Live from Lancashire: Pseudoerasmus: Random Thoughts on Critiques of Allen’s Theory of the Industrial Revolution: "I love the work of Robert Allen...
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.
Mark Buchanan and Noah Smith: Debating What's Wrong With Macroeconomics: "*It wasn't very long ago that macroeconomics was being hailed for answering some of the big, perplexing questions about the workings of the economy...
..."The state of macro is good," one highly respected economist wrote in August 2008, just before much of the developed world came close to economic disaster. The failure to foresee the financial crisis now is considered one glaring sign of the field's limitations. Bloomberg View columnists Mark Buchanan and Noah Smith met online to debate how macroeconomics needs to change.*
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:
A Hypothesis: Some (many?) Federal Reserve policymakers seem to believe that if there is a recession, they lose.
The Kelly Risk Criterion: The intelligent and thoughtful Felix Salmon makes a subtle and interesting error--an error that I would make on at least a monthly basis, had Robert Waldmann not patiently explained all this to me in the winter of 1986.
He discusses Kelly risk analysis. Pushing leverage beyond the Kelly point does not decrease expected return. Rather, it decreases the likelihood of organizational survival, and the chance that you will be wealthy.
If you are acting as one of many agents for a well-diversified principal, you will in general want to ignore the Kelly point and leverage yourself up to the gills.
If your objective is, instead, to maximize your own chances of remaining in the game with boasting rights, you will position yourself at the Kelly point.
Project Syndicate: Missing the Economic Big Picture: BERKELEY – I recently heard former World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy paraphrasing a classic Buddhist proverb, wherein China’s Sixth Buddhist Patriarch Huineng tells the nun Wu Jincang: “When the philosopher points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.” Lamy added that, “Market capitalism is the moon. Globalization is the finger.” With anti-globalization sentiment now on the rise throughout the West, this has been quite a year for finger-watching... Read MOAR at Project Syndicate
I'm confused because it does not seem to me that there is a single Ms. Market out there...
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)
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)
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:
Let us suppose that we had been transported to some other branch of the multiverse, along which the Federal Reserve had not held interest rates at zero but had steadily and gradually raised them for the past six years them so that the Federal Funds rate now stood at 400 basis points. What does the economy look like along our branch and along that branch?
Q: How hard will it be for Trump to produce jobs for the people he promised he would?
A: Fiscal expansion might rescue Trump by creating a high-pressure economy, if we are still far from full employment. Otherwise...
Bad trade deals are not the reason for the decline in American manufacturing employment and the stagnation of earnings outside the 10%.
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...
Since 2009 the Federal Reserve and other global north central banks have, first hesitantly and enthusiastically, been trying to sacrifice the health of the commercial banking sector in order to keep the life support machines that are keeping the rest of the economy alive going.
In the United States 24% of nonfarm workers were manufacturing workers in 1971.
It's 8.6% today.
Maybe it would be 9% if NAFTA has not been negotiated and if China had not joined the WTO, but maybe it would still be 8.6%--analysts disagree on trade expansion vs. trade diversion here.
When should you use fiscal policy to expand demand even if the economy is at full employment?
First, when you can see the next recession coming: that would be a moment to try to see if you could push the next recession further off.
Second, if it would help you prepare you to better fight the next recession whenever it comes.
The second applies now whether we are near full employment or not.
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.
Note to Self: Regulatory Uncertainty and Housing Finance: The U.S. Treasury seized Fannie and Freddie in 2008, and said that housing finance would be differently organized in the future.
When I was working in the Treasury in 1993-5, I was struck by how much it was the case that President Bill Clinton was still the ex-Governor of Arkansas. Thus arguments that would have been powerful and important when directed at a Governor of Arkansas still resonated in his mind. Moreover, it seemed to me that they resonated much more strongly than they perhaps should have, given that he was now not Governor of Arkansas but President of the United States, if they were evaluated purely on technocratic grounds.
A cleaned-up transcript of my part of this Bank-Fund Meeting cycle's panel on "Fiscal Policy in the New Normal":
Moderator: Vitor Gaspar. Panelists: Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Brad DeLong, Bill Morneau, Ludger Schuknecht, Arvind Subramanian
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...
J. Bradford DeLong :: U.C. Berkeley, NBER, and WCEG :: November 17, 2016 :: PIIE
We are highly unlikely to have any—not for the next two years, and probably not for the next four years. Thus the talk I had prepared and the powerpoint I had drawn up two weeks ago are now totally irrelevant.
I think the big part of the story is that the investment accelerator is a big thing, even though our models say it should not. Businesses do wait to invest until they are running flat out to invest. It's a puzzle why they do this--they ought to act like the foresighted agents in our models, shouldn't they?
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.
Note to Self: Why Donald Trump's attempt to make trade policy his arena for rescuing America's white want-to-be-blue-collar workers will fail:
Brad DeLong started by alluding to Indian philosophy. I will start with Chinese: The philosopher says: 'When the wise man points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger'. Market capitalism is the moon. Globalization is the finger...
Whether you think the problem with market capitalism is income stagnation coupled with in adequate social insurance on the one hand, or a Polanyian disruption of expected life paths and chances on the other, Pascal Lamy is right in saying that it is a problem with market capitalism, not with trade and globalization.
Should we expect 2017 to be different than 2016 as far as global economic growth is concerned?
As Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferreti said yesterday, it surely ought to be better because it will be unlikely to be as bad as 2016 was for Russia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Brazil. The anti-productivity shock of BREXIT will not have hit the world economy yet, and Mark Carney and company have managed to drop the pound enough that Britain looks likely to see expenditure-switching rather than expenditure-dropping as people readjust their plans as they wonder what the end of the BREXIT imbroglio will be.
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:
Whether Thomas Jefferson's vision of the future of America was coherent was unclear then and remains unclear now.
Jefferson, like most of his founding-father contemporaries, was steeped in one version of classical history: Roman history as a morality play. Jefferson and many, many of his revolutionary peers assumed that yeoman farmers--Cincinnati--were the only possible social class that could maintain a free republic. They all believed that Rome was a great, free Republic because of its fiercely-independent farmers who nevertheless loved their city and would--like Cincinnatus--drop their ploughs and instantly take up their swords to defend (and conquer), and then return to their ploughs after the war was over.
November 14, 2016 at 11:34 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (31)
Fiscal expansion now is really a no-brainer:
What's the downside?
Must-Read: I would add Mongkut and Chulalongkorn in Thailand, and Mohammed Ali in Egypt, to Pseudoerasmus's list here...
In a good world, this would be not a blogpost but a symposium. This would be a conference. Admittedly, since Pseudoerasmus is and probably must remain anonymous, he/she would have to teleconference in her/his disguised-voice avatar:
Pseudoerasmus: State Capacity & the Sino-Japanese Divergence: "Why China did not industrialise before Western Europe may be a tantalising and irresistible subject, but frankly it’s a parlour game...
...What remains underexplored, however, is the more tractable issue of why Japan managed, but China failed, to initiate an early transition to modern growth and convergence with the West. A recent paper argues that the gap in state capacity between Qing China and Tokugawa Japan was responsible for the divergence.
Please note, this blogpost disputes that argument:
Stephen Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong (2016): Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Policy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press) http://amzn.to/2fJnSEe | Keynote
Must-Read: Philip Stephens: America Can Survive Trump. Not so the West: "History can veer off course... in 1914... the first age of globalisation was consumed in the flames of the Great War... [in] the 1930s when economic hardship, protectionism and nationalism nurtured the rise of fascism...
Well, that was a very interesting election night...
Our failure in 2000 to introduce into the running code (as opposed to the specification document) of our constitution that electors switch votes so that the national popular vote winner wins the electoral college cost us dear in 2000, and may cost us even more today...
You may ask: How is one to judge what to do in such times? The answer is clear: As one has ever judged. Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a human's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house. What would have been good policy yesterday would still be good policy today. What would have been bad policy yesterday would still be bad policy today. So we play our position.
I therefore set forth seven principles that should govern good technocratic fiscal policies that promise to enhance America's societal well-being :
Must-Read: Why I reacted badly to journalists who asked me to analyze Trump's economic plans. The first, last, and only correct thing to say was that there never was any coherent plan. To say anything else was to try to normalize the unnormalizable. Everyone who wrote as if there was a plan should be deeply ashamed of themselves.
Here Alan Cole gets it... less wrong than most. He is still trying to normalize the unnormalizable. But he is honest about how difficult it was for him to attempt the task:
Alan Cole: _On Twitter: "This is my 407th (and, I expect, final) day covering Donald Trump's tax proposals for @taxfoundation...
...Here's what we've learned:
I endorse this:
[Scholars' letter of support for Ricardo Hausmann]:
We the undersigned write to express our dismay at Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s repeated targeting of our colleague Ricardo Hausmann and to express our support for Professor Hausmann.
I'm going to call this debate--from six and four years ago--for me. I do think I was right then. But even were I to concede that I was not right then about what "economics" was in its essence, I believe I can convincingly make the case that I am correct now:
November 07, 2016 at 01:11 PM in Economics: History, History, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (3)
Here I believe Noah Smith is incomplete when he claims:
Everyone is born with an endowment of Asskickery. The state monopoly on the use of force is simply a government redistribution of Asskickery. Libertarians, of course, should realize this.
The state monopoly on the use of force is not just a redistribution of the endowment of Asskickery. It is also a revelation of who has how much of it. When the amount of Asskickery with which individuals are endowed is hidden, the requirements of the Coase Theorem are not met, and so bargaining costs keep the economy from attaining a Pareto optimum.
For example, in twelfth-century Ireland, the distribution of Asskickery among Richard "Strongbow" de Clare, Diarmait Mac Murchada, and Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair was uncertain. Richard and Diarmait could reduce their bargaining costs to zero by aligning their interests via the marriage of Diarmait's daughter Aoife to Richard (shown below). But there remained the bargaining costs between Richard and Diarmait on the one hand and Ruaidrí on the other (also shown below), which were very large and very dissipative indeed. Not a Pareto-optimal outcome in the least:
Curiously enough, if you websurf to the National Gallery of Ireland, its website focus on only a small portion of "The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife":
Must-Read: Noah Smith: Cosma Shalizi Argues That Adam Smith Is Not a Real Economist Edition: "Everyone is born with an endowment of Asskickery...
...The state monopoly on the use of force is simply a government redistribution of Asskickery. Libertarians, of course, should realize this.
Must-Read: Branko Milanovic: The Long Shadow of 1989: "The [Eastern European] generation born around the early 1990s, which has now reached its maturity...
Must-Read: Cosma Shalizi vs. the Econometricians:
Cosma Shalizi: Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View: "It Is also important to be clear that when we find the regression function is a constant...
Simon Wren-Lewis: Ann Pettifor on mainstream economics: "Ann has a article that talks about the underlying factor behind the Brexit vote...
...Her thesis, that it represents the discontent of those left behind by globalisation, has been put forward by others. Unlike Brad DeLong, I have few problems with seeing this as a contributing factor to Brexit, because it is backed up by evidence, but like Brad DeLong I doubt it generalises to other countries...
Paul Ryan had a choice: he could have shaped his future political career as the sensible Republican Speaker who had moderated Democratic policy initiatives and made Washington work. Or he could have shaped his future career as another raving loony nutcase who strove to the last to try to make Donald Trump President, get caught between the millstones of the Teabaggers to his right and deserting moderate ex-Republicans and the demographics to his left, and be ground to dust.
Paul Ryan has chosen:
Paul Ryan: The Choice Facing America: "Hillary Clinton... has offered no new ideas...
It is, once again, time for me to think about Ken Rogoff's hypothesis: his claim that right now the world economy as a whole is depressed because we are in the down phase of a debt supercycle--dealing with a debt overhang.
I have never been able to make enough sense of Rogoff's perspective here to find it convincing.
I should, however, warn people that when I fail to see the point of something that Ken Rogoff has written, the odds are only one in four that I am right. The odds are three in four that he is right, and I have missed something important:
Paul Krugman: @paulkrugman: "Profiles in no courage... Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Hell)
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787