Must-Read: The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy: "We distinguish between... property rights, political rights, and civil rights...:
Must-Read: Sharun Mukand and Dani Rodrik: The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy: "We distinguish between... property rights, political rights, and civil rights...
Live from La Farine: The slaveholders who forced through Virginia's joining the Confederacy in 1861 and the Social Darwinist libertarians of the 19th century did not pretend.
They did not go to war honorably and reluctantly because they needed to make a point of constitutional law.
They did not seek to eliminate regulation of wages an hours because the "Big Children" and "Big Slovak Immigrant" lobbies had captured the government and were imposing high rent-seeking costs on society.
In this, they were more honorable than their latter-day epigones and defenders:
Live from La Farine: Scott Lemieux: The Party of Lincoln Is Now the Party of Jackson, and Vice Versa: "It’s not exactly news that Sean Wilentz’s punditry during the 2008 primaries was an embarrassment...
...But, via Chait, I somehow missed this definitive example....
Arthur Goldhammer: The Old Continent Creaks: Austerity and the failures of the technocratic elite have created the current populist backlash. France’s experience is instructive—and, possibly, ominous:
What’s the matter with Europe? Wherever one looks these days, there are signs of deep trouble. Economic growth has stagnated. Deflation threatens. Unemployment is rampant in many member states of the European Union. Support for the former mainstream parties of the center-right and center-left is waning. Populist parties of the far right and far left are on the rise. Anti-Islamic movements such as PEGIDA in Germany have attracted worrisome support, while in France the xenophobic National Front has topped all other parties in recent polls. Terrorist attacks by native-born citizens in Paris and Copenhagen have raised fears that the social fabric has irreparably deteriorated—fears compounded by the flight of several thousand young Europeans to join the Islamic State in Syria. And to top it all off, Ukraine has been racked by civil war and threatened with disintegration since Russian-backed separatists rejected the rule of the government in Kiev.
: 1750 BC Problems: "Tell Ea-nasir:
Nanni sends the following message:
When you came, you said to me as follows:
I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.
You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said:
If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!
Samuel Brittan--who I believe is extremely perceptive and penetrating (although not at all unsympathetic)--on Friedrich Hayek. From 'Hayek, Freedom, and Interest Groups,' in The Role and Limits of Government (London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1983):
The first page of the first chapter of Hayek's own Constitution of Liberty starts with the sentence:
We are concerned in this book with that condition of men in which coercion of some by others is reduced as much as possible.
J. Bradford DeLong on June 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Information, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Across the Wide Missouri: Patrick Nielsen Hayden: "You're asking me to agree that my great-grandparent and great-great-grandparents were monsters.": "I don’t think my great-great-grandfather was a monster...
Across the Wide Missouri: Christopher Grimes: Southerners Silenced too Long by Symbolism of Confederate Flag: "When I was growing up in Georgia in the 1970s and 80s...
...the Confederate battle flag was part of the visual and cultural landscape... emblazoned on everything from bumper stickers to shot glasses and beach towels.... In Tallapoosa... the flag was painted on the wall of the high school gym. Our football team was called The Rebels.... Our ‘fight song’... was ‘Dixie’. And added to all this Confederate imagery was our school mascot, a mustachioed southern gentleman dressed in the same shade of grey that famed general Robert E Lee wore to the civil war battle of Appomattox....
From Arthur Goldhammer's forthcoming translation of de Tocqueville's Recollections:
I returned to the chamber and regained my seat. Nearly all the deputies had left. The benches were filled by people from the streets. Lamartine, still at the podium and framed by the two flags, continued to harangue the crowd, or, rather, converse with it, for there were as many orators as listeners, or so it seemed to me. The confusion was at its height.
Walter Jon Williams: Waterloo: "Here we view the climactic scene from the 1970 film Waterloo...
...directed by the Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk, who I’ve always thought of as “Sergei Ponderous,” from his heavy-handed directorial style. (It was Bondarchuk who directed the 6 1/2 hour version of War and Peace, which I once viewed on a midnight-till-dawn showing in a London theater. If you survived the French invasion, you got champagne.) Bondarchuk was lucky enough to be able to borrow what seems to be the entire Yugoslav Army.... The sheer scale of the battle, with nearly 200,000 men (and a few women) clawing at each other on a very compact, muddy battlefield, so constricted that it’s hard to believe that any of those bullets missed... the sheer slaughter that produced 40-50,000 dead— the precise number is impossible to determine, because the French were so broken they never managed a head count afterwards:
Comment of the Day: James Wimberley: Premier Je Suis, Second Je Fus, Mouton Ne Change: "I can't resist quoting François Villon's puff...
...for Chateau Balestard la Tonnelle, on the other side:
Ray Ginger: On Clarence Darrow: "Ray Ginger on Clarence Darrow, from Ray Ginger (1975), The Age of Excess: The United States from 1877-1914 (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press: 0192486013954), pp. 358-9:
Lawyer: Clarence Darrow: The name of Clarence Seward Darrow (1857-1938) conjures up the Monkey Trial and Leopold-Loeb. He is remembered as the foremost defense lawyer of his generation, spokeman for the accused in dozens of murder trials. This view is badly distorted. He was a courtroom advocate only in his waning years. The truth is far more complex.
J. Bradford DeLong on June 18, 2015 at 07:01 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Daily) Liveblogging History, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (1)
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Live from the Garonne Estuary: Château Mouton Rothschild
Suppose you were heading from Bordeaux to London in the twelfth century by sea.
Suppose wanted to stop someplace to pick up something to use as ballast.
Where would you stop?
Yep. You would stop at what is now Château Mouton Rothschild on the left bank of the Garonne. That is the ideal place to stop, pick up whatever blast you need for ship stability, and rebalance your cargo before you head out beyond Isle de Cordouan into the waves of the North Atlantic.
What do you think the chances are that the best place in the world to grow grapes for making claret--the place with the absolute-best, ahem, terroir--just happens to also be the ideal place to pick up ballast for the Bordeaux-London voyage?
And, in fact, what are the odds that the sea-run ballast pick-up point would just happen to be for Bordeaux-London? That the sea run would be that between the capital of the lands that Eleanor d'Acquitaine brought to the Angevin Empire and the London capital and court of Henri II de Plantagenet?
"But what about the Burgundies?" you ask. Had not the Dukes of Burgundy managed to acquire overlordship of the seventeen provinces at the mouths of the Meuse and the Rhine, Burgundy would be nowhere. And the great days of the Burgundian court came to an end with the death of Charles the Rash...
What about today's Republican Party?
Let me give a stream-of-consciousness-personal-psychodrama-confessional-oversharing answer to that question:
I am not a political scientist. I am not an especially deep student of politics.
My government experience came from working in 1993-1995 in Lloyd Bentsen's Treasury Department, when he had just gone from being senator from Texas and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Treasury Secretary. He and his staff, broadly, believed that what you did in order to govern--with a kinder and gentler, technocratic, equitable-growth approach to policy--was to start with a centrist block, Bentsen and his friends and allies, people from Jack Danforth on the right to Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the left. You would then call for bids from the left and right. You would ally with whichever was willing to give you better deal to build a majority. And you would then vote your bill out of the Senate Finance Committee 12-5 and roll it through initial passage, conference, and presidential signature.
Miriam Burstein: Cited by: "Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt...
...sent me to Donald Kagan's Jefferson Lecture. Despite Kagan's warnings against the dangers of over-generalization, his critique of contemporary historiography was so non-specific--apparently, we're still stuck in 80s crusades against DWM--that I had a hard time finding the 'there' there. I've already had an earful about this lecture from a classicist's perspective, and I'll leave his call for history as a 'sound base for moral judgments' to other historians.
Via Arthur Goldhammer:
Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America: 2.10: (Democracy in America I.2.10): "Nowadays the dispossession of the Indians...
...is often accomplished in a routine and—one might say—perfectly legal manner.
...to break free from all the limitations of his turn-of-the-century, Bible Belt Missouri background, his engineer’s pragmatism and exactitude, his naval officer’s dedication and discipline, his willingness to think and rethink, and his readiness to educate the young in necessary survival skills. Heinlein’s bad side has been his arrogance and egotism, his manipulativeness and concern to always have the upper hand, and -- worst of all -- his misplaced morality.
Must-Read: Timothy Garton Ash: Xi Jinping’s China: The Greatest Political Experiment: "Xi is... trying to steer a complex economy and society... by top-down changes...
Daniel P. Tompkins: What the Ancient Greeks Can Teach Us About Human Capital: "Unsupervised, cooperative Athenians developed an economy powerful enough to escape the Malthus trap...
The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece by Josiah Ober, Princeton University Press, 464pp. "Must it not then be acknowledged by an attentive examiner of the histories of mankind, that in every age and in every State in which man has existed, or does now exist, That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence? That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase? And, That the superior power of population it repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice?"
Jon Schwarz: Legendary Journalist in Private: "It Is All Fraudulent, All of It, Everywhere": "Politico recently ran a fantastic historical profile...
...of journalist Theodore H. White by the writer Scott Porch. White invented the genre of modern presidential campaign books with The Making of the President, 1960 (and then 1964, 1968 and 1972). The 1960 version, which won a Pulitzer Prize and sold four million copies, describes John F. Kennedy as a ‘forlorn and lonesome young man … lithe as an athlete … handsome and tired, with just a fleck of gray now in his glossy brown hair’ who ‘baffled’ the ‘old-line politicians of Tammany.’ Then after Kennedy was assassinated, White helped Jackie Kennedy create the ‘Camelot’ myth of his presidency.
Étienne Mantoux says: Britain and America must allow France to impose a satisfactory peace upon Nazi Germany in 1945--one that places Germany under sufficient territorial, military, political, and economic burdens that it will thereafter lack the power to dominate Europe politically and militarily. If they do not, then perhaps, after 200 years of trying to control or contain Germany, France and the rest of Europe will ally with it. And that would fix those Britons and Americans:
Comment of the Day: Nathanael: What Is the American Principles Project?: "'How does opposition to contraception and abortion and advocacy of discrimination...
...against homosexuals get tied up with the gold standard and the elimination of the pro-poor redistributionist social ethic of Jesus Christ?
Live from the Glaswegian Mists: Ken Macleod: Ralph Miliband (Pére): "[Miliband pére's] essays are hard-headed, sober, nuanced....
Note to Self: Rereading Etienne Mantoux: La Paix Calomniée, ou les Conséquences Économiques de M. Keynes. "The Calumniated Peace" of Versailles. OK. So why is the title of the English translation The Carthaginian Peace? Who decided to replace "Caluminiated" with "Carthaginian", and why?
With his fascination Keynes combines another of the serpent's attributes--his disconcerting ability to molt at more or less frequent intervals, leaving his former conceptions behind him like so many old integuments from which the reader, somewhat disconcerted, must extract himself, having previously been at no little trouble to get in.... We are to witness a revolution. At least so one would gather from some of the more enthusiastic reviews, which go so far as to make Keynes (much to his disgust no doubt) the direct successor of Karl Marx. "My undertaking is one that has no equal, that none will ever equal. I would change the basis of society, shift the axis of civilization..." Is that facetious to place Proudhon's ironic boasts beside Keynes' ambitious sureness? Yet their two proposals are not so very unlike, for it is by decline of the rate of interest to zero that the latter would see our economic ills remedied. Curious that the most sharp-tongued economist of our time should come back, by this unexpected route, to the thought of the famous inventor of "credit gratuit"...
Note to self:
Perhaps I imposed too much of my own preconceptions on Skidelsky. But I had always seen Skidelsky as arguing that Keynes saw:
Cf: Stephen A. Schuker (2014): J.M. Keynes and the Personal Politics of Reparationshttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fdps20
John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace: "Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature
Over at Equitable Growth Paul Romer inquired why I did not endorse his following Krusell and Smith (2014) in characterizing Piketty and Piketty and Zucman as a canonical example of what Romer calls "mathiness". Indeed, I think that, instead, it is Krusell and Smith (2014) that suffers from "mathiness"--people not in control of their models deploying algebra untethered to the real world in a manner that approaches gibberish.
I wrote about this last summer, several times: READ MOAR
Via Ta-Nehisi Coates: John C. Calhoun: Slavery a Positive Good: "I do not belong... to the school which holds that aggression is to be met by concession...
...Mine is the opposite creed, which teaches that encroachments must be met at the beginning, and that those who act on the opposite principle are prepared to become slaves. In this case, in particular I hold concession or compromise to be fatal. If we concede an inch, concession would follow concession–compromise would follow compromise, until our ranks would be so broken that effectual resistance would be impossible. We must meet the enemy on the frontier, with a fixed determination of maintaining our position at every hazard. Consent to receive these insulting petitions [seeking from the senate a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery], and the next demand will be that they be referred to a committee in order that they may be deliberated and acted upon.
John Maynard Keynes (1924): Obituary for Alfred Marshall: "ALFRED MARSHALL was born at Clapham on July 26, 1842...
...the son of William Marshall, a cashier in the Bank of England, by his marriage with Rebecca Oliver. The Marshalls were a clerical family of the West, sprung from William Marshall, incumbent of Saltash, Cornwall, at the end of the seventeenth century. Alfred was the great-great-grandson of the Reverend William Marshall, the half-legendary herculean parson of Devonshire, who, by twisting horseshoes with his hands, frightened local blacksmiths into fearing that they blew their bellows for the devil. His great-grandfather was the Reverend John Marshall, Headmaster of Exeter Grammar School, who married Mary Hawtrey, daughter of the Reverend Charles Hawtrey, Sub-Dean and Canon of Exeter, and aunt of the Provost of Eton.
UPDATE: Oh, excellent! Here is the transcript.
Heather Boushey and Larry Summers posted their prepared thoughts for last week's Brookings-Okumn event. They are very good, and are well worth reading. The others--Wessel, Mankiw, Kearney, Wolfers--alas, did not. I am told that they were very good in the panel discussion. But where am I going to find the hour and a half to listen to it? And there appears to be no transcript. Serious bummer.
Over at Equitable Growth: Suppose, for a moment, you were teaching your college students social theory—but that you were back in 1750.
Who would you want your students to have at hand to read?
We will not do the boring think of confining you to assigning solely authors who had written before 1750. Assume that the appropriate time machine is available. But, equally, we will not do the boring thing of allowing you to assign historical accounts of what in 1750 was then the future. This is an intellectual exercise: we are interested in analytical perspectives on societies and how they work. READ MOAR
John Maynard Keynes: Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards which the General Theory Might Lead: "THE outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live...
...are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes. The bearing of the foregoing theory on the first of these is obvious. But there are also two important respects in which it is relevant to the second.
Since the end of the nineteenth century significant progress towards the removal of very great disparities of wealth and income has been achieved through the instrument of direct taxation — income tax and surtax and death duties — especially in Great Britain. Many people would wish to see this process carried much further, but they are deterred by two considerations; partly by the fear of making skilful evasions too much worth while and also of diminishing unduly the motive towards risk-taking, but mainly, I think, by the belief that the growth of capital depends upon the strength of the motive towards individual saving and that for a large proportion of this growth we are dependent on the savings of the rich out of their superfluity.
Live from Peets Coffee: https://twitter.com/delong/status/596707833267159041
There is no point in including entire John Holbo posts in Weekend Reading--Crooked Timber (unlike most of the rest of the online world) is highly unlikely to suffer from linkrot, and those who want to read his posts at their Holbonian length can do so over there. But there is a need for a Shorter John Holbo.
Me? I see five political dimensions as one tries to maneuver through the weeds:
(with none of any of the poles being entirely bad--or entirely good, for that matter). The Nazis thus tended to be: militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian communicatarian, except for the Strasser-Roehm bunch who tended to be militarist nationalist egalitarian authoritarian communitarian. (And someone like Jonah Goldberg would tend to be militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian individualistic.)
Shorter John Holbo:
J. Bradford DeLong on May 03, 2015 at 11:34 AM in History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Sorting: DeLong: Academic CV, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Francis Fukuyama (2006): After Neoconservatism: "How did the neoconservatives end up overreaching to such an extent that they risk undermining their own goals?...
...Four common... threads ran through... [Neoconservative] thought... a concern with democracy, human rights and, more generally, the internal politics of states; a belief that American power can be used for moral purposes; a skepticism about the ability of international law and institutions to solve serious security problems; and finally, a view that ambitious social engineering often leads to unexpected consequences and thereby undermines its own ends.... The skeptical stance toward ambitious social engineering... [was] applied... to domestic policies like affirmative action, busing and welfare.... The belief in the potential moral uses of American power... [called for] American activism... [to] reshape the structure of global politics....
...Look it up. Altruistic punishment is a ‘puzzle’ to the sort of economist who thinks of homo economicus maximizing her utility, and a no-brainer to the [evolutionary] game theorist who understands humans could never have survived if we actually were the kind of creature who succumbed to every prisoners’ dilemma. Altruistic punishment is behavior that imposes costs on third parties with no benefit to the punisher, often even at great cost to the punisher. To the idiot economist, it is a lose/lose situation, such a puzzle. For the record, I’m a fan of the phenomenon. Does that mean I’m a fan of these riots, that I condone the burning of my own hometown? Fuck you and your tendentious entrapment games and Manichean choices, your my-team ‘ridiculing’ of people you can claim support destruction. Altruistic punishment is essential to human affairs but it is hard. It is mixed, it is complicated, it is shades of gray...
Nicholas Fairweather, March 1932:
Hitler and Hitlerism: A Man of Destiny: AT the present juncture, when the followers of Adolf Hitler appear to be the strongest group in Germany, when, as the London Times recently said:
the Hitler movement has ceased to be the frothy ebullition of irresponsible young men, and undoubtedly represents at the moment the most powerful element of public feeling which the Chancellor has to take into account,
it may be of interest to consider the ideas of this extraordinary man, what he believes, and how he came to believe it. When Hitler was in prison, after the Bavarian Putsch of 1923, he set himself to write down for the instruction of his followers a full account of his political philosophy. The volume that resulted, entitled Mein Kampf ('My Fight'), is now the Bible of the National Socialist movement and is diligently circulated among faithful by the official 'Nazi' publishing house. It was not intended (in fact, Hitler has always declined) to offer a detailed programme or outline a specific procedure for attaining the National Socialist ideals when the actual control of Germany shall have fallen to his party; nevertheless the book does indicate very clearly the governing ideas, the fundamental points of view, the feelings and beliefs, which will guide him if he comes to power....
The principal articles of Hitler's political faith may be briefly summarized as follows:
Francis Fukuyama (2006): After Neoconservatism: "How did the neoconservatives end up overreaching to such an extent that they risk undermining their own goals?...
He gets himself tangled up in knots because he bends over not just backward but completely upside down to provide a sympathetic view of the Neoconservatist impulse.
I have always had a much more jaundiced view:
Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....
I must say I did not know what to make of this a year ago. I know even less what to make of this now:
It’s a flawed analogy. Here’s why.
...Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Goldman and Eleanor Marx. The first two survived these debilitating attachments, the third did not. At the age of 43, upon learning that her common law husband of 14 years had secretly married a 22-year-old actress, Eleanor took poison and died. Had her father, Karl Marx, been alive he would have been not only distressed by her death but, I think, dismayed that a daughter of his could not surmount this level of betrayal, for the sake of international socialism if nothing else.
Dwight David Eisenhower:
18 April 1945
Dear General [Marshall]:
Today I forwarded to the Combined Chiefs of Staff the essentials of my future plans. In a word, what I am going to do now that the western enemy is split into two part, is to take up a defensive line in the center (along a geographical feature that will tend to separate our forces physically from the advancing Russians) and clean up the important jobs on our flanks. A mere glance at the map shows that one of these is to get Lubeck and then clear up all the areas wet and north of there. The other job is the so-called "redoubt". I deem both of these to be vastly more important than the capture of Berlin--anyway, to plan for making an immediate effort against Berlin would be foolish in view of the relative situation of the Russians and ourselves at this moment. We'd get all coiled up for something that in all probability would never come off. While true that we have seized a small bridgehead over the Elbe, it must be remembered that only our spearheads are up to that river; our center of gravity is well back of there.
I am sorry. You are going to have to bear with me. The runup to April Fools' Day was not, unfortunately, in and of itself enough to get my desire to troll out of my system...
A set of thoughts provoked by reading my archives and talking to Noah Smith:
Noah Smith points out here in meatspace that the news here in America is not just that we have no socialism but that we have no fascism either.
...by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force....