- Paul Krugman: Political Inflationistas: "Noah Smith suggests that none of the inflationistas really believe what they’re saying. Instead, he writes, they’re either trying to defend economic models that defined their careers, but failed; lashing out because they personally have been made to look like fools; or playing to a lucrative audience of grumpy old rich white men, who are natural goldbugs…. I’d go along with most of this, with two caveats. One is that my guess is that even the worst of these guys probably aren’t as self-consciously cynical as Smith seems to suggest…. More important, I think Smith has missed an important category. Look at the 23-economist letter warning Bernanke against QE, and you’ll see several people who really don’t fit his typology. Michael Boskin, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John Taylor, and several others have not, historically, been equilibrium-macro types, devoting their careers to the proposition that monetary policy can do nothing but cause inflation…. The same is true for a few other monetary hawks who didn’t sign this letter, e.g. Allan Meltzer and Martin Feldstein…. So what is it that makes these guys--whose analytical framework, when you come down to it, doesn’t seem very different from Bernanke’s, or mine--so hostile to expansionary monetary policy? What do they have in common? The obvious answer is that they’re all very committed Republicans. And it’s hard to escape the suspicion that what’s really going on is that they’re bitterly opposed to expansionary policy when a Democrat is in the White House."
Liza Featherstone, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti (2004): Action Will 'Be Taken': Left Anti-intellectualism and Its Discontents, Radical Society: "'We can't get bogged down in analysis', one activist told us at an anti-war rally in New York last fall, spitting out that last word like a hairball. He could have relaxed his vigilance. This event deftly avoided such bogs, loudly opposing the U.S. bombing in Afghanistan without offering any credible ideas about it…. This latest war called for some thinking, and few were doing much of that. So what is the ideology of the activist left (and by that we mean the global justice, peace, media democracy, community organizing, financial populist, and green movements)?… So over all is the activist left just an inchoate, 'post-ideological' mass of do-gooders, pragmatists and puppeteers? No. The young troublemakers of today do have an ideology and it is as deeply felt and intellectually totalizing as any of the great belief systems of yore. The cadres who populate those endless meetings, who bang the drum, who lead the 'trainings' and paint the puppets, do indeed have a creed. They are Activismists…. This brave new ideology combines the political illiteracy of hyper-mediated American culture with all the moral zeal of a nineteenth century temperance crusade. In this worldview, all roads lead to more activism and more activists. And the one who acts is righteous. The activismists seem to borrow their philosophy from the factory boss in a Heinrich Böll short story who greets his employees each morning with the exhortation 'Let's have some action'. To which the workers obediently reply: 'Action will be taken!'"
Ken Rogoff: Golden Slumbers: "In principle, holding gold is a form of insurance against war, financial Armageddon, and wholesale currency debasement…. Does the collapse in gold prices – from a peak of $1,900 per ounce in August 2011 to under $1,250 at the beginning of July 2013 – represent a vote of confidence in the global economy?… As central banks brought policy interest rates down to zero, no one cared that gold yields no interest. So it is nonsense to say that the rise in the price of gold was all a bubble. But it is also true that as the price rose, a growing number of naïve investors sought to buy in…. Unless governments firmly set the price of gold, as they did before World War I, the market for it will inevitably be risky and volatile…. Claude Erb and Campbell Harvey consider several possible models of gold’s fundamental price, and find that gold is at best only loosely tethered to any of them."
David Carr: Me and My Girls - The Night of the Gun: "Where does a junkie’s time go? Mostly in 15-minute increments, like a bug-eyed Tarzan, swinging from hit to hit. For months on end in 1988, I sat inside a house in north Minneapolis, doing coke and listening to Tracy Chapman’s 'Fast Car' and finding my own pathetic resonance in the lyrics."
Reading is for Snobs: David Brooks Accidentally Admits That Republicans Are Trying To Sabotage Obamacare | N.K. Jemisin: Continuum GoH Speech | An Academic: The No-Asshole Rule | David Glantz (1986): Soviet Defensive Tactics at Kursk | Ed Luce: Weary US consumer shoulders a heavy load | Kevin Drum: S&P Admits in Court That Its Ratings Are Ridiculous and No One Should Ever Take Them Seriously | Scott Lemieux: The Hidden Antebellum Roots of Shelby County | Alan Blinder: The Economy Needs More Spending Now | Ezra Klein: Obamacare just got easier to implement, not harder |