Alice Dreger: Napoleon Chagnon Is Dead https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20191023-dreger-chagnon: "The peer-reviewed article I ultimately published in Human Nature about the AAA task force is the angriest academic piece I have ever written.... Tierney had misrepresented so much. The chair of the AAA task force knew it too. That was Jane Hill, former president of the AAA. During my research, Sarah Hrdy shared with me a previously confidential message, dated April 15, 2002, in which Hill responded to Hrdy’s concerns about the task force’s work. 'Burn this message', Hill told Hrdy. 'The book [by Tierney] is just a piece of sleaze, that’s all there is to it (some cosmetic language will be used in the report, but we all agree on that). But I think the AAA had to do something because I really think that the future of work by anthropologists with indigenous peoples in Latin America—with a high potential to do good—was put seriously at risk by its accusations, and silence on the part of the AAA would have been interpreted as either assent or cowardice. Whether we’re doing the right thing will have to be judged by posterity.'... Of course, the failure of facts in the Darkness case extended beyond academe. If The New Yorker and W.W. Norton had done proper fact-checking, so much mischief would have been avoided. Still, the AAA made it all much worse. The AAA could have done what the National Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Human Genetics, the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, and the Society for Visual Anthropology did: looked at the facts and condemned Tierney. Instead, the AAA thanked Tierney 'for his valuable service.' A kangaroo court. A show trial. That’s how many saw the AAA investigation. The AAA membership eventually voted to rescind acceptance of the report. 'It was really amateur hour' at the AAA, Hagen told me...

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The best thing I have yet seen on how industrial organization, concentration, and monopsony drive the conclusion that increases in the minimum wage do not reduce employment in the United States today—or, rather, for which groups of workers minimum wage increases lower and for which raise employment:

José Azar, Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, Ioana Marinescu, Bledi Taska, and Till von Wachter: Minimum Wage Employment Effects and Labor Market Concentration: "Why is the employment effect of the minimum wage frequently found to be close to zero? Theory tells us that when wages are below marginal productivity, as with monopsony, employers are able to increase wages without laying off workers, but systematic evidence directly supporting this explanation is lacking. In this paper, we provide empirical support for the monopsony explanation by studying a key low-wage retail sector and using data on labor market concentration that covers the entirety of the United States with fine spatial variation at the occupation-level. We find that more concentrated labor markets–where wages are more likely to be below marginal productivity–experience significantly more positive employment effects from the minimum wage. While increases in the minimum wage are found to significantly decrease employment of workers in low concentration markets, minimum wage-induced employment changes become less negative as labor concentration increases, and are even estimated to be positive in the most highly concentrated markets. Our findings provide direct empirical evidence supporting the monopsony model as an explanation for the near-zero minimum wage employment effect documented in prior work. They suggest the aggregate minimum wage employment effects estimated thus far in the literature may mask heterogeneity across different levels of labor market concentration...

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David Glasner: What’s Wrong with DSGE Models Is Not Representative Agency https://uneasymoney.com/2019/09/16/whats-wrong-with-dsge-models-is-not-representative-agency/: "The completely ad hoc and artificial concept of a representative firm was not well-received by Marshall’s contemporaries.... The young Lionel Robbins... subjected the idea to withering criticism.... James Hartley wrote about the short and unhappy life of Marshall’s Representative Firm in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. One might have thought that the inauspicious career of Marshall’s Representative Firm would have discouraged modern macroeconomists from resurrecting the Representative Firm in the barely disguised form of a Representative Agent in their DSGE models, but the convenience and relative simplicity of solving a DSGE model for a single agent was too enticing to be resisted. Therein lies the difference between the theory of the firm and a macroeconomic theory. The gain in convenience from adopting the Representative Firm was radically reduced by Marshall’s Cambridge students and successors who, without the representative firm, provided a more rigorous, more satisfying and more flexible exposition of the industry supply curve and the corresponding partial-equilibrium analysis than Marshall had with it. Providing no advantages of realism, logical coherence, analytical versatility or heuristic intuition, the Representative Firm was unceremoniously expelled from the polite company of economists. However, as a heuristic device for portraying certain properties of an equilibrium state—whose existence is assumed not derived—even a single representative individual or agent proved to be a serviceable device with which to display the defining first-order conditions, the simultaneous equality of marginal rates of substitution in consumption and production with the marginal rate of substitution at market prices.... An excellent example of this heuristic was provided by Jack Hirshleifer in his 1970 textbook Investment, Interest, and Capital.... Here is how Hirshleifer explained what was going on:

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Comment of the Day: Grizzled https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/age-of-the-expert-as-policymaker-is-coming-to-an-end-financial-times.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a4dd9749200b#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a4dd9749200b in Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming To an End: "Alas, I don't think it's usually possible for non-experts to evaluate expert judgements. The Reinhard and Rogoff example is more the exception than the rule. Consider the case of global warming. Google 'Conversion of a Global Warming Skeptic'. This is a case where is took 18 months of work, which was funded so it could be not only full time but assisted, for a Phd in physics to accumulate enough background to become convinced that the climate scientists had been right all along. This is not a level of investment available in the ordinary run of things. The practical question is how to pick experts to trust. I don't have a quick answer to that, other than to reject anyone associated with Republicans...

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The Berkeley History Department slavery studies group, plus David Blight on Yale, on how much of what we see as "scientific labor management" from the business side and "deskilling Taylorization" from the labor side has its roots in slaveholding society ideas of the worker as an "instrumentum mutum" in the words of Roman statesman Cato the Elder—merely a "tool that speaks": David Blight, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Caitlin Rosenthal, and Jennifer D. King: The Business of Brutality: Slavery and the Foundations of Capitalism:

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Ricardo's Big Idea, and Its Vicissitudes: Hoisted from the Archives

Hoisted from the Archives: Ricardo's Big Idea, and Its Vicissitudes https://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/ricardos-big-idea-and-its-vicissitudes-inet-edinburgh-comparative-advantage-panel.html:

INET Edinburgh Comparative Advantage Panel


Ricardo's Big Idea, and Its Vicissitudes

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0QMFGpAUFCjqhdfLULfDbLE4g

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Hoisted from the Archives: From Eight Years Ago: The Way the World Looked to Me in the Summer of 2011

Hoisted from the Archives: The Way the World Looked to Me in the Summer of 2011: Back in the summer of 2009, Barack Obama had five economic policy principals on the Treasury Bench:

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Ian Dunt: "Caroline Lucas, Green https://twitter.com/IanDunt/status/1186680346408042498: 'I want to speak out on behalf of those who do not share this govt's vision of a mean-minded little Britain, with our borders closed and our horizons narrowed. For those like me who are proud to stand up for the precious right to be able to work and study and live and love in 27 other countries, who celebrate the contribution made by the 3 million EU citizens in our country. For those who recognise that imperfect thought it undoubtedly is, the EU remains the greatest international venture for peace, prosperity and freedom in history.' Thank f--- for Caroline Lucas, man. Really...

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Ian Dunt: "Rory Stewart. Let's find out where he's at https://twitter.com/IanDunt/status/1186677364878663680: Ah, maybe a good place. 'My big beg to the House, and here I am speaking to colleagues who voted for Brexit, is let's please in these very very final stages, do it properly. This is your great founding moment. This is your opportunity to create an enormous constitutional change that can last for 40 years. So do it properly.' Stewart valiantly pointing out that he has backed Brexit deals over and over again. 'I'm not a member of this party anymore. I don't get any bonus points. But in return, people deserve scrutiny. This is a hell of a big document. I know they'll be many voices in the Chamber who say we've been talking about this long enough. We cannot think like this. This is our parliament. We cannot do down our parliament. This was an exercise in regaining the sovereignty of parliament. And if it's about regaining the sovereignty of parliament, then treat parliament with respect. If you are taking back control, then show that you are worthy to exercise that control...

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Comment of the Day: Dilbert Dogbert https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/raymond-chandler-1938-_the-red-wind_-there-was-a-desert-wind-blowing-that-night-it-was-one-of-those-hot-dry-santa.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a48fd8d2200c#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a48fd8d2200c in Santa Ana Winds: "Back in the mid 50's I spent time with my older brother in San Bernadino. His house was near the El Cajon Pass. I remember a night spent listening to the winds roaring down the pass. Next day I wandered around the area. Near his house was a new cheap development of houses without garages. Just car ports. Most of them were blown over. Another memory was going to a near by airport to check the condition of the small plane he built. As we drove in I notice a ball of aluminum in a tree. A plane came loose and ended up there. My bros plane suffered a broken spar. He was an aircraft mech so he fixed it....

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Comment of the Day: Nils https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/raymond-chandler-1938-_the-red-wind_-there-was-a-desert-wind-blowing-that-night-it-was-one-of-those-hot-dry-santa.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a4dc99d2200b#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a4dc99d2200bin Santa Ana Winds: "I can reliably tell you that there was a Diablo wind on October 19 and 20, 1991, which led to the severity of the Oakland Hills fire. I was out at Mt. Tamalpais that day, and when we had hiked to the north end of the mountain near the Mountain Theater we could see a long streak of smoke trailing out to sea through the Golden Gate, at 11 am. I knew a serious fire had broken out, but of course could not tell where. I feared that my car at the East Gate parking lot was being consumed by wildfire and we were all going to die (or something like that). But when we got to East Peak and looked over the bay, about 1pm, we could see flames leaping in the Oakland Hills. I stopped worrying about me and worried about my aunt and uncle who lived in the hills above Tunnel Road (they got out OK but their house was gone, foundations calcined to a pile of sand, a few blobs of melted metal all that was left of my Grandmother's silver, although the gladiolus my aunt was planting that morning mostly survived). I take this sort of weather very seriously. PG&E is right to cut power no matter how inconvenient it is. We also, though, need more independent power, especially for critical installations like hospitals, nursing homes, schools. Off-grid living is becoming more and more a matter of survival and community resilience, less a fringe movement....

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Bret Devereaux: Battle Pachyderms https://acoup.blog/2019/07/26/collections-war-elephants-part-i-battle-pachyderms/: "One reading of the (admittedly somewhat poor) evidence suggests that this is how Pyrrhus of Epirus used his elephants–to great effect–against the Romans. It is sometimes argued that Pyrrhus essentially created an ‘articulated phalanx’ using lighter infantry and elephants to cover gaps–effectively joints–in his main heavy pike phalanx line. This allowed his phalanx–normally a relatively inflexible formation–to pivot...

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Bret Devereaux Elephants Against Wolves https://acoup.blog/2019/08/02/collections-war-elephants-part-ii-elephants-against-wolves/: "The playbook for dealing with elephants was actually fairly simple in concept–Vegetius, a later Roman military writer, manages to sum up the ‘best practices’ in less than a paragraph (Vegetius 3.24). Ideally, the elephants should be met by light infantry screening troops, whose freedom of movement allows them to avoid the elephant’s charge. Those light troops – armed with missile weapons (especially javelins, but also slings) should especially target the mahouts, in an effort to panic the elephants. Ideally, a space is left open for the elephants to flee too, although ancient sources are full of examples where they were simply driven back through the enemy formation. The goal isn’t to kill the elephant, but instead to panic the animal and drive it off or–better yet–drive it through the enemy. This latter point is notable: ancient military writer after ancient military writer notes how elephants were often as much a danger to their own troops as to the enemy, especially when wounded or frightened...

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-21:

  1. David Frum: Can Brexit Survive a Second Referendum? https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/can-brexit-survive-second-referendum/600382/: "[Alexander Boris de Pfeffle Johnson’s hope is to get a withdrawal agreement in place before October 31, exit by that date, and only then force an election. With Brexit then irrevocable, British voters would confront the stark single-issue choice: Johnson or Corbyn? Johnson could expect to win a five-year mandate to repair the damage he himself inflicted by Brexit...

  2. Pierre Briant (2002): _ From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire_ https://delong.typepad.com/files/briant-cyrus.pdf

  3. Susan M. Sherwin-White and Amélie Kuhrt (1993): From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire https://delong.typepad.com/files/samarkhand.pdf

  4. Wayne E. Lee (2016): Waging War: Conflict, Culture, and Innovation in World History https://books.google.com/?id=hbyYCgAAQBAJ: https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/wayne-e-lee-2016-_waging-war-conflict-culture-and-innovation-in-world-history_-excerpts-when-in-1996-lawrence.html...

  5. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2012): Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty https://books.google.com/?id=2dlnBoX4licC...

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ProGrowthLiberal: Robert Barro’s Misstated Case for Federal Reserve Independence http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2019/08/barros-misstated-case-for-federal.html: "There are two aspects of his case that strike me as silly to say the least starting with his opening sentence: 'In the early 1980s, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, was able to choke off runaway inflation because he was afforded the autonomy necessary to implement steep interest-rate hikes.' This statement glosses over the fact that we had a macroeconomic mess in 1982... an ill-advised fiscal stimulus initiated the moment St. Reagan took office.... To be fair–Barro continues his magical history tour in a reasonable way until we get this absurdity: 'One could infer the normal rate from the average federal funds rate over time. Between January 1986 and August 2008, it was 4.9%, and the average inflation rate was 2.5% (based on the deflator for personal consumption expenditure), meaning that the average real rate was 2.4%'.... Barro seems to be saying the long-run real interest rate has been the same for the last 23 years. There has been a lot of research to suggest otherwise...

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Wayne E. Lee (2016): Waging War: Conflict, Culture, and Innovation in World History https://books.google.com/?id=hbyYCgAAQBAJ, excerpts: "When in 1996 Lawrence Keeley published War Before Civilization. Keeley made an impassioned plea for reimagining the role of violence in human experience, and he made the striking claim that prestate societies experienced extreme male fatality rates. Keeley's work and additional studies have settled on the somewhat shocking estimates... [that] between 15 and 25% of males and about 5% of females" in human forager societies died from warfare. This per capita rate far exceeds those of later state-based societies. Since Keeley's work, archaeologists and anthropologists have renewed the debate begun by Hobbes and Rousseau. To use the simplest terms, as suggested in a recent review, there are the 'deep rooters', who believe in the long evolutionary history of intergroup violence, and the "inventors", who argue that human conflict emerged more recently because of changes in human social organization...

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Bret Devereaux: War Elephants https://acoup.blog/2019/07/26/collections-war-elephants-part-i-battle-pachyderms/: "Part I (this one) is going to look at how the elephant functioned in battle: how did it work as a weapon-system and why would anyone want to have it? Part II (next week) will then turn and ask the question: if elephants are such awesome weapon systems, why did the Romans defeat and then abandon them (and why did the Chinese never meaningfully adopt them)? Part III (the week after that) turns this question on its head: if elephants were as useless as the Romans thought, why did Indian kings keep using them?...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings (October 20, 2019)...

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Must of the Musts:

  • Why am I hearing "very fine people on both sides!"? here: Robert Knight: Letters · LRB: Globalists: "Alexander Zevin writes that Friedrich Hayek opposed the use of sanctions against apartheid, and ‘confided to his secretary that he liked blacks no better than Jews’ (LRB, 15 August). The antisemitic antecedents of National Socialism are conspicuous by their absence in The Road to Serfdom; if we assume the manuscript was completed in 1943, it almost completely ignores a decade of antisemitic persecution and four years of Nazi war crimes and atrocities. In the Spectator in January 1947 Hayek attacked the ‘blunders’ of denazification in Austria, including the suspension of violinists from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra because they had been Nazi party members. It was, he wrote, ‘scarcely easier to justify the prevention of a person from fiddling because he was a Nazi than the prevention because he is a Jew’...

  • BREXIT!!!!!: Hugh Mannerings: "I'm not saying there wasn't a Democratic mandate for Brexit at the time. I'm just saying if I narrowly decided to order fish at a restaurant that was known for chicken, but said it was happy to offer fish, and so far I've been waiting three hours, and two chefs who promised to cook the fish had quit, and the third one is promising to deliver the fish in the next five minutes whether it's cooked or not, or indeed still alive, and all the waiting staff have spent the last few hours arguing amongst themselves about whether I wanted battered cod, grilled salmon, jellied deals, or dolphin kebabs, and if large parts of the restaurant appeared to be on fire, but no one was paying attention to it because they were all arguing about fish, I would like, just once, to be asked if I definitely still wanted the fish...

  • Once again, we have a piece by an impressively credentialed academic Republican economists that seems to me to have... no contact with reality. There is no economist I know of save for Robert Barro who has ever said or implied that the "neutral" real interest rate today is the same 2.4% that the average real interest rate was from 1986-2008. To the contrary, there has been a very long and active discussion—led over the past two decades by current New York Fed President John Williams—about how far the "neutral" rate has fallen, and how persistent that fall will be. And one conclusion of that debate has been that the current real federal funds rate of "only 0.7%" does indeed look "high" by some important metrics. So why would anyone write as thought this literature does not exist?: Robert J. Barro: Is Politics Getting to the Fed?: "One could infer the normal rate from the average federal funds rate over time. Between January 1986 and August 2008, it was 4.9%, and the average inflation rate was 2.5%...

  • My friend Jason Furman keeps telling me that the Obama Administration sincerely sought throughout its tenure in office to boost employment in America via expansionary fiscal policy. I agree that Jason did. But the administration? No. When Jason and company could win internal fights, yes. But otherwise the Obama Administration seemed to me to be focused on winning the day's media narrative, and if dingbat kabuki moves that were destructive of employment growth could attain that daily goal, they were gleefully and joyfully embraced—even if they were pointlessly cruel to those4 on whom the success of the Obama Administration rested. For example: Jack Lew (November 29, 2010): Tightening Our Belts https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2010/11/29/tightening-our-belts: "The freeze will apply to all civilian federal employees.... This pay freeze is not a reflection on their fine work. It is a reflection of the fiscal reality that we face: just as families and businesses across the nation have tightened their belts, so must the federal government...

  • There have been many disruptions of the functioning of the discursive public sphere by new communications technologies. The most recent significant one was the early-twentieth century disruption by radio. The very sharp and witty Maciej Ceglowski provides us with a brief introduction: Maciej Ceglowski: Legends of the Ancient Web: "It doesn't take long for politically talented people to discover how to use radio for their own ends. One of these early pioneers in the United States is Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and early religious broadcaster who notices that his angry rants on political topics net him a much bigger audience than his discourses on religion. By the middle of the 1930's, Coughlin has an active audience of ten million tuning in to hear him rail against against bankers and international conspiracies, in a way that sounds uncomfortably familiar in 2017. Here's Father Coughlin at the top of his game, yelling about banks...

  • Project Syndicate: No, We Don’t “Need” a Recession https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/no-we-dont-need-a-recession-by-j-bradford-delong-project-syndicate.html: "It was not uncommon for commentators to argue for a “needed” recession before the big one hit in 2008-2010. But I, for one, assumed that this claim was a decade dead. Who in 2019 could say with a straight face that a recession and high unemployment under conditions of low inflation would be a good thing? Apparently, I was wrong. The argument turns out to be an example of what Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman calls a “zombie idea … that should have died long ago in the face of evidence or logic, but just keeps shambling forward, eating peoples’ brains.” Clearly, those who claim to welcome recessions have never looked at the data. If they did, they would understand that beneficial structural changes to the economy occur during booms, not during busts...

  • Hoisted from the Archives from 2010: Perhaps. And Sometimes https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/perhaps-and-sometimes-cato-unbound.html: That Sherwood Forest is illegible to the Sheriff of Nottingham allows Robin of Locksley and Maid Marian to survive. But that is just a stopgap. In the final reel of Ivanhoe the fair Rebecca must be rescued from the unworthy rogue Templar Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (and packed offstage to marry some young banker or rabbi), the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Guy of Gisborne must receive their comeuppance, the proper property order of Nottinghamshire must be restored, and Wilfred must marry the fair Rowena–and all this is accomplished by making Sherwood Forest and Nottinghamshire legible to the true king, Richard I “Lionheart” Plantagenet, and then through his justice and good lordship...

  • Comment of the Day: Harold Carmel on March of the Peacocks https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_harold-carmel_-in-paul-krugman-march-of-the-peacocks-as-prof-delong-has-often-pointed-out-obam.html: "Obama's turn toward austerity in that SOTU was a very dumb policy idea.... Obama presented himself as post-partisan and thought the Republicans would reciprocate. How did that work out?...

  • Comment of the Day: Phil Koop on Quantum Supremacy https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_phil-koop_-on-quantum-supremacy-in-reply-to-kaleberg-your-objection-is-mistaken-as-scott-aaronso.html: "Scott Aaronson explains: 'You don’t get to arbitrarily redefine whatever random chemical you find in the wild to be a “computer for simulating itself.” Under any sane definition, the superconducting devices that Google, IBM, and others are now building are indeed “computers”...

  • Comment of the Day: _Ebenezer Scrooge on Stanford Week: _ https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/10/comment-of-the-day-_ebenezer-scrooge_-in-stanford-week-the-formula-for-succeeding-as-an-undergrad-at-an-enormous-stat.html: "The formula for succeeding as an undergrad at an enormous state university is to pretend you're a grad student, and dive into a department full time. You're likely to get a decent mentor and adequate support, so you can ignore the bureaucratic madness...

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Very Briefly Noted 2019-10-20:

Zamzar: File Conversion Made Easy https://www.zamzar.com/...

Josiah Ober (2009): Epistemic democracy in Classical Athens: Sophistication, Diversity, and Innovation https://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/ober/080901.pdf: "Analysis of democracy in Athens as an 'epistemic' (knowledge-based) form of political and social organization. Adapted from Ober, Democracy and Knowledge, chapters 1-4...

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Arthur Eckstein: Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome: "Thus Rome went to war for a city that no longer existed, and Carthage went to war for a political figure whom many Punic aristocrats distrusted. But beneath this apparently irrational conduct on both sides lay deep issues of pride, honor, and security. The Romans wanted their will obeyed, as had happened in 238/237—and the Carthaginians were adamant in refusing to obey another state’s will, in good part because of previous incidents with Rome, probably mixed now with new confidence from their Spanish conquests and resources (Polyb. 3.14.9–10: explicit). We must, of course, leave room for badly judged, vacillating, and even incoherent human decision making in the course of the crisis of 220–218. The purpose of the new Punic empire in Spain was to enhance the military and financial capability of Carthage and thus change the balance of power—but this need not have led to war with Rome. If Hannibal had agreed to leave Saguntum alone—and it was a small place—the Punic conquest of Spain might have continued unimpeded in other directions for years, with the balance of power continuing to shift, and Rome ever less able to impose her will. That was Polybius’s impression...

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It is a very curious thing that pre-industrial societies were, by and large, about as unequal in terms of relative income as we are today. It does suggest that something like Vilfredo Pareto's Iron Law is operating, although how it could operate is beyond me. And it does suggest that Piketty was correct in his fear that the post-WWII trentes glorieuses age of social democracy was a fragile anomaly. This, however, fits less well with Piketty's current argument that our current second gilded age was generated by the descent of the center-right into neofascism and the descent of the center-left into cultural liberalism as it took its eye off the important ball that is the distribution of wealth and hence of social power. It is also worthy noting that pre-industrial inequality was much more vicious than modern inequality: push pre-industrial inequality up by an additional fifth or more, and large numbers of people start dying from malnutrition: Branko Milanovic, Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson: Pre-Industrial Inequality https://delong.typepad.com/pre-industrial-inequality.pdf: "Is inequality largely the result of the Industrial Revolution? Or, were pre-industrial incomes as unequal as they are today? This article infers inequality across individuals within each of the 28 pre-industrial societies, for which data were available, using what are known as social tables. It applies two new concepts: the inequality possibility frontier and the inequality extraction ratio. They compare the observed income inequality to the maximum feasible inequality that, at a given level of income, might have been 'extracted' by those in power. The results give new insights into the connection between inequality and economic development in the very long run...

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There have been many disruptions of the functioning of the discursive public sphere by new communications technologies. The most recent significant one was the early-twentieth century disruption by radio. The very sharp and witty Maciej Ceglowski provides us with a brief introduction:

Maciej Ceglowski: Legends of the Ancient Web: "It doesn't take long for politically talented people to discover how to use radio for their own ends. One of these early pioneers in the United States is Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and early religious broadcaster who notices that his angry rants on political topics net him a much bigger audience than his discourses on religion. By the middle of the 1930's, Coughlin has an active audience of ten million tuning in to hear him rail against against bankers and international conspiracies, in a way that sounds uncomfortably familiar in 2017. Here's Father Coughlin at the top of his game, yelling about banks...

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This catches the wise David Adler's attention. Indeed, Wolfgang Streeck's socialism is a very particular and grinchy and, indeed, nationalsocialism. I first saw this back in 1993-1994 in the NAFTA wars, when too many on the left seemed to think they could mobilize white supremacy and fear of hispanics to the service of social-democratic equitable-growth goals. Back then I thought "it really does not work that way". Indeed it does not. But people keep trying:

David Adler: But Jesus Christ Wolfgang Streeck Really Hates Migrants:

Wolfgang Streeck: Progressive Regression: "As governed by 'European' or international law, immigration may also function in essence as social policy. The arrival of unskilled workers may undermine collective bargaining in low-wage sectors, to the extent that it still exists; it may also increase income inequality. In the process, it may furthermore weaken public perceptions of poverty and inequality as a problem—and, indeed, allow opponents of social protection to declare acceptance of domestic inequality a commandment of global solidarity with the 'really poor'. Immigration may also exert pressure on social-assistance budgets while weakening the willingness of citizens to be taxed for them, as a growing share of the expenditure may be going to newly arriving non-citizens. There is some evidence from Sweden that immigration can give rise to local educational segregation, as middle- and upper-class parents extract their offspring from schools that educate the children of immigrants and send them to more selective institutions...

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