Must-Read: The Protestant Reformation, Economic Institutions, and Development: "Origins of growth: How state institutions forged during the Protestant Reformation drove development...:
Must-Read: Jeremiah Dittmar and Ralf R Meisenzahl: The Protestant Reformation, Economic Institutions, and Development: "Origins of growth: How state institutions forged during the Protestant Reformation drove development...
Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America: Book II Chapter 20:
I have shown how democracy favors the growth of manufactures and increases without limit the numbers of the manufacturing classes; we shall now see by what side-road manufacturers may possibly, in their turn, bring men back to aristocracy. It is acknowledged that when a workman is engaged every day upon the same details, the whole commodity is produced with greater ease, speed, and economy.
Paul Krugman (2015): Annoying Euro Apologetics: "Are there good arguments against the proposition that the creation of the euro was an epic mistake?...
Richard Hofstadter: The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt:
Twenty years ago the dynamic force in American political life came from the side of liberal dissent, from the impulse to reform the inequities of our economic and social system and to change our ways of doing things, to the end that the sufferings of the Great Depression would never be repeated. Today the dynamic force in our political life no longer comes from the liberals who made the New Deal possible.
Olivier Blanchard: Rethinking Macro Policy: Progress or Confusion?: "Chapter 28 in Progress and Confusion: The State of Macroeconomic Policy (MIT Press, 2016). Reposted with permission. © MIT Press May 9, 2016:
Olivier Blanchard, C. Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow at PIIE, reflects on the state of macroeconomic thinking in the last chapter of a book published by MIT Press that he coedited, entitled Progress and Confusion, The State of Macroeconomic Policy. In particular, the book addresses the profession's self-reassessment following a historic financial crisis that was largely missed by prevailing macroeconomic models:
We are indeed proceeding in the trenches. But where the trenches will eventually lead remains unclear...
Paul Krugman (1996): The Spiral of Inequality: "If calling America a middle-class nation means anything...
it means that we are a society in which most people live more or less the same kind of life. In 1970 we were that kind of society. Today we are not, and we become less like one with each passing year.
Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan, right-wing radicals have insisted that they started a revolution in America. They are half right. If by a revolution we mean a change in politics, economics, and society that is so large as to transform the character of the nation, then there is indeed a revolution in progress. The radical right did not make this revolution, although it has done its best to help it along. If anything, we might say that the revolution created the new right. But whatever the cause, it has become urgent that we appreciate the depth and significance of this new American revolution—and try to stop it before it becomes irreversible.
Andrew McAfee: What will future jobs look like?: "The writer George Eliot cautioned us that, among all forms of mistake...
...prophesy is the most gratuitous. The person that we would all acknowledge as her 20th-century counterpart, Yogi Berra, agreed. He said, 'It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.'
I'm going to ignore their cautions and make one very specific forecast. In the world that we are creating very quickly, we're going to see more and more things that look like science fiction, and fewer and fewer things that look like jobs. Our cars are very quickly going to start driving themselves, which means we're going to need fewer truck drivers. We're going to hook Siri up to Watson and use that to automate a lot of the work that's currently done by customer service reps and troubleshooters and diagnosers, and we're already taking R2D2, painting him orange, and putting him to work carrying shelves around warehouses, which means we need a lot fewer people to be walking up and down those aisles.
Noah Smith: Ben Bernanke’s "The Courage to Act": "Autobiography... history... commentary on the economics profession and modern macroeconomics...
...political tract... apologia of a public servant who was probably the target of more criticism than any in recent memory. If you come... looking for only one or two... you will be frustrated: you are going to get them all.... Bernanke... is giving the reader the complete picture—forcing us to see through his eyes.... Bernanke wants the world to understand why he did what he did, and in order to understand we have to know everything. And the book succeeds....
J. Bradford DeLong on May 13, 2016 at 04:44 PM in Economics: Finance, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Weekend) Reading, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Cosma Shalizi: On the Certainty of the Bayesian Fortune-Teller:
Attention conservation notice: 2300 words of technical...
...yet pretentious and arrogant, dialogue on a point which came up in a manuscript-in-progress, as well as in my long-procrastinated review of Plight of the Fortune Tellers. Why don't you read that book instead?
Q: You really shouldn't write in library books, you know; and if you do, your marginalia should be more helpful, or less distracting, than just 'wrong wrong wrong!'
A: No harm done; my pen and I are both transparent rhetorical devices. And besides, Rebonato is wrong in those passages.
Aristotle: On Trolling
Journal of the American Philosophical Association: copyright American Philosophical Association doi: 10.1017/apa.2016.9
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S2053447716000099
How to cite this article: Rachel Barney [Aristotle], "On Trolling". Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Available on CJO 2016 doi:10.1017/apa.2016.9
That trolling is a shameful thing, and that no one of sense would accept to be called ‘troll’, all are agreed; but what trolling is, and how many its species are, and whether there is an excellence of the troll, is unclear.
James Ledbetter: Reviewing Eric Rauchway's Money Makers for Democracy Journal:
Eric Rauchway: The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace • Basic Books • 2015 • 336 pages • $28.99
In August 1933, as the effects of the New Deal’s better-known programs were beginning to ripple through the United States’s ravaged economy, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his economic advisers were trying to tackle a problem that was significant and yet, to the vast majority of Americans, obscure: what to do about the relationship between the dollar and gold. Even before his inauguration earlier that year, FDR had decided that there was an urgent need to raise the depressed prices of America’s crops, notably wheat and cotton; if he failed to accomplish that simple goal, it seemed entirely possible that an agrarian rebellion could erupt and destroy the country’s entire economic constitution.
Janelle Bouie: How Donald Trump happened: Racism against Barack Obama: "we’ve been missing the most important catalyst in Trump’s rise... Barack Obama...
Daniel Davies (2009): Rules for Contrarians: 1. Don’t whine. That is all: "I like to think that I know a little bit about contrarianism...
...So I’m disturbed to see that people who are making roughly infinity more money than me out of the practice aren’t sticking to the unwritten rules of the game.
Economista Dentata: Wentworth’s Letter: "'I can listen no longer in silence...
Matt Bruenig: What Is Wealth?: "In 'Capital,' Piketty tracks as far back as he can the history of wealth inequality...
...which is also described as the history of inequality in the ownership of capital. In order to embark upon such a project, one must provide a definition of wealth and capital, which turns out to be a contentious undertaking.
"You are not doing enough in the way of promiscuous link-sluttage", my conscience says to me, occasionally. "You are not doing enough in the way of making people who come to your weblog aware of very smart people whom they ought to be paying attention to--but are not. You have an obligation not only to punch up, but to extend a hand down--to promote people who, by accidents of chance and historical contingency, are just as smart (or more) worth reading than you are."
"So what can I do?" I say.
"Periodically put up a post praising somebody, and providing a baker's dozen of links", it--she--he--I guess my conscience is not strongly gendered at all--says.
"I keep on thinking I should", I say. "But I forget!"
"Then publicly commit to doing it on the 24th of each month. Then you will be humiliated if you miss one. And that will provide you with motivation!"
So, guys, who on the internet should be first? Who receives less attention than they would in a world with a just internet?
And if the 24th of next month goes by without me living up to this promise... I expect to hear from all of you...
Newt Gingrich started the practice of large-scale lying to the base as a thing: give to us and vote for us and once we have majorities we will save America and your life will be great! The long-term consequence is that the base regards the Republican political establishment and its infrastructure as con men and grifters out for a buck. That is, largely, accurate. What the base doesn't (yet) realize is that the "insurgents"--from Herman Cain and Ben Carson to Donald Trump and Rand Paul--are con men and grifters as well:
Mark Schmitt: The Dangerous Politics of Hard Promises: "Broken promises: That's a theme at the center of the campaign rhetoric of the two leading Republican candidates for president...
...Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and a plausible explanation for the failure of the establishment candidates. At the center of Cruz's stump speech is a series of absolute promises, culminating in a pledge to 'utterly demolish ISIS'--and he has four different Super PACs that bear the name 'Keep the Promise' (the original, and I, II, and III, named like financing rounds in a hedge fund). Congressional Republicans promised in 2014 that they would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; defund Planned Parenthood; abolish the IRS; and humiliate, if not convict, Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi tragedy — all pledges they were unable to come even close to meeting. The conservative blogger Erick Erickson put it most succinctly: 'The Republican Party created Donald Trump, because they made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them.' In Trump's account, the Republicans failed out of incompetence, and he'll do better. Cruz's story is that they failed because they lacked his ideological spine.
Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations (WN) from years of prior research by several others, as well as his own labors (20 years), going back to early classical times. If he had not done so, others eventually would have replaced him and WN. Ideas about political economy became a small flood in the 19th century—today it's a raging tsunami of competing ideas and explanations, much of them non-scientific, often twisted for ideological purity; much of what the tsunami of daily drivel sweeps up as representative of Smith’s ideas is quite false. Hence, the title of my first book: Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy (2005).
Calvin Sims: Next, the Federal Reserve and how the Fed makes decisions. Current Fed chair Janet Yellen was joined by Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker. This is one hour 15 minutes. [applause]
Calvin Sims: Welcome everyone. I am the president of -- we are excited this evening to have the fabulous four Fed chairs -- fabulous four Fed chairs. It is going to be spectacular for a variety of reasons. I want to take a cue for Adam McKay. He wants said there is nothing that people love more than a Federal Reserve joke. [applause] I will tell you a joke. It is a joke by a Federal Reserve chair, who served from 1951 to 1970. You may have heard this but it is worth restating. He said the job of the Federal Reserve is to take away the punch bowl just before the party gets going. [laughter] We will learn the process of taking away the punch bowl, or adding something to the punch in the bowl.
Robert Solow (2015): The Future of Work: Why Wages Aren't Keeping Up: "One of the more puzzling and damaging features of the American labor market in the last few decades...
...has been the failure of real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) wages and benefits to keep up with the increase in productivity. In the years after the Second World War, real wages generally rose at the same rate as output per hour worked. This rough balance was made explicit in what came to be called the Treaty of Detroit: the agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors (followed by Ford and Chrysler) that the average annual rate of wage increase would be the percentage increase in productivity plus the percentage increase in consumer prices. This norm spread beyond the auto industry. It had the arithmetic consequence that the share of total value added in industry going to labor would stay roughly constant, with the rest going to the capital side.
Weekend Reading: Cardiff Garcia: Productivity and innovation stagnation, past and future: an epic compendium of recent views: "Maybe you’ve even read Robert Gordon’s new book...
...or just one of the many summaries and critical reviews — and you worry gravely about what this means for future living standards. And maybe you’re also at least somewhat aware of the endless arguments about whether productivity growth is measured appropriately, whether all the ‘low-hanging fruit has been picked’, whether anyone understands the relationship between total-factor productivity growth and investment, and (of course) whether automation will destroy or bolster the labour market of the future. But you have a social life.
Justin Fox: Niall Ferguson and the Rage Against the Thought-Leader Machine: "Harvard historian Niall Ferguson ran into an online buzzsaw this week...
...He says the ‘liberal blogosphere’ was out to do him in, and that was part of it. But there’s something bigger at work: a groundswell of resentment for and frustration with the ‘thought leaders’ who craft our conventional wisdom, get paid big speaking fees for it, yet often behave in ways that don’t accord with this status. First Jonah Lehrer, then Fareed Zakaria, now this — and surely there will be more such brouhahas to come. It may be that this groundswell is driven entirely by frustrated would-be speechmaking thought leaders. But I think it’s more than that (then again, as a would-be speechmaking thought leader, I would).
Michael A. Cohen: The Genealogy of American Demagoguery
ON A WARM OCTOBER EVENING, more than 15,000 people gathered in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The main event that night would not be a heavyweight fight, nor were the Knicks or the Rangers in town.
The crowd waited excitedly beneath 12 outsized American flags as country pickers serenaded them with renditions of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ ‘God Bless America,’ ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ and ‘Dixie.’
These ditties were interspersed with cries of ‘Go back to Africa!’ and ‘White power!’ while the omnipresent protesters, primed for their role in the evening’s proceedings, chimed in with ‘Pig! Pig! Pig!’ and ‘Two-four-six-eight, we don’t want a Fascist state!’
Robert Waldmann: Dynamic Inefficiency: "This is a post about macroeconomic theory...
It is technical and I honestly don’t know how much is already in the literature. The aim is to address an important policy question: Is public debt a burden on future generations?
James Gunn: H.G. Wells: The Man Who Invented Tomorrow: "In his autobiography (1934)...
...he pointed out what he saw as distinguishing his intentions from those of Conrad and James. They looked upon the novel as a form of art; Wells saw it as a means to an end. He wanted his writing to be appraised 'as a system of ideas'; they wanted ideas to enter, if at all, only as an integral part of the artistic whole. He wanted to write about himself, his reactions to what had happened to him and what had happened and was happening in the world; they wanted the writer kept out of it.
The literary approach, Wells finally decided:
Tim Noah: Will Blue-Collar Dems Run to Trump? Fuhgeddaboudit!: "Most of the working-class voters he’d get in November have already lined up behind him...
...Donald Trump’s strong primary showing among blue-collar voters is prompting speculation that working class support might upset the usual electoral boundaries between Republican and Democratic constituencies and put Trump in the White House come November.
There's a debate inside of the other party that is fantasy, and school yard taunts, and sellin' stuff like it's the home shopping network...
Jeffrey Edleson: A Dean’s Reflection on Campus Sexual Misconduct Cases: "Fleming, Marcy, and now Choudhry...
...In each of these high-level sexual harassment cases at UC Berkeley over the past year there was also high-level of misjudgment at the top of our campus administration. In the most recent case, former Dean Choudhry admitted to sexually harassing his Executive Assistant. While he claimed no bad intent, the impact of his behavior severely disrupted the career of a capable woman....
Weekend Reading: In the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay, even the mortal humans are of Faerie:
Guy Gavriel Kay: Rhiannon of the Birds, Rhiannon of the Horses...: From Guy Gavriel Kay (2004), The Last Light of the Sun (New York: Roc: 0451459857), pp. 46-7:
'Needful as warmed wine in winter,' someone Alun couldn't see offered from down the room. Approval for that, a nicely phrased offering. Winter memory in midsummer, the phrase near to poetry. The hostess turned to Dai, politely, beyond her husband and the cleric, to let the other Cadyri prince have a turn.
Harry Reid: Filling the Supreme Court Vacancy:
Mr. President, we now have a new rule called the Biden rule, which I guess was invented this morning.
Andrew Gelman: The problems with p-values are not just with p-values:
The American Statistical Association just released a committee report on the use of p-values. I was one of the members of the committee but I did not write the report.
We were also given the opportunity to add our comments. Here’s what I sent:
The problems with p-values are not just with p-values
Weekend Reading: Robert Waldmann: New Keynesian Orthdoxy and Hysteresis: "The debate between Gerald Friedman and the economics profession seems to be settled...
...Friedman agrees that he may have made a mistake. It is really unfair to him that preliminary unpublished analysis received so much attention (mostly from the Sanders campaign). Oh and it is unfair to them to expect them to ignore favorable forecasts made by a Clinton supporter of the effects of Sanders’s proposals. The discussion did lead to an interesting discussion.
Uh on twitter:
McKay Coppins: The One Thing I Didn't Get Wrong About Donald Trump: "About half an hour into Thursday night’s presidential debate...
...Republican frontrunner Donald Trump took a moment to call me out for the worst prediction of my career. It happened when a moderator asked him to respond to a recent BuzzFeed News report that he had secretly hedged on his hardline immigration proposals during an off-the-record interview with liberal New York Times editors. Trump responded, characteristically, with a small declaration of victory:
Live from the Hotel Giraffe Lobby: Origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome: I remember how back in 2007 and 2008 I would say that one reason Barack Obama might be a better candidate than Hillary Rodham Clinton was simply that America was now less racist than it was sexist--that the conservative quarter of the country would not be motivated to throw the filth at Barack Obama that they had and that they would throw at Hillary Rodham Clinton. I was wrong.
So let me turn the mike over to Ezra Klein, who muses on the racist origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome:
Ezra Klein: Obama Derangement Syndrome: "In 2003, the conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer diagnosed a new affliction in some of George W. Bush's fiercest critics...
...He described the condition as 'the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.' He called it Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Weekend Reading: Sam Richardson, Aaron Carroll, and Austin Frakt (2013): More Medicaid study power calculations (our rejected NEJM letter): "Sam Richardson, Aaron, and Austin submitted a more efficiently worded version of the following...
Michael S. Gazzaniga: A Road Trip to the Origins of Our Species: "Paris may be the most beautiful place on the planet...
...where humankind comes at you at every turn. There is nothing subtle about it, nothing to suggest that some sort of gradual evolution occurred to create it. Even the trip over, in which 220 animals calmly accepted their shared use of the hugely complex technology of a jet plane, revealed the special capacities of humankind: We are inventive and we thrive in groups. And we all want to know what flipped the switch in our ancestors. What made us this way?
Steve Randy Waldmann (2014): Welfare Economics: An Introduction: "I thought I’d give a bit of a primer on “welfare economics”...
...as I understand the subject. It looks like this will go long. I’ll turn it into a series.
H.G. Wells (1908): Becoming a Socialist: from "New Worlds for Old" (London: Macmillan), pp. 16-19: "A walk I had a little while ago with a friend along the Thames Embankment...
...from Blackfriars Bridge to Westminster. We had dined together and we went there because we thought that with a fitful moon and clouds adrift, on a night when the air was a crystal air that gladdened and brightened, that crescent of great buildings and steely, soft-hurrying water must needs be altogether beautiful.
J. Bradford DeLong on February 21, 2016 at 05:31 PM in Books, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Weekend) Reading, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (0)
The February 1953 issue of Ebony included an article entitled ‘Some of My Best Friends Are Negroes.’ The byline was Eleanor Roosevelt’s, though the headline, apparently, was not:
One of my finest young friends is a charming woman lawyer — Pauli Murray, who has been quite a firebrand at times but of whom I am very fond,
She is a lovely person who has struggled and come through very well.
Jeff Toobin: Looking Back: "Antonin Scalia, who died this month...
...after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent with his colleagues, dismissive of his critics, nostalgic for a world where outsiders knew their place and stayed there, Scalia represents a perfect model for everything that President Obama should avoid in a successor.
Girl Crush: bell hooks and Emma Watson: In Conversation: Feminism, Confidence and the Importance of Reading:
When we look back at this moment as a period in time when women started talking about feminism and identifying as feminists with a passion not seen for many years, some of the high watermarks in this fourth-wave resurgence will be Beyoncé's 2014 VMAs performance, Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and, of course, Emma Watson's stirring speech at the United Nations. Emma's moving words and her work promoting gender equality through the UN's HeForShe movement provided the first real introduction to the concept for many young women (and men). For her part, the actress says she's identified as a feminist since she was a kid, but she also credits writer, artist, intellectual, and feminist icon bell hooks, author of Feminism is for Everybody among many other key texts, with inspiring her and helping shape her understanding and beliefs through her essays, books, and videos. And as for bell she says she is equally as inspired by Emma.
C. P. Cavafy: Philhellene:
Make sure the engraving is done skillfully.
The expression serious, majestic.
The diadem preferably somewhat narrow:
I don’t like that broad kind the Parthians wear.
When Antonin Scalia was nominated to the US supreme court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, the first Italian-American to serve on the Court was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. It may well be a year – or several – before the Senate confirm anybody to replace Scalia, who died on Saturday at the age of 79. But that vote will almost assuredly not be unanimous, regardless of who the eventual nominee is: the politics of US supreme court appointments have become as polarized as the rest of American politics.
The wise Mark Thoma sends us to the newly-unmuzzled and very sharp Narayana Kocherlakota: Dovish Actions Require Dovish Talk (To Be Effective): "The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)...
...has bought a lot of assets and kept interest rates extraordinarily low for the past eight years. Yet, all of this stimulus has accomplished surprisingly little (for example, inflation and inflation expectations remain below target and are expected to do so for years to come). Does that experience mean that we should give up on monetary policy as a useful way to stimulate aggregate demand?
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.
Paul Krugman (1999): Thinking about the liquidity trap:
We live in the Age of the Central Banker - an era in which Greenspan, Duisenberg, and Hayami are household words, in which monetary policy is generally believed to be so effective that it cannot safely be left in the hands of politicians who might use it to their advantage. Through much of the world, quasi-independent central banks are now entrusted with the job of steering economies between the rocks of inflation and the whirlpool of deflation. Their judgement is often questioned, but their power is not.
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....
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[:]...
David Warsh (1998): Whose `Rules?': "For the last year, hardly a week has passed without...
...some bright new book fetching up on my desk promising to explain some aspect of the business dynamics of the new age of information.... In all this stack of books on managing knowledge, intellectual capital, the ecology of information and the like, the single volume most worth reading -- and, for many persons having, for it bears consulting again and again -- is 'Information Rules.'...
George Orwell: Review Of "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler (March 1940):