Hoisted from the Archives: Yes, Acemoglu and Robinson's Piketty Review Is Strange::
I just happened to get to one of the parts in Piketty that Acemoglu and Robinson quote to show that Piketty doesn't think institutions matter (from page 365):
Hoisted from the Archives: Daniel Kuehn: Yes, Acemoglu and Robinson's Piketty Review Is Strange:
I just happened to get to one of the parts in Piketty that Acemoglu and Robinson quote to show that Piketty doesn't think institutions matter (from page 365):
Over at Project Syndicate: The Economic Trend is Our Friend: These are days of grave disillusionment with the state of the world. Sinister forces of fanatical, faith-based killing – something that we in the West, at least, thought had largely ended by 1750 – are back. And they have been joined by and are reinforcing forces of nationalism, bigotry, and racism that we thought had been largely left in the ruins of Berlin in 1945. In addition, economic growth since 2008 has been profoundly disappointing. There is no reasoned case for optimistically expecting a turn for the better in the next five years or so. And the failure of global institutions to deliver ever-increasing prosperity has undermined the trust and confidence which in better times would serve to suppress the murderous demons of our age. Pessimism thus understandably comes easy these days – perhaps too easy... Read MOAR Over at Project Syndicate
Dean Acheson: On that Triangulating Bastard Grover Cleveland: From Dean G. Acheson: A Democrat Looks at His Party:
At the end of the [nineteenth] century there was a lesser, but serious, missed opportunity for Democratic leadership in President Cleveleand's failure to grasp the significance of the Populist and labor unrest... and in his cautious and unimaginative approach to economic depression. The unrest... did not spring from a radical movement directed against the established order... or the constitutional system. It grew out of conditions increasingly distressing... on the farms and in the factories.
Once again, not somebody who I see as underrated in the world at large. But the community in which he is well-known seems, once again, to have less overlap with it should with the community that reads here...
June 13, 2015_: I say: "No!":
One "Bush Ally":
The culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents...
Oliver Darcy... argues that Republican elites encouraged conservative voters to embrace alternative, hard-line right-wing media outlets--which made them powerless when those outlets turned on them by backing Trump. Darcy’s piece is thoughtful and well sourced, and you should read it in full. But it misses a basic part of the story.... Look at this list of words that don’t appear in Darcy’s story: “race, racism, Mexican, Latino, black, African Americans, minorities.” Race and racism are a huge part of the Trump story, inseparable from any meaningful account of how he succeeded. That’s because race remains a hugely important motivating force, independent of class or partisanship, in American voters’ political behavior. Ignore that almost entirely, as Darcy does, and you end up with a distorted analysis of Trump’s success.
Live from the Journamalists' Self-Made Gehenna: I see an extremely strange, weird, and wrong white-washing of Barry Goldwater by Louis Menand in the New Yorker...
Goldwater, according to Menand, was: "[no] kind of racist... a lifelong opponent of racial discrimination... did not want to campaign for the segregationist vote."
And yet, somehow, the campaign Goldwater ran and the organization to run it he built were very clear on what the first liberty he sought to secure was: The first liberty was the liberty to be free from the interference of the federal government in how your state, county, citizen, and town dealt with African-Americans:
Louis Menand: He Knew He Was Right:
Goldwater was not a segregationist, nor was he any kind of racist. He was, in fact, a lifelong opponent of racial discrimination...
Must-Read: I don't know if I dare show this to Joachim Voth, lest he be thereby driven into shrill unholy madness, and have to abandon his cushy chair at Zürich for one at Miskatonic University in haunted Arkham, MA...
There were a great many people who firmly believed and there was a very widespread sentiment that it was very important to keep the profit motive out of or to limit its influence over the grain trade. See, for example:
And, of course:
The view that when the stakes become high--matters of life and death--then market solutions can no longer be justified by the claim that they maximize a weighted sum of individual utilities, because the weight they then place on some people's utilities is zero. That's a very powerful argument. People should not pretend it doesn't exist:
Megan McArdle: Health Care Is a Business, Not a Right:
People need a lot of things. You’ll die without food long before you’ll die without health care, and yet few people say we need to “take the profit motive out of farming”. There are some, to be sure, but this was never a widespread sentiment even when food was a lot scarcer and more expensive). Why is health care special?...
Must-Read: Patrick Wallis et al.: Puncturing the Malthus Delusion: Structural change in the British economy before the industrial revolution, 1500-1800:
Accounts of structural change in the pre-modern British economy vary substantially...
Live from Trumpland: Immigration was always the explosive wedge that will destroy the GOP:
Running hard on immigration is a brilliant way to win the primary...
Live from BushLand: Does Colin Powell want to have a reputation? Did Colin Powell suggest that Hillary Clinton should use her private email account as Secretary of State? Yes. Did he remember so advising her? Yes. Does he remember that now? He claims not to...
Joe Conason: [Did Colin Powell Advise Clinton To Use A Private Email?]:
Did Colin Powell suggest that Hillary Clinton should use her private email account as secretary of state—as he had admittedly done in that same job several years earlier?...
Live from Trumpland: Who is attracted to voting for Trump? And why am I not--even as more than half of my income class is going to pull the lever for Trump this fall? Is it my urbanity? My education level? My unwillingness to fall for one of the most obvious grifts on the planet? The fact that I took too many American Studies courses as a child and so identify not as "white" but as "Yankee"--a descendant predominantly of East Anglian and Severn Valley Puritans, the position of whose culture and values in America today is not a result of relative numbers?
Josh Marshall wrestles with this hard problem, and comes up with a Polanyiesque interpretation: the disappointment by the market economic system of what had been thought as reasonable expectations leads to a politics of revenge--but not just of revenge against the Masters of the Universe, revenge against those who are somehow getting above themselves and getting free stuff:
Josh Marshall: Trumpism is a Politics of Loss and Revenge:
Trump support is highly correlated with areas experiencing rising mortality rates for whites--a massively important societal development, in addition to a tragedy....
Pseudoerasmus: Greece from Postwar Orthodoxy to “Democratic Peronism”:
In a paper which passes for a reasonable parody of the Washington Consensus fad of the 1990s...
Live from the Nineteenth-Century Equivocating Political Stump: Abraham Lincoln: Speech at Ottawa (August 21, 1858): "Now, gentlemen, I don't want to read at any greater length...
...but this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole of it, and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect social and political equality with the negro, is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. [Laughter.]
Live from Trumpland: The DCCC emails are pathetic, annoying, and embarrassing...
But nothing like this:
August 18, 2016 at 01:30 PM in Economics: Finance, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (4)
Must-Read: I am really glad that Fred and company have done this--helps explain why Big Defense is the only part of Big Government that America's southern and western conservatives will admit to liking...
Abstract: The "big push" theory claims that publicly coordinated investment can break the cycle of poverty...
Caroline Duroselle-Melish: Extravagantly Large Paper:
What should someone coming of age in 2020 or so--someone post-millennial, who has no memories of all of any part of the twentieth century--learn about communism, and really existing socialism?
It is, I think, very clear by now to everyone except the most demented of the herbal teabaggers--and it should be clear to all--that communism was not one of the brightest lights on humanity's tree of ideas. Nobody convinced by the writings of Marx and his peers that a "communist" society was in some sense an ideal who then achieved enough political power to try to make that vision a reality has built a society that turned out well. All, measured by the yardsticks of their time and geographical situation, were either moderately bad, worse, disastrous, or candidates for the worst-régime-every prize. None attained the status of:
a prayse and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill...
Storify: "But It Wasn't an Election. It Was Hell Among the Yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and when the smoke cleared away not a picture still hung on the walls. And there wasn't any Republican Party... just Donald, with his hair in his eyes, and his shirt sticking to his stomach with sweat. And he had a meat ax in his hand and was screaming for blood”:
Just because people begin their papers with quotes from Ludwig von Mises does not automatically mean that they are wrong:
The hideously depressing thing is that Cuba under Battista--Cuba in 1957--was a developed country.
Comment of the Day: Sans Souci: From Dean Acheson: Vyshinsky and Chuikov:
Lessons learned from the many battlefield retreats, and eventual disintegration, of the Tsarist army in WWI...
"In the Soviet army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance"... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgRyLz47liM Attack at Stalingrad...retreating Soviet forces machine gunned by a NKVD "blocking" force of their comrades...
Question: If President Obama invited you into the Oval Office, told you that he recognized that the economic policies he has pursued to date haven't had the desired outcome, and gave you five minutes to tell him what in your opinion he should do now (setting aside whether Congress would go along)?
August 15, 2016 at 07:58 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (2)
Nimbyism in America: A Back-of-the-Envelope Finger-Exercise Calculation
"Second Amendment Remedies" is a term of art: you don't know what it means only if you try hard not to learn.
Tiptoeing up to and then across the line of explicitly calling for violence against Democrats--and moderate Republicans--has been part of "mainstream" Republican political rhetoric for quite a while now:
Donald Trumo: ‘Second Amendment’ Speech:
Eve Fisher: The $3500 Shirt - A History Lesson in Economics:
One of the great advantages of being a historian is that you don't get your knickers in as much of a twist over how bad things are today. If you think this year is bad, try 1347, when the Black Death covered most of Europe, one-third of the world had died, and (to add insult to injury) there was also (in Europe) the little matter of the Hundred Years' War and the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (where the pope had moved to Avignon, France, and basically the Church was being transformed into a subsidiary of the French regime). Things are looking up already, aren't they?
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Remember: the barrel of what passes for "moderate" Republicans these days is thoroughly rotten:
Scott Lemieux: The Five Worst Roberts Court Rulings:
Most progressives would rank Citizens United v. FEC as the worst ruling ever handed down by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts...
Anoup: Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 130:
To Apion my kind lord, lover of Christ and the poor, all-esteemed and most magnificent patrician and dux of the Thebaid...
...from Anoup, your miserable slave upon your estate called Phakra.
Dean Acheson: From "Sketches from Life":
General Maxwell Taylor, then Commandant of our Sector in Berlin, had a reception for me to which the other three Commandants were, of course, invited. General Chuikov, he said, would not come: he had not attended any Western social function for months. I offered a ten-dollar bet that he would. General Taylor took it. The reception had been going for an hour and my chances seemed pretty dim.
Live from the Sixteenth Century: Let us dispel with the fiction that Marco Rubio is much more qualified to be President of the United States of America or would be much less of a disaster as such than Donald Trump. Someone who thinks that Obama's strongly calling for religious toleration is "yet another example of Obama's 'constant pitting people against each other. I can't stand that'" has no business holding any magistracy in the government of a free people:
Keven Drum: Marco Rubio Lashes Out Against Call For Religious Toleration: "President Obama...
...during a speech today at a Baltimore mosque:
Well, the stars have aligned. I will be teaching nothing but economic history next year: Survey (graduate students), 20th Century (undergraduates), American (undergraduates), and European (graduate students). This provides, I think, an opportunity for a complete rethink of the curriculum: what to teach them and how to teach it...
Searching for inspiration, random googling for things I have not read before leads me to the economic history reading list of the smart-and-mysterious Pseudoerasmus, who thinks like a very sharp Jeffrey Williamson student and who claims to dwell in￼ Chokurdakh in the Sakha Republic, population 2,367:
Yes, that Chokurdakh. You have heard of it:
So let me run through his reading list and pick up things he lists--and things that his listings make me think of--that I think have a very high value/length ratio:
What Was Herbert Hoover's Fiscal Policy?: In his Budget Message setting out his plans for taxes and spending for fiscal year 1932, Herbert Hoover begged Congress not to embark on any 'new or large ventures of government'. He admonished congress that even though 'the plea of unemployment will be advanced as reasons for many new ventures... no reasonable view of the outlook warrants such pleas'. And he boasted that he was proposing a balanced budget--even though revenues were mightily depressed by the Great Depression:
August 03, 2016 at 04:57 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (4)
Brad DeLong and David Beckworth: Macro Musings Podcast:
And the transcript, very kindly paid for by David, which I have not checked for correctness, consistency, or non-stupidity:
Over at Equitable Growth: James Kwak has, I think, an attack of pessimism of the will--declares that our current dysfunctional economic institutions and policies benefit the "financial institutions, financial professionals, corporate executives, and rich people" who "basically control the American political system", and so "things are unlikely to change anytime soon".
And the uninsured rate is likely to dip below 8% when the remaining nullification states finally expand their Medicaid programs.
Read MOAR Over at Equitable Growth
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Storify: "Economic Anxiety" and Trumpism Once Again: Chris Arnade, James Surowiecki, and Friends Once Again...
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Trump's Republican Party as an anti-American nationalist party:
Storify: Origins of Trumpism: James Surowiecki and Friends...
Thinking About "Premature Deindustrialization": An Intellectual Toolkit I
OK. Popping the distraction stack again. The very sharp Matthew Yglesias writes about:
Matthew Yglesias: Premature Deindustrialization: The New Threat to Global Economic Development:
In the popular imagination, the old industrial landscape has moved abroad to Mexico or to China, perhaps due to bad trade policies or simply the vicissitudes of changing circumstance... [and] the migration of factory work to much poorer countries has been a boon to those countries' economic development.... [But] 'premature deindustrialization,' in which countries start to lose their manufacturing jobs without getting rich first....
Must-Read: John Maynard Keynes (1936): The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes:
Whilst, therefore, the enlargement of the functions of government, involved in the task of adjusting to one another the propensity to consume and the inducement to invest, would seem to a nineteenth-century publicist or to a contemporary American financier to be a terrific encroachment on individualism, I defend it, on the contrary, both as the only practicable means of avoiding the destruction of existing economic forms in their entirety and as the condition of the successful functioning of individual initiative.
Must-Read: Cosma Shalizi (2014): Review of Oliver Morton (2008): "Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet":
Of Heliophagy: I cannot remember the last time I read a popular science book with such enjoyment, or learned so much from it....
Can This Capitalism Be Saved?
Here is piece of mine left on the cutting room floor elsewhere. So I might as well throw it up here.
Reviewing: Robert Reich: Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few http://amzn.to/29Viz6w
Robert Reich’s Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few http://amzn.to/29Viz6w is an excellent book. It powerfully argues that America needs once again—as it truthfully reminds us that we did four times in the past—restructure its institutions to build both private and public countervailing power against the monopolists and their political servants in order to right the distribution of income and boost the pace of economic growth.
W. Arthur Lewis (1977): The Evolution of the International Economic Order
We must therefore turn to economic explanations. The most important... is the dependence of an industrial revolution on a prior or simultaneous agricultural revolution... already familiar to eighteenth-century economists, including Sir James Steuart and Adam Smith. In a closed economy, the size of the industrial sector is a function of agricultural productivity. Agriculture has to be capable of producing the surplus food and raw materials consumed in the industrial sector, and it is the affluent state of the farmers that enables them to be a market for industrial products.
Must-Read: Leah Schnelbach: Thinking Through Violence in The Just City and The Philosopher Kings:
In a different book, the narrative would become either ‘Maia’s recovery’ or ‘Ikaros’ redemption’, and Walton would track their lives and relationships with this night as a fulcrum point. Instead, it’s one night in their lives...
Riffing off of yesterday's: : "'Gunpowder Empire': Should We Generalize Mark Elvin's High-Level Equilibrium Trap?"...
A generation ago Michael Kremer wrote a superb paper: Michael Kremer (1993): "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990", Quarterly Journal of Economics 108:3 (August), pp. 681-716 http://tinyurl.com/dl20160727a.
Kremer saw human populations as growing at an increasing rate over time. Population reached approximately 4 million by 10000 BC, 50 million by 1000 BC, and 170 million by the year 1. Population then reached 265 million by the year 1000, 425 million by 1500, and 720 million by 1750 before the subsequent explosion of the British Industrial Revolution and the subsequent spread of Modern Economic Growth.
OK. Popping the distraction stack again. A chance remark by the extremely sharp Cosma Shalizi when he came through Berkeley has caused me to spend a lot of time meditating upon a passage written by Bob Allen:
Robert Allen (2006): The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective:
The different trajectories of the wage-rental ratio created different incentives to mechanize production.... It was not Newtonian science that inclined British inventors and entrepreneurs to seek machines that raised labour productivity but the rising cost of labour... due to... Britain’s success in the global economy... in part the result of state policy... Britain['s] vast and readily worked coal deposits....
Live from the Phanerozoic: Sarda Sahney and Michael J Benton (2008): Recovery from the Most Profound Mass Extinction of All Time:
The end-Permian mass extinction, 251 million years (Myr) ago, was the most devastating ecological event of all time....
Over at Project Syndicate: Which Thinkers Will Define Our Future?: BERKELEY – Several years ago, it occurred to me that social scientists today are all standing on the shoulders of giants like Niccolo Machiavelli, John Locke, Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim.
One thing they all have in common is that their primary focus was on the social, political, and economic makeup of the Western European world between 1450 and 1900. Which is to say, they provide an intellectual toolkit for looking at, say, the Western world of 1840, but not necessarily the Western world of 2016. What will be taught in the social theory courses of, say, 2070? What canon – written today or still forthcoming – will those who end their careers in the 2070s wish that they had used when they started them in the late 2010s? Read MOAR at Project Syndicate
Live from the Cleveland Dumpster Fire: Matthew Yglesias: While We Wait: Here’s Donald Trump on Barack Obama: "In November of 2008, I was interviewed... about the election and I was honest about it...
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787