Must-Read: Germany Has Never Repaid: "What struck me while I was writing is that Germany...:
A question of special interest to me right now because the departmental powers-that-be have decided to ask me to go back onto the 700-person Econ 1 Wheeler teaching line next spring...
Chris Y.: A colleague (middle grade civil servant) has sent this request to Mrs Y:
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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bottlerocketscience: Startup Geometry Podcast EP 004: Brad DeLong:
J. Bradford DeLong on June 17, 2015 at 12:49 PM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Information, Economics: Macro, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Cycle, Streams: DeLong FAQ, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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M.S.: Inequality: The 1 percent needs better defenders: "Perhaps [it was] John Kenneth Galbraith... [who] said that the way to debate...
...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.
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....
Must-Read: Nathan Pippenger: Democracy Journal: Arguments: Arthur Brooks and the Desperate Search for a Smarter Conservatism: "President Obama spoke on poverty at Georgetown...
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: Kenneth Rogoff: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy: "Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality...
And Kenneth Rogoff fakes right:
Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries? READ MOAR
J. Bradford DeLong on May 20, 2015 at 03:00 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (16)
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**Live from La Farine: 500 years, or 50 years, or 5 years, or 5 months, or 5 days from now the Roman Catholic Church will reverse Pope Paul VI's claim that he has special insight into natural theology which tells him that birth control is very wrong. Whenever that happens, what will the administrators of and lawyers for Notre Dame have to say for themselves?
**: Federal Appeals Court Tells Catholic University [Notre Dame] That It Can't Cut Off Birth Control For Its Students: "'The Seventh Circuit... express[es] ‘puzzlement about what exactly the university wanted us to enjoin’...
Over at Equitable Growth: I see that over on the Twitter machine Noah Smith is engaging Paul Romer, in an attempt to get Paul to elucidate his "Mathiness" paper. I think Noah Smith misunderstands Paul Romer.
As I see it, Paul Romer believes that George Stigler laid down the methodological principal that one should always assume perfect competition in one's microfoundations, and in so doing Stigler was acting as an ideologue rather than a technocrat, and that this is harmful.
It seems to me that Paul is more right than wrong.
Matthew Yglesias: "Brookings did a symposium on the 40th anniversary of Arthur Okun's famous book...
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.
...about the ways in which war has become worse for soldiers--continuous through the night, continuous through the year, louder, the danger is more random... and the punchline was that some have compared war to hunting, but for soldiers in a modern war, it's more like being prey.
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.
Over at Equitable Growth: I have never gotten it straight whether Vladimir Lenin actually did say: "The worse, the better." But Eduardo Porter does!:
The bloated incarceration rates and rock-bottom life expectancy, the unraveling families and the stagnant college graduation rates amount to an existential threat to the nation’s future. That is, perhaps, the best reason for hope. The silver lining in these dismal, if abstract, statistics, is that they portend such a dysfunctional future that our broken political system might finally be forced to come together to prevent it.
Talk about grasping at straws... READ MOAR
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....
UrsulaV: Puddleglum in Heaven: "@ 119 - 'It's all very well for us,' said Puddleglum gloomily...
...'but what about everyone else, eh? Not exactly sunny skies and eel-pie for them, now, is it?' He gestured vaguely, presumably in the direction of Earth, or the now-defunct Narnia. 'Great crashing train wrecks--whatever a 'train' is, though I'm given to understand it involves a lot of metal and steam and boilers and fantastic speeds and you can't tell me THAT was a good idea, whoever came up with it--and some poor sod's got to go picking through the wreckage, don't they?'
...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...
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:
One thing going on is that the major lifestyle and utility improvements of the past generation--really cheap access to communication, information, and entertainment--are overwhelmingly available to pretty much everyone. On the one hand, this means that recent economic growth assessed in terms of individual utility and well-being is much more equal then when assessed in terms of income. On the other hand, it means that access these benefits seems much more like simply the air we breathe then as a marker of class status, or achievement. READ MOAR
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....
On Robert A. Heinlein (1964):
So the banker is the son of a bitch in the deal--Or is he, now? Bankers never handle their own money to any important extent; they are custodians of other people’s money. If the banker thinks that it is a bad deal in the long run [because of discrimination], is it not his solemn duty to his stockholders and his depositors to refuse it? No matter how it offends the “human rights” of purple people eaters? Is he morally justified in hypothecating other people’s money in a deal which he considers risky--whether the risk be on that one piece of paper, or long-term risk for his whole crazy structure of loans and futures and so forth? I say he is not; he is a steward and must behave as one--not as a social reformer. Are you and I entitled to a backseat veto over his judgment? No, it ain’t our money. So far, I think, no argument--You, the banker, and the subdivider are each morally entitled to turn down the purple people eater...
And me on Twitter via Storify:
...Lean over backwards so you do not fool yourself, and teach your students the discipline correctly from the start, rather than teaching them things at the start you will have to unteach them later.
Over at INET: Welcome to our website, and thus weblog, relaunch.
Almost everybody looking around today agrees that there are four gaps in economic thought:
Glaukon: So: Blogging...
Hypatia: I would like to start by offering the floor to the Great and Good Felix Salmon:
Felix Salmon: To All the Young Journalists Asking for Advice...: I’m also very flattered by the lovely things you said... about how you’d love to have a career in journalism... do[ing] the kind of thing... I do. You won’t.... By the time you’re my age... you’ll... be doing something... nobody today... foresee[s]....The obstacles facing you are much greater than anything I managed to overcome.... The exact same forces which are good for journalism and good for owners are the forces which are bad for journalists....
J. Bradford DeLong on April 12, 2015 at 12:52 PM in Economics: Information, Information: Internet, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Economics, Streams: Highlighted, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (5)
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...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....
Norman Cameron: The Thespians at Thermopylae:
The honours that the people give always
Pass to those use-besotted gentlemen
Whose numskull courage is a kind of fear,
A fear of thought and of the oafish mothers
('Or with your shield or on it') in their rear.
Spartans cannot retreat. Why, then, their praise
For going forward should be less than others'.
But we, actors and critics of one play,
Of sober-witted judgement, who could see
So many roads, and chose the Spartan way,
What has the popular report to say
Of us, the Thespians at Thermopylae?
...Alice brings her husband inside the diagnosis and inside her worst fears after keeping it all contained by privately consulting a neurologist for a few months. Actually, Alice's worst fear was of a brain tumor--a diagnosis she later wishfully prefers to Alzheimer's. In one of the movie's best lines, Alice laments that cancer is more dignified than Alzheimer's. She notes that no one thinks cancer is funny or humorous, whereas the gradual diminishment of self from Alzheimer's can lead to some pretty awful humor, as Alice herself demonstrates with numerous quips about memory loss....
I have always been struck by the thoughtfulness of the actors involved in playing the standardized patients, often lingering after class to ask me for feedback on their performance. Now comes Leslie Jamison with the title essay of her collection 'The Empathy Exams' offering insight into her work as a medical actor, her life experiences as a medical patient, and her observations of those attempting to boost their empathy quotient. 'The Empathy Exams' is exquisite. One passage, where Leslie Jamison talks about empathy as a choice has stayed with me for days:
The kha-khan Cosma Shalizi smacks me down for seeing the Federal Reserve as afflicted by intellectual errors, rather than as a prisoner of Gramscian top 0.1% hegemony and the revolving door.
He has a point, a definite point.
In a good world the Janet Yellens and the Charles Evanses would be the vital center of the Federal Reserve, not its left wing. And they would be acting as its left wing, pointing out the manifold benefits of labor-force upgrading in a high-pressure economy, the extraordinary quiescence of core inflation, and the continued overoptimism of the Fed model. READ MOAR
In their essay last fall on the state of economics, Seth Ackerman and Mike Beggs charged that today’s mainstream is irredeemably captured by conservative ideology. The good news is they’re wrong — Piketty’s work testiﬁes to that.
J. Bradford DeLong on March 07, 2015 at 04:13 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Weekend) Reading, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (15)
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...between income inequality and r − g and argue that r − g does not seem to have much impact on inequality. However, I do not find these regressions very convincing, for two main reasons.
Socialism has demonstrated its right to victory, not on the pages of Das Kapital, but in an industrial arena comprising a sixth part of the earths surface--not in the language of dialectics, but in the language of steel, cement and electricity. Even if the Soviet Union, as a result of internal difficulties, external blows and the mistakes of leadership, were to collapse--which we firmly hope will not happen--there would remain an earnest of the future this indestructible fact, that thanks solely to a proletarian revolution a backward country has achieved in less than 10 years successes unexampled in history.
Over at Equitable Growth: I have a new list of three articles that bring you up to speed on the current state of the process of assessing and assimilating Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century:
...between r and g is indeed one of the important forces that can explain historical magnitudes and variations in wealth inequality: in particular, it can explain why wealth inequality was so extreme and persistent in pretty much every society up until World War I.... That said, the way in which I perceive the relationship between r > g and wealth inequality is often not well-captured in the discussion that has surrounded my book--even in discussions by research economists.... For example, I do not view r > g as the only or even the primary tool for considering changes in income and wealth in the 20th century, or for forecasting the path of income and wealth inequality in the 21st century. Institutional changes and political shocks--which can be viewed as largely endogenous to the inequality and development process itself.... READ MOAR
Adam Smith's economics is indeed capable of shedding a lot of light on the phenomenon of commodity money:
In comments, the smart and thoughtful Tim Burke writes about:
Tim Burke: Comment: ...the concept of gift economies and status or reputation capital, that in some societies, manufactured goods were wanted less for some sense of their material utility and more because they could be used in existing forms of exchange centering on gifts and status accumulation. To give an African example, liquor was one of the things that some African elites wanted as payment for slaves, and the common assumption on the part of Westerners was that Africans wanted the alcohol in order to drink it. But in many cases, elites just stockpiled it and never consumed it. They weren't interested in its 'real' or material utility: it was a kind of gift-currency. You could give the bottles to clients and at a later date use the circulation of gifts as a way to mobilize your clients for various kinds of labor. The clients didn't usually drink what they were given, either: they had their own stockpiles. A lot of gift exchange in the Pacific worked pretty similarly historically...
The mixing of the human genome via intermarriage occurs remarkably fast--we are and are likely to remain one single human race, and should treat one another as such:
Ah. Andrew Sullivan looks forward--a little too eagerly?--to the division of the human race into subspecies along racial lines:
http://www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: Humans are still evolving - and at quite a brisk pace, according to new research. Bad news for liberals: at the rate research is going, you will soon have to choose between believing in evolution and denying any subtle, genetic differences between broad racial groups.
During this consulate of Marcus Valerius and Quintus Appulcius, affairs abroad wore a very peaceable aspect. Their losses sustained in war, together with the truce, kept the Etrurians quiet. The Samnites, depressed by the misfortunes of many years, had not yet become dissatisfied with their new alliance. At Rome, also, the carrying away of such multitudes to colonies, rendered the commons tranquil, and lightened their burthens.
But, that things might not be tranquil on all sides, a contention was excited between the principal persons in the commonwealth, patricians on one hand, and plebeians on the other, by the two Ogulnii, Quintus and Cneius, plebeian tribunes, who, seeking every where occasions of criminating the patricians in the hearing of the people, and having found other attempts fruitless, set on foot a proceeding by which they might inflame, not the lowest class of the commons, but their chief men, the plebeians of consular and triumphal rank, to the completion of whose honours nothing was now wanting but the offices of the priesthood, which were not yet laid open to them. They therefore published a proposal for a law, that, whereas there were then four augurs and four pontiffs, and it had been determined that the number of priests should be augmented, the four additional pontiffs and five augurs should all be chosen out of the commons.
As someone who thinks that the "great books" approach to classical social theory is past its sell-by date, I am now distressed. I confess that I believe that, over in sunny California, the Daily Cal is trolling us all when it decides to print this:
...in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester... [with] a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to... Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men... pretend[ing] that... economically-privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States)... are the only people to produce valid knowledge.... We must demand the inclusion of women, people of color and LGBTQ* authors on our curricula...
My problem this morning is that I have four starting points. Or maybe my problem is that I have five starting points:
I. A Little Dutch History
My first starting point is the history of the Netherlands.
I would have to be more rash indeed than the fifteenth century's Charles de Valois-Burgogne,2 the last sovereign Duke of Burgundy, to dare to opine about classical Dutch history with Jan de Vries in the room. But my read of it tells me that "political union" is a very vague and sketchy concept indeed. Consider the "political union" of what was surely the strongest power in seventeenth-century Western Europe: the seven United Provinces of the Netherlands that dominated the economy and were the political-military lynchpin of the coalition to contain the aggressive King Louis XIV Bourbon of France. READ MOAR
J. Bradford DeLong on January 26, 2015 at 10:49 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (7)
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Trying to construct the Just City in the Sewer of Dionysios II:
...and you urge me to aid your cause so far as I can in word and deed. My answer is that, if you have the same opinion and desire as he had, I consent to aid your cause; but if not, I shall think more than once about it.
Now what his purpose and desire was, I can inform you from no mere conjecture but from positive knowledge. For when I made my first visit to Sicily, being then about forty years old, Dion was of the same age as Hipparinos is now, and the opinion which he then formed was that which he always retained, I mean the belief that the Syracusans ought to be free and governed by the best laws. So it is no matter for surprise if some God should make Hipparinos adopt the same opinion as Dion about forms of government. But it is well worth while that you should all, old as well as young, hear the way in which this opinion was formed, and I will attempt to give you an account of it from the beginning. For the present is a suitable opportunity.
J. Bradford DeLong on January 16, 2015 at 09:05 AM in Books, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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The School of Athens, Plus Gods and Robots...
Jo Walton: The Just City
...has heard the prayers of all her worshipers through the ages who have read Plato's Republic.... So she summons them all to a volcanic island... doomed to be lost to eruption... ensuring that her tampering... will not unduly disrupt the future, which will only dimly remember the island as Atlantis. In this place, men and women from all times and places set to making a place for the children whom they will raise to be philosopher kings....
From Perry Anderson (1976): Considerations on Western Marxism: "The consequence of this impasse...
...was to be the studied silence of Western Marxism in those areas most central to the classical traditions of historical materialism: scrutiny of the economic laws of motion of capitalism as a mode of production, analysis of the political machinery of the bourgeois state, strategy of the class struggle necessary to overthrow it. Gramsci is the single exception to this rule--and it is the token of his greatness, which sets him apart from all other figures in this tradition....
Rather far, I must say, from "to secure these rights governments are instituted..."
Oliver Wendell Holmes:
We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens [i.e., young healthy men] for their lives [in war via the draft]. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence...
Paul Lombardo (2008): Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801898242/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0801898242&linkCode=as2&tag=brde-20&linkId=TJ3XP7ZYQDBJTDLH