Mark Thoma sends us to Gavyn Davies: Carney rejects King: "Mark Carney ‘s comments on monetary policy at Davos… opened a wide gap between his thinking and that of outgoing Governor Sir Mervyn King (see this earlier blog). The latter expressed doubts last week about the ability of monetary policy to boost the economy further…. Mark Carney showed very little sympathy for any of this, arguing that there is plenty of scope for monetary policy to boost the developed economies further… Mr Carney said that it might be acceptable for inflation to exceed the government’s 2% target for a fairly lengthy period, especially in the context of fiscal consolidation…. But it is not clear how this approach can be made compatible with the Bank of England’s current mandate, which has always been interpreted by the MPC as requiring a return to a 2% inflation target over roughly a two year horizon…. [I]n spirit his remarks are more in keeping with a nominal GDP target…"
Scott Lemieux: >More on the Swartz Prosecution: "I certainly agree with [Orin] Kerr that the central problem is that '[f]elony liability under the statute is triggered much too easily'. A too-broad statute, to borrow Robert Jackson’s phrase, “lies about like a loaded weapon,” and if it wasn’t Ortiz and Swartz another prosecutor was going to bring excessively harsh charges eventually. The key to his defense of Ortiz, though — '[w]hat the prosecutors did here was what federal prosecutors often do' — is less convincing… comes too close to being a 'no justice for x until justice for y (and hence no justice for anyone)' argument."
A Commonplace Book: Buying Power of 14th Century Money: "In the second half of the 14th century, a pound sterling would: (i) Support the lifestyle of a single peasant laborer for half a year, or that of a knight for a week. Or buy: (ii)( Three changes of clothing for a teenage page (underclothes not included) or (iii) Twelve pounds of sugar or (iv) A carthorse or (v) Two cows or (vi) An inexpensive bible or (vii) ten ordinary books or (viii) Rent a craftsman’s townhouse for a year or (ix) Hire a servant for six months…. It should be obvious from the above list that the conversion rate depends a great deal on what you buy…"
Manchester Guardian: Osborne's depression: "The chancellor took a modest recovery bequeathed him by Alistair Darling and snuffed it out…. National income did not grow at all last year and astonishingly remains nearly 4% smaller than it was when Lehman Brothers collapsed. The US on the other hand has made back all the output it lost in the subprime crisis – and then some. Given that the Bank of England's Mervyn King has warned of yet another five years of pain, there must surely come a time when politicians and economists stop hiding behind euphemisms and neologisms and call this episode in Britain's economic history what it is: a depression… the price of sticking rigidly to an historic austerity plan. As George Osborne prepared his swingeing spending cuts, back in June 2010, this paper warned that he was 'putting his ideological shrink-the-stateism ahead of sound economic management'. Two and a half years on, that seems a serviceable assessment. This chancellor took a modest recovery bequeathed him by Alistair Darling (whose performance in No 11 grows all the more remarkable in retrospect) – and snuffed it out. And in doing so, he has learned the hard way the lesson that critics of austerity were urging on him at the outset: that without growth there can be no hope of bringing down the public debt…"
Charlie Stross: The Anthropic Stupidity Hypothesis: "The evolutionary pressure selecting for general intelligence (to the extent that general intelligence exists) breaks once a species develops language…. Once language and culture arrived… we didn't need to get any smarter: we could 'borrow' from one another. Therefore we're only just smart enough to do this."
Jay Rosen on Stu Stevens: “Even about your Lie of the Year there is doubt.”
Cosma Shalizi: Bayes < Darwin-Wallace
Jane Fae on Mary Beard: Misogyny, intimidation, silencing – the realities of online bullying: "[F]orgive me if I don't join with those suggesting Suzanne Moore 'man up' in response to the latest batch of online abuse. Or dissing Mary Beard, who has come in for abuse following her appearance on Question Time last week, as an online wimp. It’s an issue – and the simplistic analysis I have seen of it so far doesn't go a fraction of the way to address it…. [T]here is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure."
Duncan Black: Eschaton: Disability Sucks: "The important thing to add to this is that disability benefits, like all benefits in our meager system, are not generous at all. Average monthly benefit is $1,132. This isn't a replacement for full time employment for most people. I'm sure there are a few people who 'abuse' the system by doing some under the table work on the side, but if they're earning $1,100 per month you can hardly blame them."
Nye Bevan: Desiccated Calculating Machines: "I know that the right kind of leader for the Labour Party is a kind of desiccated calculating-machine who must not in any way permit himself to be swayed by indignation. If he sees suffering, privation or injustice, he must not allow it to move him, for that would be evidence of the lack of proper education or of absence of self-control. He must speak in calm and objective accents and talk about a dying child in the same way as he would about the pieces inside an internal combustion engine."