers, and Mankiw https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=oUGpjpEGTfE&feature=emb_logo...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings (December 27, 2019)...

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

MUST OF THE MUSTS:

  1. Looking forward to the next recession, and to the unwillingness of politicians to reserve fiscal space for fighting it, makes Keynes message more urgent than ever: Paul Krugman: Introduction to Keynes's General Theory https://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/03/krugmans_intro_.html: 'In the spring of 2005 a panel of “conservative scholars and policy leaders” was asked to identify the most dangerous books of the 19th and 20th centuries.... Charles Darwin and Betty Friedan ranked high on the list. But The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money did very well, too. In fact, John Maynard Keynes beat out V.I. Lenin and Frantz Fanon. Keynes, who declared in the book’s oft-quoted conclusion that “soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil,” would probably have been pleased.... It’s probably safe to assume that the “conservative scholars and policy leaders” who pronounced The General Theory one of the most dangerous books of the past two centuries haven’t read it. But they’re sure it’s a leftist tract, a call for big government and high taxes.... The arrival of Keynesian economics in American classrooms was delayed by a nasty case of academic McCarthyism. The first introductory textbook to present Keynesian thinking, written by the Canadian economist Lorie Tarshis, was targeted by a right-wing pressure campaign aimed at university trustees. As a result of this campaign, many universities that had planned to adopt the book for their courses cancelled their orders, and sales of the book, which was initially very successful, collapsed. Professors at Yale University, to their credit, continued to assign the book; their reward was to be attacked by the young William F. Buckley for propounding “evil ideas.” But Keynes was no socialist—he came to save capitalism, not to bury it. And there’s a sense in which The General Theory was... a conservative book.... Keynes wrote during a time of mass unemployment, of waste and suffering on an incredible scale. A reasonable man might well have concluded that capitalism had failed, and that only... nationalization... could restore economic sanity.... Keynes argued that these failures had surprisingly narrow, technical causes... because Keynes saw the causes of mass unemployment as narrow and technical, he argued that the problem’s solution could also be narrow and technical: the system needed a new alternator, but there was no need to replace the whole car...

  2. Josiah Ober: Agamemnon's Cluelessness https://delong.typepad.com/files/ober-agamemnon-selections.pdf: 'For Aristotle, ethics and politics must take into account “merely living” (zên) as the foundation for the end of living well (eu zên)... in a way... cognizant of the kinds of expertise necessary for living, without losing sight of the ultimate goal of living well. The domain of expertise... concerned with natural material conditions and forms of authority (especially master-slave) required by the end of self-sufficiency is designated oikonomia. But the definition of oikonomia and especially its relationship to money-making (chrêmatistikê) is, Aristotle says, contested.... Among the many goals of Politics book 1 is to put chrêmatistikê–as expert knowledge of a particular relationship among production (poiêsis), exchange (allangê/metablêtikê), and consumption/possession (ktêsis), all characteristically involving coined money—into the normatively correct place in his naturalized hierarchy of value. The critical conclusion is that chrêmatistikê (or one specific type of chrêmatistikê) is a subordinate part of oikonomia. It is not “according to nature” (kata phusin) but rather a technê arising from practical experience (empeiria). It aims the possession and increase of wealth, at accumulation of money, as an end. That accumulation is by its internal logic unbounded and unconstrained, insofar as wealth denominated in monetary terms has no natural limit. Chrêmatistikê thus is a matter of maximizing a single resource (one thought to give access to all other resources), rather than optimizing or satisficing in respect to other values. It is at once contrary to the true end of human existence, a prevalent approach to the management of material goods, and (at least potentially) an essential instrument for both the oikonomos and the politikos. Among the delicate tasks of book 1 of the Politics is, then, to demonstrate that Aristotle knows enough about this dangerous and vulgar (phortikon) instrument to specify its proper uses, while avoiding appearing to honor it as a science worthy of a detailed treatment. Much of Politics book 1.8-11 is devoted to sorting out the contested relationship between chrêmatistikê and oikonomia...

  3. I object to Doug Jones's characterization of the past 100,000 years. It is true that wild mammal biomass is only 1/6 of what it was before the Anthropocene. But total mammal biomass is four times what it was. As far as TEAM MAMMAL biomass is concerned, we have been excellent player-coaches. Doug Jones: 7 Billion | Logarithmic History https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/12/26/7-billion-2/: 'The biomass of wild mammals (terrestrial and marine) is only about 1/6 of what it was before humans came on the scene, and total plant biomass is about ½ of what it was before humans, largely as a result of deforestation...

  4. It is well known that systems in which there is too much feedback and too little reliance on fundamentals become unstable: I believe that this is how nicotine and caffeine and chocolate work in their evolved function as nerve poisons for bugs: excite the neurons to fire more often, and rational coordination breaks down, and the bugs that ate the tobacco leaves die. Here we are the bugs, and social media is our tobacco leaf: Charles Stross: Artificial Intelligence: Threat or Menace? http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2019/12/artificial-intelligence-threat.html: 'Today's internet ads are qualitatively different from the direct mail campaigns of yore. In the age of paper, direct mail came with a steep price of entry, which effectively limited it in scope—also, the print distribution chain was it relatively easy to police. The efflorescence of spam from 1992 onwards should have warned us that junk information drives out good, but the spam kings of the 1990s were just the harbinger of today's information apocalypse. The cost of pumping out misinformation is frighteningly close to zero, and bad information drives out good: if the propaganda is outrageous and exciting it goes viral and spreads itself for free. The recommendation algorithms used by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter exploit this effect to maximize audience participation in pursuit of maximize advertising click-throughs. They promote popular related content, thereby prioritizing controversial and superficially plausible narratives. Viewer engagement is used to iteratively fine-tune the selection of content so that it is more appealing, but it tends to trap us in filter bubbles of material that reinforces our own existing beliefs. And bad actors have learned to game these systems to promote dubious content. It's not just Cambridge Analytica I'm talking about here, or allegations of Russian state meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Consider the spread of anti-vaccination talking points and wild conspiracy theories, which are no longer fringe phenomena but mass movements with enough media traction to generate public health emergencies in Samoa and drive-by shootings in Washington DC. Or the spread of algorithmically generated knock-offs of children's TV shows proliferating on YouTube that caught the public eye last year...

  5. Rana Foroohar: America’s Competitiveness Problem https://www.ft.com/content/419b6a42-2254-11ea-92da-f0c92e957a96?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754ec6: 'A dysfunctional dance between business and politics is at the root of the country’s woes: Carly Fiorina, the former Republican presidential candidate and Hewlett-Packard boss, made news last week when she gave voice to a hypocrisy common in the American business community. She insisted that it was “vital” that President Donald Trump be impeached. Yet she wouldn’t rule out the possibility of voting for him, depending on “who the Democrats put up”. She’s presumably referring to the possibility of an Elizabeth Warren candidacy. I understand why people like Ms Fiorina are allergic to any wealth-distributing progressive. But business people who’ve supported Mr Trump because of cuts to corporate taxes or promises of deregulation are playing a sucker’s game. They are also part of a bigger dysfunctional dance between business and politics that is explored in a new Harvard Business School report on US competitiveness. More accurately, the report focuses on an increasing lack of competitiveness, evidenced by everything from pessimism about America’s medium- to long-term growth prospects, the divide between the fortunes of business and workers, to the country’s declining fiscal position and skills gap.... Business itself is another big reason for government gridlock, since it has “funded, perpetuated, and profited” from political dysfunction. Business was part of the diabolical process of gerrymandering that has led to the partisan redrawing of voting districts.... Yet business stubbornly refuses to accept that it is part of the problem. Survey results show that most business leaders believe that corporations influence politics in ways that erode not only democracy but the competitiveness of the economy as a whole. But most deny that their own companies are at fault.... In 2016, too many people in important leadership positions paid to elect Mr Trump. Many more (though not all) have stayed quiet as he has taken a wrecking ball to the postwar order because they knew that, in the short term, they’d get tax changes they wanted, not to mention a highly profitable, though unproductive, asset bubble. In exchange for that, we also got a trade war, an immigration debacle, and a crisis of the rules-based order that underpins corporate America’s own license to operate. Not a great return on investment. The complicity of business in the US in the current system of money politics is reaching a crisis point. My plea to the C-suite? Don’t follow Ms Fiorina and try to have it both ways in 2020...

  6. Hank Reichman: On Blacklists, Harassment, and Outside Funders: A Response to Phil Magness https://academeblog.org/2017/04/11/on-blacklists-harassment-and-outside-funders-a-response-to-phil-magness/: 'In a recent series of tweets Magness repeatedly accused UnKoch of being Soros-funded (they are not, although I’ll bet they’d like to be) and, more ominously, of being “Soviets” or even “Stalinists.” Here’s one such tweet: “Things that strongly correlate: 1. support for UnKoch My Campus. 2. posting sentimentalism for the Soviet Union on social media.” (March 10) Here’s another: “A good expose of the type of ‘journalism’ produced by the Soviets in the UnKoch crowd:” (March 21) And then there’s the series of tweets beginning, so far as I can tell, with a Magness message to UnKoch charging that “there’s plenty of overt Soviet sympathizing in your organization to historically contextualize you with them.” (March 24)  This was followed by a tweet later that day claiming that “Your own co-founder is quite the fanboy of genocidal Soviet types” offering as proof a tweet that reveals how UnKoch co-founder Ralph Wilson participated in the carving of a Halloween pumpkin with the faces of Marx, Engels, and Lenin!  How damning! There’s more like that. Of course, to call any of the five young UnKoch staffers “Soviet” is totally ludicrous, since looking at their photographs online I’m pretty sure they were no more than children, and perhaps not yet born, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.  As a scholar of Soviet history myself, I can assure Magness that the Soviet Union is no more and that Communism (in any meaningful sense) is dead.  But it’s not funny, since this sort of red-baiting recapitulates the kind of activity that made blacklisting so dangerous in the 1950s.  Although I don’t seem to agree with Magness about much, having read many of his comments I had hoped he would be above such base crudity...

  7. Wolfgang Münchau: Austerity, Not the Populists, Destroyed Europe’s Centre Ground https://www.ft.com/content/be3ca48a-2344-11ea-b8a1-584213ee7b2b: 'From Brexit to fiscal policy, the EU’s largest member states have seen the mainstream wrongfooted: There were tell-tale signs early on. In 2009, Peer Steinbrück, a former German finance minister and later the Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor, introduced the constitutional balanced budget rule. This later gave rise to Germany’s permanent fiscal surpluses and under-investment in critical infrastructure. In a joint study, Germany’s employers and trade unions recently put the investment shortfall at a staggering €450bn. So it is unsurprising that the SPD has lost political support during the years of its grand coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. In 2012, Italy’s government of technocrats, led by Mario Monti, imposed procyclical austerity in the middle of a recession. The goal was to prove that Italy was a good follower of the eurozone’s fiscal rules. The country has still not fully recovered from that shock. In 2014, François Hollande, the former French president, outed himself as a rightwing supply-sider when he cited Say’s law—that supply creates its own demand. Since then his Socialist party has in effect disappeared as a political force, along with its old rivals on the centre right. In late 2015 in the UK, I overheard a group of pro-Remain politicians, academics and commentators persuading themselves that the easiest way to win the forthcoming Brexit referendum would be to scare the hell out of the electorate. We all know how that went. What these disparate stories have in common is that they paint a picture of the decline of the political centre in Europe. I consider this, not the rise in populism, to be the main development in the EU’s largest member states. If there was one common policy that accelerated that trend, it was austerity. We have come to judge austerity mainly in terms of its economic impact. But it is the political fallout from public spending cuts that is most likely to persist. Austerity as a policy is the consequence of a poor understanding of economics coupled with a self-righteous mind and a tendency to spend too much time with your chums at places like Davos...

  8. Blogging: What to Expect Here... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/blogging-what-to-expect-here.html: The purpose of this weblog is to be the best possible portal into what I am thinking, what I am reading, what I think about what I am reading, and what other smart people think about what I am reading: "Bring expertise, bring a willingness to learn, bring good humor, bring a desire to improve the world—and also bring a low tolerance for lies and bullshit..." — Brad DeLong...

  9. What Is the Political-Economic Agenda After Piketty? https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/what-is-the-political-economic-agenda-after-piketty.html: Introduction: Let me write, overwhelmingly, about inequality understood as inequality between people who regard themselves as members of a common culture, economy, nation. There is the separate issue of inequality between the different cultures, economies, nations that make up the world, but let me leave that for the very end, and then deal with it only briefly...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings (December 27, 2019)..." »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (December 17, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

MUST OF THE MUSTS:

  1. Walter Womacka Stained-Glass Restoration https://www.moz.de/kultur/artikelansicht/dg/0/1/1043774/ https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/walter-womackas-socialist-realist-stained-glass.html in the former State Council building on Berlin's Schlossplatz, now the home of the European School of Management and Technology: How the East German Government Wanted to Pretend It Had Been, Was, and Would Be...

  2. Wendong Zhang et al.: 3 Reasons Midwest Farmers Hurt by the U.S.-China Trade War Still Support Trump https://theconversation.com/3-reasons-midwest-farmers-hurt-by-the-u-s-china-trade-war-still-support-trump-126303: 'Although farmers have lost billions of dollars in exports, China’s strategy hasn’t created the intended effect, with surveys of farmers continuing to show strong support for the president. We conducted our own survey of corn and soybean farmers. Published in October, it suggests three reasons farmers support Trump’s trade policies despite the costs.... Tthe Trump administration’s efforts to ease their pain have paid off. The administration gave soybean, sorghum and other farmers 12 billion in assistance in 2018, which the vast majority of our survey participants found useful. The survey was conducted before an additional 16 billion in payments went to farmers this year.... We also found that farmers largely view the trade disruption as short-term pain for long-term gain. While only 14% think their farm operations will be better off financially a year from now, more than half said they expected something good to ultimately come out of the trade war.... Finally, we found a growing frustration with China’s erratic buying behavior. For example, China shut out U.S. beef for 14 years over a mad cow scare in 2003, keeping the ban more than a decade after other countries like Japan and South Korea lifted theirs. Chinese purchase of products such as distillers grains or corn sometimes just disappear. These may have been offshoots of adjustments China made to its corn support policy, but, from the perspective of U.S. farmers, Chinese demand for certain U.S. agricultural commodities has been annoyingly inconsistent.... “The Chinese do not play by the rules,” one Illinois farmer said. “They cancel shipment orders that are not in their favor. They continue to steal our patents. Only President Trump has tried to stop these unfair trade practices”.... Most farmers recognize that they will continue to be the biggest victims of the U.S.-China trade war.... Yet 56% still said they supported imposing tariffs on Chinese products, while only 30% oppose them...

  3. Hoisted from the Archives: Executive Summary of Obama Transition Economic Policy Work: Note that if 600 billion in fiscal stimulus would have reduced the expected unemployment rate as of the end of 2010 from 9.5% to 8%, 900 billion would still have left the economy with an expected end-of-2010 unemployment rate of 7.25%. And, of course, the memo ought to have highlighted that things had a 50% chance of being worse than expected—even considerably worse, which they were: the end of 2010 unemployment rate was 9.3%. To seek as your economic policy goal a set of policies that would might well have—and did—leave the unemployment rate two years hence above 9% seemed like malpractice on the part of the Obama-Emmanuel-Biden team then. It still seems like it was malpractice now...

  4. Hoisted from the Archives: If You Are So Rich, Why Aren't You Smart?: From Ten Years Ago https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/if-you-are-so-rich-why-arent-you-smart.html: The explicit argument, of course, is that the parents are rich because they are genetically smart, and that the children test well because they have inherited smartness genes from their parents, and all is good because it is right that the worthy should be rich and the most important part of being worthy is being smart. And Mankiw drops it there—without even acknowledging that, say, being able to afford an extra bathroom is a good signal that you can afford to spend more money on your children's education. Without trying to do a quantitative calculation of the expected slope. But, rather, hingeing the entire thing on "good genes". IMHO, merely saying that correlation is not always causation and dropping the issue is profoundly unhelpful—moreover, it shows a... certain lack of work ethic as well.... The rule of thumb, I think, is that half of the income-test score correlation is due to the correlation of your test scores with your parents' IQ; and half of the income-test score correlation is coming purely from the advantages provided by that component of wealth uncorrelated with your parents' (genetic and environmental!) IQ. The curve is less steep, but there is definitely a 'what' here to be thought about. There is no "so what" here at all... The masters at explaining this, of course, are Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis...

  5. Brad DeLong Says More...: Project Syndicate https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/brad-delong-says-more-project-syndicate.html: Back in 1992, Larry Summers and I warned participants at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that low inflation and high equity-return and bond-risk premiums do not play well together. Dealing with a typical recession had, historically, required that the Fed cut the federal funds rate by five full percentage points. A large recession would require even larger cuts How could macroeconomic stability be maintained in a world where the real federal funds rate was 3% at the peak of the business cycle, and the inflation rate was 2% or less? It was a very good question then. It is an even better question today...

  6. Project Syndicate: Eternal September: How Trolls Overran the Public Square https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/project-syndicateannalee.html https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trolls-win-control-of-the-public-square-by-j-bradford-delong-2019-12: The impact of the changing technological, organizational, and productivity foundation on the public sphere of ideas of ideas about politics and societal organization has been one of the most consequential areas...

  7. Project Syndicate: No, We Don’t “Need” a Recession https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/no-we-dont-need-a-recession-by-j-bradford-delong-project-syndicate.html https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/myth-of-needed-recession-by-j-bradford-delong-2019-10: It was not uncommon for commentators to argue for a “needed” recession before the big one hit in 2008-2010. But I, for one, assumed that this claim was a decade dead. Who in 2019 could say with a straight face that a recession and high unemployment under conditions of low inflation would be a good thing?...

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Worthy Reads from December 13, 2018: Hoisted from the Archives

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. If you missed Anne Case and Angus Deaton on "deaths of despair" when it came out at the start of this year, you need to go back and read it: Iris Marechal: The Opioid Crisis: A Consequence of U.S. Economic Decline?: "The opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and communities across the United States, causing serious health and socioeconomic crises. The high prescription rate for opioids and the subsequent misuse of this medication by millions of Americans accelerated addiction and has led to a four-fold increase in the rate of overdoses since 1999.... Anne Case and Angus Deaton at Princeton University attribute the sharp increase in drug overdoses between 1999 and 2015 to 'deaths of despair' rather than to the increased ease of obtaining opioids: That is, their research suggests that higher drug suicides are attributable to social and economic factors such as a prolonged economic decline in many parts of the United States. They show that white Americans are more affected by the opioid epidemic, yet less affected by economic downturns than other racial and ethnic groups in the country...

  2. Our Raksha Kopparam makes a very nice catch, and sends us to the enter for Financial Services Innovation's “U.S. Financial Health Pulse: 2018 Baseline Survey”: Raksha Kopparam: New Financial Health Survey Shows That Traditional Metrics of Economic Growth Don’t Apply to Most U.S. Households’ Incomes and Savings: "Single aggregate data points do not capture how economic growth is experienced by different people in very different ways.... Underscoring the importance of knowing who specifically benefits from a strong economy is a new survey by the Center for Financial Services Innovation...

  3. Our Kate Bahn responds to Redwood Girl in Chico's puzzlement about why she is not seeing opportunity in the low-unemployment economy: @RedwoodGirl: On Twitter: "Does the U6 number also include self-employed folks like myself who need more work to afford to live?..." @LipstickEcon: "It does not, since it only includes unemployed workers plus workers who aren't looking for a job but say they would take one if offered plus workers who are part-time wage and salary workers but would rather be full-time. Under-employed self-employed workers aren't counted here. This is part of why economists like Blanchflower and Bell think U.S. statistics do not capture under-employment accurately, since it doesn't include people who wish they worked more (or fewer) hours but can't find a job that is the right fit of hours https://www.nber.org/papers/w24927...

  4. Do apply for Equitable Growth grants: Equitable Growth: Apply for a Grant: "We are now accepting applications in response to our 2019 Request for Proposals. Letters of inquiry for academic grants are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Proposals for doctoral/postdoctoral grants and applications to the Dissertation Scholars Program are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 10, 2019...

  5. Rhonda Sharpe is praising us herre at Equitable Growth for trying to diversify the economics profession: Rhonda V. Sharpe: On Twitter: "L @LipstickEcon E @ @equitablegrowth T @ @TrevonDLogan ' S @SandyDarity D @drlisadcook I @itsafronomics V @ValerieRWilson E @Em_Gorman R @rbalakra S @SadieCollective I @IAFFE F @femme_economics Y @YanaRodgers T @TrevonDLogan H @HBoushey E @eliselgould...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (December 9, 2019)

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MUST OF THE MUSTS:

  1. Weekend Reading: Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn Wrestles with the American Christian Church for His Soul, and Wins and Saves It https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/weekend-reading-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn-wrestles-with-the-american-christian-church-for-his-soul-and-wins-and-saves-i.html: 'I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come. It was because my heart warn’t right; it was because I warn’t square; it was because I was playing double...

  2. I have been quite surprised to discovery that the 2019 Economics Nobel Laureates have not received enough praise since the announcement. So go read this: Oriana Bandiera: Alleviating Poverty with Experimental Research: The 2019 Nobel Laureates https://voxeu.org/article/alleviating-poverty-experimental-research-2019-nobel-laureates: 'Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.... Development economics had no PhD courses, no group at the NBER or CEPR, and hardly any publications in top journals until the early 2000s. What this year’s Nobel laureates did was to build the infrastructure to make fieldwork widely accessible and the methods to make the analysis credible. What they did, and what they were awarded for, is to put development economics back on centre stage.... What is unusual and relevant is that the nomination explicitly mentions that the winners lead a group effort: “The Laureates’ research findings–and those of the researchers following in their footsteps” (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019). What is even more unusual and extremely relevant is that the nomination emphasises the practical applications of their methods, which “have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice”. This is a monumental change, and one that the profession should welcome for the obvious reason that making the world a better place is a desirable goal.  To be clear, each of them could have easily won the prize the ‘usual’ way – that is, by doing research of the highest quality, which has had lasting influence both in theoretical and applied economics. The economist (still) on the street might notice that of the top three cited papers for each of the three laureates, only two are randomised controlled trials (RCTs).... The need for policy to fix market failures generates the need for tools to evaluate policy. RCTs were developed to achieve this in a systematic way. They and other experimental methods had been widely used in the natural sciences and to a lesser extent in economics well before Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer began their work. Their contribution was to make them accessible to a large number of researchers, creating a research ‘firm’ which, like those in Banerjee and Newman (1993) and Kremer (1993), combines the talent of many to produce more than the sum of its individual components...

  3. Which Political Party's Policies Boost Investment in America, Again? https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/which-political-partys-policies-boost-investment-in-america-again.html: 'Suppose you were a stranger to humanity, and looked at this graph of trends in the investment share of output under various administrations. Would you then credit the claim that the red-presidents political party was dedicated to boosting investment in America, and that the blue-presidents political party was dedicated to sacrificing investment and growth to achieve egalitarian redistributional social goals? No...

  4. Marx's Capital: Part VII: The Accumulation of Capital https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/marxs-capital-part-vii-the-accumulation-of-capital.html: 4.3) Part VII: The Accumulation of Capital: 4.3.1. The Bourgeoisie Is the Ruling Class: This is where the book starts to sing (to me, at least). The first important thing I get out of Part VII is that, to quote from the Communist Manifesto, “the executive of the modern state is a committee for managing the affairs of the _business class”. Wealth speaks loudly, and influences the government to arrange things for the convenience of wealth—to keep wages low, and workers available... https://www.icloud.com/pages/0howtV7CndvjkSCCLmtjmq_SA...

  5. Lecture Notes: Smith, Marx, Keynes: Thanksgiving 2019 DRAFT https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/lecture-notes-smith-marx-keynes-thanksgiving-2019-draft.html: I have finished (a draft of) my "Smith, Marx, Keynes" lecture notes—well, I have not written 7.6 and 8.2. For 7.6, I have simply dumped in (much of) Paul Krugman's Mr. Keynes and the Moderns. 8.2 I have not written anything on. But what it is, it is... https://www.icloud.com/pages/0howtV7CndvjkSCCLmtjmq_SA And the course slides: https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0osOOsPvSrTaiK4__D5MghPVA...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (December 1, 2019)

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**MUST OF THE MUSTS:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving! https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/11/happy-thanksgiving.html https://youtu.be/rVQqQuOO9yQ...

  2. Abraham Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this...

  3. Timothy B. Lee: No, Apple Isn’t Opening a New Manufacturing Plant in Texas https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/11/trump-brags-he-opened-apples-texas-mac-pro-plant-it-opened-in-2013/: '“I opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas,” Trump wrote Wednesday.... Trump echoed that theme in a tweet after the tour. "Today I opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America," he wrote.... It's technically owned by Apple contractor Flex, not Apple.... More important, it's not new. Apple has been building the Mac Pro at the same location since 2013. Apple is opening a new facility in Austin—a 3 million-square-foot office complex where Apple says its employees will perform... "engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support".... But that new facility isn't a manufacturing plant. It will create some high-paying jobs, but they'll mostly be white-collar jobs in areas like engineering, finance, and sales...

  4. The book that is going to come out of Ober's 2019 Sather lectures is going to be so great: Josiah Ober: Agamemnon’s Cluelessness: Economic Rationality and the Alternatives https://tinyurl.com/dl20191121: 'Among the many goals of Politics book 1 is to put chrêmatistikê—as expert knowledge of a particular relationship among production (poiêsis), exchange (allangê/metablêtikê), and consumption/possession (ktêsis), all characteristically involving coined money—into the normatively correct place in his naturalized hierarchy of value. The critical conclusion is that chrêmatistikê (or one specific type of chrêmatistikê) is a subordinate part of oikonomia. It is not “according to nature” (kata phusin) but rather a technê arising from practical experience (empeiria) . It aims the possession and increase of wealth, at accumulation of money, as an end. That accumulation is by its internal logic unbounded and unconstrained, insofar as wealth denominated in monetary terms has no natural limit. Chrêmatistikê thus is a matter of maximizing a single resource (one thought to give access to all other resources), rather than optimizing or satisficing in respect to other values. It is at once contrary to the true end of human existence, a prevalent approach to the management of material goods, and (at least potentially) an essential instrument for both the oikonomos and the politikos. Among the delicate tasks of book 1 of the Politics is, then, to demonstrate that Aristotle knows enough about this dangerous and vulgar (phortikon) instrument to specify its proper uses, while avoiding appearing to honor it as a science worthy of a detailed treatment...

  5. John Maynard Keynes: View of the Pre-World War I European Equilibrium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/11/john-maynard-keyness-view-of-the-pre-world-war-i-european-equilibrium.html (1919): The Economic Consequences of the Peace https://delong.typepad.com/files/keynes-peace.pdf: 'Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the economic organization by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century. We assume some of the most peculiar and temporary of our late advantages as natural, permanent, and to be depended on, and we lay our plans accordingly. On this sandy and false foundation we scheme for social improvement and dress our political platforms, pursue our animosities and particular ambitions...

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

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

MUST OF THE MUSTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings (October 20, 2019)...

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

Must of the Musts:

  • Why am I hearing "very fine people on both sides!"? here: Robert Knight: Letters · LRB: Globalists: "Alexander Zevin writes that Friedrich Hayek opposed the use of sanctions against apartheid, and ‘confided to his secretary that he liked blacks no better than Jews’ (LRB, 15 August). The antisemitic antecedents of National Socialism are conspicuous by their absence in The Road to Serfdom; if we assume the manuscript was completed in 1943, it almost completely ignores a decade of antisemitic persecution and four years of Nazi war crimes and atrocities. In the Spectator in January 1947 Hayek attacked the ‘blunders’ of denazification in Austria, including the suspension of violinists from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra because they had been Nazi party members. It was, he wrote, ‘scarcely easier to justify the prevention of a person from fiddling because he was a Nazi than the prevention because he is a Jew’...

  • BREXIT!!!!!: Hugh Mannerings: "I'm not saying there wasn't a Democratic mandate for Brexit at the time. I'm just saying if I narrowly decided to order fish at a restaurant that was known for chicken, but said it was happy to offer fish, and so far I've been waiting three hours, and two chefs who promised to cook the fish had quit, and the third one is promising to deliver the fish in the next five minutes whether it's cooked or not, or indeed still alive, and all the waiting staff have spent the last few hours arguing amongst themselves about whether I wanted battered cod, grilled salmon, jellied deals, or dolphin kebabs, and if large parts of the restaurant appeared to be on fire, but no one was paying attention to it because they were all arguing about fish, I would like, just once, to be asked if I definitely still wanted the fish...

  • Once again, we have a piece by an impressively credentialed academic Republican economists that seems to me to have... no contact with reality. There is no economist I know of save for Robert Barro who has ever said or implied that the "neutral" real interest rate today is the same 2.4% that the average real interest rate was from 1986-2008. To the contrary, there has been a very long and active discussion—led over the past two decades by current New York Fed President John Williams—about how far the "neutral" rate has fallen, and how persistent that fall will be. And one conclusion of that debate has been that the current real federal funds rate of "only 0.7%" does indeed look "high" by some important metrics. So why would anyone write as thought this literature does not exist?: Robert J. Barro: Is Politics Getting to the Fed?: "One could infer the normal rate from the average federal funds rate over time. Between January 1986 and August 2008, it was 4.9%, and the average inflation rate was 2.5%...

  • My friend Jason Furman keeps telling me that the Obama Administration sincerely sought throughout its tenure in office to boost employment in America via expansionary fiscal policy. I agree that Jason did. But the administration? No. When Jason and company could win internal fights, yes. But otherwise the Obama Administration seemed to me to be focused on winning the day's media narrative, and if dingbat kabuki moves that were destructive of employment growth could attain that daily goal, they were gleefully and joyfully embraced—even if they were pointlessly cruel to those4 on whom the success of the Obama Administration rested. For example: Jack Lew (November 29, 2010): Tightening Our Belts https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2010/11/29/tightening-our-belts: "The freeze will apply to all civilian federal employees.... This pay freeze is not a reflection on their fine work. It is a reflection of the fiscal reality that we face: just as families and businesses across the nation have tightened their belts, so must the federal government...

  • There have been many disruptions of the functioning of the discursive public sphere by new communications technologies. The most recent significant one was the early-twentieth century disruption by radio. The very sharp and witty Maciej Ceglowski provides us with a brief introduction: Maciej Ceglowski: Legends of the Ancient Web: "It doesn't take long for politically talented people to discover how to use radio for their own ends. One of these early pioneers in the United States is Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and early religious broadcaster who notices that his angry rants on political topics net him a much bigger audience than his discourses on religion. By the middle of the 1930's, Coughlin has an active audience of ten million tuning in to hear him rail against against bankers and international conspiracies, in a way that sounds uncomfortably familiar in 2017. Here's Father Coughlin at the top of his game, yelling about banks...

  • Project Syndicate: No, We Don’t “Need” a Recession https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/no-we-dont-need-a-recession-by-j-bradford-delong-project-syndicate.html: "It was not uncommon for commentators to argue for a “needed” recession before the big one hit in 2008-2010. But I, for one, assumed that this claim was a decade dead. Who in 2019 could say with a straight face that a recession and high unemployment under conditions of low inflation would be a good thing? Apparently, I was wrong. The argument turns out to be an example of what Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman calls a “zombie idea … that should have died long ago in the face of evidence or logic, but just keeps shambling forward, eating peoples’ brains.” Clearly, those who claim to welcome recessions have never looked at the data. If they did, they would understand that beneficial structural changes to the economy occur during booms, not during busts...

  • Hoisted from the Archives from 2010: Perhaps. And Sometimes https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/perhaps-and-sometimes-cato-unbound.html: That Sherwood Forest is illegible to the Sheriff of Nottingham allows Robin of Locksley and Maid Marian to survive. But that is just a stopgap. In the final reel of Ivanhoe the fair Rebecca must be rescued from the unworthy rogue Templar Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (and packed offstage to marry some young banker or rabbi), the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Guy of Gisborne must receive their comeuppance, the proper property order of Nottinghamshire must be restored, and Wilfred must marry the fair Rowena–and all this is accomplished by making Sherwood Forest and Nottinghamshire legible to the true king, Richard I “Lionheart” Plantagenet, and then through his justice and good lordship...

  • Comment of the Day: Harold Carmel on March of the Peacocks https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_harold-carmel_-in-paul-krugman-march-of-the-peacocks-as-prof-delong-has-often-pointed-out-obam.html: "Obama's turn toward austerity in that SOTU was a very dumb policy idea.... Obama presented himself as post-partisan and thought the Republicans would reciprocate. How did that work out?...

  • Comment of the Day: Phil Koop on Quantum Supremacy https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_phil-koop_-on-quantum-supremacy-in-reply-to-kaleberg-your-objection-is-mistaken-as-scott-aaronso.html: "Scott Aaronson explains: 'You don’t get to arbitrarily redefine whatever random chemical you find in the wild to be a “computer for simulating itself.” Under any sane definition, the superconducting devices that Google, IBM, and others are now building are indeed “computers”...

  • Comment of the Day: _Ebenezer Scrooge on Stanford Week: _ https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_ebenezer-scrooge_-in-stanford-week-the-formula-for-succeeding-as-an-undergrad-at-an-enormous-stat.html: "The formula for succeeding as an undergrad at an enormous state university is to pretend you're a grad student, and dive into a department full time. You're likely to get a decent mentor and adequate support, so you can ignore the bureaucratic madness...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (October 11, 2019)

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  • An Outtake from "Slouching Toward Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century": The Shadow https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/the-shadow-an-outtake.html_: German academic Max Weber... was a German liberal... believer in one-man, one-vote rather than gerrymandered electorates and noble estates, a believer in responsible government by ministers responsible to elected legislatures rather than the whim of hereditary princes, a believer in progress and peace. Yet Max Weber was terrified of the threat to the German nation posed by barefoot hungry Poles. He said, completely seriously: "The German character of the East[ern provinces of Prussia]... should be protected... [by] the economic policy of the state…. Under the semblance of ‘peace’… German peasants and day-labourers… are getting the worst of it in the silent and dreary struggle of everyday economic existence... abandoning their homeland to a race... on a lower level... a dark future in which they will sink without trace." To Weber, the real name for “peace” was “race war”--and there could be no true peace, not ever...

  • How Damaging Is Plutocracy for Economic Policy? https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/economic-policy-response.html_: Big money does not always find a way, nor does its influence necessarily increase as the top 0.01% captures a larger share of total income.... The larger issue...is an absence of alternative voices. If the 2010s had been anything like the 1930s, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conference Board would have been aggressively calling for more investment in America, and these arguments would have commanded the attention of the press. Labor unions would have had a prominent voice as advocates for a high-pressure economy. Both would have had very powerful voices inside the political process through their support of candidates. Did the top 0.01% put something in the water to make the media freeze out such voices after 2008?...

  • Listening to Arsonists https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/listening-to-arsonists-by-j-bradford-delong-project-syndicate.html_: Alan Simpson... was a noted budget arsonist when he was in the Senate.... He never met a budget-busting, deficit-increasing initiative from a Republican president that he would not lead the charge to pass. Nor did he ever meet a sober deficit-reducing initiative from a Democratic president that he did not oppose with every fiber of his being. You don’t pick an arsonist to head the fire department, I thought when Obama named him co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform...

  • My Job as the Economist Here Is to Do the Numbers... https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/council-on-foreign-relations-_the-future-of-democracy-symposiumhttpswwwcfrorgeventfuture-democracy-symposium_-1-1.html_: That the American economy over the past forty years has not been delivering substantially rising living standards for everybody—that means that the market’s failure to deliver these other forms of nonproperty rights becomes the source of—call it economic anxiety—a big potential problem...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Income and Wealth Distribution, or, Watching Professional Republicans Sell Their Souls Back in 1992 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/income-and-wealth-distribution-or-watching-professional-republicans-sell-their-souls-back-in-1992-hoisted-from-the-archive.html: The income distribution came on to the stage that is America's public sphere between February 14 and December 12, 1992. And the rhetoric of "X% of gains in per capita income over years Y-Z went to the top W%-iles of the income distribution" became a one in American political-economic discourse over that time period as well...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (October 4 , 2019)

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Musts of the Musts:

  1. Podcast: Trump's Impact on the Economy https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/09/cottogottfried-_what-happens-to-americas-economy-if-trump-is-reelected-brad-delong-explains_-donald-trump-if-he.html: Cotto/Gottfried: What Happens to America's Economy If Trump Is Reelected? Brad DeLong Explains: "Donald Trump... if he manages to secure a second term, what would four more years of his presidency mean for America's economy? Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Brad DeLong, who now is an economics professor at UC Berkeley, addresses this hugely important question¸—and much more—on 'Cotto/Gottfried.'... See more episodes here: https://wtcgcottogottfried.blogspot.com/. San Francisco Review of Books main page: http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com...

  2. Steve M.: We Might Have Impeachment Now Because They Found a Way to Make It Centrist https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2019/09/we-might-have-impeachment-now-because.html: "A couple of days ago I predicted that the Ukraine whistleblower story wouldn't amount to anything, because of Nancy Pelosi's fear of a left-centrist voter backlash against impeachment and because rank-and-file voters aren't likely to understand what the fuss is about. And yet now we're being told that impeachment seems 'almost inevitabl'. What changed? There's no polling evidence I know of.... There's no reason to believe that even a single Republican in Congress will support impeachment or vote to convict in the Senate. (Mitt Romney's words are characteristically mealy-mouthed: "If the President asked or pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme." And I swear I can hear Susan Collins quietly wringing her hands somewhere off in the distance.) Yet impeachment is on the table now. Why? Nancy Pelosi is still the same person she was a week ago, when impeachment was being slow-walked at her insistence. Pelosi still fears Republicans and Reagan Democrat, Obama/Trump voters in Michigan diners. But she's accepting this because now she can sell the pursuit as centrist. It's about global stability and international alliances. If you want to use the term, Trump is being accused of high crimes and misdemeanors in a neoliberal way...

  3. Berkeley Social Science: Authors Meet Critics: The Populist Temptation _ http://matrix.berkeley.edu/event/authors-meet-critics-populist-temptation: "Please join us on October 3, 2019 at 4pm for a book talk featuring: Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics & Political Science, UC Berkeley; Paul Pierson, Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley; Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley. Barry Eichengreen’s book, _The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era, places the global resurgence of populism in a deep historical context. It argues that populists tend to thrive in the wake of economic downturns, when it is easy to convince the masses of elite malfeasance. While bankers, financiers, and ‘bought’ politicians are partly responsible, populists’ own solutions tend to be simplistic and economically counterproductive. By arguing that ordinary people are at the mercy of extra-national forces beyond their control, populists often degenerate into demagoguery and xenophobia. Eichengreen posits that interventions must begin with shoring up and improving the welfare state so that it is better able to act as a buffer for those who suffer most during economic slumps. In discussing his book, Eichengreen will be engaging two eminent colleagues: Paul Pierson, a renowned specialist in populism, social theory, and political economy, and Brad DeLong, a distinguished economist who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Clinton Administration and is currently a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. This talk is presented as part of Social Science Matrix's new "Authors Meet Critics" book series, which features lively discussions about recently published books by social scientists at UC Berkeley...

  4. Kevin Drum: Remember What Ukrainegate Is About https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/09/remember-what-ukrainegate-is-about/: "Ukrainegate is about Donald Trump holding military assistance hostage unless a foreign leader agreed to help him win an election. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this has never happened before.... Nothing that was said—or yelled or tweeted—over the weekend has changed this...

  5. Duncan Black: Just Like Any Other President https://www.eschatonblog.com/2019/09/just-like-any-other-president.html: "I can imagine the conversations in newsrooms when Trump became president. They aren't all that stupid. "How are we supposed to cover this freak show of a man?" And the answer they came to is "we cover it like we cover any other presidency." But that's not what they've done, even if they think it is. They aren't covering Trump as they would've covered Obama or even George W. Bush. Pretending everything is normal is not normal coverage. Normally "tan suits" are enough to cause a freakout....

  6. And so the cruelty of U.S. immigration policy has now touched me personally. Maria Isabel Bueso is the sister of one of my daughter's friends from high school. It appears to have taken the personal intervention of at least on U.S. senator to get INS to at least reconsider whether it really wants to be pointlessly cruel. And, after watching this story unfold, I can no longer push back against those who claim that, as far as current U.S. immmigration policy is concerned, the cruelty is the point. I had been pushing back, but no more: Farida Jhabvala Romero: Feds to Reconsider Case of Bay Area Woman Getting Lifesaving Treatment Who Faces Deportation https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/09/feds-to-reconsider-case-of-bay-area-woman-getting-lifesaving-treatment-who-faces-deportation-the-california-report-kqed-n.html: "Maria Isabel Bueso has overcome many challenges as a result of the debilitating genetic disease she was born with that eventually left her confined to a wheelchair, breathing through a device and reliant upon weekly treatments to survive. She trained to become a dance teacher and now is an instructor, and she graduated summa cum laude from California State University, East Bay—where she set up a scholarship fund for students with disabilities. She also advocates for people with her disease and other rare illnesses, traveling to Washington, D.C., to lobby for medical research. Now, Bueso is fighting for her life once more. Immigration authorities previously told her and her family to leave the U.S. by mid-September—or face deportation to her home country of Guatemala...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (September 28, 2019)

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Five Super-Musts:

  1. Remember: the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut did absolutely nothing to boost investment in America, and thus has no supply-side positive effects on economic growth. And it is another upward jump in inequality: Greg Leiserson: U.S. Inequality and Recent Tax Changes: "Slides from a presentation by Greg Leiserson for a panel 'U.S. Inequality and Recent Tax Changes' hosted by the Society of Government Economists on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. In the presentation, Leiserson argues that the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase disparities in economic well-being, after-tax income, and pre-tax income...

  2. Very wise start-of-the-semester advice: Harry Brighouse: Advice for New College Students: "Bear in mind that while there’s such a thing as getting into too much debt, there’s also such a thing as working too many hours. Seek balance (Finding it is easier said than done). Choose classes on the following bases: does the subject interest you?; how big is the class? (seek out small classes even if you are shy; especially if you are shy, because that’s how you’ll learn not to be); how good is the professor? How do you know who’s a good professor?... Do they engage?... Are they open to a full range?... Do they make you write a lot? (if so, that’s a positive, not a negative) Do they seem to enjoy teaching?... Find out from your friends. Or from your enemies if that’s the best you can do!...

  3. I would say that Martin Wolf grossly understates his point here. It is not just that the case for a sane globalism remains strong. Rather, the case for a sane globalism has never been stronger and grows stronger every day. With each passing day, the world needs more and more powerful international public goods in order to remain healthy and sane, and only globalists have a chance of providing them: Martin Wolf: The Case for Sane Globalism Remains Strong: "We are now close to eliminating extreme human destitution.... The decline in the proportion of humanity living in absolute poverty, to less than 10 per cent, is a huge achievement. I make no excuses for continuing to support policies and programmes, including trade-oriented development, that helped accomplish this. The notion that it may be necessary to thwart the economic rise of non-western countries, in order to cement western domination, is, in my view, an abomination.... The range of public goods we now need has vastly increased, with the complexity of our economies and societies. For the same reason, ever more of those public goods are global.... That is why the victors of the second world war decided to create effective international institutions. They had experienced unbridled national sovereignty. The outcome had been catastrophic. Nothing since then has rendered global co-operation less essential.... [On] the interface between the global and the national... we have gone too far in some areas and done too little in others.... The globalisation of finance has arguably gone too far.... [But] liberal trade has not been a dominant source of rising inequality within countries. Meanwhile, areas where global co-operation has not gone far enough include business taxation and the environment. The final and perhaps most important of all challenges is containing the natural human tendency to scapegoat foreigners for failures of domestic policy and cleavages among domestic interests.... Blaming ills on foreigners may be a successful diversionary tactic. It is also highly destructive. We must think and act globally. We have no alternative...

  4. John Scalzi: 21 Years of Whatever: "Whatever exists today for the same reason it began existing 21 years ago, which is, I wanted a place to write about things. The formula hasn’t really wavered in all that time; I write about the things I want to write about, when I want to write about them, for whatever length I feel like writing about them for. Sometimes I’m ambitious and post several times a day; other times I’ll post once a day and sometimes skip a day or two (or more). When I’m writing a book, I tend to post less. When I’m not, I’ll post more. I don’t take requests, unless I do. And so on. Also, you know: I write here because I just plain like this site. This is, in more ways than one, my house and a reflection of me. I like how I’ve built it over the years and I like what it does. I like I have a place to say what I want to say. I like that I have a place where others occasionally come by to visit. I like that those people seem to like it too. So, I’ll keep at it some more. Let’s see what happens from here...

  5. Quantum supremacy! We were all but certain that it would come. I mean, after all, leaves. A leaf is a solar panel attached to quantum computers attached to energy-storage mechanisms that does things no "classical" solar-panel-plus battery could do. But that it is coming so soon is interesting: John Timmer: Paper Leaks Showing a Quantum Computer Doing Something a Supercomputer Can’t https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/09/paper-leaks-showing-a-quantum-computer-doing-something-a-supercomputer-cant/: "This hardware is not the makings of a general-purpose quantum computer... you can trust. We needed error-corrected qubits before these results; we still need them after. And it's possible to argue that this was less 'performing a computation' than simply 'repeatedly measuring a quantum system to get a probability distribution'. But that seriously understates what's going on here.... There is simply no way to get that probability distribution using a classical computer. With this system, we can get it in under 10 minutes.... There's no obvious barrier to scaling up quantum computations. The hard part is the work needed to set a certain number of qubits in a specific state and then entangle them.... Recognizing the error rate, however, the researchers suggest that we're not seeing the dawn of quantum computing, but rather what they call 'Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum technologies'.... This particular system's only obvious use is to produce a validated random number generator...

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John Scalzi: 21 Years of Whatever: "Whatever exists today for the same reason it began existing 21 years ago, which is, I wanted a place to write about things. The formula hasn’t really wavered in all that time; I write about the things I want to write about, when I want to write about them, for whatever length I feel like writing about them for. Sometimes I’m ambitious and post several times a day; other times I’ll post once a day and sometimes skip a day or two (or more). When I’m writing a book, I tend to post less. When I’m not, I’ll post more. I don’t take requests, unless I do. And so on. Also, you know: I write here because I just plain like this site. This is, in more ways than one, my house and a reflection of me. I like how I’ve built it over the years and I like what it does. I like I have a place to say what I want to say. I like that I have a place where others occasionally come by to visit. I like that those people seem to like it too. So, I’ll keep at it some more. Let’s see what happens from here....

Continue reading "" »


Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (August 7-August 13, 2019)

stacks and stacks of books

MUST OF THE MUSTS: J. Bradford De Long and Lawrence H. Summers: Equipment Investment and Economic Growth: "We use disaggregated data from the United Nations International Comparison Project and the Penn World Table to examine the association between different components of investment and economic growth over 1960–85. We find that producers’ machinery and equipment has a very strong association with growth: in our cross section of nations each percent of GDP invested in equipment raises GDP growth rate by 1/3 of a percentage point per year. This is a much stronger association than can be found between any of the other components. We interpret this association as revealing that the marginal product of equipment is about 30 percent per year. The cross nation pattern of equipment prices, quantities, and growth is consistent with the belief that countries with rapid growth have favorable supply conditions for machinery and equipment. The pattern is not consistent with the belief that some third factor both pushes up the rate of growth and increases the demand for machinery and equipment...

 

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (August 15, 2019)

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  1. Wikipedia: Charlie Dent

  2. Duncan Black: Healthy Country: "I really don't see a way forward which isn't 'no deal Brexit' though no deal Brexit isn't a real thing. It just means 'we didn't bother to solve all the problems we have to start solving piece by piece now'...

  3. Appian: The Macedonian Wars: "Flamininus came into conference with Philip a second time at the Malian gulf.... The Greeks asked the Roman Senate to require Philip to remove from their country the three garrisons which he called 'the fetters of Greece': the one at Chalcis, which threatened the Boeotians, the Euboeans, and the Locrians; the one at Corinth, which closed the door of the Peloponnese; and the third at Demetrias, which lay, as it were, in ambush for the Aetolians and the Magnesians. The Senate asked Philip's ambassadors what the king's views were respecting the garrisons. When they answered that they did not know, the Senate said that Flamininus should decide the question and do what he considered just. So the ambassadors took their departure from Rome. Flamininus and Philip, being unable to come to any agreement, resumed hostilities...

  4. Simon Wren-Lewis: There Is No Mandate for No Deal

  5. Wikipedia: Ferghana horse

  6. Visit Faroe Islands

  7. Wikipedia: War of the Heavenly Horses: "The War of the Heavenly Horses or the Han–Dayuan war was a military conflict fought in 104 BC and 102 BC between the Chinese Han dynasty and Dayuan (in Central Asia, around Uzbekistan, east of Persia). The result was Han victory...

  8. Paul Krugman (1987): Adjustment in the World Economy

  9. Fred Hoyle: Ossian's Ride

  10. Wikipedia: Li Bai: "Li Bai, Li Po, Li Bo, Ri Haku have been all used in the West, but are all written with the same characters. His given name, (白), is romanized by variants such as Po, Bo, Bai, Pai. In Hanyu Pinyin, reflecting modern Mandarin Chinese, the main, colloquial equivalent for this character is Bái; Bó is the literary variant and is commonly used...

  11. Squawk Box: Business, Politics, Investors and Traders: "'Squawk Box' is the ultimate 'pre-market' morning news and talk program, where the biggest names in business and politics tell their most important stories. Anchored by Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin, the show brings Wall Street to Main Street. It's a 'must see' for everyone from the professional trader to the casual investor...

  12. Sidewalk Street Food

  13. The Art of the Lingnan School, 嶺南畫派的繪畫藝術

  14. Steve Jobs *(2007): Introducing The iPhone At MacWorld 2007

  15. Michael Pettis: Real Growth in China is Less than Half of Reported Growth

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (August 11, 2019)

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  • Reflections 11 Years After the Crash: As long as people were confident that the 500 billion of bad mortgage debt would ultimately land on somebody who could absorb it, the only thing that would make a bad recession was if people anticipated a bad recession. And with no Lehman panic—if Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner had not caused everybody to say quote what the fuck is going on" by allowing Lehman's bankruptcy uncontrolled and then justifying their actions by claiming that they were forbidden by law to support a too-big-to-fail institution that was insolvent and not just illiquid... Without that, no reason to fear even as bad as the S&L crisis...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: August 9, 2019: There was essentially no news about real GDP last week: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York nowcast continues to stand at 1.6% for 2019:Q3. We did see another fifteen basis points of market easing at the long end of the yield. Curve: the 10-Year TIPS yield is now 0.09%. And that, of course, makes equity stock market investments a deal. Patrick Chovanec is worth reading...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: A Now-Extended Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Website Design

  • DeLong Smackdown: Why I Was Wrong Over 2006-2010...: Let me say what things I was "expecting," in the sense of anticipating that it was they were both likely enough and serious enough that public policymakers should be paying significant attention to guarding the risks that it would create...

  • Note to Self: We know that big data can find correlations. We thus fear people will then use those correlations to hack our brains for their profit or advantage—and for our loss.... On the other hand... Big Ad Data is not smart enough to figure out: "although this internet identity is associated with this credit card number, the person surfing the web right now is not the person who buys the bras"...

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

  • Note to Self: Why was Jonathan Weisman's economic policy reporting for the Washington Post so execrable back in the mid-2000s? A person who was, as they say, very, very, very, very, very familiar with the matter: "Jonathan's big problem is that he's not that deep into the issues, and he has no backup. There's nobody that he can go to in that building to tell him 'this was how X was trying to mislead you' or 'this is Y's history' or 'be very careful here: if you get this detail Z wrong, they'll come down on you extremely hard'"...

  • Note to Self: For programming and Python Jupyter Notebook νBs, who are wondering what they are getting themselves into: Programming Dos and Don'ts: A Running List...

  • Looking Backward: From This Week at 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 31-August 6, 2019): MUST OF THE MUSTS: James M. Buchanan: The "Social" Efficiency of Education: You have to be able to hold in your mind two things at once in order to understand economist James M. Buchanan: (1) He was a total loon: a strong believer in the de Maistrean trinity of Patriarchy, Orthodoxy, Autocracy as necessary for society—essential Noble Lies; a man who in 1970 wanted to shut down America's universities as teachers of evil, and regretted the failure of nerve that made that impossible; a man who saw Martin Luther King Jr. as a teacher of evil—whose response to the Civil Rights movement and its peaceful civil disobedience campaign was not Edmund Burke's "to make us love our country, our country must be lovely", but rather: how dare MLK claim that an African American should be "openly encouraged to use his own conscience"—rather than shutting up and accepting his subservient Jim Crow position in society! (2) A man who saw things that other economists did not and would not have without him...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 9, 2018:

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "You get what you reward, and the present mechanism of reward is advertising, fundamentally aligned with increasing people's insecurity so as to increase their likelihood of making a purchase to address that insecurity...

  • Comment of the Day: Cosma Shalizi: ":I have used Google as pretty much my only search engine since it became available.... Google should thus have a very complete idea of what I'm interested in.... I can, with charity, understand 'homemaking and interior decor' (because I'd been researching new window blinds), and 'pet food and supplies' (though my cat had died more than a year before). Everything else was just flat wrong, and often mystifyingly so...

  • Comment of the Day: Doctor Jay: "I'm very much not getting what I want out of social media. I very much AM getting what I want out of internet search...

  • For the Weekend: J.R.R. Tolkien (1925): Light as Leaf on Linden Tree:

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cynegils: "A.D. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus at Dorchester; and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was his sponsor. A.D. 636. This year King Cwichelm was baptized at Dorchester, and died the same year. Bishop Felix also preached to the East-Angles the belief of Christ...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Erkenbert: ""A.D. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester, and received him as his son...


  1. Brian Chappatta: Trump Risks Losing the Fed as a Recession Scapegoat: "The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to account for a 'simmering' trade war. Then the president turned up the heat and put a downturn in play himself. The market signal for a recession is blinking fast and Trump has only himself to blame. The markets have spoken. If they are to be believed, the potential for a U.S. recession has never been greater in the post-crisis era than it is right now. That’s a problem for President Donald Trump because after the events of the past few days, it should be clear that he has effectively forfeited the ability to use the Federal Reserve as a scapegoat for any economic slowdown, an angle he was clearly prepared to play...

  2. Jeremy R. Hammond: The Lies that Led to the Iraq War and the Myth of 'Intelligence Failure'

  3. Jonathan Stein and Tim Dickinson: Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq: "Mushroom clouds, duct tape, Judy Miller, Curveball. Recalling how Americans were sold a bogus case for invasion...

  4. Hubert Horan: Uber’s Path of Destruction: "Uber has disrupted... the idea that competitive consumer and capital markets will maximize overall economic welfare by rewarding companies with superior efficiency.... Uber’s most important innovation has been to produce staggering levels of private wealth without creating any sustainable benefits for consumers, workers, the cities they serve, or anyone else...

  5. Yereth Rosen: Record-Low Sea Ice in July Sets Up Conditions For an Ultra-Low Minimum Extent This Fall: "Sea ice extent in September of 2019 is likely to be among the five lowest minimums recorded...

  6. Patrick Chovanec: U.S. Market and Economic Review—August 2019

  7. Kieran Healy: Frank Oz Muppets and the Big Five Personality Traits

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 9, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth and Friends:

  1. J. Bradford DeLong: The Ahistorical Federal Reserve: "Economic developments over the past 20 years have taught–or ought to have taught–the US Federal Reserve four lessons. Yet the Fed’s current policy posture raises the question of whether it has internalized any of them.... The proper inflation target... should be 4% per year.... The two slope[s of] the Phillips Curve... are smaller.... Yield-curve inversion... monetary policy is too tight.... Principal shocks have not been inflationary...

  2. Mark Paul, Khaing Zaw, Darrick Hamilton, and William Darity Jr.: Returns in the labor market: A nuanced view of penalties at the intersection of race and gender - Equitable Growth: "Multiple identities cannot readily be disaggregated in an additive fashion. Instead, the penalties associated with the combination of two or more socially marginalized identities interact in multiplicative or quantitatively nuanced ways...

  3. Raymond Fisman, Keith Gladstone, Ilyana Kuziemko, and Suresh Naidu: Do Americans want to tax capital? Evidence from online surveys: "Our regression results yield roughly linear desired tax rates on income of about 14 percent... positive desired wealth taxation... three percent when the source of wealth is inheritance, far higher than the 0.8 percent rate when wealth is from savings.... These tax rates are consistent with reasonable parameterizations of recent theoretical optimal wealth tax formulae...

  4. Equitable Growth: #JOLTS: "The quit rate... historically high level.... The ratio of unemployment-to-job openings trended upward slightly in June to just under 1.0.... The Beveridge Curve continues to be at levels similar to those in the expansion of the early 2000s...

  5. Bridget Ansel and Heather Boushey (2017): Modernizing U.S. Labor Standards for 21st-Century Families: "Boosting women’s economic outcomes [via] paid family leave, fair scheduling, and combatting wage discrimination...

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Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 31-August 6, 2019)

stacks and stacks of books

MUST OF THE MUSTS: James M. Buchanan: The "Social" Efficiency of Education: You have to be able to hold in your mind two things at once in order to understand economist James M. Buchanan: (1) He was a total loon: a strong believer in the de Maistrean trinity of Patriarchy, Orthodoxy, Autocracy as necessary for society—essential Noble Lies; a man who in 1970 wanted to shut down America's universities as teachers of evil, and regretted the failure of nerve that made that impossible; a man who saw Martin Luther King Jr. as a teacher of evil—whose response to the Civil Rights movement and its peaceful civil disobedience campaign was not Edmund Burke's "to make us love our country, our country must be lovely", but rather: how dare MLK claim that an African American should be "openly encouraged to use his own conscience"—rather than shutting up and accepting his subservient Jim Crow position in society! (2) A man who saw things that other economists did not and would not have without him...

 

Continue reading "Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 31-August 6, 2019)" »


A Now-Extended Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Website Design: Hoisted from the Archives

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Hoisted from the Archives: A Now-Extended Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Website Design: What I, at least, regard as an interesting discussion in the comments to my A Very Brief Sokratic Dialogue on Website Redesign: From that post:

Platon: Five requirements?

Sokrates: Yes.... The stream... so... who want to either read what is new or to treat the site as a weblog--that is, have a sustained engagement and conversation with the website considered as a Turing-class hivemind--can do so.... The front-end... to give each piece of content a visually-engaging and subhead-teaser informative welcome mat.... The syndication... to propagate the front-end cards out to Twitter and Facebook.... The stock... a pathway... by which people can pull things written in the past... relevant... to their concerns today.... The grammar: The visually-interesting and subhead-teaser front-end... needs to lead the people who would want to and enjoy engaging with the content to actually do so.... [But,] as William Goldman says, nobody knows anything.

Platon: Is there anybody whose degree of not-knowingness is even slightly less than the degree of not-knowingness of the rest of us?...

Sokrates: My guess... http://www.vox.com--Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell and company--are most likely to be slightly less not-knowing than the rest of us....

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (August 5, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: August 2, 2019: "These past two weeks have seen three pieces of real news that have altered the outlook: it is not true to say that little has changed: (1) A large twenty basis-point reduction in ten-year Treasury interest rates. (2) Trump's relaunching and intensification of his trade war. (3) New data pushing down out our estimate of the level of manufacturing production in the third quarter of 2019 by almost a full percentage point. Nevertheless, the United States is not in or even likely to be on the verge of a recession. Germany, however, appears to be in recession... #macro #forecasting #highlighted #2019-08-02

  • A Smart Approach to China-U.S. Relations: "Compared to Holland and Britain when they were global hyperpowers pursuing soft landings, how are we doing? The answer has to be: since January 2017, not well at all... #aspen #globalization #highlighted #oranghairedbaboons #strategy #2019-08-02

  • The Blocked Southern and Midwestern Global Warming Conversation: "Yet in the U.S Midwest the factual conversation drawing of the links between climate change—screw it: global warming—global warming and weather disasters that farmers and workers and bosses and power-brokers in Malawi and Mozambique have, farmers and workers and bosses and power-brokers in Davenport, IO, are unwilling even to begin... #aspen #globalwarming #highlighted #orangehairedbaboons #publicsphere #2019-08-01

  • Immigration and American Politics: "I want to thank XXXXXX XXXXXX. I confess I had thought that if the President started putting migrant children in cage, the immediate reaction would not be that this might well be a clever political move. I do have a sense that for a lot of people who know better on the Republican side, they think there's mileage to be gained by characterizing bedrock American values as if they were foreign and "cosmopolitan" values. And it is very nice to hear XXXXXX pushing back... #aspen #globalization #immigration #orangehairedbaboons #politics #2019-07-31

  • Note to Self: Perhaps Britain's Supersession by America Was Not Inevitable...: A Britain more interested in turning into Britons or Canadians the migrating Jews, Poles, Italians, Romanians, and even Turks who do not happen to be named Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson—who bears Turkish Minister of the Interior Ali Kemal's Y and five other chromosomes, and hence is, by all the rules of conservative patriarchy, a Turk— would have been much stronger throughout the twentieth century. Perhaps it would not be in its current undignified position... #aspen #history #notetoself #strategy #2019-08-04

  • Note to Self: Enormous Possibilities in China...: Peng Dehuai... a poem he wrote in 1958 on an inspection tour of the Great Leap Forward famine: Grain scattered on the ground, potato leaves withered;/Strong young people have left to make steel;/Only children and old women reap the crops;/How can they survive the coming year?/Allow me to raise my voice for the people!... #aspen #bravery #economicgrowth #notetoself #orangehariedbaboons #politicaleconomy #2019-08-04

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 2, 2018 #noted #hoistedfromthearchives #equitablegrowth #weblogs #2019-08-01

  • Cat Handling: General Considerations: "The cat is faster and has sharper teeth and claws than you do. It has no 'code of ethics' or consideration for its own future. In a fair fight it will win: 1. DON'T FIGHT A CAT 2. USE YOUR BRAIN 3. USE DRUGS #notetoself #singularity #superintelligence #2019-08-04

  • Monday Smackdown: Fafblog: Condi Rice Complains to Customer Service!: Not even Fafblog can deal with the Bush administration at the appropriate level. However, it is trying. Here Fafnir interviews Condi Rice: RICE: "First of all, we don't send prisoners off to be tortured, Fafnir. We just transport prisoners to countries where torture happens to be legal and where they happen to end up getting tortured." FB: "Well that explains everything then! It's all just a wacky misunderstanding, like that episode a Three's Company where Jack sends Janet off to Uzbekistan to get boiled alive by the secret police." RICE: "I'd also like to point out that whenever we send a prisoner to a country that routinely tortures prisoners, that country promises us NOT to torture them." FB: "And then they get tortured anyway!" RICE: "Yes, they do! It's very strange." FB: "Over and over again, every time! That's gotta be so frustrating." RICE: "Oh it is, it is."... #hoistedfromthearchives #moralresponsibility #mondaysmackdown #neofascism #orangehairedbaboons #torture #strategy #2019-08-05

  • Comment of the Day: Erik Lund: "I especially like the argument from 1949 that Israel had to curtail immigration immediately because there wasn't enough work for the newcomers due to the... wait for it... Labour shortage... #commentoftheday #2019-08-04

  • Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: "By your logic the USA can be number one in 2119 if we defeat the terrible threat not from the PRC but from the GOP. You might have a point there. If you descendants of Mayflower passengers can assimilate Magyars, you can assimilate anyone... #commentoftheday #2019-08-04

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: From Edwin to Osric #2019-08-01

  • Weekend Reading: Samuel Pepys: Diary: Friday 19 July 1667: "'By God,' says he, 'I think the Devil shits Dutchmen'... #history #strategy #weekendreading #2019-08-02

  • Weekend Reading: Maciej Cegloski (2005): A Rocket To Nowhere: "Meanwhile, while the Shuttle has been up on blocks, a wealth of unmanned probes has been doing exactly the kind of exploration NASA considers so important, except without the encumbrance of big hairless monkeys on board... #weekendreading #2019-08-04


  1. Scott Lemieux: When the Republican Party Was Respectable: "This is exactly right. There’s a direct line to be drawn from William Buckley’s defense of Jim Crow to Reagan’s comments to Shelby County to Trump’s comments about Baltimore. They’re all from influential Republican elites, and all reflect the view that black people are not fit for self-governance. Trump is working well within the Reaganite tradition...

  2. UC Berkeley Events Calendar: Yogendra Yadav: Politics after Modi: Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony: Lecture | August 13 | 12-2 p.m. | Stephens Hall, 10 (ISAS Conf. Room)...

  3. Evelyn Cheng and Shirley Tay: China Social Credit System Still in Testing Phase Amid Trials: "The Chinese government is running up against a self-imposed 2020 deadline to formulate a nationwide social credit plan. The proposed system tries to create a standard for tracking individual actions across Chinese society, and rewarding or punishing accordingly...

  4. Altitude Safety 101: Oxygen Levels at High Altitudes: "Altitude (feet): 0 ft.... Effective Oxygen: 20.9%.... 10,000 ft... 14.3%...

  5. Weijian Shan: Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America

  6. Henry Farrell: "@ANewmanforward and my article_ on "weaponized interdependence" has just been published by @Journal_IS and is now available ungated-(link: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/full/10.1162/isec_a_00351). We are really happy to see it officially published, citable etc...

  7. Maciej Ceglowski: Best Practices for Time Travelers

  8. Hunter Blair: It’s not trickling down: New data provides no evidence that the TCJA is working as its proponents claimed it would: "With the TCJA’s corporate rate cut exacerbating decades of rising income inequality, and little evidence to be working as promised, it’s time for its repeal...

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

  10. Timothy L. O'Brien: Trump's Baltimore-Elijah Cummings Racism Is Fine With Republicans: "Trump’s Racism Infests the Republican Party: As his latest foray into bigotry shows, the president is feeling empowered by the lack of opposition from within the GOP...

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 2, 2018

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Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth and Its Network:

  1. Anybody looking back at economic history cannot help but note that female physical autonomy and its absence has played an absolutely huge role. Kate Bahn and company are pulling together the evidence that this is not just history—that it still matters a lot in America today: Kate Bahn: Understanding the link between bodily autonomy and economic opportunity across the United States: "All of these connective threads are examined in a forthcoming paper of mine...

  2. Seattle is pursuing (a version of) social democracy in one metropolitan area. In the 2010s we learned from some of our laboratories of democracy (cough, Kansas, Wisconsin) what really not to do. Will Seattle provide a model for what we should do?: Hilary Wething: Seattle: Paid Sick Leave And Workers’ Earnings Dynamics: "Utilize administrative data from Washington state to study the impact of Seattle’s paid sick time ordinance on:...

  3. Let me welcome Will McGrew, who sends us to a very insightful study of government failure and bureaucratic blockage in the New Orleans school system. Since we economists do not have an effective grammar of government failure, there is a tendency (on my part at least) to somewhat overlook it: Will McGrew: "A timely and necessary piece from Haley Correll: quality public schools should be available to all kids in New Orleans, not just those whose parents have the time, information, and resources to navigate the complex application system..."

  4. In my opinion, Arindrajit Dube is one of the best economists around in figuring out what we should control for and why in order to achieve real econometric identification. The contrasting pole is simply to throw in a bunch of controls until you have produced the numbers you want. In my view, we do not teach what should be controlled for and how enough, so people pick it up on the fly. Arindrajit has picked it up, and is a master: Arindrajit Dube: Minimum wages and the distribution of family incomes in the United States: "I find that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage reduces poverty among the nonelderly population by 2.1 percent and 5.3 percent across the range of specifications in the long run...

  5. Lyndon Johnson said: "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.... It is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.... Equal opportunity is essential, but not enough." However, one of our problems is that that does not seem to be working for even those African-Americans who can and do walk through all of our society's formal and status gates to opportunity: Khaing Zaw, Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Anne Price, Darrick Hamilton, and William Darity, Jr.: A College Degree and Marriage Fail to Yield Significant Wealth Gains for Black Women: "[In] the story of the American Dream... a college education is viewed as a key driver of upward mobility and the primary vehicle to eradicate racial differences...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 2, 2018" »


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

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  • What Is the Federal Reserve Thinking Right Now?: We have no warrant for believing that our models are more knowledgeable right now than the market. And there is pronounced asymmetry here: we can always deal with too-high inflation via tighter money, but it is not obvious what we could do to fix the situation if a negative demand shock were to push the prime-age employment rate down two or four percentage-points. Hence we will validate market expectations and drop our policy rates by 25 basis points at our next meeting. What will follow that... will be data-dependent...

  • Annual Celebration of the John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society!: Dedicated to celebrating the memory of two field commanders who may well have been the worst in history. Drink a toast to John Bell Hood on the 7/28 anniversary of his defeat at Ezra Church.... And drink a toast as well to Max von Gallwitz—perhaps the only Imperial German commander who could have turned the Somme into a draw!...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 26, 2019: Back in late 2017 the Trump Administration, the Republicans in the Congress, and their tame economists were all claiming that passing the Ryan-McConnell-Trump upper-income tax cut would permanently boost investment in America by as much as the Clinton economic program of the 1990s had done, and would do so much more quickly—Clinton program was phased-in over five years, while Ryan-McConnell-Trump was phased-in immediately and had been affecting investment behavior even before it was passed. It is simply not happening...

  • I Want My Country Back!: We really don’t know the consequences of this degree of income inequality: the distribution of income was never this bad before, and it continues to get worse. We did have, in the thirty years before the New Deal, a whipsaw...

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

  • Note to Self: Consider Alasdair Macintyre: In the beginning: boring.... Today: boring.... But in the middle, along the trajectory... what a thinker! what a powerful awareness of the attractiveness of different positions! what deep insights generated by position and opposition...

  • Note to Self: Homer's Odyssey Blogging: "Like Little Birds... They Writhed with Their Feet... But for No Long While...": Is there somebody I should read who has thought deeply and powerfully about these issues?... How do we educate people to read—listen—watch—properly, so that they become their better rather than their worse selves?...

  • Note to Self: A historical question I want answered: What difference did it make for medieval economies—and for the relative prosperity of the Muslim world in the middle ages—that Muhammed was a merchant?...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Karl Marx, First Real Business Cycle Theorist: Nine years ago: Karl Marx, First Real Business Cycle Theorist: We see the affinity between Karl Marx and the Pain Caucus in his notes on crises in Theories of Surplus Value. Negative supply shocks and missed collective guesses on what the extent of the market will be in the future create overaccumulation and overproduction. Marx is very clear that the monetary crisis theorists—like John Stuart Mill—must be wrong, and that the system cannot run itself without crises. In Marx this is one of the reasons why the system is abominable and must be overthrown. For the Pain Caucus the conclusion is opposite: because the system is good crises must be suffered...

  • Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from the Archives: Four Huge Mistakes in One Short Piece by John Taylor: None of those have panned out as intellectual bets. Yet John Taylor today exhibits no visible curiosity as to why they did not. This strongly suggests to me that none of them were meant seriously in the first place—that it was always disinformation, and never an analytical judgment, and thus subject to revision as knowledge advanced...

  • Monday Smackdown: Every Time I Try to Get Out, They Pull Me Back In... Clive Crook Edition: Duncan Black has been reading the once-thoughtful Clive Crook again: Duncan Black http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/07/national-humiliation.html: "People is weird.... [Clive Crook:]... 'Suppose a second referendum was called and the result was Remain; suppose the EU said, "Great, glad to have you back."... This cringing submission would raise instinctive euro-skepticism to new extremes and divide the U.K. even more bitterly... a national humiliation... [that] would surpass the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the country's surrender to trade-union militancy in the 1970s—crushing setbacks with far-reaching political consequences. If there were ever a case of "be careful what you wish for," this is it...' This the thinking that leads to pointless catastrophic wars. Let's shoot ourselves in the face just to prove our gun works...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 24-30, 2019: It is very common to attribute the collapse of Roman Republican institutions and the rise of Imperial dictatorship to a loss of moral virtue on behalf of the Roman electorate—who are supposed to have fallen prey to demagogues and voted for bread-and-circuses as the underlying foundations of liberty collapsed underneath them. That story is not true. Here Sean Elling sends us to Edward Watts on the real story—recently enriched plutocracy breaking political norm after political norm in an attempt to disrupt what had been the normal grievance-redressing operation of the system: Sean Illing: Mortal Republic: Edward Watts on what America can learn from Rome’s collapse...

  • Comment of the Day: Yes, the failure modes of making jam are pretty scary: Graydon on Homer's Odyssey and David Drake's Hammer's Slammers: "I think you're missing the central thing about Drake's writing... which is a vehicle crew...

  • Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: "I disagreed with that analysis in 1980. So did Solow...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for July 26, 2018: TOP MUST REMEMBER: What I call 'Bob Rubin's End-of-Meeting Questions'. Ask them! They really work!: Annie Duke: Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts: "In fact, questioning what you see or hear can get you eaten. For survival-essential skills, type I errors (false positives) were less costly than type II errors (false negatives). In other words, better to be safe than sorry, especially when considering whether to believe that the rustling in the grass is a lion. We didn’t develop a high degree of skepticism when our beliefs were about things we directly experienced, especially when our lives were at stake...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A.D. 617: Edwin the Son of Ella: "A daughter was born to Edwin, whose name was Eanfleda. Then promised the king to Paulinus, that he would devote his daughter to God, if he would procure at the hand of God, that he might destroy his enemy, who had sent the assassin to him. He then advanced against the West-Saxons with an army, felled on the spot five kings, and slew many of their men...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Penda and Edwin: "Archbishop Justus having departed this life on the tenth of November, Honorius was consecrated at Lincoln Archbishop of Canterbury by Paulinus; and Pope Honorius sent him the pall. And he sent an injunction to the Scots, that they should return to the right celebration of Easter...


  1. Charli Carpenter: Summer Vacation in an Age of Concentration Camps, Part 6: "Protest Matters"

  2. Duncan Black: Obummer: "I don't follow Trump's polls. They don't change much. But at best he's no more popular than Obama was, and the press always treated Obama like an unpopular president, not a POLITICAL GENIUS who CONTROLLED THE NARRATIVE...

  3. Scott Lemieux: The Republican War on Rural Voters: "Always remember that ANTI-ELITIST Josh Hawley’s goal is to ensure massive rural hospital closures nationwide by getting Republican hacks in the federal courts to strike down the Affordable Care Act entirely, and marvel that there are actually professional pundits who will swallow his bullshit. The Republican Party is quite literally indifferent to the lives of the white rural voters that are critical to maintaining control of the Senate, White House and Supreme Court...

  4. Andrew Kaczynski: Mike Pence Argued In An Op-Ed That Disney's "Mulan" Was Liberal Propaganda: "'Obviously, this is Walt Disney's attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military', Pence wrote. Obviously...

  5. Jay Rosen: PressThink : "What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes? Part of a call to action for an alternative direction in election coverage, originated by the newsroom improvement company, Hearken, and the research project that I direct, Membership Puzzle Project...

  6. Brett Terpstra: nvALT

  7. Robert Armstrong: True Patriots Aren’t Afraid to Tell the Truth: "The life of French historian Marc Bloch holds sobering lessons for us today...

  8. Lobsta Truck: Serving Lobster Rolls in California

  9. NBER: Solomon M. Hsiang

  10. Abbott Payson Usher: A History of Mechanical Inventions: Revised Edition: "Updated classic explores importance of technological innovation in cultural and economic history of the West. Water wheels, clocks, printing, machine tools, more. "Without peer." — American Scientist... #books

  11. Sam Lau, Joey Gonzalez, and Deb Nolan: Principles and Techniques of Data Science #books

  12. Martina Baras: Lawyer Larry Klayman Should Get License Suspended, Panel Says: "Committee finds rule violations in client representation.... Klayman should be required to prove his fitness to practice as a condition of reinstatement, the Board on Professional Responsibility’s ad hoc hearing committee recommended July 24.... The case is In re Klayman, D.C. Ct. App., Board Docket No. 17-BD-063, Board on Professional Responsibility recommendation 7/24/19...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 31, 2019)" »


Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 24-30, 2019)

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Three Months Ago (April 24-30, 2019):

  • SEDAC: Population Estimation Tools:
     

  • It is very common to attribute the collapse of Roman Republican institutions and the rise of Imperial dictatorship to a loss of moral virtue on behalf of the Roman electorate—who are supposed to have fallen prey to demagogues and voted for bread-and-circuses as the underlying foundations of liberty collapsed underneath them. That story is not true. Here Sean Elling sends us to Edward Watts on the real story—recently enriched plutocracy breaking political norm after political norm in an attempt to disrupt what had been the normal grievance-redressing operation of the system: Sean Illing: Mortal Republic: Edward Watts on what America can learn from Rome’s collapse...

  • Rosa Luxemburg: "Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party... is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.... All that is instructive, wholesome and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effectiveness vanishes when ‘freedom’ becomes a special privilege...

  • Edmund Wilson (1940): Trotsky, History, and Providence: Weekend Reading: "These statements make no sense whatever unless one substitutes for the words history and dialectic of history the words Providence and God.... There sometimes can turn out to be valuable objects cast away in the garbage-pile of history.... From the point of view of the Stalinist Soviet Union, that is where Trotsky himself is today; and he might well discard his earlier assumption that an isolated individual must needs be 'pitiful' for the conviction of Dr. Stockman in Ibsen's Enemy of the People that 'the strongest man is he who stands most alone'...

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

  • Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier: Information Attacks on Democracies: "Democracies, in contrast, are vulnerable to information attacks that turn common political knowledge into contested political knowledge. If people disagree on the results of an election, or whether a census process is accurate, then democracy suffers. Similarly, if people lose any sense of what the other perspectives in society are, who is real and who is not real, then the debate and argument that democracy thrives on will be degraded. This is what seems to be Russia’s aims in their information campaigns against the U.S.: to weaken our collective trust in the institutions and systems that hold our country together. This is also the situation that writers like Adrien Chen and Peter Pomerantsev describe in today’s Russia, where no one knows which parties or voices are genuine, and which are puppets of the regime, creating general paranoia and despair...

 

Continue reading "Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 24-30, 2019)" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for July 26, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: What I call 'Bob Rubin's End-of-Meeting Questions'. Ask them! They really work!: Annie Duke: Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts: "In fact, questioning what you see or hear can get you eaten. For survival-essential skills, type I errors (false positives) were less costly than type II errors (false negatives). In other words, better to be safe than sorry, especially when considering whether to believe that the rustling in the grass is a lion. We didn’t develop a high degree of skepticism when our beliefs were about things we directly experienced, especially when our lives were at stake...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for July 26, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 25, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 19, 2019: We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share. The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong...

  • Monday Smackdown: Batshit Insane American Nat-Cs Department: Intellectual Leading Light Samuel P. Huntington: Apropos of our National Conservatives—our Nat-Cs—here in America today. It is worth remembering how batshit insane is right-wing "class of civilizations" urberguru Samuel Hintington. Witness his firm belief that immigrants from Cuba have ruined Miami: "Anglos had three choices... [i] accept their subordinate and outsider position... [ii] assimilate into the Hispanic community—“acculturation in reverse”... [iii] they could leave Miami, and between 1983 and 1993, about 140,000 did just that, their exodus reflected in a popular bumper sticker: 'Will the last American to leave Miami, please bring the flag'...

  • Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from the Archives: Scott Sumner Knew Better than to Do This!: "They are both basically saying: 'if we hold nominal spending constant, fiscal policy can’t fix it.'... [I]t’s really rather sad when people like Krugman and Brad DeLong keep insisting that these guys don’t understand basic macro principles.... I don’t know for sure that Fama was using the same implicit assumption... [but] I think it quite likely that Fama was also cutting corners.... Lots of brilliant people talking past each other.... Welcome to elite macroeconomics, circa 2011.... If I was going to assign blame I’d single out Krugman/DeLong for rudeness and Fama/Cochrane for poor communication skills..." Me: Economists' Views of Fiscal Policy: RetCon Department: The argument that Sumner attributes to Cochrane and Fama (and, wrongly, to Barro) is not a coherent argument: if you say "if I assume that fiscal policy does not affect nominal spending, then fiscal policy does not affect nominal spending, and so I have proved my case" you haven't made an argument at all...

  • Monday Smackdown: Let Me Smackdown Jared Bernstein on International Trade Here...: I really, really wish Jared Bernstein would not do this. It is simply not the case—as he knows well—that policymakers "quickly forgot about the need to compensate for the losses" from expanded international trade. Democratic policymakers—of whom Jared is one—well-remembered this, but after November 1994 did not have the power. Republican policymakers did not see the need as a need at all: they did not forget it: they ignored it...

  • Note to Self: My sense is that "we need to raise reserve requirements in a boom" is very good policy; but that "we need to pop this bubble" is almost always very bad policy. And we do not appear to have any (large) equity bubble. The weirdness is all in bond prices...

  • Looking Backwards from This Week at 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago: July 23, 2019: Highlights of Highlights: The 1870 Inflection Point in Transport and Trade: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia": An Economic History of the Long 20th Century: Everyplace in the world was, as long as there were docks and railroads, cheek-by-jowl to every other place. Everyone’s opportunities and constraints, not, as before, just the consumption patterns of the elite, depended on what was going on in every other piece of the world economy.... And once a comparative advantage was established it tended to stick....
     
    Reading Notes for Robert Skidelsky: "Keynes: A Very Short Introduction"...: John Maynard Keynes was brought up a classical liberal and a classical economist... believed in free trade, economic progress, cultural uplift, and political reason... found himself watching as the classical economic mechanisms he had been taught to admire all fell apart. He then picked himself up. After World War I Keynes used what power he had to—don't laugh—try to restore civilization.... And when he lost in the 1920s and the 1930s he picked himself up yet again, and tried yet again in the mid-1930s and thereafter to lay the groundwork for future victories for prosperity, rationality, and technocracy. And, in the end, he succeeded....
     
    A Teaching Note on Barro's (2005) "Rare Events and the Equity Premium" and Rietz's (1988) "The Equity Premium: A Solution": Barro's paper follows Rietz (1988).... A greater fear of future catastrophe is a source of high, not low, price-dividend and price-earnings ratios. THIS CAN ONLY WORK BECAUSE THERE ARE NO BONDS IN THE MODEL: SAFE ASSETS ARE IN ZERO SUPPLY: THE ONLY WAY TO INSURE AGAINST A BAD FUTURE IS TO BUY RISKY EQUITIES NOW IN AN ATTEMPT TO MOVE PURCHASING POWER FORWARD IN TIME!!!!....
     
    World War II at the Operational Level: The Fall of France 1940 (Prompted by the Forthcoming Release of "Dunkirk")_: Three days into the battle it was clear that a major Nazi attack was coming through the Ardennes, and the French began to respond... threw 800 tanks in four armored divisions plus between six and ten infantry divisions in front of the Nazi breakthrough in plenty of time to make a difference—yet (de Gaulle's division aside) they were completely ineffective in a running fight against seven Nazi panzer divisions, which had no more tanks and somewhat fewer soldiers than the French reserves committed to oppose them.... But before we scorn the French army of 1940 as cheese-eating surrender monkeys, remember what happened to the U.S. 106th Infantry Division when Hitler’s Third Reich was on its very last legs, and what happened to Major General Lloyd Fredendall’s U.S. II Corps at Kasserine Pass. Everybody who faced the Nazis did more-or-less equally badly, in their initial encounters at least....
     
    Obama Has Always Been for Premature Fiscal Austerity: January 7 [2009]: TAPPER: "Your team has talked about the stimulus package being 675 to 775 billion. But at the same time... you're going to distribute a memo in which economists say it should be between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion. How do you reconcile that difference...?" OBAMA: "Well, we are still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect that it will be on the high end of our estimates, but [it] will not be as high as some economists have recommended because of the constraints and concerns we have about the existing deficit...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "It's quite possible to look at the Chinese per-city bans on combustion-powered busses and taxis... as drifting toward the Chinese banning sales of new private combustion-powered automobiles by 2022 or so...

  • Comment of the Day: Grebmorts: ": "Seven thorns. 'Yt' is an abbreviation for 'þat' https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yt..." Touché... Why þ and &—not to mention æ, ð, œ—have not made more of a comeback in this Age of Twitter is a mystery to me...

  • For the Weekend: Aretha Franklin: Who's Zoomin' Who?

  • Weekend Reading: Francis Wilkinson: Gun Safety Takes a Back Seat to Gun Culture and Children Die

  • Weekend Reading: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower: "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid...

  • Weekend Reading: Roger Zelazny: For a Breath I Tarry...


  1. Abraham Lincoln: On the Know Nothing Party: Letter to Joshua F. Speed: "I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that 'all men are created equal'. We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes'. When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics'...

  2. Colin Leys: Samuel Huntington and the End of Classic Modernization Theory

  3. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1966): The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorthelm's Son: "Beorhtwold... utters the famous... 'Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre/mod sceal þe mare þe ure maegen lytlað' 'Will shall be the sterner, heart the bolder, spirit the greater as our strength lessens'. It is here implied, as is indeed probable, that these words were not "original," but an ancient and honoured expression of heroic will; Beorhtwold is all the more, not the less, likely for that reason actually to have used them in his last hour...

  4. Greg Sargent: "Central to Trump’s racism—and more broadly to Trumpism writ large—is... asserting the right to engage in public displays of racism without it being called out for what it is... to flaunt his racism with impunity.... Nonwhite lawmakers who were born here... are in some sense not members of the American nation.... The flat-out denial that any of this is racist is... crucial to the overall statement: The explicit idea here is that Trump is free to engage in public racism without it being called out for what it really is, that is, with no apology or capitulation to those who label it as such...

  5. Wikipedia: Višegrad Massacres

  6. Jennifer Craig: Value of Shipwreck Data in Databases

  7. Justin Leidwanger: From Time Capsules to Networks: New Light on Roman Shipwrecks in the Maritime Economy

  8. QuantEcon: QuantEcon Notebook Library

  9. A. J. Parker: Artifact Distributions and Wreck Locations: The Archaeology of Roman Commerce

  10. William Bradford: History of Plimoth Plantation

  11. Joseph R. McConnell et al.: Lead Pollution Recorded in Greenland Ice Indicates European Emissions Tracked Plagues, Wars, and Imperial Expansion During Antiquity

  12. Roger Zelazny: For a Breath I Tarry...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 25, 2019)" »


Looking Backwards from This Week at 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago

stacks and stacks of books

Three Months Ago:

  • Cosma Shalizi (2011): Dives, Lazarus, and Alice: Weekend Reading: "The market clears, Alice is 11 cents better off, Dives enjoys a consumer surplus of $4999.89, and Lazarus starves to death in the street, clutching his dime.Nothing can be changed without making someone worse off, so this is Pareto optimal. And so, in yet another triumph, the market mechanism has allocated a scarce resource, viz., the turkey, to its most efficient use.... What makes this the most efficient use of the scarce resource? Why, simply that it goes to the user who will pay the highest price for it. This is all that economic efficiency amounts to. It is not about meeting demand, but meeting effective demand, demand backed by purchasing power...

  • Writing Bulls--- for the WSJ Op-Ed Page as a Career Strategy: The Nine Unprofessional Republican Economists: The extra quarter's worth of data from the new BEA NIPA release raises this, once again, to the top of the pile: Note the contrast between the path of investment, on the one hand, implicit in the growth forecast of the effects of the Trump-Ryan-McConnell tax cut that Robert J. Barro, Michael J. Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence B. Lindsey, Harvey S. Rosen, George P. Shultz and John. B. Taylor, and, on the other hand, reality. If you are even 10% in the explain-the-world business—if you are even 1% in the explain-the-world business—such a sharp disjunction between what you had predicted and the outcome calls forth curiosity, interest, and explanations of why you think you went wrong and what your future research projects will be to figure it out.... Yet as I listen to each and very one of the Nine Unprofessional Republican Economists, all that I hear is: < crickets > ...

 

Continue reading "Looking Backwards from This Week at 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 17, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 12, 2019: "the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong...

  • For the Weekend: Paul Celan: Todesfugue: "Death is a master from German his eye it is blue/he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true/a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete/he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air /he plays with his vipers and daydreams/Death is a master from Germany/your golden hair Margarete/your ashen hair Shulamith...

  • Weekend Reading: Thomas Wyatt the Younger: "Great12-grandfather...

  • Weekend Reading: Titus Livius: The Latin War: The History of Rome: "An order was issued that the treaty should be renewed with the Laurentians; and it is renewed every year since, on the tenth day after the Latin festival. The rights of citizenship were granted to the Campanian horsemen; and that it might serve as a memorial, they hung up a brazen tablet in the temple of Castor at Rome. The Campanian state was also enjoined to pay them a yearly stipend of four hundred and fifty denarii each; their number amounted to one thousand six hundred...

  • Weekend Reading: Jo Walton: The Spearpoint Theory: The Dyer of Lorbanery: "It’s very small and sharp but because it’s backed by the length and weight of a whole spear and a whole strong person pushing it, it’s a point that goes in a long way. Spearpoints need all that behind them, or they don’t pack their punch in the same way. Examples are difficult to give because spear-points by their nature require their context, and spoilers. They tend to be moments of poignancy and realization. When Duncan picks the branches when passing through trees, he’s just getting a disguise, but we the audience suddenly understand how Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 19, 2018: TOP MUST REMEMBER: Here is the website for Zucman, Wier, and Torslavon's work on missing profits from tax avoidance and tax evasion...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018: TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Laurentius and St. Peter: "Then Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent, meant to depart southward over sea, and abandon everything. But there came to him in the night the apostle Peter, and severely chastised him, because he would so desert the flock of God. And he charged him to go to the king, and teach him the right belief. And he did so; and the king returned to the right belief...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Prophecy of Augustine: "So was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith 'If the Welsh will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons'...


  1. Bruce Springsteen: YouTube Channel

  2. Paul Campos: ITMFA?: "Wilentz’s case for impeachment is plausible... but... Pelosi’s go-slow approach is also plausible.... Wilentz takes what seems like a somewhat cavalier attitude toward the massive differences in the political ecosystems of America in 1974 and 2019.... All the options look very fraught at best and potentially disastrous at worst, because our political system is in the midst of a long not-so-slow decline. The extraordinary difficulty of trying to figure out the best path toward removing a completely unfit proto-fascist cult leader from the office of the presidency is Exhibit A of that decline...

  3. Nora Eckert: Tennessee Governor Criticized for Honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest : NPR: "Tennessee's Republican governor, Bill Lee, is facing public backlash after he declared Saturday 'Nathan Bedford Forrest Day', continuing a decades-old tradition honoring the Confederate general, slave trader and onetime leader of the Ku Klux Klan.... Some of the outcry came from members of Lee's own party. On Friday, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took to Twitter to condemn the governor's move, calling Forrest 'a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK'...

  4. Lenny Mendonca: Business and Public Policy Perspectives on US Inequality: "Inequality in the United States–Definition and Facts.... Housing and Transportation . Place-Based Policies. Race and Inequality. Opportunity and Early Education. Higher Education. Immigration (and Effects on Other American Workers). Low-wage Workers. Tax Policy–The 1%. Work in the Future and Universal Basic Income...

  5. Suresh Naidu et al.: Political Polarization and the Dynamics of Political Language: Evidence from 130 Years of Partisan Speech

  6. Vanessa Williamson, Theda Skocpol, and John Coggin: The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism

  7. Types of "General Gluts": Fisher, Wicksell, Bagehot

  8. How Does the Economy Choose Which Equilibrium to Settle at?: Praying for the Confidence Fairy to Rescue Italy Edition

  9. 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

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 17, 2019)" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 19, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: Here is the website for Zucman, Wier, and Torslavon's work on missing profits from tax avoidance and tax evasion (yes, I have decided I should spend some time occasionally listing paper authors in reverse alphabetical order): Gabriel Zucman et al.: The Missing Profits of Nations: [Working paper][1], June 2018. [Online appendix][2], June 2018. [Presentation slides][3], June 2018...


Worthy Reads on and from Equitable Growth:

  1. Here is the website for Zucman, Wier, and Torslavon's work on missing profits from tax avoidance and tax evasion (yes, I have decided I should spend some time occasionally listing paper authors in reverse alphabetical order): Gabriel Zucman et al.: The Missing Profits of Nations: [Working paper][1], June 2018. [Online appendix][2], June 2018. [Presentation slides][3], June 2018...

  2. I have not yet welcomed the extremely sharp Kate Bahn to Equitable Growth: Equitable Growth: Kate Bahn: "Her areas of research include gender, race, and ethnicity in the labor market, care work, and monopsonistic labor markets.... She was an economist at the Center for American Progress. Bahn also serves as the executive vice president and secretary for the International Association for Feminist Economics.... She received her doctorate in economics from the New School... and her Bachelor of Arts... from Hampshire...

  3. Wealth inequality measures have been grossly understating concentration because of tax evasion and tax avoidance in tax havens: Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, and GabrielZucman: Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality: "This paper estimates the amount of household wealth owned by each country in offshore tax havens...

  4. The "optimal tax" literature in economics has always been greatly distorted by the fact that models simple enough to solve bring with them lots of baggage that leads to misleading—and usually anti-egalitarian and anti-equitable growth—conclusions that would not follow if we had better control over our theories. Here Saez and Stantcheva make significant progress in resolving this problem: Emmanuel Saez and Stefanie Stantcheva: A simpler theory of optimal capital taxation: "We first consider a simple model with utility functions linear in consumption and featuring heterogeneous utility for wealth..

  5. Very much worth reading from Equitable Growth alum Nick Bunker: Nick Bunker: Puzzling over U.S. wage growth: "Hiring has not been particularly strong during this recovery...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 19, 2018" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 10, 2019)

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  • Fresh at Project Syndicate: Is Plutocracy Really the Problem?: The larger issue...is an absence of alternative voices. If the 2010s had been anything like the 1930s, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conference Board would have been aggressively calling for more investment in America, and these arguments would have commanded the attention of the press. Labor unions would have had a prominent voice as advocates for a high-pressure economy. Both would have had very powerful voices inside the political process through their support of candidates. Did the top 0.01% put something in the water to make the media freeze out such voices after 2008?...

  • Smackdown: Failing to Do Robustness Checks Is Not a Virtue: This, from this past April of all times, greatly puzzles me: WHAT IN THE HOLY NAME OF THE ONE WHO IS IS GOING ON HERE?! Let us remember what really happened back in 2011 when the unemployment rate was 9%: "Reinhart... explained that countries rarely pass the 90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point precisely because it is dangerous.... Reinhart and Rogoff... 'current debt trajectories are a risk to long-term growth and stability, with many advanced economies already reaching or exceeding the important marker of 90 percent of GDP'..." Yet there never was any "90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point". Reinhart and Rogoff thought there was because they did not do any robustness checks of their data-analysis binning procedures. Perhaps an apology to the misled world should be a high priority? Perhaps it should be a higher priority than rants claiming that their critics like me—who were right—engaged in "years of mounting polemics against austerity policies, Keynesian dogma has become something close to a secular religion"?...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Risks of Debt: The Real Flaw in Reinhart-Rogoff: A country that spends and spends and spends and spends and does not tax sufficiently will eventually run into debt-generated trouble.... But can this happen as long as interest rates remain low? As long as stock prices remain buoyant? As long as inflation remains subdued. My faction of economists—including Larry Summers, Laura Tyson, Paul Krugman, and many many others—believe that it will not...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: What Was the Point of Robert Woodward's "The Agenda"?: According to the Washington Post's headline writers (and according to pretty damn near everybody else who read The Agenda that I have talked to), Woodward's book tells the story of a president who (a) feels "blindsided" by their actions, (b) feels that the policies his administration is adopting means that he is losing his soul, (c) finds that the Republican Federal Reserve Chair's views are etching a deep impression on policy, (d) finds himself stuck with a "turkey" of an economic plan, (e) has advisors who fight fiercely in order to (f) control a wishy-washy president, and as a result (g) decision-making suffers and (h) clarity of vision is lost. Now I was there. (a) is simply wrong. (b) is sorta true, sorta false--Clinton was conflicted. (c) is true. (d) is false--it was a damned good economic plan. (e) is true. But (f) is false: wrestling intently and intelligently with hard choices does not make you the puppet of your advisors. (g) is wrong: the process produced a very good outcome. And (h) is wrong too. I want to set this out because in comments we have Bob Woodward claiming that his book was about... something else than the Washington Post headline writers who got the first excerpts from it and published them thought it was about...

  • Hoisted from July 3, 2008: Optimal Control: "Was the Federal Reserve too volatile and hair-trigger? Or was the ECB too sluggish?...

  • Note to Self: The establishment-survey payroll-employment numbers (red line) contain within them a guess as to how many newly-formed forms there are that have not yet caught up to and entered the payroll system. When a recession starts, that guess at the fudge factor can be way high. On the other hand, the household-survey employment numbers (blue line) has a lot more statistical noise in it...

  • Comment of the Day: Ronald Brakels: "If you record a bitch's new born puppy and then play that sound on a tape deck or other audio device the bitch will pick up that device and treat it like a pup. Dogs have about 2 billion plus neurons but this shows they are still very stupid. But no one seems to have a problem with this epic level of idiocy in our closest animal companions...

  • Comment of the Day: Charles Steindel: "Nothing at all wrong with Weller, really. The truly odd point appears to be how he got nominated. It seems that Trump was pleased that Jim Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, voted to cut the funds rate at the last meeting, and offered Jim the slot. Bullard turned it down (no regional president would ever be included to accept a Board post other than Chair or Vice Chair; no more real power, combined with less pay and no staff) and suggested Weller. That's not the usual way these things get done...

  • For the Weekend: The Death of Stalin: Jason Isaacs as Georgy Zhukov Arrives at Stalin's Funeral: For the Weekend

  • Weekend Reading: Daniel Davies: One-Minute MBA: "The secret to every analysis I've ever done... has been, more or less, my expensive business school education.... Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance. I was first made aware of this during an accounting class.... Fibbers' Forecasts Are Worthless. Case after miserable case after bloody case we went through, I tell you.... Not only that people who want a project will tend to make inaccurate projections about the possible outcomes of that project, but about the futility of attempts to "shade" downward a fundamentally dishonest set of predictions.... It's been shown time and again and again; companies which do not audit completed projects in order to see how accurate the original projections were, tend to get exactly the forecasts and projects that they deserve.... Next week, perhaps, a few reflections on why it is that people don't support the neoconservative project to bring democracy to the Middle East (a trailer for those who can't wait; the title is going to be something like 'If You Tell Lies A Lot, You Tend To Get A Reputation As A Liar'). Mind how you go...

  • Weekend Reading: Annette Gordon-Reed: Some Thoughts About Sally Hemings

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: : Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018: TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Gregory, Augustine, and Ceolwulf: "A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Ceawlin and Friends: "A.D. 568. This year Ceawlin, and Cutha the brother of Ceawlin, fought with Ethelbert, and pursued him into Kent. And they slew two aldermen at Wimbledon, Oslake and Cnebba...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Holy Pope Gregory, and Columba: "A.D. 560. This year Ceawlin undertook the government of the West-Saxons; and Ella, on the death of Ida, that of the Northumbrians; each of whom reigned thirty winters...


  1. Duncan Black: In The Old Times: "I'm not one to defend the Bush administration, but they did at least attempt to color inside the lines, if in garish bloody colors. I'm sure Yoo's torture memo was quite a marvel of legal reasoning that only someone who went to the best law school could come up with (our best laws schools are churning out sociopaths, but still). At this point, the Trump administration is just saying 'we are going to continue doing crimes and you can't stop us and hahaha you aren't even trying'...

  2. Sam Dangremond: Ken Griffin's 238 Million NYC Penthouse Is Most Expensive Home in America: "The penthouse at 220 Central Park South... $238 million.... At 953 feet, the 79-story tower stands out along the Central Park South skyline. Griffin's penthouse—a combination of two units—encompasses approximately 24,000 square feet, according to the Wall Street Journal. The $238-million price tag dwarfs the previous record of $137 million, which hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein reportedly paid for a home in East Hampton...

  3. MGI: Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation

  4. Abd Ar Rahman bin Muhammed ibn Khaldun: The Muqaddimah https://delong.typepad.com/files/muquaddimah.pdf #books

  5. Jared Bernstein: More Evidence–This Time from CBO... Higher (Even Much Higher) Minimum Wages Largely Do What They’re Supposed To Do: "Raising the federal minimum wage to 15 per hour by 2025 would lift the pay of 27.3 million workers—17 percent of the workforce—according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. It would raise the incomes of poor families by 5 percent and thus reduce the number of people in poverty by 1.3 million. Since these low-end gains would be partially financed out of profits, the increase in the wage floor would reduce inequality. CBO also estimates that '1.3 million workers who would otherwise be employed would be jobless in an average week in 2025'.... The report warns that some will be hurt by the increase, but the best research suggests their job-loss estimate may be too high. Moreover, even if they’re right, the ratio of helped-to-hurt is 21 (27.3m/1.3m)...

  6. Tomaz Cajner, Leland D. Crane, Ryan A. Decker, Adrian Hamins-Puertolas, and Christopher Kurz: Improving the Accuracy of Economic Measurement with Multiple Data Sources: The Case of Payroll Employment Data: "The optimal predictor... puts approximately equal weight on the CES and ADP-derived series. Moreover, the estimated state contains information about future readings of payroll employment...

  7. David Byrne and Carol Corrado: Accounting for Innovations in Consumer Digital Services: IT Still mMatters: "Accounting for innovations in consumer content delivery matters: The innovations boost consumer surplus by nearly 1,800 (2017 dollars) per connected user per year for the full period of this study (1987 to 2017) and contribute more than 1/2 percentage point to US real GDP growth during the last ten...

  8. Kim Darroch: How Foreign Allies Talk About Trump Behind Closed Doors: "We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept...

  9. Owen Zidar (2013): Debt to GDP & Future Economic Growth

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 10, 2019)" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 6, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 5, 2019: The Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain. We are one year closer to full employment, yes. But we have extended our view of when we will reach full employment by nine months...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: June 28, 2019: : Ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade...

  • On Twitter: Socialist Calculation Debate 2.0: Sparsity: : Suresh Naidu: "Right: instead of trying to get all the prices right, the regularization bet is that is that 99% of the benefits of planning can be realized with 1% of the prices planned by the state (e.g. fed rates)." Arindrajit Dube': "'The commanding heights were a great idea but need ML to find them" Brad DeLong: We already have such bets. Milton Friedman bet that fixing the growth of nominal liquidity services at a constant proportional rate got us 99% of the benefits. Alan Greenspan bet fixing the price of nominal liquidity services at his guess at Wicksellian neutral rate got us 99% of benefits...

  • It is macro: recession, weak recovery, catastrophe, and then superweak recovery...: "I confess I do not get this from Paul Krugman. Yes, the trade deficit crowds-out traditionally-male blue-collar import-substituting manufacturing jobs, but imports crowd-in traditionally-male blue-collar wholesale trade jobs, and finance traditionally-male blue-collar construction (and capital-goods manufacturing) jobs.... NAFTA is nowhere. The 2002-2007 bilateral-trade "China shock" is simply not a terribly big deal for the country as a whole: employment in traditionally-male blue-collar occupations was flat. A big deal for places that found their manufactures competing with new imports from China, yes. But not for blue-collar traditionally-male employment in the country as a whole...

  • Note to Self: Gary Foresythe: "The Ineditum Vaticanum.... The second of the four anecdotes concerns an encounter between a Roman and a Carthaginian at the Strait of Messina on the eve of the First Punic War...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from Around the Week of July 5, 2018: Most Important: 1921—six years after the Ku Klux Klan revival sparked by "Birth of a Nation"—the early 20th Century's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in reverse: 39 officially dead, 800 wounded, more than 35 blocks destroyed, more than 10000 people left homeless: Erik Loomis (2016): Tulsa: "The Tulsa Race Riot is one of the most shameful events in all of American history and as we know, that’s a high bar to meet...

  • Weekend Reading: "A Republic, If You Can Keep It": "A lady asked Dr. Franklin: 'Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?' 'A republic', replied the Doctor, 'if you can keep it'. (The lady here aluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philada[delphia]...

  • Weekend Reading: Polybius on the First Two Treaties Between Rome and Carthage: "The first treaty between Rome and Carthage was made... twenty-eight years before the invasion of Greece by Xerxes [509 BC].... The ancient language differs so much from that at present in use, that the best scholars among the Romans themselves have great difficulty in interpreting some points in it...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Ads exist to increase your insecurity, so you'll spend money to lower it. The entire endeavour is not in the public interest...

  • Comment of the Day: D. C. Sessions: "One of those 'small city research universities' is New Mexico Tech... in a town (Socorro) of 10,000.... Socorro is losing ground. Before trying to copy NMT across the USA, it would be wise to understand why the formula isn't working here...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Intelligence is emergent.... You can get it more than one way.... You can get it with way fewer neurons than we use (that parrot again, or corvids) but we don't know what it emerges from or how.... It's more useful to think about something like Deep Mind as an artificial reflex than as artificial intelligence; a certain narrow range of stimuli produces a quick response. The emergent stuff is just not there at all...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Origins of Wessex: "A.D. 477: This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andredsley...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Descendants of Cerdic to Ethelred Son of Ethelwulf Son of Egbert: "A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Alfred King of the Anglekin and His Successors: "Origins of Wessex: "Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a year and a half less than thirty winters...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cerdic and Cynric: "A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the monks, ascended to heaven. A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight. A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Astronomy, Northumbria, and Victories of Cynric: "A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the calends of March, from before morning until nine...


  1. Shawn Donnan: Trade War Latest: Trump, G-20, China, Huawei, EU, Brazil: "A grim new reality for U.S. economic power. When Trump dialed up the heat with tariffs and threats, the rest of the world looked elsewhere for opportunities. The early results were not going in America’s favor...

  2. Tom Gara: The New Republic is Hiring an Inequality Editor: "This is a part-time role, requiring 29.5 hours per week, and does not include benefits...

  3. Adam Serwer: The Detention Camps at the Border Are a Crime: "The Trump administration’s commitment to deterring immigration through cruelty has made horrifying conditions in detention facilities inevitable...

  4. I agree that economists are doing a bad job of policing our discipline against intellectual grifters. But it is not because we need to shill in order to eat. Our problems are different: Wolfgang Munchau: Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming to an End: "When economics blogging started to become fashionable, I sat on a podium with an academic blogger who predicted that people like him would usurp the role of the economics newspaper columnist within a period of 10 years. That was a decade ago. His argument was that trained economists were just smarter. What he did not reckon with is that it is hard to speak truth to power when you have to beg that power to fund your think-tank or institute. Even less so once you are politically attached or appointed. Independence matters...

  5. Barack Obama (2010): "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year. Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will.  Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will...

  6. Azeem Azhar: Entrepreneurs, the Market, and the State: "Speaking with venture capitalist Bill Janeway...

  7. Apple (1997): Apple's World Wide Developers Conference 1997 with Steve Jobs

  8. Climateer Investing: Twitter Has an Algorithm That Creates Harassment All by Itself: "Harassment is such a harsh word, let's call it 'engagement'. From glitch girl MC Mclure's Twitter feed.... 'Social experiment: "Do NOT read the replies to this tweet before you reply to it".... What Twitter's doing is finding people with low-flow timelines & filling space in with "high engagement" tweets ("things you're likely to reply to too"). This tells us 2 things: It's not just "favs are RTs" now; REPLIES might be RTs too. TWITTER HAS AUTOMATED PILEONS...

  9. Martin Wolf: Why Democratic Government Is Showing Strains in the US and UK: "Reagan and Thatcher failed. Both countries went through radical policy changes in the 1980s, towards free markets. This did not work out as well as had been hoped. Nationalism duly became a way to mobilise support on the right.... Austerity bites. In both countries, the crisis bequeathed huge structural fiscal deficits. This encouraged politicians of the right to slash public spending. Elites decline. Democracies require respected elites. But, in both countries, the ideal of public service has corroded, while people increasingly think of their elites as incompetent, or crooks...

  10. Alan R. Rogers, Ryan J. Bohlender, and Chad D. Huff: Early History of Neanderthals and Denisovans: "Neanderthals and Denisovans were human populations that separated from the modern lineage early in the Middle Pleistocene. Many modern humans carry DNA derived from these archaic populations by interbreeding during the Late Pleistocene. We develop a statistical method to study the early history of these archaic populations. We show that the archaic lineage was very small during the 10,000y that followed its separation from the modern lineage. It then split into two regional populations, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The Neanderthal population grew large and separated into largely isolated local groups https://delong.typepad.com/neanderthals.pdf...

  11. Doug Jones: Hits, Slides, and Rings: "Even though we’re mostly not aware of it, we’re very good at using our hearing to keep track of what’s going on in our physical surroundings... easily recognize the difference between someone going upstairs and someone going downstairs... good at recognizing individuals by their treads. The sounds that solid objects make can be broadly categorized as hits, slides, and rings.... Changizi argues that these correspond to the major categories of phonemes: Hits = plosives... Slides = fricatives... Rings = sonorants, including sonorant consonants, like l r y w m n, and vowels.... We can [also] do barks and pops and farts and so on. But our auditory systems are especially cued into solid object physics, so when we try to come up with easy-to-distinguish phonemes, that’s what we focus on.... Even if imitating nature is not the whole story of phonemes, it may at least be where they got started. Later on when we talk about writing systems, we’ll see there’s a similar argument about how these are tuned to tickle our primate visual systems...

  12. Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: John Cochrane's Claim in Late 2008 That a Recession Would Be a Good Thing Deserves Some Kind of Award...: The fact is that by the end of 2007 the construction sector had rebalanced: there was no excess of people pounding nails in Nevada... To: @johnmlippert.... I am tracking down John Cochrane's claims that (i) in your December 23, 2008 article you were "only... on a hunt for embarrassing quotes", (ii) he had "spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics" to you, and (iii) you took him out of proper context when you wrote: "'We should have a recession', Cochrane said in November, speaking to students and said in November, speaking to students and investors in a conference room.... 'People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do'."... John M. Lippert: "Hi Professor DeLong.... Cochrane’s complaint is something of which I became aware several months after we published our story in 2008.... Bloomberg did not respond to Cochrane’s comments. He never sent them to us, despite my request that he do so. When we became aware of his complaint, we saw no reason to make a correction. Cochrane made the ‘pounding nails’ comment at a Chicago Booth forum at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago in November 2008. It was part of an ongoing lecture series, as I recall. It was kind of a big event, with a couple hundred people. So they may have a recording that you can access. Good luck with your inquiries...

  13. David Brin: The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? #books

  14. Doug Jones: Speech Sounds: "The origin of modern human is one of the major transitions in evolution, comparable to the origin of eukaryotic cells, or of social insects. Language is crucial here: slime molds and ants organize high levels of cooperation, turning themselves into 'superorganisms', by secreting pheromones. Humans organize by secreting cosmologies...

  15. Maria Paula Cacault, Christian Hildebrand, Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti, and Michele Pellizzari: Distance learning in Higher Education: "Online live streaming of lectures... student achievement and attendance... students at the University of Geneva.... Students use the live streaming technology only when events make attending class too costly, and that attending lectures via live streaming lowers achievement for low-ability students but increases it for high-ability ones...

  16. Octavia E. Butler: Speech Sounds #books

  17. George Washington's Mount Vernon: Elizabeth Willing Powel: "One description of a lavish party thrown by the Powels comes from John Adams’ diary, kept during the second session of the Continental Congress. On September 8, 1774, he wrote, 'Dined at Mr. Powells—A most sinfull Feast again! Every Thing which could delight the Eye, or allure the Taste.' Powel ran her parties in the French style of a salon, a location where leading intellectuals and other elites gathered to discuss current political and social issues...

  18. Gordon Bryant Brown: An Insider's Memoir: How Economics Changed to Work Against Us From Smith to Marx to BitCoin #books

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 6, 2019)" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from Around the Week of July 5, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Most Important: 1921—six years after the Ku Klux Klan revival sparked by "Birth of a Nation"—the early 20th Century's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in reverse: 39 officially dead, 800 wounded, more than 35 blocks destroyed, more than 10000 people left homeless: Erik Loomis (2016): Tulsa: "The Tulsa Race Riot is one of the most shameful events in all of American history and as we know, that’s a high bar to meet...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from Around the Week of July 5, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 26, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: June 21, 2019: : "About the only news in the past week or so is that the Federal Reserve has—behind the curve—become convinced that it raised interest rates too much in 2018. To the extent they attribute their change of view to news, the news is that President Trump is a chaos monkey with respect to international trade—but that was well known back in 2015. Worth noting is that the ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade...

  • Project Syndicate: Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: "Historically, the tasks that humans have performed have fallen into ten broad categories. The first, and most basic, is using one’s body to move physical objects, which is followed by using one’s eyes and fingers to create discrete material goods. The third category involves feeding materials into machine-driven production processes...

  • Project Syndicate: U.S. as Doofus Country, China, and Grand Strategy: "note that—of course—all those necessary and needed pieces of action require that the U.S. look and act inwardly, not outwardly...

  • 15000 workers in the top 0.01% of income this year receive an average of 400,000 dollars a day How could one go about spending that? Suppose you decided this morning that you wanted to rent the 2000 square-foot Ritz-Carlton suite at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco hotel for the week of next Memorial Day, and did so. That would set you back 6000 for seven nights. You would still have to spend 394,000 more today to avoid getting richer: to avoid getting richer you would have to spend 16,667 an hour, awake and asleep, day in and day out...

  • Comment of the Day: JEC: On Economist James Buchanan: "So... what Buchanan learned from serving in the Navy at a time when blacks were allowed to serve on ships exclusively as cooks was that snobbish Yankees were mean to him. Remind me again why we're spending time on this man's 'thought?...

  • For the Weekend: Where There's a Whip, There's a Way!

  • Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers: "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy

  • Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1937): How to Avoid a Slump: "So long as surplus resources were widely diffused between industries and localities it was no great matter at what point in the economic structure the impulse of an increased demand was applied. But the evidence grows that—for several reasons into which there is no space to enter here—the economic structure is unfortunately rigid, and that (for example) building activity in the home counties is less effective than one might have hoped in decreasing unemployment in the distressed areas. It follows that the later stages of recovery require a different technique...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Conquest of Southeast Britain: "A.D. 457. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew four thousand men. The Britons then forsook the land of Kent, and in great consternation fled to London.... A.D. 473. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, and took immense Booty. And the Welsh fled from the English like fire...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Arrival of the Saxons: "A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire: "A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the Romans were at war with Attila, king of the Huns. Then sent they to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that nation...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: To the End of Roman Rule in Britain: "A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018


  1. Caleb Melby, Laura Marcinek and Danielle Burger (2014): Inflation Hawks Unrepentant and Zombified Watch!: ": Fed Critics Say ’10 Letter Warning Inflation Still Right.... John Taylor 'inflation, [un]employment... destroy[ed] financial markets, complicate[d]... normaliz[ation]... all have happened.'... Douglas Holtz-Eakin 'the clever thing... is never give a number and a date. They are going to generate an uptick in core inflation.... I don’t know when, but they will.' Niall Ferguson 'this bull market has been accompanied by significant financial market distortions, just as we foresaw. Note that word "risk". And note the absence of a date. There is in fact still a risk of currency debasement and inflation.'... David Malpass: 'The letter was correct'.... Amity Shlaes: 'inflation could come... the nation is not prepared'.... Cliff Asness... declined to comment. Michael Boskin... didn’t immediately respond.... Charles Calomiris... was traveling and unavailable.... Jim Chanos... didn’t return a phone call or an e-mail.... John Cogan... didn’t respond.... Nicole Gelinas... didn’t respond.... Phone calls... and an e-mail... to Kevin A. Hassett... weren’t returned. Roger Hertog... declined to comment.... Gregory Hess... didn’t immediately return.... Diana DeSocio... said Klarman stands by the position.... William Kristol... didn’t immediately return a call.... Ronald McKinnon... died yesterday prior to a Bloomberg call.... Dan Senor... didn’t respond.... Stephen Spruiell... declined to comment... https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/11/15/open-letter-to-ben-bernanke/

  2. Win McCormack: The Green New Deal: A Capitalist Plot: "To save the planet, be more like Ike.... According Cohen and DeLong, economists at Berkeley who are among the key sources of the economic development strategy underlying the Green New Deal, the Eisenhower years were perhaps the most economically consequential in modern American history...

  3. Emily Blanchard: Trade Wars in the Global Value Chain Era: "Early evidence suggests that even in the very short run, the current trade war is taking a toll on US firms and consumers.6 The key question in the months and years to come is how, if these tariffs continue, they will begin to feed back through global value chains at the expense of firms and workers in the US, China, and around the world...

  4. John Maynard Keynes (1937): How to Avoid a Slump: "The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury...

  5. Patience Haggin and Kara Dapena: Google’s Ad Dominance Explained in Three Charts: "Tech giant is the leading supplier of services to carry out virtually every step of purchasing and selling ads...

  6. "Barry Eichengreen (2015): Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses—and Misuses—of History

  7. Paul Krugman: Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder: "How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011...

  8. Antonio Gramsci (1926): Some Aspects of the Southern Question:

  9. Thomas R. Bates (1975): Gramsci and the Theory of Hegemony: "The intellectuals succeed in creating hegemony to the extent that they extend the world view of the rulers to the world, and thereby secure the 'free' consent of the masses to the law and order of the land. To the extent that the intellectuals fail to create hegemony, the ruling class falls back on the state's coercive apparatus...

  10. Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012): "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy"

  11. Notebook: Economics Gone Wrong

  12. J. Bradford Delong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012): Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy

  13. Paul Krugman: Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder: "How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011...

  14. It makes me sad that the sweet spot for this is 50 a year. How many such things do I feel I can afford to subscribe to at 50 a year? About 1/10 of those I would feel I could afford to subscribe to at 10 a year...: Daniel Mallory Ortberg: The Shatner Chatner

  15. Martin Wolf (2014): The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 26, 2019)" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads on Equitable Growth:

  1. A very nice paper concluding, among other things, that geographic mobility is the friend and not the foe of increases in the minimum wage as an equitable growth policy—it is the individuals who are able to move across state lines to opportunity who appear to benefit the most: Kevin Rinz and John Voorheis: The distributional effects of minimum wages: Evidence from linked survey and administrative data: "States and localities are increasingly experimenting with higher minimum wage...

  2. Brad DeLong: The lack of Federal Reserve maneuvering room is very worrisome

  3. Karen Dynan joins Equitable Growth Steering Committee

  4. It is worth stressing that motherhood penalties—work-gap penalties more generally—appear present throughout and beyond the Global North. Our labor market institutions and expectations are still as if designed for a male-dominated paid workforce in which women exit the paid labor force upon marriage or pregnancy and do not return: Eunjung Jee, Joya Misra, and Marta Murray-Close: Motherhood penalties in the U.S., 1986-2014: "Mothers earn less than childless women...

  5. I have long thought it unwise that feminist economics is not a much larger and more prominent subfield. The past century and a half, after all, has seen the typical woman go from eating for two for twenty years to eating for two for onlyfour. That is a huge change, with mammoth and fascinating implications and consequences within and far beyond economics—yet remarkably few (male) economists seem to care: Kate Bahn: Reporting from the International Association for Feminist Economics Conference: "Great presentation on 'Bridging Theory and Action: Digital Platforms as an Opportunity for Feminist Economics' by @leezagavronsky and @Bilguis92.... We need to move beyond the online/offline binary, since it often leads activism out in the world. Economists don't need to dumb things down, but present things in a more inclusive manner, with less jargon that obfuscates what we are actually trying to say...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 19, 2019)

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  1. Fareed Zakaria: The Self-Destruction of American Power: "One is struck by the ways in which Washington—from an unprecedented position—mishandled its hegemony and abused its power, losing allies and emboldening enemies. And now, under the Trump administration, the United States seems to have lost interest, indeed lost faith, in the ideas and purpose that animated its international presence for three-quarters of a century...

  2. Christina Romer (1994): The End of Economic History?: "Perhaps more than any particular finding or direct implication, the fact that the debate about stabilization and the new data collection efforts are being carried out by a mixture of economic historians and macroeconomists is the most desirable development of all. As with all of the other recent developments in economic history that have been discussed here, the bringing together of researchers with different perspectives has not only stimulated exciting research, it has also meant that the lessons of history have been incorporated into other fields. In this way, the end of economic history has really been just the beginning of better and richer economics...

  3. AlphaChat: Jay Shambaugh on Tools to Fight the Next Recession: "The economist and Brookings Institution senior fellow talks to FT contributor Megan Greene about the fiscal policies that lawmakers could arrange now that would automatically kick in when some of the early signs of a slowdown start to appear...

  4. Ed Nawotka: Daunt Relishes Challenge of Leading B&N: "Daunt said his priority with B&N is not to cut costs, but to find a way to arrest the decline in sales and return the company to growth, much as he did at Waterstones. The key, he said, will be investment.... Above all, Daunt expressed calm about the transition, and advocated for patience...

  5. Charles Petzold (2008): The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine (Indianapolis: John Wiley: 9780470229057) #books

  6. Joanna Ossinger: JPMorgan Shows Where Huge Risks From Fed, G-20 Are Underpriced: "Stocks may correct if Fed isn’t dovish enough: Panigirtzoglou. Cross-asset measures show little volatility risk premium...

  7. Barry Eichengreen, Asmaa El-Ganainy, Rui Esteves, and Kris James Mitchener: Public Debt Through the Ages: "Periods when debt-to-GDP ratios rose explosively as a result of wars, depressions and financial crises also have a long history. Many of these episodes resulted in debt-management problems resolved through debasements and restructurings. Less widely appreciated are successful debt consolidation episodes.... We analyze the economic and political circumstances that made these successful debt consolidation episodes possible...

  8. Josefin Meyer, Carmen M. Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch: Sovereign Bonds since Waterloo: "220,000 monthly prices of foreign-currency government bonds traded in London and New York between 1815 (the Battle of Waterloo) and 2016, covering 91 countries.... Returns on external sovereign bonds have been sufficiently high to compensate for risk. Real ex-post returns averaged 7% annually across two centuries, including default episodes, major wars, and global crises... an excess return of around 4% above US or UK government bonds... are hard to reconcile with canonical theoretical models and with the degree of credit risk.... Full repudiation is rare; the median haircut is below 50%...

  9. Olivier Blanchard and Takeshi Tashiro: Fiscal Policy Options for Japan

  10. DS100: Principles and Techniques of Data Science #book

  11. Barry Ritholtz: Buy Yourself a F--king Latte: "A Latte a Day Isn’t Going to Ruin Your Retirement. If spending $5 a day on fancy coffee puts your retirement at risk, you’ve got bigger problem...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 19, 2019)" »


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from Around June 21, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. Very nice to see: Equitable Growth: Janet Yellen Joins Equitable Growth Steering Committee: "'There are few economists with the depth of academic and policymaking experience that Janet Yellen possesses', said Heather Boushey, Equitable Growth’s executive director and chief economist. 'She has worked tirelessly, in her research and in her high government positions, to promote strong economic growth that benefits workers and to ensure that the American Dream is within reach for all...'"

  2. Suggestions for what kinds of information we will want to be capturing in twenty years are very welcome: Michael Strain: Equitable Growth in Conversation: "To the extent that you are figuring out ways to update this statistical system to account for the way that we live and work now would be important. But more importantly, to account for the ways that we might live and work 20 years from now, to really have a plan to have statistically valid surveys that capture the information that we want to capture is, I think, a very worthy research program..."

  3. Really surprised that there is no evidence of boom-bust asymmetry here. I am going to have to dig into what reasonable alternatives are and how much power the authors' techniques have against them: Adam M. Guren, Alisdair McKay, Emi Nakamura, and Jon Steinsson: Housing Wealth Effects: The long View: "1) Large housing wealth effects are not new... substantial effects back to the mid 1980s; 2) Housing wealth effects were not particularly large in the 2000s... 3) There is no evidence of a boom-bust asymmetry..."

  4. The "elasticity of substitution" is an emergent property. It has very little to do with "technology" if only because there is not one single technology in the economy. There are lots of different types of machines and lots of ways to use workers and machines to produce things. And "rigid organization" is not quite right either here: Suresh Naidu (2014): Notes from Capital in the 21st Century Panel: "Perhaps a useful analogy is that this is the "Free to Choose" or “Capitalism and Freedom” for our time.... I can’t think of a book that emerged from economics for a mass audience with as much reception since then.... The book doesn't quite take a stand on whether it is brute market forces and a production function with a high elasticity of substitution or instead relatively rigid organization of firms and financial institutions that lies behind the stability of r. I think the production approach is less plausible..."

  5. Sue and Tim worry that the organizational disaggregation produced by this Age of Supply Chains is harming the development of our communities of engineering practice. Annalee Saxenian's Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 is now 20 years old, and yet somehow I do not think we know as much about this as we should: Susan Helper and Timothy Krueger (2016): Supply Chains and Equitable Growth: "Deregulation, market failures, and corporate policies have led to the rise of supply chains comprised of small, weak firms that innovate less and pay less. These problems in supply chains threaten U.S. competitiveness by undermining innovation, and also contribute to the erosion of U.S. workers’ standard of living. A different kind of outsourcing is possible..."

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from Around June 21, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 12, 2019)

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  1. John Holbo: "You, for example, are being slightly rude, asking such questions of religious people!: 'But... it is not usually taken as rude in religious circles to ask of people: Will you be on the left or the right "when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory...'" Oh absolutely. Rude to challenge people about their religious beliefs. Because that's religious liberty. But it's not rude for religious people to challenge non-religious people abut their beliefs. Because that's religious liberty. Purest proof of 'liberty' = 'privilege' here!...

  2. Brian Lyman: 'Where Was the Lord?': On Jefferson Davis' Birthday, 9 Slave Testimonies

  3. When the person driving the car becomes so exercised by the derogeance inflicted upon newlyweds Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill and Jennie Jerome by their parents' failure to give them the capital sum to purchase a Stately Home in which to entertain that she misses the turnoff to the Jacksonville airport...

  4. Duncan Black: Do You Even Have Friends: "A legitimate joke about conservatives is they occasionally stumble upon a problem that directly impacts them or their family or friends and suddenly become liberals... on only that issue. Learn to generalize...

  5. Doug Jones: Amplifier Lakes: "Paleontologists and paleoanthropologists are busy sorting out what was special about the climate and ecology of Africa, especially East Africa, that contributed to various phases of hominin evolution... particular times when lakes were flickering in and out of existence along the... East African Rift Valley... a rich (sometimes) but also a particularly challenging environment.... Lewis Dartnell’s very recent Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History...

  6. When and why did the brain eater eat the brain of this guy?: Nick Confessore: "'[Does] secular liberalism ha[ve] a kind of stopping point that accepts the continued not just existence but flourishing of conservative religious traditions?' I haven’t yet encountered a liberal answer to this question in the current instance.... Anyone have a recommendation for a piece on the left engaging with that point?" Parker Molloy: "The premise is insane, Nick. There’s not a reasonable rebuttal to it. It’s honestly scary that there are people willing to view the argument as a reasonable position in the first place. We live in a world where it’s legal for a Christian business owner to fire an employee for being gay, but illegal for a gay business owner to fire someone for being Christian...

  7. Charles Jones (1994): "Economic Growth and the Relative Price of Capital," Journal of Monetary Economics 34, pp. 359-82 https://delong.typepad.com/jones94.pdf

  8. John Amato: Donald: Federal Reserve Are 'Not His People' Even Though He Chose 4 Out Of 5: "He apparently forgot that the current Fed panel is one of his creation...

  9. George Orwell (1936): The Road to Wigan Pier

  10. Dan Nexon: Trump Change: Grift and Graft in the New Gilded Age: "Republican concern about many matters – such as the role of congress in overseeing the executive branch and best practices when it comes to securing classified information–extends only so far as partisan political considerations dictates. The same is obviously true of kleptocracy. However, just because the GOP couldn’t care less doesn’t mean that we need to normalize it...

  11. Mark Sullivan: Sign in with Apple Puts Apple’s Privacy Stance to Work: "Sign in with Apple is an impressive, privacy-friendly alternative to one of the main data-harvesting techniques used by its rivals. And Apple isn’t just offering it up as a new option for developers. It will require apps that include sign-in buttons powered by other companies to add its new button as well...

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Must- and Should-Reads from the Past Week or so: June 7, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Readings at Equitable Growth:

  1. That monetary policy is best which avoids creating needless unemployment while still maintaining confidence in the value of the unit of account. Yet surprisingly little thought has been devoted to figuring out which monetary policy jumps the highest with respect to this objective: Nick Bunker: Getting on the level with the Fed’s targeting of prices: "John Williams’s move to New York is a sign that the Federal Reserve may soon reconsider its target for monetary policy. It’s not clear whether a new target would emerge from such a process or how radical a change current members of the FOMC would consider. The current inflation targeting structure may have gotten the U.S. economy to where it is, but it took some time. A quicker recovery from the next recession would be to the benefit of everyone in the U.S. economy. So, a rethink is needed. Hopefully it’s coming soon..."

  2. I think "top 20%" is wrong. The fact that most of percentiles 80%-97% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis percentiles 98% and 99%—and that most of percentiles 98% and 99% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis the 99.9%, and most of the 99.9% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis 99.99% makes arguing that they have in some sense succeeded in realizing a dream that they now hoard a hard argument to make: Richard Reeves: Equitable Growth in Conversation_: "Dream hoarders... are the people at the top... the winners of the inequality divide... the top 20 percent roughly of the income distribution. That means they earn healthy six-figure household incomes, with average incomes of about $200,000 a year..."

  3. There was a lot of noise about how giving repatriated profits a tax break would boost investment in America. As near as I can see it, none of it was well-founded at all: Kimberly Clausing: Equitable Growth in Conversation: "We are distorting repatriation decisions by having this repatriation tax. But I don’t think we’re dramatically changing the investments found in the United States. The companies that have profits abroad can borrow against them to finance any desired investment. And some of the money isn’t really truly abroad—it’s invested in U.S. assets..."

  4. This web page at Slate has the wrong headline. It should be: "Education Won’t Solve Inequality: Not without workers’ power too". Sigh. On the substance, blaming increasing inequality on "Skill Biased Technical Change" was always a non-sequitur. Given the way the models were set up, SBTC was a residual: anything that diminished worker bargaining power was going to be labeled "SBTC" regardless of what it really was: Kate Bahn: Study: Unions increasingly represent educated workers: "Herbst, Kuziemko, and Naidu throws a wrench in the SBTC [Skill-Biased Technical Change] explanation of rising inequality. They find that the education level of union members also followed a U-shape curve from 1936–2016..."

  5. Looking forward to what we can learn from this BLS initiative: Kate Bahn: New data on contingent workers in the United States: "On Thursday, June 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data from its freshly collected Contingent Worker Supplement. It’s important for policymakers and economists alike to know what to look for ahead of Thursday’s data release..."

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 5, 2019)

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  • Live at Project Syndicate: What to Do About China?: "It is entirely foreseeable that America’s attempt to “get tough” with China could accelerate its own relative decline, effectively handing China the semi-hegemony it is already approaching.... So, what should the US do to shore up its position vis-à-vis China?...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: May 31, 2019: No Significant Changes: "About the only news these past three weeks is an 0.7%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, driven by a reduction in estimated durable goods orders and capacity utilization. This might be an impact o Trump's trade war, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix...

  • An Intake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016": Refinding the Path Toward Utopia: From 1938 to 1973 growth in the G-7 jerked forward again: not at the 0.76%/year pace of 1913-1938 or even the 1.42%/year pace of 1870-1913, but at an average pace of 3.0%/year. That is a material wealth doubling time of not the 90 years or so of 1913-1938 or even the 50 years of 1870-1913, but 24 years: less than a generation. Thus the G-7 was three times as well-off in 1973 as it had been in 1938...

  • An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016": The Cold War: There was one other fact about post-World War II that cemented the social-democratic mixed-economy Keynesian order that drove a generation of the fastest economic growth and the greatest advance in human prosperity and liberty the world had hitherto seen: it was the Cold War...

  • Note to Self: Lecture: African Retardation: https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0O8TxLOzM1gvGwSZYkWBV97rw

  • Note to Self: G-7 national income per capita growth since 1800, according to Hans Rosling's http://gapminder.org: https://www.icloud.com/numbers/07Q5v0jKa1sohBHiO8l3Np9Gw...

  • Hoisted from the Archives from 2017: Interview: "NAFTA Is Just Not a Big Deal for the U.S.": "In a typical year we sell exports that we could get 2 trillion for if we had to sell them here at home and get imports that would cost us 4 trillion. That makes us 2 trillion per year—25,000 per family each year—richer and more prosperous. That is a big deal...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Must- and Should-Reads from the Week of May 31, 2018...

  • Weekend Reading: Belle Waring: Uses and Abuses of Tarps: : "Such creativity! And the need to give Gorky one slender reed on which to lean for his glowing reviews of the labor re-education camps! Even his choice of fiancee seemed to augur his judgments: 'The famous writer embarked from the steamer in Prosperity Gulf. Next to him was his fiancee dressed all in leather—a black leather service cap, a leather jacket, leather riding breeches, and high narrow boots—a living symbol of the OGPU shoulder to shoulder with Russian literature'...

  • Weekend Reading: Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: "When anti-modern conservatives decide that the liberal world is depraved... cleanse it of the corruption of tolerance. Call it the Torquemada Option https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_the_Warlock. And the moderate success that some modern figures-such as Orban-have enjoyed in taking over the university system and forcibly purging it of those who would pollute our youth with gender studies and the like give old time reactionaries like Kimball some hope it can be done...

  • Weekend Reading: Jeremiah: 22 KJV: "'Do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if.. ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself', saith the Lord, 'that this house shall become a desolation'...

  • Weekend Reading: Into the Abyss: James David Nicoll on Heinlein's "Starship Troopers": "Heinlein... convinced himself he intended 'veterans' to include people whose public service included non-military organizations but there is no textual evidence of this.... 'Youngster, do I look that silly? I’m a civilian employee'. 'Oh. Sorry, sir'. 'No offense. But military service is for ants'. The doctor clearly sees service as military service...

  • Comment of the Day: As Dan Davies says, finance works with criminal penalties for material misrepresentations, and works better. Would not politics also work better with such?: Graydon: "Remember that in this case, Boris made the public lie in an official capacity, was told by the relevant governmental body that it was a lie—the statistics authority officially informed the official persona of the officeholder that no, no, that's not correct; that is not close to correct—and the official persona went right on making the lie in public in ways the court refuses to find obviously immaterial...


  1. Gershem Gorenberg: "The actions of a leader desperate to hold power and stay out of jail are utterly beyond prediction...

  2. Paul Krugman: Robot Geometry: "Imagine an economy that produces only one good... using two techniques, A and B, one capital-intensive, one labor-intensive.... Technical progress in A, perhaps also making A even more capital-intensive... will lead to a fall in the real wage, because 1/w must rise. GDP and hence productivity does rise, but maybe not by much if the economy was mostly using the labor-intensive technique. And what about allocation of labor between sectors?... Capital-using technical progress in A actually leads to a higher share of the work force being employed in labor-intensive B...

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

  4. Mark Thoma (May 29, 2019): Your Daily digest for Economist's View

  5. Chris Patten: Unforgettable Tiananmen: "It's not surprising that the Communist Party of China has worked so hard to eradicate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre from public memory. History–including the horrors of Mao Zedong’s rule–is too volatile a substance for the Chinese dictatorship...

  6. David Evans: New Findings in Global Education: "Want better test scores? Lower the heat....Parents make school choices based not only on test scores but also on a school's contribution to reduced crime or teen pregnancies.... Education reform ≠ education gains.... It’s hard to teach what you don’t know...

  7. Erin Blakemore: The Korean War Hasn't Officially Ended. One Reason: POWs: "And then there were the POWs who were not returned at all. About 80,000 South Koreans were in North Korea when a ceasefire ended the war. Most are thought to have been put to work as laborers, 're-educated', and integrated into North Korean society. In 2010, South Korea estimated that 560 were still alive. Their ordeals in repressive North Korea were unknown until a small group of defectors told their stories...

  8. Chris Duckett: AMD 3rd-Gen Ryzen Series Coming in July LedbyBy 12-Core Ryzen 9 Beast: "Range of chips beginning at 330 and topping out at 500 for the 12-core Ryzen 9... 7 nanometre technology... 12 cores, can handle 24 threads, has 2.8GHz base frequency with 4.6GHz boost, and has 70MB of cache. 'That's half the price of our competition with much, much more performance', AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su said...

  9. HathiTrust Digital Library

  10. Mihir Sharma: Modi's Election Win Sends a Populist Warning to the World: "From Trump to Brexit, don’t bet against voters making the same choice again...

  11. Hoisted from 2010: How an Economy Can Live Beyond Its Means on Its Wits: P.J. Grigg: "I distrust utterly those economists who have with great but deplorable ingenuity taught that it is not only possible but praiseworthy for a whole country to live beyond its mens on its wits and who in Mr. Shaw's description tech that it is possible to make a community rich by calling a penny two pence, in short who have sought to make economics a vade mecum for political spivs..." Confront economists' theories of depressions... and you find yourself immediately confronted with... seven... Monetarism... Wicksellianism... Minskyism... Austrianism... Vulgar Keynsianism... Hickianism... Post-Keynesianism...

  12. Hoisted from 2009: Fama's Fallacy II: Predecessors: Fama, actually, is much worse than the British Treasury economists of the 1920s. They acknowledged that monetary policy could affect the level of employment--could do more than shift resources from one use to another. Fama's argument based on his misinterpretation of the NIPA savings-investment identity has the implication that monetary policy cannot affect the unemployment rate either...

  13. Paul Krugman: "Back in the USA and thinking about what it must be like for conservative economists who weren’t always total hacks but have sold their souls-eg backing crazy claims about tax cuts or declaring that Bernanke was debasing the dollar to help Obama. All that self-abatement to curry favor with the right-and then Art fricking Laffer gets a presidential medal while they get nothing. Self abasement. If I could do self abasement I probably would...

  14. Neil McInnes: The Great Doomsayer: Oswald Spengler Reconsidered

  15. George Kennan (1947): The Sources of Soviet Conduct

  16. U.S. National Security Council (1950): NSC-68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security

  17. Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Irving Kristol: "This explains my own rather cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or fiscal problems. The task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority-so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government...

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Must- and Should-Reads from the Week of May 31, 2018 for si...

stacks and stacks of books

Five Worthy on Equitable Growth:

  1. From two years ago: a minimum wage meta-analysis: Arindrajit Dube and Ben Zipperer: Pooling multiple case studies using synthetic controls: An application to minimum wage policies | Equitable Growth

  2. Worth reading from last October: Darrick Hamilton: Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism | Equitable Growth

  3. Also worth reading from last October: Papers from our co-hosted antitrust symposium: Michael Kades: Unlocking Antitrust Enforcement: New Yale symposium examines proposals to make antitrust enforcement more effective | Equitable Growth

  4. Nick Bunker gathers scattered threads and sets out the issues: Nick Bunnker: Puzzling over U.S. wage growth

  5. As I say, this is exactly the kind of debate we should be hosting and encouraging: Jesse Rothstein: Inequality of Educational Opportunity? Schools as Mediators of the Intergenerational Transmission of Income: "Chetty et al. (2014b) show that children from low-income families achieve higher adult incomes... in some commuting zones (CZs) than in others...

 

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 28, 2019)

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  1. (23013): Mourning the Death of James Buchanan: "Daniel Kuehn gets it right, I think, on the significance of the career of the late Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan: 'He got a lot right, with public choice and constitutional economics. He also got a lot quite wrong, particularly his take on the political economy of the Keynesian revolution. But he certainly was a talented and productive economist well deserving of his Nobel prize.' I would go somewhat further: he got a lot right that desperately needed to be gotten right and that nobody else would have gotten right in his absence. He made a difference in economics at more than the margin, which is something you can say of very few economists... | Six Faces of Right-Wing Chain-Forging Economist James Buchanan...

  2. Abigail Adams (1776): Letter to John Adams: "What sort of Defence Virginia can make against our common Enemy?... I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us...

  3. James Buchanan (1997): Has Economics Lost Its Way? https://delong.typepad.com/buch_econlostway.pdf

  4. Dierdre McCloskey: Review of Buchanan, "Better than Plowing"

  5. Wikipedia: Étienne Maurice Gérard: "1er Comte Gérard (4 April 1773–17 April 1852) was a French general, statesman and Marshal of France. He served under a succession of French governments including the ancien regime monarchy, the Revolutionary governments, the Restorations, the July Monarchy, the First and Second Republics, and the First Empire (and arguably the Second), becoming Prime Minister briefly in 1834...

  6. Wikipedia: List of American and British defectors in the Korean War

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