- David Glasner: Markets in Confusion: "It wasn’t so long ago that we were being told by opponents of stimulus programs that the stimulus programs, whether fiscal or monetary, were counterproductive, because 'the markets need certainty'. Well, maybe the certainty that is needed is the certainty that the stimulus won’t be withdrawn before it has done its job."
Michael Woodford: Fiscalists vs market monetarists, a bloggy taxonomy: "The most obvious source of a boost to current aggregate demand that would not depend solely on expectational channels is fiscal stimulus — whether through an increase in government purchases, tax incentives for current expenditure such as an investment tax credit, or subsidies for lending like the [UK Funding for Lending Scheme]. At the same time, commitment to a nominal GDP target path by the central bank would increase the bang for the buck from fiscal stimulus, by assuring people that premature interest-rate increases in response to rising economic activity and prices would not crowd out other types of spending than those directly affected by fiscal policy. And the existence of the central bank’s declared nominal GDP target path should also limit the degree of alarm that might arise about risks of unbridled inflation when special fiscal stimulus measures are introduced."
Jacob Hacker: How to reinvigorate the centre-left? Predistribution: "Start, of course, with getting the macroeconomy right…. Getting the macroeconomy right also means effectively harnessing financial markets… to foster long-term investments in entrepreneurship and innovation, not quick profits based on volume, leverage, or insider knowledge…. Second… is quality public services, most notably, those that invest in the skills and opportunities of the young and ensure good health over the lifetime…. Finally, predistribution requires discovering a new set of countervailing powers in the market…. Ultimately, however, countervailing power will have to come through new organisations outside the workplace as well. Investor collectives could better police executive pay, while non-profit activists could shift their gaze from targeted interventions to help specific disadvantaged groups to new political movements to represent the segments of the future middle class that are most voiceless today…. The left does not need more slogans. It needs to take a cold, hard look at the concessions made to the rhetorical and political triumphs of the right…. But there is a vital place for active governance in the 21st century economy, and not just in softening the sharp edges of capitalism. Now more than ever, governments need to step in with boldness and optimism to make markets work for the middle class."
Buce: The Strouse Morgan: "Note to self: quit reading all those hot-off-the-press must reads. A few of them are good and original: a lot of them just recycle stuff you've been reading on the blogs… 35-page longreads tucked inside 180 pages of hard cover. Stick to stuff a few years, maybe a few centuries, old. Case in point: Jean Strouse's biography of JP Morgan…. For understanding how 19th Century finance worked, it's one of the best things I've run across so far. Some critics complain that it is too thick with detail and that might be true. But the details are still the natural venue of the devil and I don't know anybody (including Chernow) who walks you through so many individual deals in a way that makes you understand what the players were trying to accomplish and how they did it…. That may be the core point of the Morgan story: difficult, irascible, self-absorbed, unreflective though he have been, still Morgan was a man who wanted things to work. He saw every project as an occasion, not just to make money (though he made plenty) but to put together a project with a result: a railroad, a power company, a sovereign government, whatever…. She makes it clear (how could she not?) that concentrated power may confer unimaginable wealth on the lucky holder of the winning ticket. But she just as well shows how colossally wasteful the 19th-Century investment casino might be."
The Ballad of Narayama (1983 film) - Wikipedia: "The film is set in a small rural village in Japan in the 19th century. According to tradition, once a person reaches the age of 70 he or she must travel to a remote mountain to die of starvation, a practice known as ubasute. The story concerns Orin, who is 69 and of sound health, but notes that a neighbor had to drag his father to the mountain, so she resolves to avoid clinging to life beyond her term. She spends a year arranging all the affairs of her family and village: she severely punishes a family who are hoarding food, and helps her younger son lose his virginity. The film has some harsh scenes that show how brutal the conditions could be for the villagers. Interspersed between episodes in the film are brief vignettes of nature – birds, snakes, and other animals hunting, watching, singing, copulating or giving birth."
Owen Zidar sends us to Jason Long and Joseph Ferrie: Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States since 1850: "The US tolerates more inequality than Europe and believes its economic mobility is greater than Europe’s, though they had roughly equal rates of intergenerational occupational mobility in the late twentieth century. We extend this comparison into the nineteenth century using 10,000 nationally-representative British and US fathers and sons. The US was more mobile than Britain through 1900, so in the experience of those who created the US welfare state in the 1930s, the US had indeed been 'exceptional'. The US mobility lead over Britain was erased by the 1950s, as US mobility fell from its nineteenth century levels."
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