May 17, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

Industrial Production Index FRED St Louis FedManufacturers New Orders Nondefense Capital Goods Excluding Aircraft FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Nothing has changed—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: May 17, 2019: "The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.8% for 2019:Q2. News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.4 percentage point. Negative surprises from industrial production and capacity utilization data largely offset positive surprises from housing and regional survey data...

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The Gap asked researchers to quantify the benefits from offering its employees more regular schedules. The benefits are substantial:

Alix Gould-Wirth: Retail workers' Unpredictable Schedules Affect Sleep Quality:: "Retail outlets of The Gap, Inc.... surprising connections between retail workers’ schedules and their sleep patterns.... Joan C. Williams... Susan Lambert... and Saravanan Kesavan.... A novel, multicomponent intervention.... Randomly assigned 19 stores to a treatment group to implement the intervention and nine stores to a control group that did not implement the intervention...

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze is correct when he writes that "across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China". The bombs-and-bullets people, the geopolitics people, and the blame-somebody-else people are all agreed. The U.S. needs to do something to strengthen its relative position, and that means it needs to start doing something to China.

But that would be going about it the wrong way. Thinking that the right way to do something is to do something to China is a very bad way to think. The U.S. could still forge a 21st century condominium with China. But all those necessary and needed pieces of action require that the U.S. look and act inwardly, not outwardly:

Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Runciman: "Rather than raging against the dying of the light, Runciman['s How Democracy Ends], like Spengler and Kojève, invites us to adopt a stance of disillusioned realism. If we can see the decline of democratic polities all around us and can diagnose the multiple causes of their eventual demise, that does not excuse us from the responsibility to make them work until the bitter end...

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontent: Levitsky and Ziblatt: "Levitsky and Ziblatt['s How Democracies Die has]... a sobering message: 'American democracy is not as exceptional as we sometimes believe. There’s nothing in our Constitution or our culture to immunize us against democratic breakdown'.... The restoration of democratic norms requires building a new consensus. Levitsky and Ziblatt cite the example of Chile.... Augusto Pinochet... was overcome by a new culture of bipartisan cooperation in the so-called Democratic Concertation. In the US today, the problem lies first and foremost with the GOP. It has repeatedly behaved like an anti-systemic party that does not consider itself bound by common democratic norms... Levitsky and Ziblatt point to... Konrad Adenauer’s CDU.... But what relevance does it have to American politics? Can one seriously imagine anyone in the GOP taking lessons from Angela Merkel and her counterparts?... Levitsky and Ziblatt are strikingly naive when it comes to power...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 19, 2019)

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  1. Yes, Some 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?

  2. Ernst H. Kantorowicz: The Fundamental Issue: Documents and Marginal Notes on the University of California Loyalty Oath

  3. Robin Harris: The Bastards Say, Welcome: "The most famous computer ad that never ran was created for Data General.... After IBM announced the Series/1.... DG marketing came up with a rough draft of a 2-page ad: 'They Say IBM’s Entry Into Minicomputers Will Legitimize The Market. The Bastards Say, Welcome'...

  4. Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand and Harald Hagemann: Business Cycles in Juglar and Schumpeter􏰀: "One important difference is that for Schumpeter the classical business cycle is driven by technological innovations of medium size, whereas for Juglar the cause for an overheated boom is speculation fuelled by easy credit...

  5. Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus: Life of Tiberius Gracchus

  6. DS100: Principles and Techniques of Data Science

  7. Erik Wade: St. Bride's Day Massacre : "We had to kill the Vikings, because they bathed and brushed their hair and our wives couldn't resist such sophistication" is a HELL of a take by medieval English chroniclers: 'One thirteenth-century chronicle attributed a slaughter of Danes by Anglo-Saxons in 1002 to the former's irresistibility to the latter's spouses: "The Danes made themselves too acceptable to English women by their elegant manners and their care of their person. They combed their hair daily, according to the custom of their country, and took a bath every Saturday, and even changed their clothes frequently, and improved the beauty of their bodies with many such trifles, by which means they undermined the chastity of wives...

  8. Sam Lau, Joey Gonzalez, and Deb Nolan: Principles and Techniques of Data Science

  9. Lyall Taylor: The LT3000 Blog: Uber, Delusion, and Ride-Hailing's Structural Economic Inefficiency: "NYC and Silicon Valley based investors forget that the majority of the world doesn't live in these areas.... Every time I go back to New Zealand to spend time with my parents [I see] that private vehicle ownership isn't going to cease any time soon. Commuting with one's own car is cheap, reliable, fast, and comfortable. Why wait around for an expensive Uber when you can just whip yourself down the road to the local store or restaurant in 5 minutes, and park for free outside on the road or in designated parking areas outside?...

  10. AlphaChat: Kimberly Clausing Makes the Case for Open Economies

  11. Lumen Learning: The Bank War

  12. James A.Kahn and Robert W.Rich: _Trend Productivity Growth: "Through 2019Q1... with probability 0.93 productivity remains in a low-growth (1.33% annual rate) regime.... Productivity growth in 2019Q1 in the nonfarm business sector was 3.6% (annual rate), the highest rate in more than four years...

  13. I missed this when it came out three years ago: Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Zhenxiang Chen, Paul M. Ong, Darrick Hamilton, and William A. Darity Jr.: The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles

  14. The full text is online. Go read it!: Heather Boushey, Ryan Nunn, and Jay Shambaugh: Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy

  15. George A. Akerlof et al.: Exhibit A: "George A. Akerlof, Professor Susan Dynarski... and Professor Janet L. Yellen... regularly use and teach statistical analytical methods.... Amici have a wide range of views about the appropriateness of using race as a factor in college admissions. However, they share the view that Dr. Card is one of the most outstanding and respected scholars in the field of econometrics and applied economics, that his statistical analyses in this case were methodologically sound, and that the criticisms of his modeling approach in the Brief of Economists as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiff, Dkt. 450 ('Plaintiff’s Amici Br.'), are not based on sound statistical principles or practices...

  16. Jacob T. Levy: "Somehow this article never asks whether... maybe our experience with a president whose qualifications were 'playing a rich person on TV' and 'shouting on twitter' has some important lessons...

  17. Boing-Boing: Nebula Awards: "The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman)...

  18. Leah McElrath: @leahmcelrath: "//begin sarcasm font// It’s absolutely totally okay to have no idea how many children our government has stolen from their parents. Just business as usual. //end sarcasm font// This is what we’re accepting now...

  19. Michael Bennet: Why We Need a Public Health Insurance Option: "I Got Lucky With My Cancer Treatment, But Many Americans Go Bankrupt. That's Why We Need a Public Option...

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John Maynard Keynes (1926): The End of His ""The End of Laissez-Faire": Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1926): The end of his "The End of Laissez-Faire": "These reflections have been directed towards possible improvements in the technique of modern capitalism.... There is nothing in them which is seriously incompatible with... the essential characteristic... the dependence upon an intense appeal to... money-making and money-loving instincts.... I may do well to remind you... that the fiercest contests and the most deeply felt divisions of opinion are likely to be waged in the coming years... round... questions... psychological or, perhaps, moral...

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Weekend Reading: The Downfall of Mother Bank

Jackson bank veto Google Search

The Downfall of Mother Bank

Draw'd off from Natur by Zek Downing, Neffu to Major Jack Downing

Printed & Publd by H.R. Robinson, 52 Courtlandt St., N. York

President Andrew Jackson: Major Jack Downing. I must act in this case with energy and decision. You see the downfall of the party engine and corrupt monopoly!!

Order for the Removal of the Public Money Deposited in the UNITED STATES BANK

Jack Downing: Hurrah! Feneral! If this don't beat skunkin I'm a nigger; only see that varmint Nick how spry he is. He runs along like Weatherfield Hog with an onion in his mouth.

No more fees to be obtained here! I move we adjourn, sine die!

Fees

Daniel Webster: There is a tide in the affairs of men, as Shakespeare says, and so my dear Clay, look out for yourself.

Henry Clay: Help me up! Webster! Or I shall lose my stakes!

Kentucky

Burrow under the Mammoths here, Sila!

Boston Courier, ALbany Gazette Evening Star, Columbian Sentinel, Journal of Commerce, Commercial Advertiser, New York American, Pennsylvanian, United States Gazette, National Gazette

Nichols Biddle: It is time for me to resign my presidency

Salary 6000, Preointing expenses 80000, Courier and Enquirer 52000

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I concur with Duncan Black here: Duncan Black: Jeffrey Goldberg: "The post-9/11 era was... really it's impossible to explain it to people who didn't live through it. And it was about a 5 year period, not a few weeks. It also made the careers of people who are still with us now. The wronger they were the more successful they have been! Such is The Discourse. The Atlantic is a bad magazine run by a bad person who occasionally runs good things by good people in order to cover for the fact that it is a bad magazine. My "favorite" post-9/11 nonsense was in the greatest of magazines, the New Yorker, which is known for its attention to detail and truth and its fact checking and the amount of shrooms someone must have eaten to have written this...

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Comment of the Day: Howard: "I must be missing something: I don't see this as a 'reach for yield' phenomena. I see this as a reach for 10x returns, and I don't think low interest rates have much to do with the willingness of people (well, high net-worth individuals and their VC and hedge fund managers) to take a shot at a 10x return. I continue to see low interest rates as the market's way of telling us we need public investment, badly...

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Wikipedia: Alexei Kosygin: "Kosygin told his son-in-law Mikhail Gvishiani, an NKVD officer, of the accusations leveled against his co-worker Nikolai Voznesensky, then Chairman of the State Planning Committee (in office 1942-1949) and a First Deputy Premier (in office 1941-1946), because of his possession of firearms. Gvishiani and Kosygin threw all their weapons into a lake and searched both their own houses for any listening devices. They found one at Kosygin's house, but it might have been installed to spy on Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who had lived there before him. According to his memoirs, Kosygin never left his home without reminding his wife what to do if he did not return from work. After living two years in constant fear, the family reached the conclusion[when?] that Stalin would not harm them...

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Thomas Blanchet, Lucas Chancel, and Amory Gethin: Forty Years of Inequality in Europe: "Despite the growing importance of inequalities in policy debates, it is still difficult to compare inequality levels across European countries and to tell how European growth has been shared across income groups. This column draws on new evidence combining surveys, tax data, and national accounts to document a rise in income inequality in most European countries between 1980 and 2017. It finds that income disparities on the old continent have increased less than in the US and shows that this is essentially due to ‘predistribution’ policies...

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Martin Wolf: ‘Global Britain’ is an Illusion Because Distance Has Not Died: "Why has distance not died and the world not become flat?... The nature of trade has changed and, in particular, it has become more control-intensive and time-dependent.... Regional trade arrangements also matter... because procedures tend to be far more reliable and efficient.... Regulatory and procedural harmonisation... was the price of integration.... There are only two possible explanations for the immense bias towards trade with the EU: either the preferential advantages of being within the EU are very large or the vital fact is that these are neighbours. Either way, the idea that there is a global alternative... is a delusion. It is the biggest of the many Brexit delusions...

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I have been waiting for this for a while: it's very good. David R. Howell and Arne L. Kalleberg: Declining Job Quality in the United States: Explanations and Evidence: "We group... explanations... into three broad visions... the competitive market model, in which supply and demand for worker skills in competitive external labor markets generates a single market wage by skill group... contested market models, in which... firms typically have substantial bargaining (monopsony) power; and social-institutional models, which... place greater emphasis on the public policies, formal and informal institutions, and the dynamics of workplace cultures and conflict.... The supply-demand explanation, which has focused on evidence of occupational employment polarization (driven by skill-biased production technologies) and the rise in the college-wage premium.... We conclude by summarizing policy recommendations that follow from each of these visions...

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Picking winners—seeing which are the industries in which subsidizing efficient producers will produce large externalities via the creation of communities of engineering practice—has never been that difficult. It has been actually winning that is difficult: creating the institutional and political-economic discipline so that the subsidies flow where they should, rather than where the politically powerful wish them to flow. What is nice about Cherif and Hasanov is that they show where and have some good suggestions as to how to make this more general than it has been: Andrew Batson: Rediscovering the Importance of Export Discipline: "The new IMF working paper on industrial policy, by Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov, has gotten a lot of notice, and indeed it is very clear, comprehensive, and useful. But for anyone who has already done some reading on the history of successful Asian economies, particularly Taiwan and South Korea, it is not exactly surprising.... Brad DeLong’s 2010 book with Stephen Cohen, The End of Influence: 'Americans like to say scornfully that industrial policy is about “governments picking winners.” Picking winner industries is not that hard—even for governments...

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I second this: The modern internet offers so much free ice cream that it is hard to justify paying for it. But IMHO Tressie Mcmillan Cottom is definitely worth it. For example, lead her on Lower Ed—on the predatory for-profit college grift: Juliane Stockman: @JulianeStockman: "If you haven't subscribed to @tressiemcphd https://thefirstand15th.substack.com, you need to.... I'm gonna have to journal about this months' essay. Hell, I'm probably gonna take it into therapy to process it. It packs a wallop...

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David H. Autor: Work of the Past, Work of the Future: "Urban non-college workers currently perform substantially less skilled work than in prior decades..... Automation and international trade... have eliminated the bulk of non-college production, administrative support, and clerical jobs, yielding a disproportionate polarization of urban labor markets... by: (1) shunting non-college workers out of specialized middle-skill occupations into low-wage occupations that require only generic skills; (2) diminishing the set of non-college workers that hold middle-skill jobs in high-wage cities; and (3) attenuating, to a startling degree, the steep urban wage premium for non-college workers that prevailed in earlier decades. Changes in the nature of work—many of which are technological in origin—have been more disruptive and less beneficial for non-college than college workers...

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Comment of the Day: JEC: "I'd just add a note to lament the five decades of empirical research into the actual formation and behavioral consequences of expectations that didn't happen, thanks to the Rational Expectations Revolution in macro. We'll never get those squandered years back...

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Comment of the Day: JEC: "Against my better judgment, I find that I must demand, in the strongest possible terms, that you kids withdraw forthwith from my lawn. More specifically, this is correct: 'The concept was developed by the economist Joan Robinson in her 1933 book The Economics of Imperfect Competition to describe the labor market equivalent of a monopoly, where workers only have the option to work at one employer, so their wages will be set less than the value they create+ since they have no outside options'...

...But this is bollocks: "But work pioneered by economist Alan Manning at the London School of Economics in his book Monopsony in Motion broadens the definition of monopsony to include labor market dynamics where workers do not respond to changes in wages as would be predicted by a competitive model." Why in the world would anyone think it was a good idea to take a technical term denoting a specific market failure and turn it into a generic label for any and all market failures? O tempora o mores!

+Errr… correct-ish. "The value they create" is not an accurate rendering of "the marginal product of labor." But that's a separate rant...

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A nice instantiation of our WCEG's monthly summary of JOLTS. I would, however, quibble with the authors' claim that workers are now "confident". Yes, they are quitting at a much higher rate than they dared to do in the early years of this decade. But I remember 1998-2000: That was a confident labor market! How old were these authors in 1999, anyway? :-): Kate Bahn and Will McGrew: JOLTS Day Graphs: March 2019 Report Edition - Equitable Growth: "The quits rate held steady at 2.3% for the 10th month in a row, reflecting a steady labor market where workers are confident leaving their jobs to find new opportunities...

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"Attempts to Make Sense Out of Right Wing Austrian Economics Can Never Amount to Anything"—rootless_e: Hoisted From the Archives

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rootless_e is correct: Ludwig von Miese is not: Hoisted from the Archives: Quote of the Day: November 12, 2011: "Attempts to carry out economic reforms from the monetary side can never amount to anything but an artificial stimulation of economic activity by an expansion of the circulation, and this, as must constantly be emphasized, must necessarily lead to crisis and depression. Recurring economic crises are nothing but the consequence of attempts, despite all the teachings of experience and all the warnings of the economists, to stimulate economic activity by means of additional credit"—Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit...

"Attempts to make sense out of right wing Austrian economics can never amount to anything."—rootless_e...

"Fictitious" Wealth and Ludwig von Mises: Nevertheless, like a moth to a flame—or like a dog to vomit, or like a dog to something worse—I find myself under a mysterious but inexorable and irresistible compulsion to waste what would otherwise be productive work time trying to make some kind of sense of it—to at least understand wherein lies the error, and how somebody trying very hard to understand the economy (never mind that he is a big fan of the political leadership of Benito Mussolini) can go so pathetically wrong. It is, of course, not the case that every expansion of the circulation is an "artificial" (and unnatural) "stimulation of economic activity" that must "necessarily lead to crisis and depression". So why does Ludwig von Mises think that it must? Here is my current guess as to where von Mises is coming from:

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 16, 2019)

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  • Yes, Societal Well-Being Depends on a Very Strong Distributional Bias Along the Lines of "To Each According to Their Need". Why Do You Ask?

  • PREVIEW: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective: U.C. Berkeley: Spring 2020

  • Note to Self: F--- you, @jack: "Quite stunning that you have developed such potentially useful tool, @jack, and yet have managed to make yourself so thoroughly my enemy, isn't it?...

  • Note to Self: Are all the cool kids still writing weekly email newsletters? If not, why no longer? If so, why?...

  • Twitter Thread: On Thomas Jefferson's Declaration: The problem with it rhetorically (which is only a very small part of the problem with it morally) is that it requires an extra paragraph: "He tempted us, and we fell, and now we are in a horrible spot. And now he is trying to make their and our situation worse by sparking a servile insurrection, with all its bloody and terrible consequences, upon these shores". But I do not know if he could say that paragraph, even to himself in his heart. And certainly the Constitutional Convention would not say it...

  • Twitter Thread: On Peng Dehaui: "In 1970 Peng was formally tried and sentenced to life imprisonment, and he died in prison in 1974...

  • Twitter Thread: On James Buchanan: "If you are hanging with Mt. Pelerin, with its Lykourgan moments and its "the merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally" and "by the slogan that 'it is not your fault' that the demagoguery of unlimited democracy, assisted by a scientistic psychology has come to the support of those who claim a share in the wealth of our society without submitting to the discipline to which it is due", either you dissent strongly and sharply or... we read between the lines...

  • Comment of the Day: John Howard Brown: "Most white males don't experience their lives as privileged. If anything, they feel less privileged than their fathers.... Too bad that so many 'Baby Boomers' got scared by the inflation monster in the 1970s...

  • Comment of the Day: Howard: "Graduated high school in Allentown, PA in 1970.... White males like me who didn't go to college expected to find life-long work and reasonable pay at Bethlehem Steel, Mack Truck, or the Western Electric Plant. All those jobs are long, long gone...

  • Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: "Why promise inflation after the recession rather than produce inflation now when monetary policy isn't at the zero lower bound? Is it really likely that people could be convinced that the Fed will accept inflation over 2% some years after then next time we are in the liquidity trap when it demonstrates that it won't accept it right now? They should walk the walk, not just pre-commit to possibly talking the talk at some time in the indefinite future. Still progress...

  • Weekend Reading: Joseph Schumpeter (1927): The Explanation of the Business Cycle

  • Weekend Reading: Raymond Aron (1955): Nations and Ideologies

  • Weekend Reading: Samuel Brittan (1980): Hayek, the New Right, and the Crisis of Social Democracy


  1. Martin Wolf: How the Long Debt Cycle Might End: "Start then with inflationary fire. Much of what is going on right now recalls the early 1970s: an amoral US president (then Richard Nixon) determined to achieve re-election, pressured the Federal Reserve chairman (then Arthur Burns) to deliver an economic boom. He also launched a trade war, via devaluation and protection. A decade of global disorder ensued. This sounds rather familiar, does it not?...

  2. Charlotte Ahlin: The 'Game Of Thrones' Survival Odds For The 5 Characters Who George R. R. Martin Said Would Make It To The End: "TV Bran stands a pretty good chance of surviving.... Survival chances: 9.5/10. No one cares enough to kill him anymore.... Good luck to anyone foolish enough to try and kill Arya Freaking Stark.... Survival chances: 7/10. 'Not today'.... TV Tyrion... will probably survive to be the power behind whoever ends up on the throne... but a Tyrion death scene would give us one hell of a gut punch in the series finale. Survival chances: 6/10. Leave our boy alone, Bronn!... TV Dany... yikes. Her babies are dropping like (dragon)flies.... Survival chances: 3/10. Dracarys.... TV Jon is everyone's top pick for Special King Boy.... But... honorable Stark men don't fare all too well down south.... Survival chances: 8/10. It's his game to lose...

  3. Barry Ritholtz: Index Funds Don’t Hurt Consumers, But Monopolies Do - Bloomberg: "Critics of passive investing blame the wrong thing for higher prices in some industries...

  4. Minxin Pei: Is Trump’s Trade War with China a Civilizational Conflict?: "Recent remarks by a senior Trump administration official suggest that the United States' current approach to China is dangerously misconceived. The rise of China under a one-party dictatorship should be met with a united front in defense of the liberal order, not talk of a clash of Caucasian and non-Caucasian civilizations...

  5. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh: Marianne Johnson: "Dr. Johnson's research focuses on the history of public economics and public choice, particularly as related to public goods and public policy decision-making. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for the History of Economic Thought and Oeconomica. Dr. Johnson recently finished a five year term as co-editor for Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology. Dr. Johnson is the secretary for the History of Economics Society and former president of the Wisconsin Economics Association...

  6. Christopher Monroe: Quantum Computing Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

  7. Josh Brown: The Book That Changed My Life: "The 20th anniversary of Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth.... Nick Murray has taught thousands of financial advisors about the inherent dignity of our careers...

  8. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service): Fort Baker: "Fort Baker, the 9th and final 'Post-to-Park' conversion in the Golden Gate National Parks, is a 335 acre former 1905 U.S. Army post located immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem of a site consists of over 25 historic army buildings clustered around a main parade ground, a sheltered harbor protected by a jetty, a number of historic gun emplacements, and trails and forested areas climbing gently up from San Francisco Bay...

  9. Cavallo Point Resort: The Luxury Hotel at the Golden Gate

  10. Ludwig von Mises: Dictatorships and Double Standards: "Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history...

  11. Ludwig von Mises: The First Lesson About Conservative Thinkers Is That They All Rot in One Generation or Less...: "The socialists are coming with a plan to equalize gender relationships–and by making the wife an equal of the husband it is only a matter of time until the worker seeks to be the equal of the boss, and with sex itself freely shared among consenting equals how can we even maintain the idea of 'private property'?...

  12. Ludwig von Mises: The First Lesson About Conservative Thinkers Is That They All Rot in One Generation or Less...: "The pseudo-democratic movement endeavours... to make the strong equal to the weak, the talented to the untalented, and the healthy to the sick.... The radical wing of the women’s movement seeks to make women the equal of men…. But the difference between sexual character and sexual destiny can no more be decreed away than other inequalities of mankind...

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Masoud Mohseni, Patrick Rebentrost, Seth Lloyd, and Alán Aspuru-Guzik: Environment-Assisted Quantum Walks in Photosynthetic Energy Transfer: "Energy transfer within photosynthetic systems can display quantum effects such as delocalized excitonic transport. Recently, direct evidence of long-lived coherence has been experimentally demonstrated for the dynamics of the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein complex.... We demonstrate that for the FMO complex an effective interplay between free Hamiltonian and thermal fluctuations in the environment leads to a substantial increase in energy transfer efficiency from about 70% to 99%...

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Comment of the Day: John Howard Brown: "Discussions of 'white male privilege' go... far astray. Although the phenomena is very real, most white males don't experience their lives as privileged. If anything, they feel less privileged than their fathers. Certainly their incomes are less. As Brad has pointed out, maintaining a full employment economy instead of the Fed's disinflationary bias would go far to reduce the feelings of grievance among white males. Too bad that so many 'Baby Boomers' got scared by the inflation monster in the 1970s...

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