Live from Over the Great Basin: From Wikiquote: "Between them these two books...:
Live from Over the Great Basin: George Orwell: From Wikiquote: "Between them these two books...
Live from the Roasterie: The highly-estimable Kevin Drum comes down on the side of a vulgar Marxist explanation of right-wing Republican crankery. The problem, however, is that I don't think it works--anti-ObamaCare crankery, for example, hits a great many rich cardiologists and such in the pocket book, albeit in an indirect and somewhat hidden way. And goldbuggery--it's a way of transferring money from rich people to con artists.
You have to have a theory not just of why rich people are so eager to try to protect their money but why they are so unable to understand how to do so, and why they are so easy prey for grifters like Ron Paul and company...
Kevin Drum (2015): A Unified Theory of Conservative Crankery Isn't So Hard: "Tax-cut fever... inflation paranoia...
Live from The Roasterie: I must say, if Bernie Sanders wants to convince me that he is an idiot, this is how to go about it:
Kasie Hunt: Sanders: Obama Hasn't Closed 'Presidential Leadership Gap': "Bernie Sanders says the aim of his political revolution...
...is to bring more people into the political process than President Barack Obama, arguing that he can close a presidential leadership gap that's persisted over the eight years of the Obama administration. 'There's a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people. What presidential leadership is about closing that gap,' he told MSNBC in an interview Wednesday...
Comment Dialogue of the Day: C. Trombley: Crooked Timber as Its Best Possible Self: "So Plato was great because he was trying to be Confucius? Why not dump him and go with the real thing?"
Maynard Handley: "Uhh, because Confucius' solution to all problems is 'perform the rites properly'?...
Most highly recommended from the drinking party:
Do read the whole thing--or at least, Plato's Republic, Mary Renault's The Last of the Wine, The Just City, The Philosophy Kings, and the five symposium contributions above. I only wish I had some thoughts of my own to add of high enough quality to stand in such company...
Brad DeLong (2003): On Machiavelli's "Letter to Vettori": Or, The Value of the History of Economic Thought:
A surprisingly-large number of people have recently asked me why I am interested in the history of economic thought.
They make various points:
Live from Over the Great Basin: I seem to find it a rule that those who built their careers on an ability and a willingness to go the extra mile to cater to the bigotries and prejudices of Martin Peretz underperform, relative to what I expect from the places their work appears, whenever they cross my desk.
Are there any counterexamples?
It is true that I expect very little from Slate.
Franklin Foer:"The Return of Jeb Bush. Why the goofy, patrician candidate is finally hitting his stride...
Comment of the Day: Lee A. Arnold: "Big story missed by everyone is that Kasich just became the GOP establishment's pick...
... and money should start flowing to him pronto.
Comment of the Day: InvHand: Re: Mark Thoma, the CBPP and the 'non-existent moocher class.': "Wish it were true...
...Politics would be really clear.
So why is it that so many pretty poor folk think they have family and neighbors who belong to the moocher class? That is the question. And the answer is not Fox news.
Comment of the Day: Kansas Jack: When Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein and Jonathan Chait are all hitting on the same theme at the same time...
...SOMEBODY in the media had better start taking note that they have gotten this story so wrong. The smartest of the media, other than these three, e.g. Nate Silver & Co., are way behind the curve on Trump and need to start rethinking their models. Error terms will always bite your ass out of sample and the GOP race in 2016 is waaaaaay out of sample. As Yglesias said today on vox.com, in order for Trump to lose, somebody has to beat him. Who? The chances of that seem to be getting smaller, not larger. And as Klein points out, we all ought to be very frightened for our nation right now.
Daniel Larison: Rubio and the “Martyr-State” Myth: "Like other hawks that endorse the ‘martyr-state’ myth...
Why does the New York Times publish this clown, anyway?
Mark Kleiman comments:
David Brooks finally notices that Barack Obama is a fine human being running a classy Administration. https://t.co/IwJO99FuGB— Mark A.R. Kleiman (@MarkARKleiman) February 9, 2016
Can we expect the same Brooks column about Hillary Clinton eight years from now?— Mark A.R. Kleiman (@MarkARKleiman) February 9, 2016
The answer is: If she wins the presidency, almost surely...
David Brooks: I Miss Barack Obama: "The traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses...
Live from Evans Hall: If this is the kind of thing you like, you will like this thing very much--you will, in fact, think that this is the best thing on the internet so far this year:
With Bill Clinton, or Bill Bradley, or Al Gore, or Barack Obama, or Lloyd Bentsen, or Hillary Rodham Clinton--you listen to them, or you talk to them, and you know there is a mind back there deeply knowledgeable about and wrestling with substantive issues of societal welfare and technocratic policy.
J. Bradford DeLong on February 08, 2016 at 07:36 AM in Economics: Information, Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Monday) Smackdown Watch, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (14)
| | |
Live from La Farine: It's not just compared to the Republican clown show that these senior Democratic politicians are all class acts:
Maha: Dust and Ashes, Egos and Religion: "A question asked by Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett...
...of Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH:
Rabbi Simcha Bunim taught that every person has to have two pockets, and in each pocket they have to carry a different note. And the note in one pocket says the universe was created for me. And in the other pocket the note says I am just dust and ashes. I want you to take a moment and think about what you would tell us about your two pockets. How do you cultivate the ego... we all know you must have... and also the humility...?
Live from the Forbidden City: Reading the excellent Minxin Pei this morning. (1) Loss of position, (2) loss of informal influence, (3) loss of cushy life, (4) loss of liberty, and (5) loss of life--those are the five forfeits that can be imposed on the losers in any game of high politics. Systems that impose only (1) and (2) tend to cause substantially fewer human and policy disasters than systems that impose (4) and (5).
As Khrushchev once said, of all his achievements the one that he was proudest of was that starting in his reign the losers in the game of Soviet politics were no longer shot or sent to the concentration camps--instead, they were sent off to manage some small-town factory somewhere. China needs to learn that lesson:
Minxin Pei: China’s Rule of Fear: "China is once again gripped by fear in a way it has not been since the era of Mao Zedong...
J. Bradford DeLong (1998): Robber Barons:
First draft October 13, 1997; second draft January 1, 1998.
'Robber Barons': that was what U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson (1934) called the economic princes of his own day. Today we call them 'billionaires.' Our capitalist economy--any capitalist economy--throws up such enormous concentrations of wealth: those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, driven and smart enough to see particular economic opportunities and seize them, foresighted enough to have gathered a large share of the equity of a highly-profitable enterprise into their hands, and well-connected enough to fend off political attempts to curb their wealth (or well-connected enough to make political favors the foundation of their wealth).
J. Bradford DeLong on February 06, 2016 at 08:16 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (17)
| | |
Must-Read: It is very good to see Speaker of the House Paul Ryan call for legislatin' rather than speechifyin'. Prospects for substantive dialogue are vastly increased when it is legislatin' that is on the table, as are prospects for win-win technocratic governance.
Now if we could only get him into the policy-consequences-estimatin' business as well...
Paul Ryan: To Tea Party: You Are the Problem: "My theory of the case is this...
Agathon: 'Professor! Good to see you. Getting coffee?'
Glaukon: 'Yes. I'm teaching. I find that teaching is always and everywhere a caffeine phenomenon.'
Agathon: 'I tend to find that teaching is usually a bagel phenomenon myself. What are you going to teach them?'
J. Bradford DeLong on February 05, 2016 at 02:19 PM in Berkeley, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Information, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (5)
| | |
Week 4 Memo Assignment: Slavery and Serfdom: In his Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith confidently asserted that slavery was uneconomic–that in commercial society, manumission was the road to higher productivity because the carrot of working for yourself is much more efficient than the stick of being whipped by others.
He went on to say that unfree labor–slavery, serfdom, debt peonage, and so on–could only survive where the rich chose to pursue not the pleasures of prosperous living but the pleasures of domination–and that as humanity progressed morally and also progressed technologically to invent new commodities this love of domination would decline.
This week we have a number of papers that conclude, as I read them, that Smith was horribly wrong. Can we rescue Smith's optimal, Panglossian view of the historical destiny of unfree labor? Why, in history, didn't Smith's argument work?
Live from Cloud-Cuckooland: This is, I may say, the best #slatepitch EVAR! Much kudos to Jonathan Chait!
Jonathan Chait: Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Nomination: "The initial stupefaction and dismay with which liberals greeted Donald Trump’s candidacy...
Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent.
There’s lots to say about Red Plenty as a work of literature; I won’t do so. It’s basically a work of speculative fiction, where one of the primary pleasures is having a strange world unfold in the reader’s mind. More than that, it’s a work of science fiction, where the strangeness of the world comes from its being reshaped by technology and scientific ideas—- here, mathematical and economic ideas.
Not just not in the "trusted information intermediary" business, but somebody who has no conception of what the trusted information intermediary business is:
Hoisted from a Decade Ago: Some of the News That's Fit to Print (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?): "In Slate, Jack Shafer writes:
Not Just Another Column About Blogging - What newspaper history says about newspaper future. By Jack Shafer: John Q. Blogger can't fly to Baghdad or Bosnia and do the work of a John F. Burns. But what a lot of guild members miss is that not everybody wants to read John F. Burns, not everybody who wants to read about Baghdad is going to demand coverage of the quality he produces...
There's a question Shafer doesn't ask: what quality of coverage does John F. Burns, chief foreign correspondent of the New York Times produce?
It's an important question.
Josh Marshall: The Trumph of the Will: "This Donald Trump debate drama...
...When I heard... I was quite certain he had every intention of finally attending... [after] engineer[ing] 48 hours of cable news drama [and] begging by Fox News... [with] Trump... deigning to attend... after all the other players had been sufficiently humiliated. But... it... seems clear it was never the case.... Being a no-show was the plan.... Pundits and political obsessives tend to get distracted by process and policy literalism. But... especially intra-Republican political battles are really about... mark[ing] the dominating from the dominated....
Over at Project Syndicate: It is now more than two years since I first heard that Thomas Piketty had an amazing book coming out.
Live from La Farine: One of the best reasons to think well of Hillary Rodham Clinton is the quality and character of her enemies, and their arguments:
Reading this famously snarky 1993 NYT profile and doesn't this sound like... exactly who you'd WANT as President? pic.twitter.com/iUxX8JtlyK— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) January 28, 2016
Seriously. Hillary was mocked to death in '93. For hating racist & sexist jokes & thinking poor women deserved more: pic.twitter.com/cQBzxFUTAW— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) January 28, 2016
To be fair, I am ALSO angry that Hillary is not campaigning in clogs and giant striped bell bottoms. https://t.co/eZT4aRncPL— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) January 28, 2016
You know, Michael Kelly was a cruel man who wrote lots of false things that misled his readers. Shame on the publishers and editors who employed and published him. And it still blows my mind that there is a Michael Kelly Journalism award--and that people accept it.
Live from Kennebunkport: The Bush family: bad for America, bad for the Republican Party, and good for Donald Trump:
Ryan Lizza: The Bush Family's Plot to Destroy Marco Rubio: "There’s an effort to... blam[e] Trump’s rise on someone else...
Jeff Weintraub (20130: Adam Smith's conceptual sleight-of-hand on exchange, cooperation, and the foundations of social order: "This was a response to one section of a post by Brad DeLong containing Snippets: Smith, Marx, Solow: Shoebox...
...The first snippet in this compilation.. posed the question 'Exchange and its vicissitudes as fundamental to human psychology and society?' and followed that with a justly famous quotation from Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.... Brad's question zeroed in on some crucial issues. I was provoked to start writing a message... I thought would run a few lines... but it turned out to be a little longer, so I might as well share it.
Live from La Farine: Marco Rubio is trying to exercise his right to rise! And what are JEB!! and the Bushies doing to him?!
Sean McElwee: "The fact that the billionaire-funded Super PACworking to elect the son of a former President is called 'Right To Rise' is pretty telling":
The fact that the billionaire-funded Super PAC working to elect the son of a former Presidents is called Right To Rise is pretty telling.— sean (@SeanMcElwee) January 24, 2016
Live from La Farine: The problem with stories like this--and with reporters like Parker and Haberman--is that you never know (1) whether the reporters are spinning the situation in order to pay back their sources, (2) whether the (unnamed) sources are spinning the reporters, or (3) whether the story is accurate.
The lack of named sources takes us into a world where the only indication that the story is (3) rather than (2) comes from trust in the competence of the reporters, and the only indication that the story is (3) rather than (1) comes from the hope that the reporters are working for you rather than for their sources. And, as far as the New York Times political staff is concerned, nobody sane has either trust or hope.
Still: schadenfreude time:
Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman: As Jeb Bush Struggles, Some Allies Blame His ‘Super PAC’: "When Jeb Bush and his allies began helping the ‘super PAC’ supporting him raise more than $100 million last year...
Must-Read: (1) Cecil Rhodes stole a lot of stuff. (2) Cecil Rhodes got a lot of people dead. (3) Cecil Rhodes built a lot of stuff. (4) Cecil Rhodes tried hard to spend his money to create a peaceful, united, trading world in which people of different countries understood each other--and (5) understood that people of British culture and British race were boss.
It's fine to celebrate (4). And it's good to actually spend the pile of money that derives from Cecil Rhodes on (4). But if you want to have a big statue of Rhodes hanging around, shouldn't it be part of an exhibit that also notes his role in (1), (2), (3), and (5), and puts it all in its proper place?
Monticello these days, I think, does that, and does that properly. Can Oriel College say that it does that? Does Plender have any constructive ideas as to how to do that? And is he willing to head up a fund-raising campaign?
John Plender: Capitalists Excel at Giving Themselves a Bad Name: "Oxford’s dilemma is indicative of how the system can create wealth but often in ways that offend...
Live from Evans Hall: Ah. I see that David Warsh has caught the "opinions of shape of earth differ!" disease in a big, big way. To say that JEB!'s current 6% and HRC's current 60% likely primary-voter share equally reflect the same thing--"Bush-Clinton fatigue"--and that Trump's current dominance in the Republican primary is "an expression of ephemeral contempt for dynastic politics" is simply being silly. And anyone who believes David Warsh is highly like to find him or herself... substantially misinformed.
Why do this, David? The brand of being professionally non-partisan is not worth much these days, is it?
Paul Krugman: Delusions of Moderation: "If David Warsh writes a piece titled ‘Against Krugman’...
Charles Gaba: Ted Cruz and the Case of the Vanishing Health Plan: "GOP Senator Ted Cruz, the guy who hates Obamacare so much he shut the entire federal government...
...down just to prevent it from being implemented... told his campaign supporters that he and his family:
- had lost their Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas PPO insurance policy at the end of December;
- that the ACA was the ‘cause’ of their policy being cancelled;
- that he and his family are therefore no longer currently insured; and
- that the new policy which he’s (belatedly) decided to replace it with is going to cost 50 percent more than the old one[:]...
Live from the Roasterie: Bad Blood Between Frankenstein and His Monster! National Review Edition Blogging:
Comment of the Day: Kansas Jack: Palin-Trump: "Of course she gave the, 'I was told the media were going to beat me up for this' saw...
...What I found interesting is if you look at Google News and Buzzfeed where what is trending gets the headlines, what you saw was the following. 1. Sarah endorsed. 2 Media reported. 3. Readers ignored.'Sarah Endorsement: THE MOVIE,' in other words, went straight to video.
Live from the Roasterie Failure to Take Personal Responsibility Blogging: For Sarah Palin, it's always Obama's or Pelosi's or Reid's or the libruls' fault.
Josh Marshall: A Master: "Even though Sarah Palin passed over Ted Cruz... this has not stopped Cruz from trying to hitch a ride on...
...the Palin Grievance Wagon.... Cruz slammed the 'dirty ... unprincipled ... [and] wrong' decision of many media outlets to report Palin's son Track's arrest....
Live from La Farine: NAIL ‘EM UP!!!! Methinks it is time to go reread Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men again...
Molly Ball: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/how-sarah-palin-created-donald-trump/424911: "Think what the [Republican] establishment was already, at that point...
...doing to Palin. The GOP elites had plucked her from relative obscurity, largely for her superficial characteristics, then mocked her for all the things she didn’t know. They took her to Neiman Marcus for an image makeover on the party credit card, then leaked word of it to the press to make her look like a greedy, starstruck hick. They expected her to be a docile pawn—but she went rogue.
Live from Iowa: Kyle Blaine: So, Uh, Here's The Full Text Of Sarah Palin's Bizarre Trump Speech: "Thank you so much...
...It’s so great to be here in Iowa. We’re here just thawing out. Todd and I and a couple of our friends here from Alaska, lending our support for the next president of our great United States of America, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Trump, you’re right, look back there in the press box. Heads are spinning, media heads are spinning. This is going to be so much fun.
Live from La Farine: David Brooks wants Republicans to go back in time to 1993 and support Bill Clinton's ideas for "a government that will help the little guy... [not] incompetent [or] corrupt... [one] which would actually provide concrete policy ideas to help the working class... offer[ing] people a secure financial base and a steady hand up so they can welcome global capitalism with hope and a sense of opportunity..."
In one sense, that ship has sailed.
In another, nothing is stopping them from signing on with Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign--same philosophy of what government should do, same technocratic commitment to policies that actually work. Admittedly, HRC comes with the dreaded "liberal social values". But once you've abandoned the Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan strategy of "intentionally alienating every person of color", you are already more than halfway there...
David Brooks: Time for a Republican Conspiracy!: "Members of the Republican governing class are like cowering freshmen at halftime...
Live from the Peninsula: Gerald Seib says: "Opinions of shape of earth differ!":
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are offering voters in their parties’ primary simple solutions to some of the big issues of the day...
You were once better than this, Gerald. Working for Murdoch and company has rotted your brain. Get out, now, if you still can!
Notes for My Comment at the URPE-AEA Session: Causes of the Great Recession and the Prospects for Recovery
J. Bradford DeLong on January 18, 2016 at 08:14 PM in Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
| | |
...As I listened to Ralph Abernathy and his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It's always good to have your closest friend and associate to say something good about you. And Ralph Abernathy is the best friend that I have in the world. I'm delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow.
Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: I recommend the archives of National Review: a gift that keeps on giving: As part of National Review's celebration of Martin Luther King day, we present William F. Buckley, from the February 22, 1956 issue:
The Onion: Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over': "WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton...
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address:
My fellow Americans:
Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor. This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.