Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933): I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels...
March 13, 2018 at 05:20 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Document: Teddy Roosevelt (1907): Address of President Roosevelt on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the Pilgrim memorial monument https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0Ygwj9sjmrS-tI0aypbStC40A: "We can not as a nation be too profoundly grateful for the fact that the Puritan has stamped his influence so deeply on our national life. We need have but scant patience with the men who now rail at the Puritan's faults. They were evident, of course, for it is a quality of strong natures that their failings, like their virtues, should stand out in bold relief; but there is nothing easier than to belittle the great men of the past by dwelling only on the points where they come short of the universally recognized standards of the present...
March 06, 2018 at 10:48 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Information, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (4)
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Reading Question/Note Files for Bob Allen: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction:
Robert Allen: Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction (0199596654):
Hoisted from the Archives: Yes, People at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Think Churchill Was a War Criminal for Not Making Peace with Hitler in May 1940. Why Do You Ask?: David Gordon:
Ludwig von Mises Institute: Given this sorry record, it is hardly surprising that the renewed outbreak of world war in September 1939, which returned Churchill to the British cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty, brought a new hunger blockade of Germany.... Franklin Roosevelt rivaled his British counterpart in his disregard for the rules of civilized warfare....
Apropos of Janet Napolitano's : The future of NAFTA and the state of U.S.-Mexico relations: "A forum hosted by the University of California and Tecnológico de Monterrey..." https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/initiative/uc-mexico-initiative/nafta-conference...
My present thoughts about NAFTA:
Nearly a quarter century ago, early in the Clinton administration, I was one of the leads on the team responsible for constructing estimate of the economic impact of NAFTA. And I definitely have some explaining to do.
Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: After World War I: Weber: Marxism, liberalism, and what we will here call "nationalism"—just to be polite... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/09/lecture-notes-f.html
We read Norman Angell: We did not read Max Weber: nationalism as social-darwinist doctrine:
Nine from Fritz Stern's Memoirs http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/03/nine_from_fritz.html: Fritz Stern (2006), Five Germanys I Have Known (New York: FSG: 0374155402) http://amzn.to/2s6AuiG:
p. 101: Captain Hardinac von Hatten in 1933 on Fritz Stern's father, Rudolf Stern: "For [Rudolf Stern's] exemplary courage at the Somme and his commitment to duty, he was promoted to lieutenant of the reserve, and after the battle of Arras in the spring of 1917, I successfully recommended him for an Iron Cross, First Class. If every soldier of the German army had fulfilled his duty to the fatherland as loyally and courageously in the foremost position as Lieut. Stern did under my command in 1916-1917, we would have been spared the shame of the last fourteen years..."
Leon Trotsky's Not-Entirely-Reliable-Narrator View of Lenin's New Economic Policy of the 1920s http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/02/daily-economic-history-leon-trotskys-not-entirely-reliable-narrator-view-of-lenins-new-economic-policy-of-the-1920s.html: "With the bourgeois economists we no longer anything to quarrel over...
...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.
Equitable Growth in Conversation: A recurring series where we talk with economists and other social scientists to help us better understand whether and how economic inequality affects economic growth and stability. Buy After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality
Heather Boushey, Brad DeLong, and Marshall Steinbaum http://equitablegrowth.org/research-analysis/equitable-growth-in-conversation-brad-delong-and-marshall-steinbaum/: After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality: Heather Boushey: I am so excited that we are here finally to discuss After Piketty. Many of the people who may be reading this column may not actually have kept a copy of Piketty on their night stand and may not remember all the ins and outs, so I want to start off our conversation by asking you, first, what are the key takeaways from Piketty about the effects of inequality on our economy and our society, and second, how does the election of Donald Trump strengthen or weaken Piketty’s analytical, political, economic case? Read MOAR at Equitable Growth
April 27, 2017 at 08:24 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (7)
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Back in 1981, Lee Atwater said:
Now you don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying 'n_gger, n_gger, n_gger'. By 1968... that hurts you.... You... get... abstract... talk... about... cutting taxes and all these things... totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get hurt worse than whites.... If it is getting that abstract and that coded, that we're doing away with the racial problem one way or the other...
March 17, 2017 at 05:18 PM in Economics: History, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Hoisted from the Archives: My Very Short Take on World War II...: From “September 1, 1939,” by W.H. Auden...
...I sit in one of the dives/On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid/As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:/Waves of anger and of fear
Circulate over the bright/And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;/The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can/Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now/That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,/What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:/and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,/Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return...
Niall Ferguson: An Open Letter to the Harvard Community: "Last week I said something stupid about John Maynard Keynes...
...Asked to comment on Keynes’ famous observation “In the long run we are all dead,” I suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’ wife Lydia miscarried.
April 07, 2016 at 07:31 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (5)
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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).
February 06, 2016 at 08:16 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Storystream: American Political Economy, StoryStream: The Moral Economics of the Economy, Storystream: The Twentieth Century, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (16)
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Today's Economic History: Paul Krugman muses:
...All pre-industrial societies, I thought, were Malthusian... at the edge of subsistence... [and] a small elite, 5 or 10 percent... liv[ing] on resources extorted.... This model still seems to me to be pretty good for the Roman Empire. But at least as Goldsworthy describes it, the Roman Republic at the time of the Punic Wars was something very different... social solidarity... loyal allies... strong commitment from a large fraction of the population... military manpower... durability.... Are there any other examples in history like this? And how did they do it?
August 20, 2015 at 03:17 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (43)
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Note to Self: On the Tracks of the "Confidence Fairy"...
The first modern use of "confidence fairy" I can find in google is Paul Krugman's, on July 1, 2010:
With google reporting the second person to mention it as Joe Stiglitz in October:
Among the approximately 18,400 mentions of the phrase, google (anonymized) reports the most salient pieces of the conversation thereby started are: READ MOAR
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
Over at Equitable Growth: Back in 1959 Arthur Burns, lifelong senior Republican policymaker, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Eisenhower, good friend of and White House Counselor to President Nixon, and Chair of the Federal Reserve from 1970 to 1978 gave the presidential address to the American Economic Association. In it, he concluded that the United States and a lot of choices to make as far as its future economic institutions and economic policies were concerned. And, he said:
These... choices will have to be made by the people of the United States; and economists--far more than any other group--will in the end help to make them...
That's you. "Economists", that is. And I am glad to be here, because I am glad that you are joining us. For we--all of us in America--need you. Arthur Burns was right: you are better-positioned than any other group to help us make the right choices, at the level of the world and of the country as a whole, but also at the level of the state, the city, the business, the school district, the NGO seeking to figure out how to spend its limited resources--whatever. 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:
Andrew Watt is an unhappy camper:
What is surprising and worrying in this case is that Brad Delong… has missed out the thirty important years of economic history, and very much downplays Keynesian economics in that period…
Jim McDonald: Making Light: Inaccuracies:
John Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on Friday, 20 January 1961. For those who don’t remember those times, the Cold War was pretty darned cold right then…. Two days after Kennedy asked not, just after midnight on 23 January 1961, a B-52 carrying two thermonuclear devices broke up over North Carolina. We now learn that one of the bombs came close to exploding…. Dr. Ralph Lapp told the story in his book, Kill and Overkill: The Strategy of Annihilation in 1962…. What is new is this: the story has been confirmed. Thanks to the automatic declassification schedule, what was Secret then is unclassified fifty years on. And due to a Freedom of Information Act request, someone has found other documents relating to this event. The Guardian has the original document: It’s commentary by Parker Jones, the gent who was responsible for the mechanical safety of US nuclear bombs.
The twentieth century saw the material wealth of humankind explode beyond all previous imagining: we—at least those of us who belong to the upper middle class and live in the industrial core of the world economy—are now far richer than the writers of previous centuries’ utopias could imagine. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw, for the first time, productive capability outran population growth and natural resource scarcity. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the average inhabitant of a leading economies—a Briton, a Belgian, a Dutchman, an American, a Canadian, or an Australian—had perhaps twice the material wealth and standard of living of the typical inhabitant of a pre-industrial economy. The standards of living of the bulk of the population underwent a substantial, sustained, and unreversed rise in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for perhaps the first time in a thousand, if not in seven thousand years.
The twentieth century’s tyrannies were more brutal and more barbaric than those of any previous age. And—astonishingly—they had their origins in economic discontents and economic ideologies. People killed each other in large numbers over questions of how the economy should be organized, which had not been a major source of massacre in previous centuries.
Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.
Every history tells a story of what happened: one damned thing after another. But which story do you tell?
If you are telling a story of the history of five hundred years ago, you most-likely focus on Martin Luther and Jean Calvin’s Protestant Reformation, on the Spanish conquest of the Americas, on the rise of the Shāhān-e Gūrkānī—the Moghul Empire—in the Indian subcontinent, and maybe a couple more. Those are the axes of the history of the 1500s: religion, expansion, and conquest. If you are telling a story of a thousand years ago, you most-likely focus on the rise of the Song Dynasty in China, on the waning of the golden age that was Abbasid Baghdad-centered Islamic civilization, and on, perhaps, the establishment of feudal “civilization” in western Europe. Those are the axes of the history of the 1000s: politics and culture. Other stories of other centuries would most-likely focus on the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the shift of China’s population center of gravity to the rice-growing south and and so forth. The rise, diffusion, and fall of dynasties, empires, religions, and cultures are the axes of history, with perhaps some reference to what the cultures of material subsistence in the background were and how they slowly changed.
Why should you care about how our history and the history of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents--the history of the long twentieth century, 1870-2010--will appear to people five and more centuries into the future?
First of all, it makes a very good story. And it makes an even better story because the story is real. We are gossiping animals—we have evolved to like to tell and hear stories about what is happening and has happened to our friends and not-friends. We like this so much. We like this so much that out of our time that is not spent hewing wood and drawing water we spend a very large chunk gossiping and listening to gossip about not our real friends and not-friends but about imaginary friends: there is no such person as Harry Potter, and so there is no strong reason to care about what happens to him or to Severus Snape, but we do.
And the best stories to tell and listen to are the real stories, about real people: they have a depth and an import that fiction cannot reach.
Look at the bleeding edge of urban North Atlantic or East Asian civilization, and you see a world fundamentally unlike any human past. Hunting, gathering, farming, herding, spinning and weaving, cleaning, digging, smelting metal and shaping wood, assembling structures--all of the “in the sweate of thy face shalt thou eate bread” things that typical humans have typically done since we became jumped-up monkeys on the East African veldt--are now the occupations of a small and dwindling proportion of humans. And where we do have farmers, herdsmen, manufacturing workers, construction workers, and miners, they are overwhelmingly controllers of machines and increasingly programmers of robots. They are no longer people who make or shape things--facture--with their hands--manu.
At the bleeding edge of the urban North Atlantic and East Asia today, few focus on making more of necessities. There are enough calories that it is not necessary that anybody need be hungry. There is nough shelter that it is not necessary that anybody need be wet. There is enough clothing that it is not necessary that anybody need be cold. And enough stuff to aid daily life that nobody need feel under the pressure of lack of something necessary. We are not in the realm of necessity.
What do modern people do? Increasingly, they push forward the corpus of technological and scientific knowledge. They educate each other. They doctor each other. They nurse each other. They care for the young and the old. They entertain each other. They provide other services for each other to take advantage of the benefits of specialization. And they engage in complicated symbolic interactions that have the emergent effect of distributing status and power and coordinating the seven-billion person division of labor of today’s economy. We have crossed a great divide between what we used to do in all previous human history and what we do now. Since we are not in the realm of necessity, we ought to be in the realm of freedom.
Looking Forward to Four Years During Which Most if Not All of America's Potential for Human Progress Is Likely to Be Wasted
With each passing day Donald Trump looks more and more like Silvio Berlusconi: bunga-bunga governance, with a number of unlikely and unforeseen disasters and a major drag on the country--except in states where his policies are neutralized.
Nevertheless, remember: WE ARE WITH HER!
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