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Does One Improve Intellectual Diversity by Hiring or Reading "Conservative" Idiots?

As the very sharp Jacob Levy wrote back in 2008:

There's no modern work to teach alongside Theory of Justice and Anarchy, State, and Utopia that really gets at what's interesting about Burkean or social conservatism.... Any book plucked from the past that was concerned with yelling "stop!" tends to date badly to any modern reader who does not think he's already living in hell-in-a-handbasket... talks about how everything will go to hell if the [Jim Crow] South isn't allowed to remain the South.... Oakeshott['s]... "Rationalism in Politics" end[s] up feeling faintly ridiculous by the time he's talking about women's suffrage.... I might say Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, and Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism, but the former isn't really distinctively conservative enough and I'm not sure the latter is a classic.

In my view, you go with Polanyi's The Great Transformation--which gets the rational kernel inside the mystical conservative shell--or you go home.

And this is apropos today because Nick Kristof is writing more bilgewater for the New York Times:

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Trying to Empiricize the Philosophy of Probability: Readings, Plus a Non-Platonic Dialogue

Black swan Google Search

Updated from: Live from Over the Rocky Mountains: I see that the War on Nate Silver has broken out again, with another article less appetizing than bilgewater in The New York Times, written by Jim Rutenberg:

Still more recently--as in Tuesday--the data journalist Nate Silver... gave Hillary Clinton a 90 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders in Indiana. Mr. Sanders won by a comfortable margin of about five percentage points.... The lesson [from Eric Cantor's defeat] in Virginia, as the Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi wrote at the time, was that nothing exceeds the value of shoe-leather reporting, given that politics is an essentially human endeavor and therefore can defy prediction and reason...

Nate has his comment: Nate Silver Being Smart and Bringing the Snark: "Do You Know What 'Polling' Is? It's Talking to Voters in a Structured Way to Reduce Bias"

And Justin Wolfers says:


But I do not feel today like talking about the anti-empirical reporters--horse-race journamalists who try to avoid learning about horses, tracks, or jockeys--with their alternative methodology of source-flattering. I'm bored with their false and repeatedly disproven claims to magical expertise via choosing and flattering particular sources.

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AlphaChat: Underappreciated Moments in Economic History

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Underappreciated Moments in Economic History

Cardiff Garcia: Welcome to AlphaChat, the business and economics podcast of the Financial Times. I'm Cardiff Garcia....

First up on the show is Brad DeLong, an economist and economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also the coauthor of the New Book: Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy. We are going to be discussing this book in a forthcoming episode of Alphachat-Terbox, our long-form sister podcast segment. But for this I have asked Brad to choose three under appreciated moments in economic history, and to give us the lessons we should learn from those events. I do not know what Brad's chosen. I will be learning along with you.

Brad: Thanks for common on AlphaChat.

Brad DeLong: Thank you very much.

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Hamilton! (And Jefferson, and Madison and Jackson and Lincoln, and All the Grey Post-Civil War Republicans, That Triangulating Bastard Grover Cleveland, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, and Ike!

Hamilton Google Search

Alphachatterbox: Podcast: Brad DeLong on Hamiltonian economics and US economic history


DeLong Garcia Alphachatterbox Transcript: Brad DeLong on Hamiltonian economics

[Cardiff Garcia] Hey everyone, welcome to Alphachatterbox, the long form business economics and tech podcast of the Financial Times.

I'm Cardiff Garcia, and our guest today is Brad DeLong, an economist and economic historian at the University of California Berkeley. He also writes a popular blog, and he’s the co-author, along with Steven Cohen, of a new book called Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy, and that is the topic of this edition of Alphachatterbox. Brad DeLong, welcome back.

[Brad DeLong] Yes, yes. Thank you very much. Very glad to be "here", wherever "here" is, in some metaphysical kind of sense.

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The Economist as...?: The Public Square and Economists

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My paper for the Notre Dame conference on "public intellectualism" is finally making its way through the publication process...


I. The Salience Today of the Economic

Sit down some evening and watch the news on the TV, or scan the magazine covers in the supermarket, or simply immerse yourself in modern America...

 

A. Elements of Public-Square Gossip

If you are like me, you will be struck by the extent to which our collective public conversation focuses on seven topic areas:

  1. The personal doings of the beautiful, the powerful, and the rich – and how to become more like them.
  2. The weather.
  3. Local threats and dangers, especially to children.
  4. Amusements – usually gossip about the past or about our imaginary friends, frenemies, etc. (it is amazing how many people I know who have strong opinions about Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen1 – many more than have any opinions at all about her creator George R.R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire novels on which “Game of Thrones”2 is based).
  5. How to best procure necessities and conveniences.
  6. Large scale dangers (and, rarely, opportunities): plagues, wars and rumors of wars, the fall and rise of dynasties, etc.
  7. “The economy”: unemployment, spending, inflation, construction, stock market values, and bond market interest rates.

Now out of these seven topic areas, the first six are found not just in our but in other societies as far back as we have records. They are common in human history as far back as we have been writing things down, or singing long story-songs to one another around the campfire.

What, after all, is the story of Akhilleus, Hektor, and Agamemnon in Homer’s Iliad but a combination of (1), (4), and (6)?3

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