- This is what you need for background: Know this, and the pre-1800 part of the American economic history course will make sense. Don't know this, and it won't... Housekeeping:
Barry Eichengreen (2011): Economic History and Economic Policy http://eml.berkeley.edu//~eichengr/EHA_Pres_Add_9-9-11.pdf
As you read, formulate your answers to the following questions:
What does Eichengreen think are the uses of history, as shown in the use of history in trying to understand the macroeconomic crisis that began in 2008?
What does Eichengreen think are the abuses of history, as shown in the use of history in trying to understand the macroeconomic crisis that began in 2008?
What rules and approaches does Eichengreen arrive it for future people trying to use history better?
Do you agree with his rules and approaches?
Trevon Logan (2015): A Time (Not) Apart: A Lesson in Economic History from Cotton Picking Books
I--that is, Brad DeLong, the lecturer--am an economist. Trevon Logan is an economist too. We focus on numbers: prices and quantities, incomes and expenditures, productivity and preferences. In our view, the economy is overwhelmingly what you get out of it for what you give up, and what the alternative options are. Here in his presidential address Trevon Logan argues that that economists' approach misses a good part--half? more than half?--of what is really going on and what is really important. Do you think he is right?
Think about this during the course. Would you feel comfortable answering a question on the final exam about how taking Trevon Logan seriously ought to have led me to teach a different course? There may well be such a question...
Trevon ends his article with: "It is relatively easy to count up the pounds of cotton picked per person per day, but much harder to face the reality of what that calculation means to those whose hands picked that cotton. Economic history requires that we face that reality.... There are lived experiences beneath the data, after all, and there are lessons beyond what is recorded in quantitative sources which may be far more valuable to our empirical knowledge. If we are to tell the lessons of economic history we have to be certain that we are telling all of it." Numbers are required to understand whether anecdotes are typical or exceptional. Anecdotes are required to learn what numbers mean. I assigned this paper primarily because I want you to take it to heart. I want you, throughout this course, to remember it and be constantly asking yourselves "what do these numbers mean?"
Q: Has protectionism ever worked? Are there examples of countries throughout history that have embraced protectionist policies, and did that yield positive results? And what do these examples, if there are any, tell us about the economic plans of Mr. Trump?
A: If I were you, I would go grab Robert Allen's Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction <http://amzn.to/2kgt8pj>, and immediately read chapters 8 and 9.
Live from Planet Gutenberg: The day's book haul. These both look very good. Unfortunately, the first day of classes is absolutely the last day you want your book showing up in my mailbox in the form of a review copy...
James Kwak (2016): Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (New York: Pantheon: 1101871199) http://amzn.to/2k1yt3y
Daniel Wolff: Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913 (New York: Harper: 0062451693)http://amzn.to/2ixYJSP
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848): The Communist Manifesto http://tinyurl.com/dl20161210h: This piece by Marx and Engels stands at the head of two traditions:
You cannot separate these two. You should not try.
Read with an eye toward what is going to flourish in later intellectual and political history.
Hoisted from the Archives: My Very Short Take on World War II...: From “September 1, 1939,” by W.H. Auden...
...I sit in one of the dives/On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid/As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:/Waves of anger and of fear
Circulate over the bright/And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;/The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can/Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now/That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,/What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:/and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,/Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return...
Live from Evans Hall: I'm taking over Barry Eichengreen's "The Current Research Frontier: Great Recent Books in Non-American Economic History" course--Econ 210b--this semester...
I would ask those planning to show up on Tuesday please drop me a line--and also a book they want to read, if they have one.
Joachim Voth from Zurich visiting Haas will be joining us, and the book list still has a few spaces available...
Must-Read: Guido Alfani: Europe’s Rich since 1300: "Throughout this time, the only significant declines in inequality were the result of the Black Death and the World Wars...
Robert Allen (2011): Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford: 0199596654), chapter 1 http://amzn.to/2iloEx6:
A lot goes by in a very small number of pages in this chapter:
These days a lot of energy and effort goes into user interface and user experience design.
And then we have the typewriter keyboard from 150 years ago.
It shows up in remarkably many places.
Is there any reason to think that it is in any sense the best way to lay out an alphabetical interface entry form?
Let me start this course about American economic history with a story:
This is a story about a guy born in the late 19th century, in 1879, on the prairie: his family's homestead was 17 miles from the nearest post office. In historical terms, the horse-riding nomads who had dominated the prairie had only recently been driven off by the guns of government soldiers. Agricultural settlement in one of the richest soil regions of the world was well advanced, but frontier life was still raw and uncivilized.
Last chance to change any of them out. Are these the right readings? Which will fail in their task? What should I replace the ones that will fail with? What things I have not included must be added?
From left and right alike we hear something called "globalization" condemned. The forces driving the world economy toward increased economic integration are sinister. On the left politicians like Democratic congressman David Bonior begin speeches by noting three things that come to the U.S. from Mexico--dirty trucks, drugs, and hepatitis. On the right politicians like ex-Republican Pat Buchanan blame a century-old conspiracy to deliver America into the hands of the international bankers--and somehow to Buchanan the bankers are always named Goldman, Sachs, or Rubin; never Morgan or Baker.
January 10, 2017 at 07:23 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (2)
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For thirty-five years the market has been selecting for optimistic and enthusiastic bond bulls.
I. The Third Coming of John A. Hobson
In my view, the current debate about “secular stagnation” started by Larry Summers is best thought of as the third coming of John A. Hobson.
Ah. Memories of 1981...
Back in 1981 the Reagan administration promised big tax cuts for the rich; higher defense spending; no spending cuts in programs that were really useful but only in rent-seeking waste, fraud, and abuse; and a balanced budget. They didn't add up. They went forward anyway.
The consequence was the huge full-employment Reagan budget deficit, and gave America a Hobson's choice between:
Live from Chicago: American Economic Association: The Nature of Capitalism and Secular Stagnation: Chair: Matias Vernengo...
...Panelist(s): Bradford DeLong, University of California-Berkeley; Han Despin, Nichols College; William Lazonick, University of Massachusetts-Lowell; Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois-Chicago; Anwar Shaikh, New School...
Attempts to make sense out of right wing Austrian economics can never amount to anything.
Nevertheless, like a moth to a flame--or like a dog to vomit, or like a dog to something worse--whenever I see something like:
In retrospect, I like my "The Economist as...?: The Public Square and Economists" paper for the Notre Dame "public intellectualism" conference (and the newly-published conference volume) very much indeed.
It would be very nice if more people read it, and talked about it...
A discussion page...
Plus my note on an unfavorable review of the book in the Wall Street Journal, and some recent musings on failures of economists as public intellectuals.
Michael C. Desch, ed.: Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits? (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press: 0268100241) http://amzn.to/2ifc7qn
A correspondent tells me that the Wall Street Journal has reviewed the book from our Notre Dame public intellectuals conference of three years ago and that, while the book is trashed, my piece is called "entertaining and enlightening" by the reviewer Daniel Johnson. This greatly pleases me--enlightenment is all one can hope for, and if one is entertaining as well one may be read even by those who do not get paid to do so. That makes my--personal--day, and I gratefully thank him.
Unfortunately, he also writes:
Science and Technology as Institutions
Partha Dasgupta (2007): Economics: A Very Short Introduction
Societal Well-Being and Democratic Government
How much to make of the post-1400 pre-1650 divergence between London and Amsterdam on the one hand and Valencia and Florence on the other? We want to grab for the explanation that the Black Death (and associated fourteenth-century demographic disasters) was a huge deal--and then things returned to Malthusian normal in southern Europe. But not so in northern Europe. And Delhi laborers are hanging up there, as well-off as Londoners (as best as Bob Allen and company can tell) in 1625 and 1650...
Hoisted from the Archives: Robert Waldmann Has an Interpretation of Karl Marx that Is New to Me...: I would not have thought it was possible.
Robert Waldmann has an interpretation of Karl Marx's "Critique of the Gotha Program" that I have never seen before.
Robert argues that the correct interpretation of Marx's phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," in context, is this:
Shorter Critique of the Gotha Program: We socialists cannot now--and probably never will--be able to inscribe on our banners the wacka-wacka primitive Christian slogan "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." And the Lasalleans are really stupid for thinking that we can and should do it now...
Should-Read: Nathan Lane: Readings in the History of Asian State Capacity: "A reading list related to a long undertaking with... Melissa Dell (Harvard) and Pablo Querubin (NYU), where we explore the historic roots of economic divergence in Asia...
John Maynard Keynes (1919): The Economic Consequences of the Peace: "After 1870 there was developed on a large scale an unprecedented situation, and the economic condition of Europe became during the next fifty years unstable and peculiar...
Live from Nineteenth-Century London: John Stuart Mill (1848, 1871): Principles of Political Economy: "Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being...
Q: Have BREXIT and Trump increased the probability of a breakup of the eurozone?
That Britain voted for BREXIT, even under the false pretense of an extra 350 million pounds a week for the health service, is a strong indication that the tide of globalization and integration is not irresistible. That Americans... well, Americans did not vote for Trump--they voted for Clinton. That the quirks of the electoral college have made Trump president-elect is a strong indication that the tide of globalization and integration is not irresistible.
Live from Lancashire: Pseudoerasmus: Random Thoughts on Critiques of Allen’s Theory of the Industrial Revolution: "I love the work of Robert Allen...
I must take exception to something said earlier today by the very sharp Neville Morley:
Neville Morley: When It Changed: "Unless you do assume that one strand of historical development...
...changes in productivity, or technology, or ideology--is determinative of all the others, then there’s no particular reason to assume that everything will change according to the same chronological pattern...
I think he has gone wrong here. In the past--even in the first half of the nineteenth century--the assumption that there was one principal engine driving the belts and powering the orreries of history was just that: an assumption, and a simplifying and probably badly chosen assumption.
But for the past hundred and fifty years things have been different.
In the "long" twentieth century the pace of economic transformation has been so great as to force nearly every other aspect of history to respond according to the same chronological pattern.
Thomas Allen Horne: Property Rights and Poverty: Political Argument in Britain, 1605-1834: "To appeal to laissez-faire on all occasions, [J.R. McCulloch wrote]...
savors more of the policy of a parrot than of a statesman or philosopher...
Quote Investigator: Teach a Parrot to Say ‘Supply and Demand’ and You Have an Economist: "Dear Quote Investigator: There is a humorous saying about parrots and economists that is often attributed to the philosopher and satirist Thomas Carlyle...
...Sometimes the joke is simply ascribed to Anonymous. Here are three versions:
Ah. I see that you have found the first draft of my opening lecture for Econ 115 next semester... https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/804205835543019520 https://t.co/lK82RVQudb
I think whether it is more useful to do the tell of 20th century economic history as the "short" 1914-1989 (as Hobsbswm does) or the "long" 1870-2012 (as I want to) rests on two analytical judgments:
Good Riddance to Fidel Castro!: Fidel Castro has retired. Good riddance!!
That the Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin Authoritarian Project of which Fidel Castro was the next-to-last exemplar was not an advance toward but a retreat from a better world was obvious long, long ago. Quite early--Kronstadt?--it was clear to all save the dead-enders that the project was a mistake.
As Rosa Luxemburg wrote in "The Russian Revolution":
November 26, 2016 at 06:32 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (5)
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Ana Navarro: @ananavarro: "Why Miami celebrating? Ppl like my friend, Claudia Puig. Her dad killed by a Castro firing squad. Her uncle was a political prisoner 25 yrs."
Sean Carroll: @seanmcarroll: “'Universal health care' and 'other countries were worse' don’t make Castro worth celebrating. Repressive dictatorships are bad."
Adrian Monck: @amonck: "Channelling Public Enemy on Elvis:"
Stefan Leifert: @StefanLeifert: "Jean-Claude Juncker: 'With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many'."
For all of our stooges searching for a Stalin, half-wits hailing a Hitler, morons marching for a Mussolini, and clowns craving a Castro this morning. A suitable epitaph for Fidel Castro, from Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
A vast bureaucratic incompetence affecting almost every realm of daily life, especially domestic happiness... has forced Fidel Castro himself, almost thirty years after victory, to involve himself personally in such extraordinary matters as how bread is made and the distribution of beer...
Jacobo Timmerman (1990): A Summer in the Revolution: 1987: "When I read one of Gabriel Carcia Marquez's essays on the Commandante [Fidel Castro], I was remind of paeans to Stalin...
November 26, 2016 at 06:02 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Funny, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (1)
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For all of our stooges searching for a Stalin, half-wits hailing a Hitler, morons marching for a Mussolini, and clowns craving a Castro this morning:
Jaybird: Vladimir, Joseph, and Zedong:
Has anybody here seen my old friend Vladimir?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.
AP: Fidel Castro Dead at 90: "HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro has announced the death of his brother Fidel Castro on Cuban state media. Fidel Castro was 90 years old..."
Some teabaggers like Augusto Pinochet. Some herbal teabagger liked Fidel Castro. Peas in a pod:
Filling: 2 cups pumpkin, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups heavy cream, 4 large eggs (2 oz. each: 1 cup total), 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 pinch clove...
Crust: 1 3/4 cups flour, 5 oz. butter, 2 oz. shortening, 1 egg yolk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons orange zest, 2 teaspoons lemon zest...
Whipped Cream: to taste...
Hoisted from the Archives: 470 years ago, in 1543, King Henry VIII Tudor of England married his sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr. He also:
A busy king, for one so sick and mad.
The best thing I have seen on the mess that America has now gotten itself into:
Luigi Zingales: The Right Way to Resist Trump: Five years ago, I warned about the risk of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Most people laughed...
They thought it inconceivable. I was not particularly prescient; I come from Italy, and I had already seen this movie, starring Silvio Berlusconi, who led the Italian government as prime minister for a total of nine years between 1994 and 2011. I knew how it could unfold.
Diane Coyle: The Trade-Investment-Service-Intellectual Property Nexus: "I’ve managed to resist reviewing Richard Baldwin’s new book The Great Convergence: information technology, trade and the new globalization until now...
Neville Morley: Vicarious Virtue: "The seminar text for my Roman History course over the last fortnight has been the opening of the third book of Varro’s Rerum Rusticarum...
Let me distinguish between:
Supervulgar Trumpism: Donald Trump will return manufacturing employment to 24% of the nonfarm labor force.
Vulgar Trumpism: Donald Trump will renegotiate NAFTA and China's accession to the WTO. We will not get all or even most of the manufacturing jobs back, but the industries and the communities will be healthy.
Semi-intelligent Trumpism: The U.S. ought to be a high savings capital and manufactures exporting country, like Germany and Japan. Bad macro and trade policies--the Reagan and Bush 43 deficits, keeping the strong dollar policy long past its sell-by date, prioritizing finance over manufacturing--accelerated the decline of manufacturing employment well beyond its proper technology driven pace and eroded our valuable communities of engineering practice.
Ken Rogoff: "In nine years, nobody will be talking about 'secular stagnation'. I've been debating Larry on this for a year, and I started saying 'in ten years..., and so for consistency I now say 'in nine years...".
This is a wager that the full-employment long-run in which money and its associates are a veil that does not affect or disturb the Say's Law operation of the economy will come not more than 18 years after the shock of 2017--or at least that whatever remnants of the effects of that shock on the business cycle come 2025 will be dwarfed the effects of other business cycle shocks subsequent to now.
I do know from experience that one disagrees with Ken Rogoff at one's grave intellectual peril. But is he correct here? I really cannot follow him to the conclusion he wants me to reach...
Things to reread and chew over:
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787