I believe Greg Leiserson does as well as anyone can to lay out how the PWBM reaches the very odd conclusion that deficit reduction at full employment slows growth over the next decade. It is not coherent: Penn Wharton Budget Model: The Wealth Tax Debate https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/events-1/2019/11/14/the-wealth-tax-debate: 'Presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed taxes on wealth. Why a wealth tax? Will it likely raise the money they hope? What are the trade-offs? What has been the experience of other countries?... Kimberly Burham... Greg Leiserson... Richard Prisinzano... Natasha Sarin...

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Note to Self: A historical question I want answered: Some historical questions I want to find the answers to: What was the typical pre-agricultural density of hunter-gatherer populations?

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MSW: The Black Watch at Fontenoy https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/07/14/the-black-watch-at-fontenoy/: 'off they went at the double led by Lieut.-Col. Sir Robert Munro, and stormed forward against the French positions about Fontenoy with tremendous spirit and elan. The French, protected by field fortifications and in considerable strength, were much shaken by this unusual attack launched by Highland furies armed – thanks to the granting of a request that this day they should fight with their native weapons – with broadsword and targe. Over the first line of entrenchments poured the Highlanders, but the French musketry was sustained and deadly and many of them fell and died before the fortifications. After a bitter struggle the Highlanders had to retreat, carrying with them the Lieutenant-Colonel, a man of such tremendous girth that he stuck in one of the entrenchments and barely escaped being made prisoner.... [Later] the Highlanders and another battalion were detailed to cover the inevitable retreat, a difficult duty even though there was no sustained pursuit, and the regiment was singled out for special praise by Cumberland in his report of the battle....

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*Charles Stross: Artificial Intelligence: Threat or Menace? http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2019/12/artificial-intelligence-threat.html: 'Changes happen faster, and there are more disruptive unknown-unknowns hitting us from all quarters with every passing decade. This is a long-established trend: throughout most of recorded history, the average person lived their life pretty much the same way as their parents and grandparents. Long-term economic growth averaged less than 0.1% per year over the past two thousand years. It has only been since the onset of the industrial revolution that change has become a dominant influence on human society. I suspect... 85% of the world of 2029 is here today, about 10% can be anticipated, and the random, unwelcome surprises constitute up to 5% of the mix. Which is kind of alarming, when you pause to think about it...

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Elimination of "the influence of the working-class movement" understood as demands for equitable growth and limitations on inequality, yes. Elimination of "democracy", no. As Hitler is claimed by Hermann Rauschning to have said, "Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings!" Fascists are very happy to have majorities on their side. Today's Republican Party which seeks to rule as a minority is an anomaly. Boris Johnson is not unhappy that he beat Jeremy Corbyn by 14%-points in the December 12, 2019 British general election. And Adler's assumption that there is a ruling class is naive. Fascism can be turned to serve the interests of an economically dominant class, yes; but it can also be turned to serve the interests of other groups defined and that define themselves in other ways:

Rakesh Bhandari: 'Max Adler on fascism https://twitter.com/postdiscipline/status/1205721944126939137: "The conscious exploitation of all the various currents of discontent, declassement and worker-hatred, as well, of course, as antisemitism, to construct a movement by means of which, despite the opaque and mutually antagonistic interests of these various groups, democracy and with it the influence of the working-class can be eliminated." The autonomy of the fascist state from all classes is illusory: "When government appears to free itself from the interests of particular classes, even of the ruling class, and become, as it were, common property in its relations to everyone without exception. this process of dissociation in actual fact only takes place in the minds of those who believe in it"...

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Michael Nielsen: Notes on the Dynabook http://mnielsen.github.io/notes/kay/dynabook.html: 'Computing as envisioned circa 1960: "The only surviving computing system paradigm seen by MIT students and faculty was that of a very large International Business Machine in a tightly sealed Computation Center: the computer not as a tool, but as a demigod."–Wesley Clark.... Alan Kay's "A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages" (1972, what I'll call “the Dynabook paper”): Many of the ideas in the Dynabook paper now appear commonplace, even banal. That's because those ideas won. At the time, this kind of thinking was a big change in perspective from computers-as-demigods. The Dynabook paper (and related work) was posing a fundamental new question: what might personal computing for everyone be? By facing squarely up to this (and some related) questions, PARC invented much of the foundation for modern personal computing...

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Back late in the decade of the 2000s, Barry Eichengreen opined that China's middle-income trap growth slowdown might began... now... Barry Eichengreen: Escaping the Middle-Income Trap https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4d9b/9d3f8041e4bc9e133182180ea2a5d85b11a5.pdf: 'Growth slowdowns typically occur at per capita in- comes of 16,700. At that point, the per capita growth rate slows from 5.6 percent to 2.1 percent, or by an average of 3.5 percentage points. For purposes of comparison, note that China’s per capita GDP, in constant 2005 international (purchasing power parity) prices, was 8,500 in 2007. Extrapolating its growth rate between then and now, China will reach the threshold value of 15,100 around 2016—that is to say, five years from now...

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Note to Self: WTF!?!?, Richard Muller????: Richard Muller (2013): A Pause, Not an End, to Warming https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/opinion/a-pause-not-an-end-to-warming.html: ‘In an essay published online then at MIT Technology Review, I worried that the famous “hockey stick” graph plotted by three American climatologists in the late 1990s portrayed the global warming curve with too much certainty and inappropriate simplicity…

Here is the hockey stick:

Hockey-stick

The yellow indicates uncertainty. "Too much certainty", Richard?!?! And the temperature proxies have plenty of signal before 1900. "Inappropriate simplicity", Richard?!?! I do wonder how long it had been since he had read Michael E. Mann &al.: Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Thousand Years: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations https://web.archive.org/web/20040311175934/http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/millennium-camera.pdf: 'Building on recent studies, we attempt hemispheric temperature reconstructions with proxy data net- works for the past millennium. We focus not just on the reconstructions, but the uncertainties therein, and important caveats. Though expanded uncertainties prevent decisive conclusions for the period prior to AD 1400, our results suggest that the latter 20th century is anomalous in the context of at least the past millennium. The 1990s was the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, at moderately high levels of confidence. The 20th century warming counters a millennial-scale cooling trend which is consistent with long-term astronomical forcing...

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William J. Connell: New Light on Machiavelli’s Letter to Vettori, 10 December 1513 https://www.storiadifirenze.org/pdf_ex_eprints/143-connell.pdf: 'What makes the subscription to the Borromeo letter so especially interesting are three factors: (1) The letter’s recipient was Machiavelli’s friend and patron, Francesco Vettori. (2) The letter was produced in the very chancery office that Machiavelli had directed for 14 years. (3) The date, 12 November 1513, was only two days after the completion of Machiavelli’s relegatio. Perhaps–just perhaps–the subscription altered to «N. Mach(e)l.» represented a way for one of Machiavelli’s chancery friends to confirm to Vettori in Rome that the confinement had ended uneventfully. Machiavelli was in official good standing and able to leave the dominion from 10 November. We know that Vettori received the letter from the Ten with its curious subscription on 18 November89. On 23 November Vettori, who had been out of touch with Machiavelli since August, at last sent his friend a long, warm letter, inviting him to visit him in Rome. And, on 10 December 1513, Machiavelli replied with his famous letter. That letter’s opening words, «Tarde non furon mai grazie divine» [Divine favors were never late], are a comment not so much on the completion of the relegatio (which occurred one month earlier), but on the arrival of Vettori’s let- ter and invitation after more than three months of silence...

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Worthy Reads from December 13, 2018: Hoisted from the Archives

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

  1. If you missed Anne Case and Angus Deaton on "deaths of despair" when it came out at the start of this year, you need to go back and read it: Iris Marechal: The Opioid Crisis: A Consequence of U.S. Economic Decline?: "The opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and communities across the United States, causing serious health and socioeconomic crises. The high prescription rate for opioids and the subsequent misuse of this medication by millions of Americans accelerated addiction and has led to a four-fold increase in the rate of overdoses since 1999.... Anne Case and Angus Deaton at Princeton University attribute the sharp increase in drug overdoses between 1999 and 2015 to 'deaths of despair' rather than to the increased ease of obtaining opioids: That is, their research suggests that higher drug suicides are attributable to social and economic factors such as a prolonged economic decline in many parts of the United States. They show that white Americans are more affected by the opioid epidemic, yet less affected by economic downturns than other racial and ethnic groups in the country...

  2. Our Raksha Kopparam makes a very nice catch, and sends us to the enter for Financial Services Innovation's “U.S. Financial Health Pulse: 2018 Baseline Survey”: Raksha Kopparam: New Financial Health Survey Shows That Traditional Metrics of Economic Growth Don’t Apply to Most U.S. Households’ Incomes and Savings: "Single aggregate data points do not capture how economic growth is experienced by different people in very different ways.... Underscoring the importance of knowing who specifically benefits from a strong economy is a new survey by the Center for Financial Services Innovation...

  3. Our Kate Bahn responds to Redwood Girl in Chico's puzzlement about why she is not seeing opportunity in the low-unemployment economy: @RedwoodGirl: On Twitter: "Does the U6 number also include self-employed folks like myself who need more work to afford to live?..." @LipstickEcon: "It does not, since it only includes unemployed workers plus workers who aren't looking for a job but say they would take one if offered plus workers who are part-time wage and salary workers but would rather be full-time. Under-employed self-employed workers aren't counted here. This is part of why economists like Blanchflower and Bell think U.S. statistics do not capture under-employment accurately, since it doesn't include people who wish they worked more (or fewer) hours but can't find a job that is the right fit of hours https://www.nber.org/papers/w24927...

  4. Do apply for Equitable Growth grants: Equitable Growth: Apply for a Grant: "We are now accepting applications in response to our 2019 Request for Proposals. Letters of inquiry for academic grants are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Proposals for doctoral/postdoctoral grants and applications to the Dissertation Scholars Program are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 10, 2019...

  5. Rhonda Sharpe is praising us herre at Equitable Growth for trying to diversify the economics profession: Rhonda V. Sharpe: On Twitter: "L @LipstickEcon E @ @equitablegrowth T @ @TrevonDLogan ' S @SandyDarity D @drlisadcook I @itsafronomics V @ValerieRWilson E @Em_Gorman R @rbalakra S @SadieCollective I @IAFFE F @femme_economics Y @YanaRodgers T @TrevonDLogan H @HBoushey E @eliselgould...

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Jacobo Timmerman (1990): A Summer in the Revolution https://www.bradford-delong.com/2013/11/i-cannot-find-jacopo-timmermann-on-gabriel-garcia-marquez-on-fidel-castro.html: 'When I read one of Gabriel Carcia Marquez's essays on the [Cuban] Commandante [Fidel Castro], I was remind of paeans to Stalin—of the whole state of mind described by Arthur Koestler in Darkness at Noon. Garcia Marquez praises Fidel Castro for needing only six hours of sleep after a day's hard work—the same six hours that were often presented as proof of Josef Stalin's vitality, extolled in writings that also described his Kremlin window lit until the small hours of the night—and praises the wisdom of the Commandante in stating that "learning to rest is as important as learning to work". If the cumulative tasks in Fidel Castro's workday as it is describe by Garcia Marquez are counted up, the Castro who emerges is a prodigy—someone who triumphs by supernatural intelligence:

His rarest virtue is the ability to foresee the evolution of an event to its farthest-reaching consequence...

and: "He has breakfast with no less than two hundred pages of news from the entire world..." (a long breakfast, surely), and: "He has to read fifty-odd documents [daily]..." And the list goes on: "No one can explain how he has the time or what method he employs to read so much and so fast.... A physician friend of his, out of courtesy, sent him his newly-published orthopedic treatise, without expecting him, of course, to read it, but one week later he received a letter from Castro with a long list of observations.... There is a vast bureaucratic incompetence affection almost every realm of daily life, especially domestic happiness, which has forced Fidel Castro himself, almost thirty years after victory, to involve himself personally in such extraordinary matters as how bread is made and the distribution of beer.... He has created a foreign policy of world-power dimensions..." Fidel Castro, then, has a secret method, unknown to the rest of mankind, for reading quickly, and he knows a lot about orthopedics, and yet thirty years after the Revolution he has not managed to organize a system for baking bread and distributing beer...

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Eric Hobsbawm (1998): The Communist Manifesto in Perspective https://www.transform-network.net/en/publications/yearbook/overview/article/journal-112012/the-communist-manifesto-in-perspective/: 'It is, of course, a document written for a particular moment in history. Some of it became obsolete almost immediately.... More of it became obsolete as the time separating the readers from the date of writing lengthened. Guizot and Metternich have long retired.... The Tsar (though not the Pope) no longer exists. As for the discussion of “Socialist and Communist Literature”, Marx and Engels themselves admitted in 1872 that even then it was out of date.... Though Marx and Engels reminded readers that the Manifesto was a historical document, out of date in many respects, they promoted and assisted the publication of the 1848 text.... Unlike Marxian economics, the “materialist conception of history” which underlay this analysis had already found its mature formulation in the mid-1840s. and remained substantially unchanged in later years. In this respect the Manifesto was already a defining document of Marxism. It embodied the historical vision, though its general outline remained to be filled in by fuller analysis...

...How will the Manifesto strike the reader who comes to it for the first time in 1998? The new reader can hardly fail to be swept away by the passionate conviction, the concentrated brevity, the intellectual and stylistic force, of this astonishing pamphlet. It is written, as though in a single creative burst, in lapidary sentences almost naturally transforming themselves into the memorable aphorisms which have become known far beyond the world of political debate: from the opening “A spectre is haunting Europe–the spectre of Communism” to the final “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win”. Equally uncommon in nineteenth-century German writing: it is written in short, apodictic paragraphs, mainly of one to five lines—in only five cases, out of more than two hundred, of fifteen or more lines. Whatever else it is, The Communist Manifesto as political rhetoric has an almost biblical force. In short, it is impossible to deny its compelling power as literature....

What will undoubtedly also strike the contemporary reader is the Manifesto’s remarkable diagnosis of the revolutionary character and impact of “bourgeois society”. The point is not simply that Marx recognised and proclaimed the extraordinary achievements and dynamism of a society he detested, to the surprise of more than one later defender of capitalism against the red menace. It is that the world transformed by capitalism which he described in 1848, in passages of dark, laconic eloquence, is recognisably the world in which we live 150 years later....

Two things give the Manifesto its force. The first is its vision, even at the outset of the triumphal march of capitalism, that this mode of production was not permanent, stable, “the end of history”, but a temporary phase.... The second is its recognition of the... bourgeoisie... [and its] miracles ascribed to it in the Manifesto.... In 1850 the world produced no more than 71,000 tons of steel (almost 70 per cent of it in Britain) and had built less than 24,000 miles of railroads (two-thirds of these in Britain and the USA). Historians have had no difficulty in showing that even in Britain the Industrial Revolution (a term specifically used by Engels from 1844 on) had hardly created an industrial or even a predominantly urban country before the 1850s. Marx and Engels did not describe the world as it had already been transformed by capitalism in 1848; they predicted how it was logically destined to be transformed by it.

We now live in a world in which this transformation has largely taken place, even though readers of the Manifesto in the third millennium of the Western calendar will no doubt observe that it has advanced even further since 1998...

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Civil Liberties: I have always tended to be an advocate of "playing your position". But there are times when one's position involves looking far afield. These days, on what surveillance and information-collection mechanism are doing to our society. Here we have Marcy Wheeler saying "I told you so" about how the FBI's use of FISA for searches has long been unreasonable, and hence—if the fourth amendment has any meaning—unconstitutional:

Marcy Wheeler: How Twelve Years of Warning and Six Years of Plodding Reform Finally Forced FBI to Do Minimal FISA Oversight https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/10/12/how-twelve-years-of-warning-and-six-years-of-plodding-reform-finally-forced-fbi-to-do-minimal-fisa-oversight/: "A condemnation of how the government has been using 702 (and its predecessor PAA) for 12 years. A (partial—but thus far by far the most significant one) success of the new oversight mechanisms put in place post-Snowden. An opportunity to reform FISA—and FBI—more systematically.... 12 years after this system was first moved under FISA... we’re only now going to start getting real information.... We will learn (even more than we already learned from the two reported queries that this pertained to vetting informants) the degree to which back door searches serve not to find people who are implicated in national security crimes, but instead, people who might be coerced to help the FBI find people who are involved in national security crimes. We will learn that the oversight has been inadequate. We will finally be able to measure disproportionate impact on Chinese-American, Arab, Iranian, South Asian, and Muslim communities. DOJ will be forced to give far more defendants 702 notice. Irrespective of whether back door searches are themselves a Fourth Amendment violation (which we will only now obtain the data to discuss), the other thing this opinion shows is that for twelve years, FISA boosters have been dismissing the concerns those of us who follow closely have raised (and there are multiple other topics not addressed here). And now, after more than a decade, after a big fight from FBI, we’re finally beginning to put the measures in place to show that those concerns were merited all along...

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A bunch of Obama's governing not as a left-populist but as "Third Way" was, IMHO, bait-and-switch. And a bunch was his own incoherence: he alternated between presenting himself as a left-populist who would get things deon and as a purple-America unifier. But a bunch was the realities for power and process. This is very smart from; Henry Kraemer: "Obama ran as a populist https://twitter.com/HenryKraemer/status/1195012774633648128, & governed as something closer to Third Way. At least one big reason is that the realities of governing in a republic tend to moderate policy. Running as Third Way more or less guarantees governing as a conservative: Adam Jentleson: 'This. The Deval/Pete recasting of candidate Obama as a Third Way, unity candidate is revisionist history. He ran as an outsider attacking a broken and corrupt system...

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The point of the Senate majority's and of the current political appointees at HHS's actions here is not to create flexibility, but to make it legal to provide not-insurance: Sarah Gantz: A Philly Woman’s Broken Back and 36,000 Bill Shows How Some Health Insurance Brokers Trick Consumers into Skimpy Plans https://www.inquirer.com/health/consumer/limited-benefit-skimpy-health-plans-sales-pitch-20191114.html?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar: 'She was left with 36,000 in hospital bills that she’s still paying off. “What the hell did I do? How did I get into this mess?” said Martin, 54, of Horsham, recalling the panic she felt after the December 2017 fall. “I have a broken wrist, a broken back, and I don’t have real health insurance.”... Access to these plans was limited under the Affordable Care Act, but the websites selling such plans have gotten bolder in their marketing as President Trump and free-market Republicans chip away at ACA rules, saying people need more affordable alternatives. But shopping savvy isn’t necessarily enough to protect consumers. The insurance brokers who rely on such websites for leads use scripts carefully worded to instill trust and push consumers to act quickly...

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Walter Womacka's Socialist "Realist" Stained Glass...

Walter Womacka Stained-Glass Restoration https://www.moz.de/kultur/artikelansicht/dg/0/1/1043774/ in the former State Council building on Berlin's Schlossplatz, now the home of the European School of Management and Technology: How the East German Government wanted to pretend it had been, was, and would be:

Womacka-top

Womacka-bottom

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-12-11:

  1. Wikipedia: Gendarmenmarkt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendarmenmarkt...

  2. Nir Jaimovich &al.: A Tale of Two Workers: The Macroeconomics of Automation http://events.berkeley.edu/documents/user_uploads/Paper01122019.pdf...

  3. Groningen Growth and Development Center: PWT 9.1 https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/productivity/pwt/...

  4. Nick Rowe: Increased Price Flexibility is Destabilising in New Keynesian Models. (And a Price-Level Path Target is Stabilising) https://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2019/12/increased-price-flexibility-is-destabilising-in-new-keynesian-models-and-a-price-level-path-target-i.html: 'It's more complicated than this, of course. Because I have over-simplified the model by assuming that the central bank has a lag of "one period", and that the only real interest rate that matters is that same "one period" real interest rate. But you get the gist...

  5. Chartwell: Carl Benedikt Frey https://www.chartwellspeakers.com/speaker/carl-benedikt-frey/...

  6. Wikipedia: Ahmose I https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmose_I...

  7. Financial Times: Business School Rankings 2019 http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/european-business-school-rankings-2019...

  8. Clickspring: Reconstructing The Antikythera Mechanism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRXI9KLImC4...

  9. David Teece &al.: New Enlightenment Conference https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIg3ObdikHUdFtLCqMBfNLQ/playlists: ', Edinburgh, 2019...

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Brad DeLong Says More...: Project Syndicate

Project Syndicate: [Brad DeLong Says More...](htt*PS*: //us10.campaign-archive.com/?u=9116789a51839e0f88fa29b83&id=646c7b19aa&e=a7192bc790): Project Syndicate: One forgotten lesson of the Great Depression, you wrote last month, is that “persistent ultra-low interest rates mean the economy is still short of safe, liquid stores of value, and thus in need of further monetary expansion”...

...Since then, the US Federal Reserve has cut the federal funds rate – a move that you argued in March could either stave off a recession or drastically undermine the Fed’s capacity to respond to one. What steps should the Fed take to help encourage the former and prevent the latter? At a time of growing political pressure on the Fed, what approach is it likely to take?

Brad DeLong: Back in 1992, Larry Summers and I warned participants at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that low inflation and high equity-return and bond-risk premiums do not play well together. Dealing with a typical recession had, historically, required that the Fed cut the federal funds rate by five full percentage points. A large recession would require even larger cuts.

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Great-grandfather Roland: Roland G. Usher (1913): Pan Germanism https://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/comment/PanGer/PanGerTC.htm: 'BY: ROLAND G. USHER, PH.D. Associate Professor of History, Washington University, St. Louis.... BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge.... TO THAT ENERGETIC, CAPABLE ADMINISTRATOR, THAT ENTHUSIASTIC STUDENT OF CONDITIONS, THAT BEST OF COMRADES, THAT DEAREST OF FRIENDS, MY WIFE.... I. THE CAUSES OF GERMAN AGGRESSION.... The logic of facts, proving the necessity of expansion, is, to such Germans as General Bernhardi, unanswerable. The population has increased so rapidly that it is already difficult for efficient, well-trained men to secure any employment. Not only is the superficial area of the country suitable for cultivation practically exhausted, but intensive scientific agriculture is speedily limiting the possibilities of the employment of more hands on the same acres or the further increase of the produce. Industry has grown at a stupendous rate, and the output from German factories is enormously in excess of the needs of even the growing population. Her exports per capita are 24 dollars a year, as against England's 40, and France's 25, and she has not their exclusive colonial markets. Unless some outlet can be found for the surplus population, and a new and extensive market discovered for this enormous surplus production, prosperity will be inevitably succeeded by bankruptcy. There will be more hands than there is work for, more mouths than there is food, and Germany must either get rid of the surplus mouths and hands or swell the surplus product by employing them at home, which cannot be done without entailing national ruin. Expansion is, therefore, the only alternative, for the German considers equivalent to ruin the reduction of the pressure of population by emigration,(2) and the avoidance of overproduction by the proportionate reduction of output. Merely to retain what she now has, Germany is condemned to increase her navy at any pace the English see fit to set. Something more will be absolutely essential if the dire consequences of an economic crisis are not to impoverish her and pave the way for her ultimate destruction at the hands of her hereditary enemies, France and Russia...

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Self-Portrait of Otto von Bismarck as an Atheistic Young Hegelian

Self-portrait-of-bismarck-as-an-atheistic-young-hegelian

Otto von Bismarck's self-portrait of himself as—like Karl Marx—an Atheistic Young Hegelian. How much Bismarck believed what he wrote, and how much Bismarck's beliefs were accurate, are things that I must leave to the judgment of those more expert than I. From The German Classics: Masterpieces of German Literature Translated Into English: Volume X: Prince Otto Von Bismarck, Count Helmuth Von Moltke, Ferdinand Lassalle:

Otto von Bismarck: "Hotel de Prusse, Stettin. (Not dated: written about the end of December, 1846.) "TO Herr von Puttkamer:

Most Honored Sir:

I begin this communication by indicating its content in the first sentence—it is a request for the highest thing you can dispose of in this world, the hand of your daughter. I do not conceal from myself the fact that I appear presumptuous when I, whom you have come to know only recently and through a few meetings, claim the strongest proof of confidence which you can give to any man. I know, however, that even irrespective of all obstacles in space and time which can increase your difficulty in forming an opinion of me, through my own efforts I can never be in a position to give you such guaranties for the future that they would, from your point of view, justify intrusting me with an object so precious, unless you supplement by trust in God that which trust in human beings can not supply. All that I can do is to give you information about myself with absolute candor, so far as I have come to understand myself. It will be easy for you to get reports from others in regard to my public conduct; I content myself, therefore, with an account of what underlay that—my inner life, and especially my relations to Christianity. To do that I must take a start far back...

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I would simply remark that an awful lot of the written record inherited from antiquity is a weird combination of Foreign Affairs the National Enquirer, and should be read—both when it speaks about the disempowered and the empowered—with the hermeneutic of suspicion one would apply to those publications today: Comment of the Day: Philip Koop https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/12/mitchell-carroll-_greek-women_-phryne-with-a-modesty-one-would-not-expect-in-a-woman-of-her-class-was-very-careful.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a4a741db200c#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a4a741db200c: 'Here is something that James Davidson had to say about Phryne in his book Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens: "These megalomisthoi hetaerai are the rich and famous ones, the ones catalogued in scholarly treatises, who had plays written about them and speeches composed on their behalf, the ones whose bons mots were recorded in anecdotal collections like those of Machon and Lynceus of Samos. Thanks to Apollodorus’ speech and a comedy of Timocles named after her, Neaera herself could claim a place on this exalted list along with Laïs the younger, Laïs the elder, Sinope, Mania, Gnathaena, Naïs, Thaïs and many others. Of all of these Phryne was perhaps the most renowned. Like Theodote, she allowed artists to paint her. It was she who modelled for Praxiteles, it was said, his revolutionary female nude, first of its kind, known as the Venus of Cnidus, and, for Apelles, the Birth of Venus that was reimagined so famously by Botticelli. Another statue sua ipsa persona, again modelled by Praxiteles in gilt or gold, was dedicated at Delphi and placed between Philip of Macedon and Archidamus, King of Sparta. It was a dedication, said the Cynic Crates, to Greek self-indulgence. These works of art not only immortalized the form of Phryne for posterity but spread her image throughout Greece. According to Callistratus in his work On Hetaeras, she became so rich that after the Macedonians had razed the city of Thebes to the ground she said she would pay for the city wall to be rebuilt, providing the citizens put up an inscription: ‘Alexander may have knocked it down, but Phryne the hetaera got it back up again’, one of the very few occasions when these women gave themselves the label...

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Eternal September: How Trolls Overran the Public Square: Project Syndicate

How_Trolls_Overran_the_Public_Square_by_J__Bradford_DeLong_-_Project_Syndicate

Project Syndicate: How Trolls Overran the Public Square https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trolls-win-control-of-the-public-square-by-j-bradford-delong-2019-12: Since the invention of writing, human innovation has transformed how we formulate new ideas, organize our societies, and communicate with one another. But in an age of rapid-fire social media and nonstop algorithm-generated outrage, technology is no longer helping to expand or enrich the public sphere: Every year since 1900 we have had change in human technology and organization at a blistering pace: human productivity, organization, and technological capabilities now change at a rate that packs into one year what would have been 50 years of change back before 1500. It used to be that culture, war, the rise and fall of individuals' statuses, and politics were the meat of human history, with technology and organization much of an unchanging background, and productivity growing only very slowly on average. But that is not the world we live in today.

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